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NFL ON TV IN 14

August 7, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



This season, Thursday night will kick off the football weekend.

This year marks the inaugural partnership between CBS Sports and NFL Network in broadcasting Thursday Night Football, which features the most marquee match-ups ever on Thursday night, including 14 divisional rivalries. The 16-game schedule kicks off on September 11 with the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the Baltimore Ravens and ends with a Week 16 Saturday double-header on December 20. The full slate of 16 regular-season games will be produced by CBS with its lead broadcasters and production team, including JIM NANTZ, PHIL SIMMS and TRACY WOLFSON, handling all Thursday night games. NFL Network hosts and analysts will be featured in the pregame, halftime and postgame shows along with CBS Sports announcers, including JAMES BROWN who will host the primetime pregame show along with DEION SANDERS and BILL COWHER.

The Thursday Night Football schedule will feature games in Weeks 2-8 and Week 16 (Saturday) broadcast on CBS that also will be simulcast on NFL Network. The Thursday night contests in Weeks 9-12 and Weeks 14-16 will be televised on NFL Network nd simulcast on over-the-air stations in the primary markets of the participating teams. All Thursday Night Football games will kick off at 8:25 PM ET, with the exception of the Week 16 Saturday doubleheader – NFL Network (4:30 PM ET) and CBS (8:00PM ET).

“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” says NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”

Football fans tuned in to the 2013 season in big numbers across all NFL broadcast partners. According to The Nielsen Company, the 2013 regular season reached 205 million unique viewers and NFL games nearly tripled broadcast primetime viewership (20.3 million vs. 7.0 million). After a dominating year, here are some of the highlights for 2014:

The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game on Thursday night (September 4) when the defending champion Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field (NBC 8:30 PM ET). This will be the 13th

NFL Kickoff game and the 11th consecutive year the NFL has saluted the Super Bowl champions by featuring them in the opening game.

For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.

Also for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.

The regular season will conclude on Sunday, December 28. For the fifth consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications. Over the final three weeks, there are 33 division games, the most in NFL history over that time period.

The 2014 postseason features some new broadcasting faces. For the first time, NBC will televise both a Wild Card and Divisional Playoff game and ESPN will televise a Wild Card Playoff game.

The season finishes in Arizona with the Pro Bowl on Sunday, January 25 (ESPN) and Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, February 1 (NBC). Both games will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Thanksgiving will feature an NFL triple-header of division rivalry games on Thursday, November 27. The first will send the Chicago Bears to Detroit to face the Lions (12:30 PM ET, CBS) in an NFC North matchup. The late afternoon game will feature the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET, FOX). The holiday concludes in the NFC West with the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks at the San Francisco 49ers on NBC (8:30 PM ET).

The NFL will take another step in its international development with three regular-season games being played in the United Kingdom for the first time, all at London’s Wembley Stadium, including the first-ever nationally televised 9:30 AM ET kickoff. In Week 4 on Sunday, September 28, the Oakland Raiders will host the Miami Dolphins (1:00 PM ET, CBS). In Week 8 on Sunday, October 26, the Atlanta Falcons will host the Detroit Lions at 1:30 PM in the UK (9:30 AM ET, FOX), giving fans a fourth game window on an NFL Sunday while allowing a global audience to tune in at a new, earlier time.

The 2014 International Series concludes in Week 10 on  Sunday, November 9 when the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Dallas Cowboys (1:00 PM ET, FOX).

A look at the NFL on TV in 2014:

NBC bookends the 2014 NFL season with Super Bowl champions as the network’s slate of 22 games kicks off on Thursday, September 4 when the defending-champion Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers and ends with Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona on Sunday, February 1, 2015. The opening Sunday Night Football game features third-year quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts visiting veteran Peyton Manning and the AFC champion Denver Broncos on Sunday, September 7 at 8:30 PM ET. Sunday Night Football also showcases a pair of 2013 playoff rematches with the Seahawks facing the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night (NFC Championship Game) and the Colts hosting the New England Patriots on November 16 (AFC Divisional).

In addition, NBC will broadcast a Wild Card playoff game on the January 3-4, 2015 weekend and, for the first time since televising the SNF package in 2006, a Divisional playoff game on the weekend of January 10-11, 2015.

AL MICHAELS and CRIS COLLINSWORTH return for a sixth season of NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The show averaged 21.7 million viewers in 2013 and has ranked as primetime’s No. 1 show for the full September-May TV season for three consecutive years – a first for a sports series.

ESPN’s team of MIKE TIRICO, JON GRUDEN and sideline reporter LISA SALTERS returns for the 45th season of Monday Night Football. Opening night on MNF features a primetime double-header. The first game (7:10 PM ET) matches the New York Giants at the Detroit Lions in the first MNF kickoff game in Detroit since September 1971. The MNF nightcap (10:20 PM ET) features the Arizona Cardinals hosting the San Diego Chargers, who advanced to the AFC Divisional playoffs last year. In Week 5, Russell Wilson and the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks take the winningest MNF record among all franchises (20-8) to Washington to face Robert Griffin III and the Redskins (October 6, 8:30 PM ET). After its Week 1 double-header, Monday Night Football will kick off at 8:30 PM ET, 10 minutes earlier than in recent years.

In addition, ESPN will televise a Wild Card playoff game, the first NFL playoff game in the network’s 35-year history. ESPN also will broadcast the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl (January 25, 2015) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, which kicks off the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIX.

CBS TELEVISION NETWORK and NFL NETWORK will team to feature a schedule of 16 Thursday Night Football games – 14 on Thursday night and two late in the season on Saturday. Beginning in Week 2 with Pittsburgh at Baltimore, CBS will air seven early-season games on Thursday night that will be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will televise seven late-season Thursday night games in the run-up to the playoffs. In Week 16, NFL Network (4:30 PM ET) and CBS (8:15 PM ET) will combine for a Saturday doubleheader. The kickoff times for each of the games – Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers – will be determined at a later date.

The full slate of 16 regular-season Thursday Night Football games will be produced by CBS with its lead broadcasters and production team, including JIM NANTZ, PHIL SIMMS and TRACY WOLFSON, who also will announce select games on Sunday on CBS. NFL Network hosts and analysts will be featured in the pregame, halftime and postgame shows along with CBS Sports announcers.

This marks the ninth year of Thursday Night Football games on NFL Network. The second half of the TNF slate, which will air exclusively on NFL Network, kicks off with an NFC South showdown between the 2013 division champion Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints (October 30, 8:25 PM ET). The TNF schedule continues with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Chicago Bears (December 4, 8:25 PM ET) and concludes with a matchup of NFC West rivals when the St. Louis Rams host the Arizona Cardinals (December 11, 8:25 PM ET).

In addition to Thursday Night Football, CBS marks its 55th year broadcasting the NFL with great matchups on Sunday afternoons – including the Super Bowl XLVIII rematch between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks (September 21, 4:25 PM ET), Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers (October 23, 4:25 PM ET), Broncos at New England Patriots (November 2, 4:25 PM ET), Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints (November 16, 1:00 PM ET) and Patriots at Green Bay Packers (November 30, 4:25 PM ET) – during its 17 weeks of regular-season coverage of the AFC. In addition to the AFC package of games, for the first time ever, CBS’ broadcast schedule features NFC games highlighted by the Chicago Bears at the Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 12:30 PM ET), Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers (November 23, 4:25 PM ET), Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens (September 28, 1:00 PM ET) as well as other NFC crossover flex games to be determined later in the season.

CBS concludes the season with a full postseason slate including an AFC Wild Card playoff game on the January 3-4, 2015 weekend, Divisional playoff games the weekend of January 10-11, 2015 and the AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015.

FOX SPORTS’ lead NFL team of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback TROY AIKMAN and seven-time Emmy Award winner JOE BUCK returns for its 13th year as broadcast partners with ERIN ANDREWS reporting from the sidelines. The network kicks off its 21st season covering the NFL on Sunday, September 7 with double-header action featuring six exciting matchups, including an NFC showdown between the San Francisco 49ers at the Dallas Cowboys (4:25 PM ET).

The NFL on FOX is scheduled to broadcast 97 regular-season games, including a Thanksgiving Day contest featuring a classic NFC East showdown as the defending division  champion Philadelphia Eagles travel to face the rival Dallas Cowboys. Other standout contests on FOX include the Eagles at 49ers (September 28, 4:25 PM ET), Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks in Week 6 (October 12, 4:25 PM ET), the New York Giants at Dallas in Week 7 (October 19, 4:25 PM ET) and the Seahawks visiting the Eagles in Week 14 (December 7, 4:25 PM ET).

FOX Sports becomes the only NFL broadcaster to cover two games from London in the same season, the first of which features the earliest kickoff in NFL history. On Sunday, October 26, the Detroit Lions play the Atlanta Falcons live at 9:30 AM ET, which kicks off the first-ever regularly scheduled four-game window Sunday. Two weeks later on Sunday November 9, the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Cowboys (1:00 PM ET). Both games will be played at London’s storied Wembley Stadium.

FOX will present the NFC, the NFC playoffs and the NFC Championship Game.


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