Red States vs. Redskins as NBC Balances DC Politics and Pigskin

NBC attempts to air Republican convention and NFL opener tonight

John McCain is scheduled to accept the Republican party's presidential nomination tonight at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota, and for one night his greatest opponent may not be Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama but the NFL's season-opening game pitting the Washington Redskins against the New York Giants.

NBC is scheduled to air both the football game and McCain's acceptance address, with the possibility that the two events may overlap. The Redskins vs. Giants game begins at 7 p.m. ET; RNC coverage is scheduled to begin three hours later at 10 p.m. ET.

If the game runs long or goes into overtime, NBC programmers may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of choosing between popular football and powerful politicians.

One Republican official from Texas suggested that perhaps NBC would go with a split-screen format to show both events simultaneously, but admitted that an overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats in his state would prefer to watch the NFL. Both the Redskins and Giants are in the same division as the Dallas Cowboys.

Prior to the game, the NFL will be hosting a kickoff show concert in Manhattan at 59th St. and 8th Ave. The show will feature performances by Usher, Keith Urban, and pop songstress Natasha Bedingfield. The latter's performance is just another opportunity for contrast between the NFL and the RNC. Bedingfield's 2007 Grammy-winning song "Unwritten" is frequently played at Obama's campaign rallies.

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