As the early games drew to a close Sunday afternoon, FOX made the right move. The Eagles-Bengals game was going to overtime in Cincinnati, and most of the country was given a chance to watch Philadelphia's first possession.
After Donovan McNabb led a glorious three-and-out, avoiding his fifth turnover of the game, FOX's Curt Menefee announced that "NFL rules" prohibited FOX from showing the rest of the game. Just before CBS was about to start coverage of their doubleheader games, we had the plug pulled.
And we missed history.
The Eagles and Bengals fought, scratched, clawed, and bumbled their way to a 13-13 tie in Cincinnati. It marks the first tie in the NFL since November 10, 2002, when the Steelers and Falcons played to a 34-34 tie. That game was infinitely more exciting than this one.
In reality, it's probably the correct and totally justifiable result. McNabb was terrible, missing on 30 of his 58 passes, throwing three picks, and losing a fumble. The Bengals are just terrible in general. Despite an extra quarter of football, they ended up short of 300 offensive yards, and they missed on a glorious chance to win the game late in overtime.
A Philadelphia penalty for roughing the passer gave the Bengals great field position, and they were able to drive the ball to the Eagle 29. From there, Shayne Graham honked a 47-yard field goal try that would have won the game.
The NFL's blackout rules may be stupid, but they can also be quite merciful. This is four hours out of the lives of diehard Philly and Cincy fans that they'll never get back.
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 16: Quarterback Kyle Orton #18 of the Chicago Bears fumbles the ball which was recovered by Jason Hunter of the Green Bay Packers and returned for a 54 yard fourth quarter touchdown during NFL action at Lambeau Field on November 16, 2008 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 37-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kyle Orton
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant (3) celebrates with teammates, from left, Josh Bidwell, John Gilmore and Jerramy Stevens after kicking a 29-yard, fourth-quarter field goal against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 16: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears leads his team against the Green Bay Packers during NFL action at Lambeau Field on November 16, 2008 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Bears were defeated by the Packers 37-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lovie Smith
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia (7) scrambles away from Minnesota Vikings' Kevin Williams (93) during the fourth quarter of an NFLfootball game Sunday Nov. 16, 2008, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches his team play the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, in Kansas City, Mo. The Saints won 30-20. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) slips past Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alfonso Boone (70) as he picks up 16 yards in the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, in Kansas City, Mo. Thomas rushed for 88 yards in the Saints' 30-20 win. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Golfer Tiger Woods watches the NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Minnesota Vikings from the sidelines during the third quarter Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) runs through Kansas City Chiefs' Turk McBride (90), Rocky Boiman (50) and Bernard Pollard (49) in the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (11) throws under pressure from Philadelphia Eagles' Quintin Mikell (27) and Chris Gocong (57) during the first half of their NFL football game in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 16, 2008. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES)
Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton (20) carries the football while Texans tight end Owen Daniels blocks for him against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter of their NFL game in Indianapolis November 16, 2008. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES)