London calling, Jacksonville falling? That’s the theme for this weekend’s NFL games, for which Fox has the doubleheader. (By the way: the Buccaneers played on Thursday night this week – so they won’t be blacked out this Sunday! Although based on their impressive victory over the Minnesota Vikings, there should be no excuses for any further blackouts now…)
CBS: Once again, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be grabbing their passports and heading to London, where the New England Patriots will battle the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium. This will be the third time in five years that CBS’ A-team will be broadcasting from England (the Patriots were involved in their last trip up there, as well), and CBS has shown the London game for four out of the last five years. Next season, there are two games scheduled to be played in Wembley, one on CBS (Steelers at Vikings) in September, and one on Fox (49ers at Jaguars) in October. Perhaps the networks’ airings during these months will alternate in ensuing years, so that Joe Buck can finally broadcast from London (the annual single game is usually scheduled right in the middle of the World Series, which Buck has committed to working on Fox). As for the domestic games on the menu, the aforementioned Jacksonville Jaguars will be playing at a site just as famous as Wembley Stadium – that would be Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers hope to capitalize on an opponent who is scheduled to be without their star running back for awhile – looks like the Jags are “holding out” for a hero! Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf – who called CBS’ last London tilt two seasons ago (Broncos/49ers), will work Jaguars/Packers. There are a couple of divisional matchups on tap: the New York Jets host the Miami Dolphins – whose own quarterback once admitted he had no idea how the divisions in the league are organized – and their actions will be interpreted by Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts; and the Indianapolis Colts take on the Tennessee Titans, with Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker handling that one. And the Cleveland Browns welcome the San Diego Chargers, who I bet are very happy to return to action following a bye week that I’m sure didn’t have any distractions whatsoever. So long as the Chargers players don’t roll out of stick’em-laden beds, they’ll go toe to toe with the “Dawg Pound,” and Spero Dedes and Rich Gannon will call all the action. The fact that Gannon is paired up with Dedes means that the great Marv Albert won’t be working any games this weekend, but I’m sure he’s fine – he’s probably resting his vocal chords for some NBA games on TNT, as that league’s regular season tips off very soon.
FOX: … but Kenny Albert will be on duty. This week, he, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa soldier on to Soldier Field, for a showdown between the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears. It looks like only about a third of the country will see this game, even St. Louis – despite the London contest counting as a Rams “home game,” the normal local blackout rules don’t apply. (By the way, absolutely no games blacked out this weekend, I’m happy to report.) About half of the country will be seeing the Washington Redskins visit the Pittsburgh Steelers, which will be called by Sam Rosen and Brian Billick. This is major exposure for what may be considered Fox’s third tier of announcers. Maybe they’re throwing Rosen a bone after he got “hi-Bucked” out of calling the Giants/49ers game a couple of weeks ago? Meanwhile, it’ll be a bird bash at Lincoln Financial Field, as the Atlanta Falcons face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams are coming off of bye weeks – but Eagles head coach Andy Reid has an impressive win record for games following bye weeks. (And if he doesn’t lead his team to the playoffs, that and four dollars will get him a copy of “Newsweek” – for now, anyway.) Dick Stockton and John Lynch will call all the, er, bird droppings. And Chris Myers and Tim Ryan will witness an even deadlier form of animal warfare, as the Seattle Seahawks get fed to the Detroit Lions.
CBS: Last week, there were but just two contests in the late game window – both of them were on CBS as Fox had an NLCS broadcast later that Sunday. Once again, there are only two games that will be played after 4 PM ET, and this time, they’re evenly distributed across both networks. Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will work the Oakland Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs game from Kansas City…
FOX: … while everybody but Kansas City will be able to watch the New York Giants play the Dallas Cowboys. (I wonder if KC will be able to watch the end of the game starting at 6 PM CT.) Once again, Thom Brennaman will be working alongside Troy Aikman, as Joe Buck will be in Detroit for Game 4 of the World Series. (And yes, I checked the weather for the Detroit area: not a single drop of precipitation all day Sunday. Not even anything from Hurricane Sandy. So don’t count on Brennaman being “hi-Bucked” in Dallas.)
Information from the506.com was used in this post.