As expected, the Cowboys’ Dec. 18 home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was moved to a night game. The game originally was scheduled for a noon start, but NBC flexed the game to Sunday Night Football.
The game now will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. CT, the league announced Sunday night.
The Cowboys will become the first team in history to play four consecutive night games, and it gives them three consecutive games on NBC.
The Cowboys beat Minnesota in a Thursday night game on NBC last week. They play at the New York Giants in an NBC Sunday night game Dec. 11. They then host the Bucs in the Dec. 18 home game on NBC before closing out the home schedule with a Dec. 26 Monday Night Football game on ESPN against the Detroit Lions.
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The Cowboys’ season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, currently scheduled for noon, will remain a day game. The Cowboys have reached the maximum for night games.
The season finale likely won’t mean anything anyway.
The Cowboys clinched a playoff berth Sunday with the Redskins’ loss to the Cardinals, and Dallas can win the NFC East on Sunday with a win against the Giants.
Fox didn’t protect the Cowboys-Bucs game, but it became a top draw with the Cowboys off to an 11-1 start and the Bucs on a four-game winning streak to get to 7-5. So NBC opted to pick up the game, leaving Fox with only one more Cowboys’ regular-season game.
Eight times previously an NFL team played three consecutive night games, according to research by Mark Lane (@therealmarklane).
1. 2006 Broncos (twice)
2. 2007 Patriots
3. 2010 Steelers
4. 2010 Vikings
5. 2013 Saints
6. 2015 Bengals
7. 2015 Eagles
8. 2016 Cardinals