No Network Country For Tired Old Men: NFL Limits Lions to 2 National TV Games

Bill Shea of Crain's, who dissects sports minutia with surgical attention, spots a take that rebuke for Detroit in the newly released schedules for all 32 teams.

Lose a dozen games and the National Football League schedule-makers will punish you with partial banishment from national television broadcasts.

The Detroit Lions learned that lesson when . . . they were tabbed for two national games.

The schedule can be viewed as a humbling decline from 2012's five nationally televised games, four of which were in prime time.

This year, after a 4-12 record last season, Lions games will air coast to coast only on Thanksgiving afternoon when they host the Green Bay Packers and Dec. 16 when they play the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field. That second game will be on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."

Shea tells why this matters:

Losing the national stage is a blow to the team's effort to rebuild brand equity lost during 11 consecutive seasons of missed playoffs, and strips players of additional opportunities to shine individually in front of potential marketers looking to spend endorsement money.      

The Crain's reporter, who's not someone to bet against in a sports trivia contest, also explains why the Lions have a chance to slip onto network lineups if they perform better than expected.  

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business
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