Sequels rarely live to the original, but the NFL and NBC will give it a try Sunday when the Cowboys and Giants meet in prime time for the second time this season – and second time in less than a month.
But the followup to the Giants’ 37-34 victory Dec. 11 – a rematch unprecedented in the history of the league’s prime time Sunday or Monday night series – almost didn’t happen.
If the Chiefs had defeated the Raiders Saturday – rather than having a field goal blocked as regulation time expired, then losing in overtime – the Week 17 finale likely would have been Chiefs at Broncos.
In that scenario the winner would have won the AFC West, with the added drama of former Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton visiting Denver to face Tim Tebow.
(A Chargers victory over the Lions also might have done the trick, because in that scenario the Broncos would have faced a must-win against the Chiefs to beat out the Chargers-Raiders winner.)
Instead, the league was left with Giants-Cowboys as the only division title showdown unaffected by earlier games.
That’s not a bad consolation prize, but it was bad news for Fox, which would have generated a huge late-afternoon rating for the game.
It also was bad news for ticket holders who would prefer not to attend a game in the cold and dark of early January. As a group Giants fans traditionally loathe prime time games, especially unscheduled ones.
The only good news: For most people, there is no school or work the next day.