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Monday Night Football Thrills And Delights Nobody With Rams Vs. Seahawks

Years from now, when the NFL and ESPN announce that they'll be scheduling Monday Night Football games with a lead-time of, say, a month instead of a year, business schools will be using Monday's St. Louis Rams contest against the Seattle Seahawks as a case study for the decision. It doesn't get much clearer than this: Last year, the Rams and the Seahawks were up-and-coming teams competing for a playoff spot out of the NFC West, where teams have the unique chance of being much more exciting than they are good and still working their way into postseason contention.

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This year, the Rams are 2-10 and the Seahawks are 5-7. Sam Bradford is hurt, which means the exciting young quarterback a national TV audience gets to see could be either Tom Brandstater or Kellen Clemens. Meanwhile, the lowly San Francisco 49ers now have the second-best record in the NFC, making both teams entirely irrelevant in the postseason picture. Things have gotten so bad that a sudden recovery from A.J. Feeley could improve the ratings.

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ESPN2's counterprogrammed pro bowling could outdraw this one. And that's why, the business school professor will say, the NFL decided that increased scheduling flexibility was worth the various trade-offs involved.

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