Last week, I showed you various ABC Monday Night Football Opens. Today, it’s NBC’s turn. We can go back to 1973 to show the various opens and closes of and go to the present day. This will actually be quite fun so let’s get started.
This is the open from 1973 with some pretty funky music. Actually, NBC used this music for baseball, hockey and college basketball. Back then, NBC had a pretty good lineup for sports. Note the use of filmed footage for the open.
In 1978, NBC broadcast the AFC Championship Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Houston Oilers. Note the late Curt Gowdy calling the game with John Brodie and Merlin Olsen. This was the era when the Steelers were in the midst of their dynasty. The one thing I remember was the freezing rain that plagued this game.
By 1981, both CBS and NBC were embroiled in a bitter battle for viewers to their respective pregame shows, the NFL Today and NFL ’81. Bryant Gumbel and Mike Adamle were co-hosts of NFL ’81 and I thought it was the better show, but the ratings did not bear that out as the NFL Today on CBS regularly slaughtered NBC, but that was mostly due to the NFC having bigger markets than the AFC, something that bears out today between Fox NFL Sunday and the NFL Today. This video is of poor quality, but as you’ll note, it’s the open for NFL ’81 right before the Miami-San Diego AFC playoff game. The music is the same as the 1973 open.
Here’s the lengendary Charlie Jones at the open of the 1983 AFC Wildcard Playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos at the old Kingdome. Yes, Bob Griese actually did NFL games before becoming a college football analyst for ESPN/ABC.
Here’s a promo for the NFL on NBC and at the end, the team for NFL ’85, Bob Costas, the late Pete Axthelm and Ahmad Rashad. That was it. There was no need for three analysts and a host.
In 1988, NBC Sports got to air one of the greatest NFL games ever, Super Bowl XXIII in which Joe Montana engineered a comeback for the San Francisco 49ers over the Cincinnati Bengals. NFL Live host Bob Costas gives his thoughts on the game, then Dick Enberg closes the broadcast with thoughts on the previous six months on NBC Sports which included the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea, the World Series between the Dodgers and A’s (and Kirk Gibson’s miracle home run) and the Fiesta Bowl which decided the college football national championship for Notre Dame. Great video montage and one of the best I’ve seen produced. Note Tom Brokaw at the end.
From 1993, the AFC Championship pitted the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills and this was the time when the Bills went to four straight Super Bowls and lost them all. Dick Enberg and Bob Trumpy were the announcers for the game.
In 1994, Jim Lampley replaced Bob Costas as host of NFL Live on NBC and only did one season. The following season, Greg Gumbel came over from CBS to host the show. Here’s Jim’s open for Super Bowl Live just before Super Bowl XXVIII.
In 1995, NBC had to try to get viewers to the Pittsburgh-San Diego AFC Championship Game so Dick Enberg wrote a very good open.
Here’s the intro for Super Bowl XXX between Dallas and Pittsburgh narrated by Dick Enberg. Great stuff. You’ll like the music, trust me. And note the announcing team, Enberg, Paul McGuire and Phil Simms.
Here’s the NFL on NBC theme from 1995 to 1997 and tigernike who composed this video added the announcer pairings with Dick Enberg.
In 2006, NBC returned to the NFL with Sunday Night Football after losing the rights to the AFC to CBS in 1998. This is the open for the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts featuring Pink. Come to think about it, I prefer this intro to the Access Hollywood open featuring Faith Hill that was used last season.
And here’s the Football Night in America theme composed by John Williams.
That was fun to research and to bring these to you. Enjoy them. Sunday links will be coming up later.