HomeSportsNBC’s Mike Tirico Said Network Will Never Flex Dallas Cowboys Off Sunday Night Football

NBC’s Mike Tirico Said Network Will Never Flex Dallas Cowboys Off Sunday Night Football

by Suzanne Halliburton
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC’s Sunday Night Football this week features a matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts. And there was no way the network would’ve switched to another matchup, although the NFL allows for a flex schedule this time of year.

The Cowboys are surging at 8-3. Meanwhile, Indy already dumped their coach, Frank Reich, and replaced him with former Colts star offensive lineman Jeff Saturday. There’s some national interest in Saturday since until a month ago, he was an NFL analyst on ESPN. Still, it’s hard to spin the Colts in a positive way, since they’re 4-7-1.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football is a lock solid bet to be the most-watched primetime program of the week. And there are more interesting games the network could’ve opted for if NBC had elected to use one of its flex spots. Maybe fans would be more interested in Kansas City-Cincinnati, featuring two of the top quarterbacks in the game in Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow. There’s also Miami-San Francisco. Dolphin QB Tua Tagovailoa is the top passer in the league. Surely, he’d guarantee eyeballs to football primetime.

Mike Tirico, who is NBC’s top game analyst for Sunday’s primetime game, doesn’t see the network passing over the Cowboys in any situation.

“I don’t know how the chess can work,” Tirico said Thursday on the SI Media Podcast. “In other words, you’re never gonna lose a Dallas appearance, right, but can you get another one later in the year? So if you’re gonna lose Dallas totally, no.”

Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth are the Sunday Night Football announcing team, Tirico said this week that the network never would choose not to show the Dallas Cowboys. (Ray Carlin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys Pulled In Largest Audience for Regular Season Game

Here’s why you don’t dump the Dallas Cowboys. The team last played on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium, beating the New York Giants 28-20. Cowboys playing on Thanksgiving is as traditional as turkey and dressing. And this year’s game was the perfect setup for TV. The Cowboys are winning. So are the Giants. Fox reported that the game attracted 42 million viewers, which made it the largest-ever audience for an NFL regular season game.

The Cowboys also have the top three most-watched games of the 2022 season. The Dallas-Tampa Bay Bucs game, which kicked off this season’s slate on NBC, now ranks second, followed by the Cowboys-Green Bay. This will be Dallas’ third time on SNF.

“I’m super happy to see them,” Tirico said. He added that NBC’s Christmas night game between Tampa and Arizona will be a go. But said the other “weeks … around it have a little bit of fluctuation.”

Sixteen years ago, the NFL allowed NBC to implement a “flexible scheduling” procedure to make sure that games later in the season would be of high interest. According to the NFL, NBC can switch twice between weeks 5-10 and weeks 11-17. The network can choose to elevate a Sunday afternoon game.