49ers demoted from 'Sunday Night Football' appearance
The 49ers no longer have the same national appeal with franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo shelved for the season.
The NFL announced Tuesday that San Francisco's home game against the undefeated Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 21 has been flexed from NBC's weekly prime-time slot to 1:25 p.m. at Levi's Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.
The league instead put the first-place matchup between Cincinnati Bengals (4-1) and host Kansas City Chiefs (5-0), led by budding star quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, in the premier television slot which often gets the highest ratings each week.
The 49ers are scheduled to unveil a statue dedicated to former receiver Dwight Clark before the game. They are also expected to debut their 1994 throwback uniforms commemorating their last Super Bowl championship. But the team's 1-4 start, on top of Garoppolo's injury, has taken the wind out of the organization's sails early in the campaign.
The league's decision comes on the heels of San Francisco's 28-18 loss Sunday to the previously winless Arizona Cardinals. Garoppolo's backup, second-year pro C.J. Beathard, had four turnovers. The 49ers are tied with four other teams — the Raiders, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons — for the NFL's worst record.
The league had high hopes for the 49ers when it released the 2018 regular-season schedule in the spring. San Francisco had five prime-time games, all over the next six weeks, thanks to the 5-0 finish last season with Garoppolo under center. The 49ers were considered an upstart playoff contender entering the season.
It's likely San Francisco's other 'Sunday Night Football' game on Dec. 2 against the Seattle Seahawks (2-3) gets flexed to the afternoon. The 49ers' other prime-time games on Monday and Thursday nights cannot be changed.
49ers' remaining prime-time schedule:
Oct. 15: at Green Bay Packers, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Nov. 1: vs. Raiders, 5:20 p.m., Fox/NFL Network
Nov. 12: vs. New York Giants, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
*Dec. 2: at Seattle Seahawks, 5:20 p.m., NBC.
*Could get flexed to the afternoon