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NFL Network explains decision to yank Vikings-Saints game


Before Friday, NFL Network planned to televise the 2009 NFC title game between the Vikings and Saints at 3:00 p.m. ET on Monday. At some point after the NFL announced on Friday that the Saints had maintained in 2009, 2010, and 2011 a system of bounties that paid defensive players for injuring opponents, NFL Network replaced Vikings-Saints with the 1992 NFC title game between the Cowboys and 49ers.

The decision seemed to create the impression that the NFL has good reason to be concerned about televising the full game, given that the Saints battered Vikings quarterback Brett Favre until his legs matched the color of his helmet.

So we asked NFLN for an explanation.

“Since last Friday, NFL Network has extensively aired video clips of plays related to the Saints bounty investigation on NFL Total Access and during other news reports that are available on,” a NFL Network spokesperson said in a statement released to PFT. “At this time, we decided not to air the complete three-hour game and will reschedule the program for a future date.”

I don’t see the connection. NFLN extensively aired video clips of Super Bowl XLVI, but that didn’t stop it from televising the full game within a week after it was played.

The better explanation would have been that the league chose not to create the impression that NFLN was exploiting the bounty investigation by televising the most obvious example of the Saints’ misconduct, even though the schedule was set before Friday, March 2.

But that’s not the explanation that was provided. And the explanation that was provided isn’t very persuasive.