As mandated by the National Football League ever since cable networks began airing games in 1987, one TV station in the home markets is allowed to pick up the telecast to give fans the opprtunity to see the contests on both broadcast and pay TV.
So before each season, both ESPN and NFL Network put their games out to bid in the local markets for their entire schedules. For ESPN, they go to ABC affiliates first and if they pass, other stations in the market can bid. In the case of NFL Network, they allow all stations to bid and the one that agrees to pay the price will get the game.
Of course, each game is subject to the silly NFL TV blackout rules and if the game is not sold out 72 hours in advance, then it will be blacked out in the home market.
We have the over the air stations in the local markets that will carry the games throughout the 13 week Thursday Night Football schedule. If your cable provider does not carry NFL Network, this will give you a heads up in case your favorite team is playing on a Thursday night. This is for Weeks 2-11 and 13-15. In Week 12, the primetime game falls on Thanksgiving and the contest, New England at New York Jets is being aired by NBC.
Here’s the list as compiled by NFL Network.
NFL Network games will be carried on over-the-air television in the city of the visiting team and in the city where the game is played if it is sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff.
All telecasts will use NFL Network announcers, graphics and full production elements. Games are syndicated on an over-the-air station per the NFL’s long-standing policy dating back to 1987.
Brad Nessler (Play-by-Play); Mike Mayock (Analyst); Alex Flanagan (Sideline)
Week 2: Chicago Bears (My50 Chicago, WPWR) @ Green Bay Packers (NBC Ch. 26 Green Bay; FOX Ch.6 Milwaukee)
Week 3: New York Giants (CW Ch. 11, WPIX) @ Carolina Panthers (ABC Ch. 9, WSOC)
Week 4: Cleveland Browns (NBC Ch. 3, WKYC) @ Baltimore Ravens (NBC Ch. 11, WBAL)
Week 5: Arizona Cardinals (CBS Ch. 5, KPHO) @ St. Louis Rams (CW Ch. 11, KPLR)
Week 6: Pittsburgh Steelers (CW Ch. 19, WPCW) @ Tennessee Titans (FOX Ch. 17, WZTV)
Week 7: Seattle Seahawks (Independent Ch. 16, KONG) @ San Francisco 49ers (ABC Ch. 7, KGO)
Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Independent Ch. 32, WMOR) @ Minnesota Vikings (NBC Ch. 11, KARE)
Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs (MyNetworkTV, KSMO) @ San Diego Chargers (CBS Ch. 8, KFMB)
Week 10: Indianapolis Colts (NBC Ch. 13, WTHR) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Independent Ch. 4, WJXT)
Week 11: Miami Dolphins (MyNetworkTV Ch. 32, WBFS) @ Buffalo Bills (Me-TV, WBBZ)
Week 13: New Orleans Saints (FOX Ch. 8, WVUE) @ Atlanta Falcons (CW Ch. 69, WUPA)
Week 14: Denver Broncos (CBS Ch. 4, KCNC) @ Oakland Raiders (ABC Ch. 7, KGO)
Week 15: Cincinnati Bengals (CBS Ch. 12, WKRC) @ Philadelphia Eagles (ABC Ch. 6, WPVI)
That will do it.