The NFL gave Columbus Browns and Bengal fans a gift.

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NOTE: Monday on NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I projected a complete 1st round mock draft.

Last year the NFL forgot that Central Ohio fans of the Browns and Bengals have a unique disadvantage. Because both teams are in the AFC, the fans needed to get Sunday Ticket to see more than half of their favorite team’s games. While most people in Columbus believed it was a ploy to sell more subscriptions, the NFL doesn’t really need the money.

The late season network flexibility helped because Fox covered some games that would have been blacked out due to the local CBS affiliate WBNS having to choose one team or the other. There was some flack including a major complaint here on FPS.

The NFL took the Central Ohio issue into account this season with the schedule. Based on my calculations, Browns fans should be able to see 13 of the 16 regular season games. That is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because the fans will be able to see their team. The curse is that the Browns still don’t have a starting quality QB on the roster.

The Bengal fans should be able to watch 12 games on free TV. The NFL has not indicated if they will allow the same flexibility to local affiliates this season that they did late last season. It affects Central Ohio the most because other cities with 2 teams in a single metro area are in different conferences.

It could be a L O N G season for Browns fans. But there is always next year and next year’s draft. I believe the plan is simple: Crash for Cardale!

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on Thanks for your support.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on

He also edits

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

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