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NFL Backs Off Friday Night Telecasts

Mar. 2, 1964 - The NFL, under attack in recent weeks by high school and collegiate associations for plans to televise Friday night games, said today that its Friday league games would not be shown nationally.

A virtual agreement had been reached by the Ford Motor Company and ABC to show five Friday night contests during the season. But as soon as ABC’s plans were made public, the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations sent telegrams to Senators and Congressmen in Washington attacking the television plans. The associations maintained that about 85% of all high school games were played on Friday night and that the televising of NFL games at the same time would damage the national scholastic program.

Today’s announcement by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle said that at least one Friday night game had been scheduled, at least two Monday night games were on tap, and that there would be two other night games. The New York Giants are the team involved in the Friday night telecast. They will play in Yankee Stadium Sept. 25. The opponent has not been announced. A spokesman for Rozelle said that the game, if televised at all, would be televised only to the city of the Giants’ opponent.

Clifford Fagan, executive secretary of the high school federation, said: “We’re grateful there will be no national television. But we don’t want to have to continually depend on pro football’s good graces to save us. We will continue to press for Federal legislation that expressly prohibits national television on the night that most schools throughout the country play.”

On Saturday, Rep. T.A. Thompson (D-La.) said that he planned to submit a bill that would prohibit the telecasting of pro games in areas where school games were being played.


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