2013 NFL Schedule: The Primetime Games: Broncos, Falcons, 49ers, Giants, Patriots, Redskins Have Five Games Each







Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Here is the list of all the primetime games scheduled for the 2013 NFL season.

Commentary to follow… Actually, I’ll get the back-patting out of the way early: I called the Ravens/Broncos opener on September 5, and I called the Washington Redskins getting five primetime games this season, up from just one last year.

And here are the games:

Thursday, September 5 – Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, September 8 – New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 9 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins – 7:10 PM ET – ESPN

Monday, September 9 –  Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers – 10:20 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 12 – New York Jets @ New England Patriots – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 15 – San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 19 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 22 – Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 23 – Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 26 – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 29 – New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcoms – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 30 – Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 3 – Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 6 – Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 7 – New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 10 – New York Giants @ Chicago Bears – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 13 – Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 14 – Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 17 – Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 20 – Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 21 – Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 24 – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 27 – Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 28 – Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 31 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 3 – Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 4 – Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 7 – Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 10 – Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 11 – Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 14 –Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 17 – Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 18 – New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 21 – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 24 – Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 25 – San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving) – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, December 1 – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 2 – New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 5 – Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 8 – Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 9 – Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 12 – San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 15 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 16 – Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 22 – New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 23 – Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 29 – [Teams to be determined following Week 16] – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

TEAMS WITH FIVE PRIMETIME GAMES: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins.

TEAMS WITH FOUR PRIMETIME GAMES: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.

TEAMS WITH THREE PRIMETIME GAMES: Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS WITH TWO PRIMETIME GAMES: Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TEAMS WITH ONE PRIMETIME GAME: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans.


OBSERVATIONS: So, let me get this straight: The Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, yet the runner-up gets one more primetime game in the ensuing season than the World Champions? Explain that to me.

Also, explain to me how the NFL didn’t greenlight the Denver Broncos going to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. This was a given when the AFC opponents for the Cowboys were released at the top of the year. Or so I thought. Now, it’s going to be a chance to pass out with tryptophan in between another Packers/Lions matinee and the Ravens hosting another Thanksgiving night game, this time against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

I wonder if Peyton Manning not getting a Thanksgiving date with Tony Romo was a byproduct of the Broncos actually hosting the NFL kickoff game.

Predictably, the Eagles/Chiefs game with Andy Reid bringing a new squad into Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is an NFL Network Thursday night affair.

Predictably, that’s the Chiefs’ lone primetime game. The Jaguars’ sole primetime tilt in 2013 is also on NFLN, as was the case last year. Ditto for the Browns and the Bills, who actually play each other on an NFLN game; the Bills and the Dolphins killed two birds with one Thursday night primetime stone last season.

Thr Dolphins improve from one primetime game last year to three this year. Same with the Vikings. The Colts go from one primetime game last season to four this season. And I’ve already told you about the Redskins’ maxing out at five games, up from one last year.

Further proof NBC loves the NFC East: The Cowboys and Giants open the “Sunday Night Football” 2013 campaign. The Cowboys will appear on “SNF” three times this year, as will the Giants. Two of the Redskins’ five night contests are on NBC; two of them will air on ESPN. Eagles? Nowhere to be found on NBC’s initial schedule. Of course, the latter half of the season allows flex scheduling, so if the Eagles are actually a good team, they’ll likely see more than just the two games (down from five last year() they’ve been scheduled this year. In other words: the Cowboys/Eagles game that was not flexed out late last season might be the last time in awhile you’ll hear Al Michaels working an Eagles game.

And for the first time in recent memory, there are no Saturday games scheduled. The Bay City Rollers will now have to find alternate ways to be preoccupied this year.

Joe Buck, Skip Bayless Get 2013 Sports Emmy Snubs







The nominations for the 34th Sports Emmy Awards are out, and it's not a misprint: Fox's Joe Buck, who won the award for Outstanding Play-By-Play Announcer last year, is nowhere to be found on the list this year.

The nominations for the 34th Sports Emmy Awards are out, and it’s not a misprint: Fox’s Joe Buck, who won the award for Outstanding Play-By-Play Announcer last year, is nowhere to be found on the list this year.

In addition to the annual “March madness” tradition that accompanies college basketball every year, so to is the version of “March madness” in sports media – of course, I’m talking about the release of the nominations for the Sports Emmy Awards.

The list of nominees for the 34th edition, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 7th at Frederick P. Rose Hall, was made public today by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

But there’s a couple of glaring omissions that may make some people, well, mad.

For instance, the nominees for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-By-Play was whittled down to four this year from five last year; the nominees were Marv Albert, Mike Emrick, Al Michaels, Jim Nantz, and the winner, Joe Buck. This year, Emrick, Michaels and Nantz get another nod, while Albert does not, and ABC/ESPN NBA announcer Mike Breen is nominated.

That has to be a mistake. After all, not only is Joe Buck one of the top sportscasters in the business today, but determination is his middle name. Who can forget last October, when he doubled up in San Francisco to work a New York Giants/49ers regular season NFL game, then take a trolley to AT&T Park to call Game 4 of the World Series between the San Francisco baseball Giants and the Detroit Tigers? You mean, that doesn’t even earn him an “Outstanding New Approaches [In] Sports Programming” nomination? What gives?

Meanwhile, there’s another name that didn’t carry over from the previous year’s nominations, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s not that much outcry over this one: Skip Bayless.

Yes, last year, Bayless was among seven people nominated for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst, along with Cris Collinsworth (also nominated for his analyst work on “Sunday Night Football”), Trent Dilfer, Kirk Herbstreit, Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds, and your winner, Charles Barkley.

This year, not only has the field in this category decreased by one yet again, but it looks way different: Joining Barkley and Reynolds this year will be Tony Dungy (NBC), Boomer Esiason (CBS) and Kurt Warner (NFL Network), along with Reynolds’ MLB Network colleague, Bill Ripken.

So no Skip Bayless Emmy nod this year. Bummer. I really thought his live-tweeting the Tim Tebow introductory press conference would have been sports broadcasting gold in the eyes of the Academy!

View the complete list of nominations here. Overall, NBC Sports Group leads all nominees with a whopping fifty-eight – including nine attached to NBC Sports Network, which has two figures (Bob Costas, Dan Patrick) aaccompanying CBS’ James Brown, NFLN’s Rich Eisen and Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson in the Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host category (last year, the field was the same, with the exception of Bryant Gumbel in lieu of Eisen; Costas won). The 2012 London Olympics buoyed NBC to the top of the nominees list. The perennial award nominations leader, ESPN, is second this year with 43.

And none, unfortunately, for Skip Bayless.

UPDATE: Fox Sports Vice President of Communications Dan Bell confirms my suspicion, saying: “Joe is happy for his colleagues who were nominated and wishes them all good luck.”

2013 NCAA Tournament, Second Round: Who’s Calling What (And Where)







For the first time, CBS Sports Network personalities Doug Gottlieb and Allie La Force will be involved with coverage of the NCAA tournament. Gottlieb's work can be seen on TBS and TNT, with La Force's sideline reporting on TBS and TruTV.

For the first time, CBS Sports Network personalities Doug Gottlieb and Allie La Force will be involved with coverage of the NCAA tournament. Gottlieb’s work can be seen on TBS and TNT, with La Force’s sideline reporting on TBS and TruTV.

The madness will commence once again this week.

So as you fill out all those brackets, I’ve constructed my own for the second year since maintaining this blog: a color-coded viewing guide, complete with announcer information, as well as location info – that is, the physical location of the games, and the channel locations where you’ll be able to watch the action.

Once again, a friendly reminder on where the networks are on most cable systems:

On DirecTV, TNT is channel 245, TBS is channel 247, and TruTV is right in the middle on channel 246.

On Dish Network, TNT is channel 138, TBS is channel 139, and TruTV is channel 204.

On Verizon FiOS, TNT is channel 51 (standard definition) or 551 (high definition), and TBS is channel 52 (SD) or 552 (HD), while TruTV can be found on channel 183 (SD) or 683 (HD).

On AT&T’s “U-Verse” lineup, TNT is channel 108 (SD) or 1108 (HD), TBS is channel 112 (SD) or 1112 (HD), and TruTV can be found on channel 164 (SD) or 1164 (HD).

Once again, the regions will be color-coded as follows:

EAST: White | MIDWEST: Red | SOUTH: Orange | WEST: Hot Pink

Game announcer information via Fang’s Bites.

Okay. I think we’re ready to do this then.

Thursday, March 21

12:15 PM ET – CBS – Michigan State (3) vs. Valparaiso (14) from Auburn Hills, Michigan

Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Rachel Nichols

12:40 PM ET – TruTV – Butler (6) vs. Bucknell (11) from Lexington

Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

1:40 PM ET – TBS – Pittsburgh (8) vs. Wichita State (9) from Salt Lake City

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Jaime Maggio

2:10 PM ET – TNT – Saint Louis (4) vs. New Mexico State (13) from San Jose

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner, Marty Snider

2:45 PM ET – CBS – Memphis (6) vs. Middle Tennessee/St. Mary’s (11) from Auburn Hills, Michigan

Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Rachel Nichols

3:10 PM ET – TruTV – Marquette (3) vs. Davidson (14) from Lexington

Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

4:10 PM ET – TBS – Gonzaga (1) vs. Southern University (16) from Salt Lake City

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Jaime Maggio

4:40 PM ET – TNT – Oklahoma State (5) vs. Oregon (12) from San Jose

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner, Marty Snider

6:50 PM ET – TBS – Louisville (1) vs. Liberty University/North Carolina Agricultural And Tech (16) from Lexington

Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

7:15 PM ET – CBS – Michigan (4) vs. South Dakota State (13) from Auburn Hills, Michigan

Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Rachel Nichols

7:20 PM ET – TNT – Arizona (6) vs. Belmont (11) from Salt Lake City

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Jaime Maggio

7:27 PM ET – TruTV – UNLV (5) vs. California (12) from San Jose

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner, Marty Snider

9:20 PM ET – TBS – Colorado State (8) vs. Missouri (9) from Lexington

Announcers: Ian Eagle Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

9:45 PM ET – CBS – VCU (5) vs. Akron (12) from Auburn Hills, Michigan

Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Rachel Nichols

9:50 PM ET – TNT – New Mexico (3) vs. Harvard (14) from Salt Lake City

Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Jaime Maggio

9:57 PM ET – TruTV – Syracuse (4) vs. Montana (13) from San Jose

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner, Marty Snider

Friday, March 22

12:15 PM ET – CBS – Duke (2) vs. Albany (15) from Philadelphia

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, Lewis Johnson

12:40 PM ET – TruTV – Wisconsin (5) vs. Ole Miss (12) from Kansas City

Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager

1:40 PM ET – TBS – North Carolina State (8) vs. Temple (9) from Dayton

Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Tracy Wolfson

2:10 PM ET – TNT – Miami (2) vs. Pacific (15) from Austin

Announcers: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston

2:45 PM ET – CBS – Creighton (7) vs. Cincinnati (10) from Philadelphia

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, Lewis Johnson

3:10 PM ET – TruTV – Kansas State (4) vs. LaSalle/Boise State (13) from Kansas City

Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager

4:10 PM ET – TBS – Indiana (1) vs. James Madison University/Long Island University-Brooklyn (16) from Dayton

Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Tracy Wolfson

4:40 PM ET – TNT – Illinois (7) vs. Colorado (10) from Austin

Announcers: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston

6:50 PM ET – TBS – Georgetown (2) vs. Florida Gulf Coast University (15) from Philadelphia

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, Lewis Johnson

7:15 PM ET – CBS – Ohio State (2) vs. Iona (15) from Dayton

Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Tracy Wolfson

7:20 PM ET – TNT – University Of North Carolina (8) vs. Villanova (9) from Kansas City

Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager

7:27 PM ET – TruTV – Florida (3) vs. Northwestern State (14) from Austin

Announcers: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston

9:20 PM ET – TBS – San Diego State (7) vs. Oklahoma (10) from Philadelphia

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller, Lewis Johnson

9:45 PM ET – CBS – Notre Dame (7) vs. Iowa State (10) from Dayton

Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Tracy Wolfson

9:50 PM ET – TNT – Kansas (1) vs. Western Kentucky (16) from Kansas City

Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager

9:57 PM ET – TruTV – UCLA (6) vs. Minnesota (11) from Austin

Announcers: Tim Brando, Mike Gmonski, Otis Livingston

In addition to these, Marv and co. will be calling Tuesday night’s play-in games between Liberty and NCA&T and MTSU and St. Mary’s; while Nantz’s bunch will work those of JMU and LIU-Brooklyn and Boise State and LaSalle on Wednesday night; all will emanate from Dayton and all will air on TruTV.

Newcomers: Doug Gottlieb, Allie LaForce, Rachel Nichols.

Outgoing: Jenn Hildreth, Lesley Visser, Bob Wenzel.

Source: ESPN Will Air One Wild Card Playoff Game Per Year Starting In 2014

ESPN will likely begin airing a first-round “wild card” playoff game starting in 2014, which will likely be worked by their “Monday Night Football” booth, which currently consists of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden.

As ESPN aired the 2012 season finale of “Monday Night Football” on Saturday night – which many claim is due to the fact that Christmas Eve falls on a Monday this year; yet, this did not stop the NFL from scheduling all but one game on Christmas Eve last year – there was talk that this would not be the last time ESPN would air an NFL game on a Saturday.

And it’s not because the NFL might schedule a Saturday night game again next year – people were already looking ahead to 2014.

At around this time last year, the NFL agreed to a new nine-year deal with its broadcast partners, effective 2014. A few months earlier, ESPN extended its own partnership with the NFL. At the time of the deal, a network spokesperson said the league may exercise “the option to air a postseason wild-card playoff game on ESPN” and that “no decision has been made.”

And that is still the case, but there’s word from somebody very close to ESPN that, starting in the 2014-15 season, one of the “Wild Card Weekend” games that have been airing on Saturdays on NBC will be broadcast on ESPN.

ESPN historian James Andrew Miller calculates that, on top of the $15.2 billion that the Worldwide Leader would be shelling out to the league for its nine-year deal, an estimated $100 million would be invested in wild card round playoff games, making ESPN’s annual payment to the NFL “a cool $2 billion per year.”

In addition to ESPN gaining an NFL playoff game in the wild card round, there’s speculation that NBC could gain as many as two playoff games in the divisional round. The second round format would have NBC either airing two games on Saturday, or just one, with CBS and Fox alternating the second divisional round playoff game on Saturday; CBS and Fox would still air one game apiece that Sunday, as has been the case during all three rounds leading up to the Super Bowl, and is expected to remain so as we enter the Soaring Twenties.

But the main point that should be taken away from this post is that it’s all but a done deal (and once again, nothing is official at this time) that ESPN will get into the playoff picture, as far as NFL broadcasts are concerned.

The big question is, once this new playoff broadcasting format is in place, will the playoff games being broadcast on ESPN be available exclusively on ESPN, and not simulcast on broadcast channels in markets of the teams involved in the games, as has been the case during regular season matchups over the last quarter century? Since this practice can only maximize ratings, there’s no reason to think it would be discontinued for the wild card games.

Then again, ESPN has become the exclusive broadcasting home of bowl games that once graced analog television screens every New Year’s Day.

If this can happen on the college ranks, there’s no reason it can be ruled out on the professional level.

It should be a given that the current “Monday Night Football” booth of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden (assuming he’s still there) will work ESPN’s new wild card game.

But consider Chris Berman, who recently signed a “multiyear deal” with ESPN, expected to expire in 2018. Also consider that, right around that time, he (and Trent Dilfer) were assigned to work the second game of the opening-week “Monday Night Football” doubleheader this year. It would be a blessing in disguise that NFL playoff games called by Chris Berman are restricted to cable television in the first place, but I think if ESPN gets only one NFL playoff game, it’ll likely be worked by the “MNF” announcing crew.

It would be reasonable for NFL to go public with ESPN’s “playoff berth” at the conclusion of the current NFL broadcasting deal, but I would expect the NFL to make an official announcement on the playoff broadcasting realignment sometime in 2013, perhaps as early as the annual NFL Spring Meeting, or as late as Christmas.

Erin Andrews "Exhausted" With Tebowmania: "ESPN's Really Fascinated By Him"

Erin Andrews tells Rich Eisen she's "exhausted" with all of the coverage Jets second-string quarterback Tim Tebow has been receiving. "ESPN's really fascinated by him," says the former ESPN personality, now working with Fox Sports. Watch Andrews on the debut of "Fox College Saturday" this weekend.

Calling out ESPN for way too much Tebow Time? That’s fightin’ words.

Especially when they come from a former employee.

That would be Erin Andrews, who left the Worldwide Leader after nine years for greener pastures at Fox Sports. She was the inaugural guest on the new season of “The Rich Eisen Podcast“, and among many of the subjects during her conversation with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen – himself a one-time ESPN personality, for about as long as Andrews – the world-famous second-string quarterback Tim Tebow came up.

“ESPN’s really fascinated by him,” Andrews said. “I think the cameras are always on him, aren’t they? It’s like, Tebow holds the door open for someone — ‘BREAKING NEWS: Holds The Door Open For An Old Woman’.”

Andrews questioned how worthy Tebow is of all the coverage he’s receiving, when the fact of the matter is, he’s the second-string quarterback on a team where both he and primary quarterback Mark Sanchez failed to find the end zone in the preseason. “How much impact is he really gonna have?,” she asked. “If it’s not the last name on the back of the jersey, would we care anywhere else? I’m just confu — I don’t know… He’s a backup quarterback. I just don’t understand.”

“It’s exhausting,” she continued. “And I know we’re supposed to love it in the media, but after awhile, it’s just like, ‘Okay, can you just play without all the hype, and this drama around him, and you know, what’s Tebow doing today’ — just go play the game. I get a little exhausted with it.”

She did say that she was “proud” to have covered Tebow’s college days at her alma mater, Florida. Despite that, “what else is there about Tebow that we need to know about?”

“You tell me,” Eisen countered. “You’re the Gator.”

Eisen admitted that while NFL Network has “our fixation” with Tebow, “we didn’t send our signature show there. Like, they sent “SportsCenter” to Cortland, New York” [site of Jets training camp].

Meanwhile, Andrews did have nice things to say about her former ESPN colleague Chris Fowler – in fact, she enjoyed working with him on “College Gameday” so much, she says, that it was “really hard” to make the decision to leave for Fox. “He’s insane good,” Andrews raved. “I don’t think the guy gets enough credit.”

Eisen himself must miss the Worldwide Leader. He admitted to Andrews that around six months into his NFL Network tenure, he once came back from a commercial break on “NFL Total Access” by telling viewers, “Welcome back to ‘SportsCenter’.”

If you want to hear Andrews’ appearance on the podcast – and we know you’ll want to do that now that it has to do with Tim Tebow – click here. The Andrews interview begins at around 17:00; the Tebow talk starts at around the 25:00 mark.

And be sure to watch the video version of this podcast Thursday on NFL Network.

NFL Network Live From Garrett Reid Funeral: Can You Dig It?

Prior to a private memorial service for the son of Eagles head coach Andy Reid, NFL Network sent Kimberly Jones to file live reports from outside the church where the service was scheduled. Some viewers saw it as unnecessary roughness on a solemn day in a family's life. (Photo credit, Reid funeral service: AP.)

The 29-year-old son of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid was laid to rest on Tuesday. And while NFL Network made up for being somewhat late to the party in delivering news to its viewers with comprehensive (albeit sporadic) coverage for the remainder of Sunday morning, some feel that the network descended on Garrett Reid’s funeral service as if they were crashing a party.

Viewers took issue at NFLN’s presence outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Broomall, PA, where the private funeral service was attended by nearly 1,000 mourners, including a who’s-who of NFL figures, from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to former Eagles defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who currently holds that position for the New Orleans Saints, to Commissioner Roger Goodell himself.

On Tuesday morning, “NFL AM” conducted live reports from Kimberly Jones outside the entrance to the church, hours before the service was scheduled to take place at 10:00 AM ET.

“What is the scene like now at this hour,” a somber Brian Webber asked Jones in one report.

Jones, who was all alone in the church parking lot, reported that “we are waiting for folks to arrive.”

Look, I get that NFL Network has to fill twenty hours of content per week on their new morning show. And I also get that NFLN thinks it might be a good idea to present viewers with a preview of what is expected (Webber: “Bill Belichick expected to attend today’s ceremony; do you have a sense of who else could be paying their respects in person?”) at Garrett Reid’s funeral.

A preview that could have easily been done in the confines of the NFL Network studios in Culver City.

As opposed to right outside the church, “waiting for folks to arrive.”

That appears to be how some viewers feel, according to Twitter. “I love NFL Network,” wrote Lawrence Morgan, “but having a reporter at someone’s funeral for a live report is going too far and beyond disgusting.” C.D. Carter commented, “Live roundtable coverage of Andy Reid’s son’s funeral is the best evidence yet that our culture is a rotting, stinking corpse.” And Tyler Kelley tweets these words of wisdom: “Am I the only one that thinks having a reporter live at a head coach’s son’s funeral is extremely [expletive] up?”

And on Facebook, one die-hard NFL fan was sickened by what he saw. “This isn’t a red carpet affair, and it’s not news for the public. This is a private matter,” wrote cartoonist and football satirist John Tayman. “Show the man and his family some respect and at least move your circus across the street.

“This is not NFL news. This is a personal tragedy for a man who happens to be an NFL head coach. Being able to show us live shots of his family arriving for the funeral of their son and brother is not worth the invasion of privacy you’re causing at a terrible moment for a man you’ve spent the last two days expressing sympathy for.”

The case of NFL Network camping out at a church for the funeral service of Andy Reid’s son is a double-edged sword: Does the league-run network feel privileged to be there simply because the father of the deceased is a head coach in the league? Was it the mere presence of the likes of Belichick and Goodell that warranted these live reports from the site of the funeral service in the first place? And did Reid’s family ever make a request that the network not appear on the premises that morning?

Such a request shouldn’t have to be made in a time of mourning.

As Webber himself said later in the report as he asked Jones if Andy Reid would be able to coach the Eagles’ preseason opener on Thursday night: “Football, of course, secondary and trivial at a time like this.”

Perhaps the network that’s “football 24/7” should have been “secondary and trivial,” as well.

There do not appear to have been any live reports from the private funeral service of Junior Seau in San Diego – just Steve Wyche reporting from the public memorial service at Qualcomm Stadium. And many more people, at least outside of Philadelphia, have known Seau more than they did Andy Reid’s family members. Something else to think about.

I’ll give NFL Network this much: At least they had the common decency to refrain from “live tweeting” from the funeral service, as a number of unidentified Eagles beat writers did.

Unfortunately, in a quest to deliver content to viewers, sometimes even the most funereal of circumstances, common decency is abandoned.

But you can’t blame Kimberly Jones, who on Monday night tweeted, “The extreme, continuing sadness I feel for Andy Reid and his family isn’t from being a parent. I’m not one. I guess it’s from being human.”

She was just doing her job.

Was NFL Network out of line for delivering live reports of Garrett Reid’s funeral live from the church? Do you think it was a genuine football story? Let me know what you think – post a comment below.

"NFL AM" Opening Drive: Breaking Down The Show's First Hour

NFL Network's new morning show, "NFL AM," debuted. And based on the show's first hour, which included spirited performances from Super Bowl champion Eric Davis, this show's already got its game face on.

“It is the dawn of a new era.”

With those words from co-host Brian Webber, it was game on for “NFL AM,” NFL Network’s new morning franchise.

A program that was months in the making and perhaps years overdue – the network launched in late 2003, back when ESPN was the only major national sports-oriented cable network and what is now NBC Sports Network was known as Outdoor Life Network – “NFL AM” finally bowed on the first Monday after all 32 NFL teams’ training camps had opened for the 2012 season.

“We are live and looking forward to becoming a part of your morning routine,” co-host Nicole Zaloumis pled to viewers.

Based on the program’s very first hour – or “quarter,” as the program would like to refer to that measurement of time – I’m sure many folks, especially looking for an alternative to offerings from ESPN’s networks in the morning, will not be hesitant in heeding that call.

The first news item on “NFL AM” under the umbrella of “The Latest”: Andrew Luck being booed in his first practice at Indianapolis Colts training camp. Scott Hanson, who had been stationed at the Colts’ camp in Anderson, IN, contributed a pre-recorded piece. The next news item involved the Dolphins’ quarterback controversy, which included a live call from Jeff Darlington from the Dolphins’ training camp in Davie, FL.

The final news headline in the segment led to what would be the program’s first “Opening Drive”: the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp opened up Sunday in Oxnard, CA, as Webber pointed out, “about 50 miles north of our studios here in Los Angeles.” The first selection off the “Opening Drive” menu was this question: “Is this a make or break season for Tony Romo?” The next course: “Should teams be allowed to ban players from using Twitter?”; this after Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis restricted his team from using the social media app. Great quote from Mark Kriegel: “Football coaches will never be proponents of the First Amendment.” Webber then led into an “Opening Drive” debate on whether or not a Super Bowl title or a gold medal is a “bigger accomplishment” with this barb aimed at NBC: “You don’t have to worry about tape delay; we’re live, it’s twelve past the hour, as I glance at the clock.”

In the show’s first moments, Webber had alluded to the “NFL AM” crew being up bright and early – but ready. “We’re the first national morning show to be coming to you from the West Coast,” noted Steve Wyche, “so why not be fired up?”

Wyche and Kriegel led off the show’s second segment with the first edition of “Double Coverage” by arguing, “Have the Saints been treated unfairly?” And Kriegel’s first-ever utterance in this segment was a memorable one. Alluding to the huge “Do your job” poster displaying a photo of the team’s head coach, suspended for the season as a result of Bountygate: “What is Sean Payton, a political prisoner?” The next “Double Coverage” question, which the duo had a minute to debate: “Can Reggie Bush lead the league in rushing?” Wyche led off with an emphatic, “No!”, followed by an explanation. Kriegel countered with his thoughts, which included this gem: “This is the loftiest goal he has stated since going out with a Kardashian.”

Zaloumis anchored various football headlines leading off the show’s third segment. Next, Webber and Davis brought in Kimberly Jones, live from Jets training camp in Cortland, NY. “You knew it wouldn’t be long before we had to ask what’s happening between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow,” David asked Jones. “What type of day did each one of them have on Sunday?” In a word, Jones said, “Bad!” That before she mentioned each quarterback went 1-for-7. Following Jones’ contribution, Zaloumis instructed Wyche and Kriegel, “Let’s continue to talk the Jets,” debating whether or not the team would make the playoffs in 2012. After that was a feature “NFL AM” dubbed, “Our Daily Tebow.” It focused on Jets linebacker Bart Scott’s thoughts on Tebow’s run in the rain at practice the other day. It also showed the New York Daily News’ back-page headline depicting the shirtless, overweight Tebow as the “Not So Incredible Hunk.” It gave an opportunity for Kriegel to give a “shout out to my boys on the desk at the Daily News” (he had been a sportswriter for the newspaper for eight years) for a “Bo Derek-esque” back page. Wyche, however, begged to differ: “I think they Photoshopped [Tebow’s] head on Kriegel’s body.” (Late in the second hour, NFLN’s lightning-quick graphics department actually showed a doctored photo of a shirtless Tebow on Saturday, but with Kriegel’s head replacing Tim’s. ESPN would call that sacrilege.)

Snoop Dogg greeted viewers with a program ID: “Wake up with the NFL. “NFL AM.” NFL Network.” This preceded the show’s fourth segment, which started with Davis breaking down the top ten “training camp storylines” to Zaloumis. These would actually be dispersed throughout the show, with the number one training camp storyline served up in the final hour. And in case you’re wondering, “Does Mark Sanchez start 16 games for the Jets?” was only eighth on the list. This, combined with the fact that the show didn’t actually address the Jets until the third segment of the program (and they would be talking to Jets head coach Rex Ryan in the show’s second hour) tells you that the network is not as dependent on the Jets as other sports networks are. And even if you throw in a daily segment devoted to Tebow (and it sounds like it’s going to be a serious bit, at least during football season – ESPN should be on notice), when you consider the program has to create four hours of content each morning, as opposed to going back to the same well during “SportsCenter,” we should really give NFLN the benefit of the doubt in this case.

In the fifth segment of the hour, er, quarter, Zaloumis presented “Figure Of Speech,” in which Davis and Kriegel role-played football players and figures making headlines. For example, the gentlemen had to make a case as to what running back Maurice Jones-Drew should say to Jaguars ownership. Davis really got into character, even going so far as to crutch down to impersonate Jones-Drew’s short stature. In the segment’s next item of “speech,” “What should Peyton Manning say to inspire” the Broncos at training camp, Davis game, in my view, a less-than-command performance, sounding more like Forrest Gump than Peyton Manning, but still somewhat humorous.

The sixth and final segment of the first hour (quarter, whatever) led off with an instant replay of Davis’ impersonation of Jones-Drew, which led to Zaloumis reading the first-ever tweet to be read in the history of the program, “Eric Davis is killin’ MJD on “NFL AM.” Classic.” The hour closed with “Extra Point,” a debate from all five program members on the studio’s vast couch over whether or not Colts wideout Reggie Wayne (assisted by National Guard soldiers) or Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (riding a tractor) made a better arrival to his respective team’s training camp. The show’s first hour would officially close with viewer feedback from a “Caption This” photo of Peyton Manning that was presented going into the show’s very first commercial break – and somehow a tweet intended for Steve Wyche got in there. Like most programs, there will be first-day jitters here and there.

Overall, “NFL AM” is a sharp, balanced, enlightening breakfast smorgasbord of football: headlines, interviews, interaction with viewers, and comic relief from a Super Bowl champion. This show has it all – and this is only based on observing the program’s first hour.

Other items of note: the graphics are easy on the eyes, yet some of them, as you would expect, are synonymous with the morning theme (e.g. you may see a giant coffee mug with the Dallas Cowboys lgoo preceding an item for a Cowboys story). And it appears that the charter advertiser for “NFL AM” is Burger King, with the restaurant’s logo conspicuously adorned on the front of the studio’s table.

The program’s Twitter account had surpassed the 2,000-follower plateau during the show’s first hour, and had exceeded 2,500 followers by show’s end; as of 12 Noon ET on July 30, there are close to 3,000 followers – that total should only be exponential as the “NFL AM” brand is just beginning to thrive. Also, in addition to soliciting tweets and Facebook comments from viewers, the program is even asking for texts – you remember text messaging, right, kids? – as a way to interact with the program. As a matter of fact, a text from a viewer in Salem, OR wondering if the San Francisco 49ers can “improve on last year’s success” was read by Wyche in the second hour of the show, and then debated by him and his “Double Coverage” partner-in-crime for sixty seconds.

By the way, during the aforementioned Rex Ryan interview, when Tim Tebow came up in discussion, NFL Network ran normal training camp footage of Tebow – as opposed to the “running shirtless in the rain” footage that ESPN has jammed down viewers’ eyeballs all weekend long. (And has even continued to do so on Monday morning, apparently.)

And in the final “Opening Drive” debate in the “fourth quarter,” when discussing the “most intriguing QB competition this preseason,” while Mark Kriegel assured that “it will be” a competition between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, Eric Davis stressed that the starting quarterback “is Mark Sanchez’s job… That’s not a competition.” Meanwhile, on ESPN, you guessed it – they were instructing viewers that there is indeed a “Jets QB competition.”

As you can see, the different between Tebow coverage on the two networks: NFL Network can have fun with it – and they also know that there are thirty-one teams other than the Jets to report about.

A tip of the coffee cup to the “NFL AM” crew. I like what I’m seeing so far, and “Daily Tebow” segment or not, I hope others do, as well.