The game against the New York Giants, in which the Patriots could become the first NFL team to go 16-0 in the regular season, was originally scheduled to be shown only on the NFL Network, which is available in fewer than 40 percent of the nation's homes with TVs.
But the league announced Wednesday that the NFL Network feed will be simulcast on NBC and CBS. It's a major concession by league officials, who repeatedly said they would not show the game anywhere but the NFL Network. The NFL had faced mounting pressure from politicians in recent weeks to make the game available to more viewers.
This will be the first three-network simulcast in NFL history and the first simulcast of any kind of an NFL game since the first Super Bowl in 1967, when CBS and NBC both televised the first meeting of the champions of the newly merged National Football League and American Football League.
"We have taken this extraordinary step because it is in the best interest of our fans," commissioner Roger Goodell said. "What we have seen for the past year is a very strong consumer demand for NFL Network. We appreciate CBS and NBC delivering the NFL Network telecast on Saturday night to the broad audience that deserves to see this potentially historic game. Our commitment to the NFL Network is stronger than ever."