ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Dec. 6, 2006) -- The NFL's new "Flex" schedule has been "Un-Flexed."
The league announced that kickoff for the Miami Dolphins game at the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 17 has been changed again -- this time switched back to its original 1 p.m. ET start.
The change came a day after the NFL moved the game to 4:05 p.m. as part of its newly introduced flexible schedule. It's a feature included in the new television contract that's meant to ensure contending teams play in prime time late in the season.
The 4:05 p.m. slot became open on CBS after NBC, on Monday, moved the Dec. 17 game between San Diego and Kansas City to its nighttime slot.
"We spoke to CBS today and told them we did not believe the shift to a later start time was in the fans' best interest," the NFL announced in a release. "We regret the inconvenience that we may have caused fans who are planning to attend the game or watch on television that day."
Besides the inconvenience that comes with altering starting times less than two weeks in advance, the Bills also draw fans from a wide region, making it difficult for some to change travel plans.
Some Bills fans also expressed concerns over the prospect of attending a mid-December game -- between two potential non-contenders -- in the late afternoon when temperatures usually grow colder. Buffalo and Miami both enter this weekend with 5-7 records.
The Bills were already having trouble selling out the game, announcing they had about 7,000 tickets still available this week.
Buffalo did play host to a prime-time game last year, when they played Denver on Dec. 17, but that was on the schedule when the season began.