For the third time this season, the NFL is giving us a Monday doubleheader, but there’s going to be one minor difference this time around: Only one of the games is going to be nationally televised and that’s because Fox won’t be showing Washington-Pittsburgh to the entire country.
Due to NFL broadcast restrictions, Fox will only be allowed to show the game to about 40% of the country. JP Kirby of 506 Sports regularly maps out the viewing area for each NFL game and he created a map for this game that shows which areas of the country will be able to see the Steelers game on their local Fox affiliates.
In total, Fox will be airing the game on 71 of its affiliates, which sounds like a lot, but as you can see, that means that most of the country, including the entire western portion of the United States, is going to be left out in the dark for the game.
According to Kirby, the problem for the NFL is that the league is contractually obligated to provide a certain amount of games each week to DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket. The game between Washington and Pittsburgh was originally supposed to be played Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, which means it would have been a Sunday Ticket game, and because of that, the NFL is making sure the game is available to Sunday Ticket customers like it would have been if it hadn’t been moved.
The game was postponed one day after the Steelers were forced to play on Wednesday in Week 12.
The good news for people hoping to watch the game is that you can still tune-in if you have Sunday Ticket. According to DirecTV, the game will be available to all subscribers on channel 712 starting at 5 p.m. ET (Even people who don’t subscribe to Sunday Ticket should be able to watch).
DirecTV already lost one game earlier this season when the Bills and Titans were moved from a Sunday afternoon time slot to a nationally televised Tuesday night game and it appears the NFL didn’t want to take another game away. On the other hand, a game like Cowboys-Ravens, which was postponed from Thursday to Tuesday in Week 13, had no bearing on the DirecTV situation, because it was already scheduled to be a nationally televised game.
What this all means is that if you live in a red area shown in the graphic, you’ll be able to watch the Washington-Steelers game on Fox. If you live in a grey area on the graphic, you’ll only be able to watch the game if you have DirecTV. For everyone else, you have a few hours to find a neighbor who has the ability to watch the game.
Of course, even if you can’t watch the first game, you’ll still be able to watch the second game. The regularly scheduled Monday night game for Week 13 between the Bills and the 49ers is still happening and that game will be available nationwide on ESPN with a kickoff time of 8:15 p.m. ET.