Question: I'm wondering why, in this day and age, if a game goes into overtime, it messes up the TV lineup for that station. Heck, we can put a man on the moon, but we can't seem to figure out how to do this. It's insane. I love to watch Cold Case, but it's rarely aired on time because of some game before 60 Minutes and Cold Case. Isn't there something that can be done so this doesn't happen so often? Just hoping, I guess. Thanks for your time.
Answer: There's actually a very good reason it's done that way, Deirdre: a 1968 game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets known in NFL lore as "the Heidi game." And you may be annoyed with the current system, but I guarantee that your irritation is nothing compared to the fury generated by the way it used to be.
The Jets and Raiders were arch rivals with tied records going into the game, and they were playing a great one, with several lead changes and the Jets up by just three points with just over a minute left. NBC took a commercial break, and everyone watching was all set for a killer ending when the ads were over. But unfortunately for the people in the Eastern and Central time zones, NBC never came back to the game. They started the movie Heidi, which was scheduled for 7 pm/ET. All those fans missed their killer ending, in which the Raiders managed to score 14 points.
NBC received so many angry calls that their phone system went down. They apologized the next day, and ever since then, networks have kept NFL games on the air until they're over. And believe me, for the sake of peace and national security, you want it to stay that way. Really, you do.