By week 17 of the NFL season, most teams are either already locked into their playoff positions or already eliminated. That means the average NFL player cares as much about the 16th game of the season as Shaq cares about the 10th through 70th games of the NBA season.
So that puts NBC in a little bit of a quandary: They've got the right to show the best game of the last week in prime time, except that there is no best game because all the games suck. So NBC has chosen to televise the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers. The Bears, mind you, have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Packers will most likely already be eliminated from playoff contention before kickoff. So what does NBC want this game for?
Oh, right, it could be the last game of Brett Favre's career. Actually, it won't be; Favre will play five or 10 more years. But Favre likes to keep up the illusion that he's thinking about retiring, and the TV guys are more than happy to go along. So you've got a choice on New Year's Eve: Go out and have fun, or stay in and watch John Madden drool over Brett Favre. I can't decide which to do.