By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi provided more drama leading up to Sunday’s early NFL games on Fox than Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw.
Sunday’s World Cup final in Qatar between Argentina and France went to extra time and penalty kicks, bumping Fox’s “NFL Sunday” pregame show off the air. The fútbol ended just in time for Americans to catch kickoff for the football at 1 p.m. EST.
Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel knocked in the decisive penalty kick at 12:55 p.m. That gave Fox a couple of minutes to capture Argentina’s celebration and allowed commentators some time to provide thoughts before the network switched to NFL.
At the beginning of extra time, Fox said via social media that the trophy ceremony would air on FS1. A graphic on Fox immediately after the match ended also told viewers to switch to FS1.
Had the game finished in regulation, Fox’s plan was to air the trophy ceremony before going to NFL pregame coverage at 12:30 p.m.
Some soccer fans were not happy with the trophy presentation being booted to a Fox sister channel.
The possibility of the World Cup colliding with kickoffs of NFL games did prompt some funny exchanges on social media.
Some NFL teams caught a little bit of World Cup fever. One of the video boards at MetLife Stadium showed the penalty kicks as the New York Jets and Detroit Lions were taking the field. The penalty kicks were also aired in Houston before the Texans took on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ratings for Sunday’s final are expected to be released Sunday and should be higher than the 12.51 million viewers Fox averaged for the 2018 final between France and Croatia.
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