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1. We are knee-deep in the flex scheduling portion of the NFL schedule with Sunday Night Football. NBC already used the flex in Week 11 when it dumped Steelers-Bengals for Chiefs-Chargers. The network will use the flex again in Week 14, saving the nation from having to watch another Denver prime-time game and airing Dolphins-Chargers instead of Broncos-Chiefs.

But NBC will air a rough game this Sunday, with the 4-7-1 Colts visiting the 8–3 Cowboys. While there are a slew of better matchups earlier in day (Titans-Eagles, Jets-Vikings, Commanders-Giants, Dolphins-Niners, Chiefs-Bengals), you can’t blame NBC for not wanting to give up Dallas because it is a ratings juggernaut and the top draw in the NFL.

During this week’s SI Media Podcast, which dropped Thursday morning, I asked the voice of Sunday Night Football, Mike Tirico, if he would prefer to call Colts-Cowboys or one of the better games on the schedule.

“I don’t know how the chess can work,” said Tirico. “In other words, you’re never gonna lose a Dallas appearance, right, but can you get another one later in the year? So if you’re gonna lose Dallas totally, no.

“But I think for the viewers, which is what flex should be for, it should be for the people at home so you have good games in the prime-time window. I think that Miami–San Francisco game at 4:05 in a CBS doubleheader weekend, and that game on Fox doesn’t go to a lot of the country, that’s the game that for the football fan they should be seeing in that prime-time window that Sunday night.

“But having said that, hey, to see Dallas a third time is great for me. I’m super happy to see them. And I’m gonna live by, you had to make the decision at that moment and at that moment the Colts had come off the one win for [Jeff] Saturday, figured they were gonna lose to Philly. If they would’ve beaten Pittsburgh, they’d be 2–1 under Saturday. That’s a pretty good story. But they lose to Pittsburgh, and here we are, but we’ll still have the Cowboys, so people will still be watching.”

I asked Tirico whether and how he’s kept abreast of possible flex situations.

“Our producer Rob Hyland keeps me up to speed as he hears what’s going on, the conversations with the league back and forth, how all the pieces are gonna work with the other networks, with us, with number of appearances and all that,” he said. “So I have a sense as it’s coming down the line which game or couple of games are possible for flex. So this week when I talk to Rob, we’ll be talking about, Hey, what’s the next couple of weeks look like? At Christmas, we’re staying with Tampa Bay–Arizona. Those Christmas games are locked in, but those other weeks around it have a little bit of fluctuation.”

Tirico later added, “I sat on a bunch of Monday night games that were bad matchups, and it’s frustrating. The Thursday window, you can’t do anything about. The Monday window, we’ll see how that goes, see if they’re able to change those couple of bad games. Sunday night has been the beneficiary of that. I think the fans are the real winners because at the end of the day, you get to see a good game and that’s all that matters.”

The “Monday window” that Tirico referred to is ESPN getting flex scheduling for Monday Night Football beginning next season. It will be fascinating to see how that plays out and to see reactions from fans who have tickets for a Monday game that gets moved to Sunday.

Other topics covered with Tirico during our conversation on the SI Media Podcast:

- Any differences between doing Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football

- How he watches games each Sunday afternoon

- His stance on referencing point spreads and over/unders during games

- How he thinks Tom Brady will be fare as a broadcaster

- Handling controversial topics during game telecasts

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.

You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.

2. Talk about the perfect way to handle an ugly situation. After Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards mocked his weight during a recent Boston-Tampa Bay game, Lightning forward Pat Maroon took the high road and showed a ton of class with this response.

3. Speaking of good responses, Kyler Murray did not hold back after hearing that former teammate Patrick Peterson said Murray only cares about Murray.

4. It's hard to be more likable than Patrick Mahomes, but you will definitely like the Chiefs QB a little more after hearing him tell this story about how he got Kansas City to draft him.

5. David Beckham is just like every other human being on the planet when it comes to Mariah's Christmas song. When you hear it, you HAVE TO sing it.

6. In Wednesday's Traina Thoughts, I posted a video of a wild conversation about Odell Beckham between Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, Stephen A. Smith , Molly Qerim and Marcus Spears from that day's edition of First Take. Later in the show, there was another surreal moment with Russo berating Smith for being 25 minutes late to the previous day’s show.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 77th birthday to Bette Midler.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.