Cowboys flexed out of 'Sunday Night Football' for the first time since 2006

The Dallas Cowboys have fallen, and they’ve fallen hard. Less than a day after their 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the NFL did something that once was unthinkable: they flexed the Cowboys out of a prime-time game.

The NFL announced on Wednesday that Week 15’s game between the Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, which was set to be broadcast on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” is being moved back to 1 p.m. ET. Taking its place will be the game between the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants.

How rare is it for the Cowboys to be flexed out of “Sunday Night Football?” According to sports broadcast site 506 Sports, it’s so rare that it hasn’t happened since NBC took over the rights to SNF in 2006.

The Cowboys and Niners are longtime rivals, and games between them usually have no trouble grabbing viewers. Both teams have dealt with injuries to star players this season, and the quality of their play has taken a nosedive. They are last in their divisions and have been without their star quarterbacks — Dak Prescott and Jimmy Garoppolo — since early in the season, and that’s just the start of their lengthy injury lists.

While it’s unexpected for the Cowboys to be booted out of a prime-time spot, it’s a sign of the times. There’s no universe in which the Andy Dalton-led Cowboys deserve a prime-time spot over the Browns, who are 9-3 and sporting their best record since 2007. And while the Giants may have the same record as the Niners, they’re at least at the top of their division. It’s the NFC East so that’s not saying much, but it’s still better than the Niners.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 26: Andy Dalton #14 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts during the third quarter of a game against the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium on November 26, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
The Cowboys are being booted out of the Sunday night spot for the first time since 2006. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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