For most areas without a local market early game today, Fox was slated to air a heated divisional match-up between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, two teams with eyes on the NFC North title. These are also both teams with fans spread far and wide around the U.S., many of whom were happy to see their teams get a national showcase.
But that happiness was snuffed out like a concussed quarterback right after halftime, when cherubic NFL On Fox host Curt Menefee announced that because the Bears were up by 25-10, Fox would be switching to the much “more competitive” game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This unleashed a flood of Tweets — a cursory count of the last hour shows nearly a thousand — directed at the @NFLonFOX Twitter account. A large number of these Tweets are not suitable for reprinting, but the gist is that fans of both the Bears and the Vikes are not thrilled, regardless of whether or not the game was a blowout. Many of them said they were switching to whatever game was showing on their local CBS station rather than be forced to watch Falcons/Bucs.
Initially, even DirecTV customers who had paid a premium for NFL Sunday Ticket were unable to watch the game since it was still blacked out. Eventually, the satellite service was able to get the switch flipped, but that still left scores of unhappy football fans around the country.
As if to rub salt in the wound, Fox’s Twitter account for Cleatus, the animated football-spiking robot (yes, it has a name, and that name is Cleatus; it also probably has more Twitter followers than you), Tweeted the following:
This was then immediately re-Tweeted by the NFLonFOX Twitter account:
Only to be deleted, though the original Tweet still (as of now) is up on Cleatus’ account:
While the game currently seems to be going the Bears’ way (we have to follow the score here at Consumerist HQ via the NFL ticker), Fox should be reminded of the fateful Heidi Game, that 1968 match-up between the Raiders and Jets, in which NBC left the game with several minutes remaining, and with the Jets in the lead, to switch to the scheduled presentation of the movie Heidi, perhaps the most un-football film ever made. While football fans watched in wonder as to what the heck was going on, the Raiders came back to win 43-32.