For viewers in the United States, NFL RedZone is not permitted to show a game when it’s the only one going. So, when the final game of the late-afternoon block is going, host Scott Hanson will usually instruct viewers to turn to Fox or CBS, whichever network is broadcasting the game. That’s what he did on Sunday as the Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks were in overtime. There was one problem, though. He gave bad information.
While that game was on CBS, Fox had the doubleheader rights during Week 12. So, outside of the local markets and a few select other places, viewers in the United States did not get to see the game. Still, when all other games were complete, Hanson directed viewers to switch over to their CBS affiliates multiple times.
I know rules are rules, but Red Zone Channel is sending the audience to their CBS affiliates for the conclusion of overtime, but that only pertains to the areas in green and those with Sunday Ticket pic.twitter.com/2jQsyk4eer
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs?? (@footballzebras) November 28, 2022
Devastating toss to CBS by @ScottHanson. They are on to 60 Minutes here in Boston. No Raiders-Seahawks OT
— Scott Isaacs (@ScottIsaacs) November 28, 2022
NFL Red Zone just asked me to turn to CBS for the end of the Seahawks-Raiders and 60 Minutes is on. Fail.
— Robin Lundberg (@robinlundberg) November 28, 2022
Scott Hanson told me to flip to CBS to watch the end of Raiders-Seahawks overtime and I did and it's got 60 Minutes on it
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 28, 2022
The blame here is not on CBS. These are the rules that both CBS and Fox are obligated to honor. And while networks will frequently join games in progress, they do that when another game has ended or becomes a blowout. Outside of a select few markets, CBS was not showing football during the entire block that the game was played. It can’t just switch from its regularly scheduled programming (which it’s also obligated to show), to broadcast overtime of an NFL game.
And to be fair, nothing would have changed for the viewer if Hanson hadn’t given this information out. RedZone still couldn’t have shown the game and CBS couldn’t have picked it up. Viewers, though, would likely have been less annoyed.
This was a perfect storm of bad luck and information. The final game of the late-afternoon block isn’t always close. This one was, ending in an 86-yard touchdown run from Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs. And Hanson was likely not expecting this to be the final game of the block. Two other games from that block started 20 minutes after it. That said, this wasn’t an unforeseen scenario, either.
Those games ended in regulation. This one did not. That’s not an uncommon happening.
Hanson telling viewers to switch to CBS once was fine. It was a mistake but a reasonable one. It should have been corrected, though, and certainly should not have been repeated. That was a bigger mistake on the part of Hanson and RedZone. If there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s this. If this scenario repeats itself in later weeks, we all know what the rules are now.
Update: Hanson addressed this on Twitter Sunday evening:
…I would never intentionally mislead you, our loyal viewers.
There is no one on earth (that I know of) who wants to show you more football than I do.
However: I am an employee – not the boss. I have orders just like many of you do at your jobs. More later. Thank you.
— Scott Hanson (@ScottHanson) November 28, 2022