"No matter how many times someone explained that CBS dictates what NFL game airs, people still kept complaining."
And the NFL may have a say too.
CBS shows AFC teams while Fox shows NFC teams. When a game involves a team from both conferences, somehow the networks and/or the NFL determines which network shows what game.
Our local CBS station is the Browns station or affiliate. Our local Fox station is the Lions affiliate.
On Saturday, December 24, the Cleveland Browns played the Baltimore Ravens at 1:00 p.m. Both teams are in the AFC, which automatically means that CBS airs the game. Our local CBS affiliate aired the Browns at 1:00 p.m.
Also on Saturday, December 24, the San Diego Chargers played the Detroit Lions at 4:00 p.m. The Chargers are in the AFC while the Lions are in the NFC. That means that either network could have shown the game. But probably based upon the rest of the NFL schedule that day or that weekend or even earlier in the season, it was determined that CBS would air the Chargers-Lions game instead of Fox. This is not a local TV station decision. It was probably decided by the NFL along with the national networks.
I don't know how far in advance this decision was made. Was it known before the season started that the December 24 Chargers-Lions game would air on CBS? I don't think so because as the season wears on, NBC gets to cherry-pick which game it shows on Sunday night, and that could affect the schedule for the rest of the games for CBS and Fox.
The networks alternate double-header weekends. So on one weekend, Fox will show two games while CBS shows one. The next weekend, CBS will show two games while Fox shows one. The games that we see depend upon what teams our local stations are affiliated with and what divisions the affiliated teams play in and the rest of the NFL schedule that weekend.
On December 24, Fox had the double-header, not CBS. So our local CBS station could air only one NFL game, and since it's affiliated with the Browns, that's the game that got aired.
If CBS had the double-header on December 24, then we would have seen the Lions play at 4:00 p.m. But Fox had the double-header.
It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that occurred at the wrong time for Lions fans. But those are the rules handed down by the TV contracts between the NFL and the national networks.
I listened to the Chargers-Lions game on the radio.
The above info is why sometimes a region may not see the "good" game at 4:00 p.m. on a network that has the double-header. For example, we watch the Lions play at 1:00 p.m. on Fox, and Fox has the double-header. The 4:00 p.m. game on Fox that is seen by most of the country features the Giants and the Cowboys, which should be a good game. But also playing at 4:00 p.m. is the Packers at Seahawks, which should be a lame game because the Packers are so much better. I would prefer to see the Giants vs the Cowboys, but since the Packers are in the same division as the Lions, we get the lame game on our local Fox station. Obviously, Packer country would automatically get the Packers game, but I would say the NFL determines that Lions country also gets this particular Packers game in this example.