Metropolitan-area football fans, the NFL, CBS and Fox have enjoyed a convenient, mutually beneficial arrangement in recent seasons.
While the Giants and Jets were spending the past decade being mostly awful, the NFL dispensed with its longstanding policy against having the teams’ games coincide.
This has worked well for everyone, because having the two New York teams play at 1 p.m. opened the late-afternoon window for more attractive out-of-town games.
It has been a win-win for a TV market with teams that have lost-lost.
Other than when playing each other, the Giants and Jets were not scheduled for the same time slot between 1984 and 2009.
Through the 2010s, the practice became increasingly common. As flex scheduling became a thing, the teams rarely were good enough to be shifted from 1 p.m.
Last season, both played at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on eight occasions, including six in the last seven weeks. This season, the teams already have had five overlap Sundays.
Cue the plot twist, as a funny thing has happened on the Giants’ and Jets’ roads to more top 10 draft picks.
They are winners! Who knew? But here we are, and it has become a tad awkward.
Both teams have juicy matchups on Sunday, with the Giants hosting Washington and the Jets visiting the Vikings.
Both have even juicier matchups on Dec. 11, with the Giants hosting the Eagles and the Jets visiting the Bills.
All four of those games are at 1 p.m., which became official when the NFL announced on Tuesday that Chargers-Dolphins, not Eagles-Giants, would flex into prime time.
This is not all bad, of course.
Generally, people who attend games in person — from fans to coaches to players to peanut vendors to journalists — strongly prefer afternoon kickoffs to nighttime.
But let’s be real: When the Giants are good, many Jets fans are interested in their games more than those of other out-of-town teams, even if it is just to root against them.
Same goes for Giants fans when the Jets are good.
We all share the same media ecosystem of newspaper coverage and sports talk radio, and we all have friends and relatives who root for the other team.
It is a good problem to have after a decade of lousy local football, but a problem it is, and it will not be fully solved next season when the Jets and Giants should be more attractive as prime-time ratings bait.
There figure to be fewer scheduled overlaps, but because of the flex scheduling system, going all the way back to the days when the teams never were slated for the same time slots is not practical. The system is designed for fluidity, especially after Thanksgiving.
Still, when schedule-makers get to work on 2023, they ought to return at least partway to the default assumption that many New Yorkers would like to watch both teams.
This is not Los Angeles, where many Rams fans presumably still have not heard about the Chargers' move to L.A.— and where many Chargers fans . . . um, are there Chargers fans?
It’s time, NFL.
This arrangement has been a net positive for fans — both those who watch in person and those who watch on TV. But it is time to adapt to changed circumstances.
Maybe you heard the exciting news that has been circulating around here in recent days: We’ve got meaningful games in December! Why not spread the joy?