EXECUTIVES FROM KPIX and KTVU were left scratching their heads Monday over NFL rules that prohibited each network from televising a highly competitive game that produced a thrilling finish Sunday afternoon.

It's just the way the game is played, and it's not about to change, the rivals agreed.

KPIX, the San Francisco-based CBS affiliate, owned the rights to the Raiders' heart-stopping, 26-24 home triumph over the Browns. The game couldn't be televised locally because it wasn't a sellout.

"I know what they tell us," KPIX director of program operations Tom Spitz said of the NFL's reason for denying Bay Area football fans a chance to see the Raiders' first win on TV. "The hope is that the Raiders will sell more tickets."

You might think the people over at KTVU, the Oakland-based Fox affiliate, got quite a chuckle out of KPIX's predicament Sunday. But the Raiders' mere existence even created a headache at Channel 2.

Sunday was a Fox doubleheader day, meaning most of the country got to see the Giants stop the Redskins at the goal line to save a 24-17 win in the afternoon. One of the few markets that didn't get to watch it was the Bay Area, which by rule cannot televise a game opposite the Raiders.

Yes, even if the Raiders are blacked out.

"It's hard to explain to the viewers," admitted Caroline Chang, the program director at KTVU. "During the morning game (like the 49ers-Steelers matchup Sunday), Fox will advertise the second game without saying it's going to be blacked out here.

"People want to know why we're pre-empting it. We don't pre-empt the second game. It's not our decision."

Niner noise

It was pleasant to hear most of the conversation Monday on KNBR focused on football, not the poor broadcasters. There can be only one reason for this: The broadcasters weren't poor at all.

In fact, the Fox crew of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnson and Tony Siragusa was outstanding.

Johnson, who is in the booth with Albert, and Siragusa, who stands behind the end zone, are blossoming into one of the top analyst duos in all of sports. Combining the views of a former fullback and nose tackle gives their broadcasts a uniquely insightful look at an NFL game.

Job well done, guys. Maybe that was worth talking about on the radio.

Dumbest thing I heard all week

On the same week when a sixth Texas football player was arrested, commissioner Roger Goodell told ABC's Tim Brant the NFL's new policies were having a trickle-down effect on the college level. Seems to me Pacman Jones is having an even greater impact.

Three you gotta see

-"Dancing with the Stars" (tonight, 8 p.m., ABC): When we last saw Mark Cuban, we were laughing at his team's failure in the NBA playoffs. Tonight, there's no hiding behind a bench.

-USA-Brazil women's soccer (Thursday, 5 a.m., ESPN2): Marta goes 1-on-11. Should be close.

-Cal-Oregon football (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., ABC): Forget the Rose Bowl. The Bears' national-title hopes are at stake.

Scanning the airwaves

TBS, which is televising the first two rounds of the baseball playoffs this year (sharing the League Championship Series with Fox), has selected Ted Robinson as one of its play-by-play announcers. ... Drew Remenda begins his Sharks comeback tonight when "Shark Byte" airs at 6:30 on FSN.

What's the dumbest thing you heard all week? Dave Del Grande accepts nominations, as well any media-related comments, via e-mail at dave@bayareanewsgroup.com.