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The Chicago Bears knew they would have a short break coming up in Week 11 because of a Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions.

Well, the NFL has made it even shorter. 

Next Sunday's Bears game against the Minnesota Vikings, scheduled to start at noon, has been "flexed" to a 7:20 p.m. start and will be shown on NBC. That means the Bears will finish up about 10:30 p.m. and have roughly 84 hours to recover before kicking it off in Motown on Thanksgiving morning.

The next time you hear NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talk about improving player safety, just roll your eyes.

The "flex" concept was initiated a couple years ago to improve the Sunday night product, which draws the highest NFL ratings. Originally, the Jacksonville at Pittsburgh game was supposed to be on NBC next Sunday night. But the Jaguars have slid back this season.

So NBC looked for a better game. With the Bears starting to show signs of life and leading the NFC North by a half-game over the Vikings, it was a good choice.

However, didn't anybody notice the Bears were playing the first game on Thanksgiving? It's difficult enough for NFL players to make it through a short week for Thursday night games, but having to play on Sunday night and then come back on Thursday morning (on the road, to make it worse) is absolutely ridiculous.

But as long as the Bears-Vikings ratings are high, those in the NFL offices will be making money for their advertisers and be happy.

Is it any wonder that players in any sport don't really trust management? Talk about having no concern for safety and injury.

If I was an agent for a Bears player and he suffered a major injury in Detroit, I would sue the league for reckless workplace endangerment.  

Titans on WEXG-FM: Illinois Wesleyan announced this week that WEXG-FM (98.3), based in Farmer City, will exclusively broadcast home basketball games for the Titans men and women this season.

WEXG sports director Derek Bohlmann, who broadcast the IWU home volleyball games this fall, will be joined by veteran local broadcasters Eric Stock and Joel Swanson as announcers for the Titan basketball schedule.

Future WEXG plans include live broadcasts for IWU softball in 2019.

College FB: Clemson at Boston College (ABC, 7 p.m. Saturday): Boston College has to be thinking upset. Clemson has been tripped up once during the ACC regular season in each of the last two years and this seems like a perfect place for another slip.

NASCAR: Can-Am 500 (NBC, 1:30 p.m. Sunday): Kevin Harvick got hammered for spoiler violations after last week's win. He probably needs a win in Phoenix to get into final four who will vie for the season title in next week's finale. 

College BB: Michigan at Villanova (FS1, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday): A rematch of last season's NCAA championship game, although most of the stars from that game are now in the NBA. 


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Contact Jim Benson at



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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