National Football League says overseas troops can watch playoff games despite shutdown


It was not immediately known why AFN was taken off the air this year, when it remained intact during the 2013 shutdown. The academy also has tennis and wrestling matches scheduled on Sunday that will likely be postponed too.

On Sunday, the American Forces Network announced it will be back open for business, one day after the government shutdown forced it off the air.

The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the New England Patriots at 12:05 p.m. PST in the AFC championship game, followed by the NFC championship game pitting the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles at 3:40 p.m. PST.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy offered one alternative via Twitter on Saturday, posting that "Military members can watch tomorrow's NFL games at USO Centers overseas through NFL Game Pass for free".

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Defense Department personnel and their families overseas woke up Saturday to much confusion, uncertainty and some anger about how their lives would be affected by the US government shutdown. In the USA those games will be televised on CBS and FOX, respectively.

As ProFootballTalk pointed out, there will still be ways for service members to watch the games online, but that does not count for much for those stationed in places without fast internet. "I bet members of congress are gonna watch it", someone wrote on AFN Europe's Facebook page.

As Yahoo! Sports noted, it's not clear at this time who was involved here behind the scenes and how they actually got the AFN up and running again, but it is notable that the National Football League was aware of the issue and took steps to remedy the situation.

It could be that a deal will be yet reached for the games to be broadcast to the deployed troops but you can be damn sure that the illegal aliens will be able to tune in without a problem.