The NFL yesterday helped itself, Fox TV, and the City of Philadelphia by switching the time of the Eagles-Giants game on Nov. 1 from 4:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.
The Phillies hope to play in Game 4 of the World Series that night at Citizens Bank Park, which is next to Lincoln Financial Field. If the Phillies are playing, the time change increases the gap between games, which will decrease the congestion of fans arriving and departing.
"Moving the Giants-Eagles kickoff three hours earlier will help ease the burden on city service and law enforcement personnel who work at the two Philadelphia stadiums and staff the parking lots shared by the teams," the NFL said in a statement.
The Phillies will start the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow. The earliest that series could end would be Monday night.
Eagles spokesman Derek Boyko said the NFL, because of planning issues, did not want to wait for the outcome of the NLCS before making the change.
But the NFL also looked out for itself and Fox TV.
Fox still has two games scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on that Sunday. One of them - Carolina at Arizona - probably would have been shown only in Charlotte and Phoenix, regardless of the switch. And it won't be shown in Phoenix if the Cardinals can't sell out their stadium in time.
The Eagles-Giants game would have drawn decent TV ratings as Fox's national game at 4:15 p.m. But not nearly the same ratings as Fox will get when it shows Brett Favre making his return to Green Bay as the quarterback of arch-rival Minnesota. The other half of the NFL's announcement yesterday was moving Minnesota-Green Bay into the 4:15 p.m. time slot.
When Green Bay played at Minnesota on Monday Night Football on Oct. 5, the game on ESPN attracted the largest cable television audience ever, according to the Associated Press. The game was watched by more than 21.8 million people. The previous record was more than 18.6 million viewers for last year's Monday night game between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.
Practice squad shuffle. The Eagles signed cornerback Stoney Woodson to the practice squad yesterday and released linebacker Jeremy Leman.
Woodson, 24, was a seventh-round draft pick by the Giants this spring, but he was cut before the start of the season. The former South Carolina product had five tackles and an interception in two preseason games with the Giants. He had seven career interceptions during his four seasons at South Carolina.