For the sixth straight season, NBC will carry the Wild Card Playoff doubleheader on Saturday. And it mark the next-to-last time NBC will do so. After next season, it’s expected that ESPN will carry one Wild Card Playoff game to add to its almost-$2 billion contract for airing Monday Night Football. NBC has contracted (thus far), to carry one Wild Card and one Divisional Playoff game starting with the 2014 season.
On Saturday, NBC will air Cincinnati at Houston at 4:30 p.m. ET for the second year in a row. And while Mike Mayock and Alex Flanagan will be there again for NBC, Dan Hicks will call the game in place of Tom Hammond. You may remember that for the Pro Bowl last year, Hicks called the game. I’ve contacted NBC for a reason as to why Hicks is calling the game, but have not received a response. If you speculate that NBC may be phasing Hammond off football, you might be correct. But I digress.
The nightcap of Minnesota at Green Bay will hit the air at 8 p.m. with the Sunday Night Football crew of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.
NBC starts it all with a half-hour edition of Football Night in America. Here’s the NBC preview.
Coverage Begins with Football Night in America at 4 p.m. ET
Bengals-Texans at 4:30 p.m. ET
Vikings-Packers at 8 p.m. ET
NBC Sports Live Extra to Live Stream Vikings-Packers and Bengals-Texans on NBCSports.com
NEW YORK – January 2, 2012 –NBC Sports kicks off its NFL postseason coverage with a Wild Card doubleheader on Saturday featuring the Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Houston Texans (12-4) at 4:30 p.m. ET and the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at Green Bay Packers (11-5) at 8 p.m. ET. NBC’s Wild Card coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET with a special 30-minute edition of Football Night in America.
Football Night In America is hosted by 24-time Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas, who will report from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Costas will be joined on site by Hines Ward, the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP.
Dan Patrick co-hosts Football Night from NBC’s Studio 8G at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Patrick will be joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network and NBCSports.com.
In the early game, Matt Schaub and the Texans host Andy Dalton and the Bengals in rematch of last year’s AFC Wild Card game at Reliant Stadium, which the Texans won 31-10. Veteran play-by-play announcer Dan Hicks will be in the booth, joined by analyst Mike Mayock and reporter Alex Flanagan.
After a thrilling victory at home last week, in which the Vikings beat the Packers 37-34 and claimed the last Wild Card spot in the NFC, Minnesota will travel to Green Bay, Wis. for a rematch at Lambeau Field. Coverage of Vikings–Packers will begin at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Handling play-by-play for Vikings-Packers is six-time Emmy Award-winner Al Michaels, who will be joined by 13-time Emmy Award-winner Cris Collinsworth, and sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.
That’s going to be it.