The 2013 49ers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl as they did in 2012. Nevertheless, their 2014 schedule is a vast improvement over the 2013 version, TV-wise. Let’s take a look.
For starters, they have three national appearances on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, the NFL’s marquee showcase. They’ll host the Bears for the kickoff of their new stadium on September 14, face the Super Bowl-losing Broncos on October 19, and host a rematch with their NFC West-rivals and Super Bowl winners, the Seahawks on Thanksgiving night.
And that’s if they’re the contenders they’re expected to be. In a change to the flex scheduling rules, NBC is now permitted to switch games beginning in Week 5. That means if the 49ers are competitive, NBC can add more of their contests. On the flip side, if they’re unexpectedly bad, the Broncos and Seahawks matchups can be dropped.
No such luck for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Its schedule is locked in stone. Oddly, the 49ers will only make one appearance there, on October 13 at the Rams. This telecast will also be available on channel 5.
They're also featured in at least four primary contests on Fox. These include their opening week kickoff at the Cowboys. Then there's a Week 4 visit from the Eagles, followed by Alex Smith’s return to SF when the Chiefs come to town. And finally in Week 15, there's the other matchup at the Seahawks, on December 14.
All four are Sunday at 1:25 p.m. on Fox and are scheduled to be the contest it calls "America's Game of the Week". By the way, so is the Week 14 contest against the Raiders. However, unless the Silver and Black suddenly become decent, this one won’t air beyond Reno.
There’s also an area where things have gotten better for the 49ers: This year they have only have one 1:05 p.m. home start, down from three last year. It’s Week 9 hosting the Rams. 1:05 starts are considered much less prestigious than 1:25, because it means you're on the network without that week's doubleheader.
But when you add it all up, they have nine potential national appearances, out of 16.
Almost making the the Super Bowl has its privileges. Launching a new stadium is not such a bad idea either.