This being the last Sunday of 2012 without the NFL, let’s go over a few tweaks to the television experience this season.
SUNDAY LATE AFTERNOON GAMES START AT 4:25 P.M. ET
After numerous complaints about breaking away from NFL cut-ins in between the early and late afternoon games, the league has mandated that the late Sunday afternoon games begin at 4:25 p.m. ET ten minutes later than last year. This only applies to the network carrying the national doubleheader each week. If CBS or Fox is scheduled to show just one game in your region, then the late game will begin at 4:05 p.m. as usual.
Too often, fans would complain about being shown a game heading towards a fantastic finish only to be told as a game winning or tying score was about to happen, that NFL rules would not allow the network to show the finish and they would be taken to the start of the late game. With the 4:25 p.m. starts, the league hopes to show all of the finishes of the early game without having to break away. We’ll see if this eases the complaints.
This will also wreak havoc on CBS’ primetime schedule and possibly to NBC’s Football Night in America show as to when it can begin airing highlights.
NFL NETWORK GETS AN EXPANDED THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Starting in Week 2, NFL Network will air a total of 13 games beginning with the Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers. This means one game a week taken away from the Sunday afternoon TV partners, CBS and Fox. Overall, there will be 14 Thursday Night games this season, NFL Network gets to air all but one of them.
NBC AIRS THE THANKSGIVING NIGHT GAME STARTING THIS SEASON
In Week 12, the Thanksgiving Night Game which began in 2006 on NFL Network, now moves to NBC as part of its Sunday Night Football package. It means that all three Thanksgiving holiday games will be on network television. This year’s Thanksgiving Night game will involve the blood AFC East rivalry between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium.
It was a very good move by NBC to buy into the Thanksgiving Day games. This marks the first time NBC will air an NFL Thanksgiving game since 1997 when Tennessee beat Dallas, 27-14.
Get ready for Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Hines Ward to be part of your Thanksgiving evening.
CBS SPORTS NETWORK AIRS ITS FIRST-EVER NFL PROGRAMMING
Starting in Week 1, CBS Sports Network will air its first ever NFL-related show, NFL Monday QB featuring NFL on CBS analysts Phil Simms, Rich Gannon and Steve Beuerlein. It will start airing on Monday, September 10 and every Monday throughout the NFL season. Adam Schein will be the moderator.
CHRIS ROSE IS THE NEW HOST OF NFL GAMEDAY HIGHLIGHTS AND NFL GAMEDAY FINAL
Also starting in Week 1, Chris Rose, co-host of the Abortion Known as Intentional Talk on MLB Network, will join NFL Network to host its Sunday highlights shows, NFL GameDay Highlights and NFL GameDay Final. He replaces Fran Charles. Rose will also be the host of the Thursday Night Football postgame edition of NFL Total Access. He becomes the first on-air talent to be employed on two league-owned networks simultaneously.
ESPN’s LAST MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME OF THE 2012 SEASON AIRS ON A SATURDAY … WHAT?
To avoid airing an NFL game on Christmas Night (although this hasn’t stopped the NFL before), ESPN will air its final contest of the 2012 season on Saturday, December 22. That game will be Atlanta at Detroit so for two consecutive weeks, NBC’s Sunday Night Football will be the last game of the weekend.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL MAKES ANOTHER BOOTH ADJUSTMENT
It seems since ESPN obtained the Monday Night Football package in 2006, it can’t stay consistent for too long. First, there was Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser. Then in 2007, it was Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Kornheiser. Two years later, Mr. Tony left and Jon Gruden was hired to join Tirico and Jaworksi. For 2012, Jaws has been jettisoned out of the booth and it’s Tirico and Gruden.
Oh and let’s not forget after last season’s sideline reporter rotation including the failed John Sutcliffe experiment, ESPN has brought in Lisa Salters to be the permanent sideline reporter. Let’s hope ESPN can keep the talent lineup constant for the next few seasons.
ERIN ANDREWS MAKES HER NFL DEBUT
Erin Andrews will join the NFL this season as part of the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show as she will have features every week. She’ll also be on the sidelines for the Thanksgiving Day game between Washington and Dallas joining Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and the always intimidating Pam Oliver. Erin will also join Joe, Troy and Pam for the NFL Playoffs.
NEW ENGLAND-ST. LOUIS IS YOUR LONDON GAME THIS SEASON
CBS will air this season’s game in the UK in Week 8 (October 28), the last game in which the St. Louis Rams will be the designated “home” team. After 2012, the Jacksonville Jaguars will become London’s “home” team for the next few seasons.
CBS AIRS SUPER BOWL XLVII IN NEW ORLEANS
On Sunday, February 3, CBS will air Super Bowl XLVII live from the Louisiana Superdome. In August, Adweek’s Anthony Crupi reported that the Tiffany Network was already 80% sold for the Big Game. Expect the usual hoopla, hype and hysteria surrounding the game. And expect another ratings record as long as the game remains close.
That’s what you can expect watching the NFL on CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and the NFL Network this season.