The game was originally slated to air only on NFL Network, which would have left many football fans outside of the teams’ local regions out in the cold. The game is a potential ratings bonanza because it pits the undefeated Patriots against a playoff-bound team from the huge New York market.
While the Giants have nothing on the line for this regular-season finale, the fact that the Patriots and some of its players could be setting historical marks makes it a highly anticipated regular-season contest.
Both CBS and NBC will carry the NFL Network feed with commentators Bryant Gumbel and Chris Collinsworth, making it the first three-network simulcast in history and the first simulcast of a game since Super Bowl I, when both CBS and NBC carried the game.
“We have taken this extraordinary step because it is in the best interest of our fans,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “What we have seen for the past year is a very strong consumer demand for NFL Network. We appreciate CBS and NBC delivering the NFL Network telecast on Saturday night to the broad audience that deserves to see this potentially historic game. Our commitment to NFL Network is stronger than ever.”
The telecast begins at 8 p.m. (EST) and kickoff will be at 8:15 p.m.
NFL Network has been in a tug-of-war with cable operators Time Warner Cable and Comcast over carriage fees for the network, resulting in Comcast placing the network on a separate sports tier that subscribers would have to pay extra for and Time Warner not carrying it at all. As the Patriots' finale drew closer, the tension of the situation heightened and even drew the attention of legislators, who made an appeal for the combatants to find a temporary solution.