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Report: Apple bows out of Sunday Ticket talks, leaving Amazon and Google as the finalists

Another primetime game, another controversial roughing the passer call, and Mike Florio and Peter King dig into the dynamics that make NFL officiating crews more likely to err on the side of throwing the flag.

The company once regarded as the frontrunner for NFL Sunday Ticket has opted to take a Sunday drive, instead.

Buried in an item on from Dylan Byer and Julia Alexander regarding recent changes at the top of Disney is an NFL bombshell: Apple has bowed out of the bidding for the out-of-market package the DirecTV will relinquish in only 23 days.

Here’s the key quote, from Byer: “I’m now told that Apple, once seen as a frontrunner for the rights, has also backed out of those negotiations -- not because they can’t afford it, but because they don’t see the logic. So it’s down to Amazon and Google, and there’s certainly a logic there for both companies: Amazon can use it to drive Prime subscriptions; Google can use it to fuel its YouTube TV business.”

This also means the Disney/ESPN has exited the bidding, too.

Apple’s decision to take a pass is a stunner, since Apple had emerged as the clear frontrunner for the package that DirecTV has held since its inception in 1994. Between, however, the extreme asking price and the strict limitations imposed on the product, there’s a point at which one corporate behemoth tells the other to get lost.

And that’s what Apple did to the NFL.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week that the process is at a “very critical point.” With Apple stepping aside, that observation becomes an understatement.