— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) September 30, 2013
Due to a scheduling conflict with the MLB postseason in Oakland, the Week 5 AFC West battle between the Chargers and Raiders will kick off when a very large portion of America is in bed. See, the Oakland Athletics play Saturday, and apparently it takes about 24 hours for the folks at O.co Coliseum to convert the playing surface from baseball mode to football mode, and thus the Raiders have been moved from 1:25 p.m. to 8:35 p.m. local time.
That's probably a little annoying for Raiders fans who planned on attending the game Sunday afternoon, but the television implications are larger.
Coincidentally or not, it was moved so late that it means NBC maintains an exclusive time slot. Only under extreme circumstances does the NFL move games into prime-time slots. For example, in 2010, the league had to move a Giants-Vikings game to Monday night due to a snowstorm. Local FOX affiliates aired what wound up being Brett Favre's final game while ESPN took a small ratings hit with their game between the Ravens and Texans.
It also means CBS is losing a game, which is interesting. NFL Network will now carry it nationally, presumably with local affiliates airing it in San Diego and Oakland. That gives CBS the ability to air new episodes of The Amazing Race, The Good Wife and The Mentalist in regularly-scheduled slots in cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix and Seattle. They'll still get local viewers, and this also gives them the chance to broadcast a much better Broncos-Cowboys game to the entire country.
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated reports that CBS talent will still call the game, which gives us a chance to catch Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts in an exclusive time slot. The problem is that most of us on the east coast won't be able to stay up long enough to watch the whole thing.
Broadly, it's also the second time in five weeks in which Major League Baseball has forced the NFL to make a scheduling change. A conflict with the Orioles forced the Ravens to go on the road in the prime-time season-opener Sept. 5. Usually, the defending Super Bowl winner gets to host that NBC Thursday night opener. Small-battle victories for Bud Selig, who is still losing the war with professional football.