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.

Brian Billick "Thrilled To Death" To Work NFL Playoff Game On Fox







In lieu of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa, it will be Brian Billick, and presumably sideline reporter Laura Okmin (both pictured), along with Thom Brennaman, calling the NFC divisional playoff game on Fox scheduled for Saturday, January 12.

This just in: Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa have been eliminated from playoff contention.

When Fox broadcasts half of its four NFL playoff games next weekend in the form of the divisional playoffs, viewers will see and hear the NFC playoff game scheduled for January 12 a bit differently.

That’s because Fox has given the assignment of that game to their duo of Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick, rather than their usual second-string trio of Albert, Johnston and Siragusa.

There was no detailed explanation given by Fox spokesman Dan Bell; just an assertion that “both broadcast teams had very strong years” and a decision was made to give Brennaman and Billick “the opportunity to call a playoff game this season.”

Incidentally, both Billick and Brennaman have missed one game each during the regular season: In Week 12, a back ailment forced Billick to miss the Falcons/Buccaneers game; Charles Davis worked alongside Brennaman for that one. And in October, Joe Buck snatched away Brennaman’s original sub assignment for the New York Giants/San Francisco 49ers game from Candlestick Park, as the San Francisco Giants ended up hosting a World Series game on the same day.

To give Billick and Brennaman a playoff game, especially after getting Buck-jacked back in Week 6, is a noble gesture on Fox’s part.

By the way, before news of Kenny, Moose and Goose’s apparent playoff demotion made the rounds on Friday, Billick himself actually broke the news of his divisional playoff game assignment Thursday morning during a weekly segment on a Philadelphia sports radio station.

“That is an honor… to get picked for a playoff game,” WIP-FM morning host Angelo Cataldi said.

“I’m thrilled to death,” Billick exclaimed. “Anytime you can… be involved with the playoffs… it’s such an exciting time, as we kind of stay in the tournament and move forward, so we’re really looking forward to it.”

As for the teams in the playoff game that Brennaman and Billick are calling, we can tell you that it will be in San Francisco, as the 49ers have been selling tickets to a game scheduled to start at 5 PM local time – or 8 PM Eastern.

In fact, the 49ers will be in the exact same position they were in last year, hosting a divisional playoff game on the second Saturday in January. However, there was an unfortunate moment during that broadcast, as Siragusa had reported a challenge flag being out – except he omitted a very important consonant in the word “flag”.

With Fox finding themselves in San Francisco once again, expecting to break out their “B” team (with Buck and Troy Aikman calling the Sunday divisional playoff game in Atlanta), did Siragusa’s slip of the tongue factor into Fox’s decision to reassign the 49ers game to another announcing team? Fox wouldn’t say.

While we won’t know the 49ers’ opponent for this year’s second-round game until the Wild Card round is through (they would play the higher seed of the NFC teams that prevail in the first round), we do know – as does Fox – that Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick are indeed ready for prime time.

UPDATE: As it turns out, Brennaman and Billick have been assigned the Sunday early game of Seattle Seahawks/Atlanta Falcons, with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman working the Green Bay Packers/San Francisco 49ers game on Saturday night.

Denver Broncos All But Guaranteed Thanksgiving 2013 Game

Based on the release of the opponents of the NFL teams for the 2013-14 season, it’s safe to assume that Peyton Manning will be playing his second Thanksgiving game in nine years, as the Denver Broncos are one of two AFC teams scheduled to visit the Dallas Cowboys.

With the end of the 2012-13 regular season comes the precursor to the release of the 2013-14 NFL schedule: the announcements of the opponents that all 32 teams will be facing, based on the strengths of their schedules the previous season.

I realize that Wild Card Weekend hasn’t even started yet, and I’m probably going to draw dirty looks for my looking ahead to the middle of next season, when the schedule hasn’t even been released yet (and likely will not be for about fifteen weeks or so – not that I’m counting down the days or anything). But I can’t help but make speculations prior to the release of the schedule, usually those that make sense.

So once I saw the AFC opponents that the Dallas Cowboys will be hosting next year, and realizing that the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Classic will air on CBS (the AFC network) next year, I have but one thing to say: No way in Alameda is the NFL going to opt for the Oakland Raiders to visit the Cowboys next Turkey Day, when given the choice between the Raiders and the Denver Broncos.

When you have a choice between scheduling either the Denver Broncos, who ended the 2012 regular season – first one with Peyton Manning under center – with an unprecedented eleven-game winning streak, which not only granted them their current first-round bye in the 2012-13 playoffs which get underway on Saturday, but clinched homefield advantage for the team throughout said playoffs, and the Oakland Raiders, who just fired a quartet of coaches, including their offensive coordinator, and have not won a game on Thanksgiving since they hosted one 45 years ago in the old AFL era, the decision is so easy, even Leon Lett could make it.

The last (and only) time Manning was on the Turkey Day stage, he picked apart the Lions, throwing a half-dozen touchdowns, part of a 2004 season which saw him set a new record for most touchdowns thrown in a season (eclipsed by Tom Brady during the Patriots’ near-perfect season three years later). Manning came one touchdown shy of tying (and possibly breaking) a record seven touchdown tosses in a game, shared by five other quarterbacks, most recently Joe Kapp in 1969.

The Raiders – do we even know who their starting quarterback is going to be in November, let alone in April when the 2013 NFL schedule is released?

It’s a no-brainer: the Denver Broncos will be playing the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day 2013.

And can you imagine if the Cowboys really came out on the short end of the stick (as if losing six of their last seven elimination games at the delinquent hands of Tony Romo wasn’t enough) and drew the other two teams from the AFC West division, the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs, both of whom bid adieu to their own head coaches, and then some, back on Black Monday? CBS would be better off reverting back to the 70’s and airing a Cardinals game (and Arizona has axed a bunch of people this week, as well).

While I’m at it, I’ll also provide some mild speculation on which NFC opponent will face the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day 2013 on Fox. Any one of the Lions’ division rivals (Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings) could easily be penciled in for a showdown at Ford Field on November 28. Then again, the Lions will also be playing the teams in the NFC East in 2013 – and one of the two teams in that division that will be traveling to Detroit is the New York Giants, who despite their inability to defend their recent Super Bowl title after sliding out of playoff contention, will still draw marquee games. As we know, Fox’s marquee NFL games are called by Joe Buck. As we also know, Buck has worked more than his share of Giants games. So with all that said, the Lions hosting their (turkey) leg of the 2013 Thanksgiving Day Classic with the New York Giants, who had not won on Thanksgiving since beating the Lions back in 1982 – when Eli Manning was 22 months old – is my early projection.

The other NFC East team scheduled to play the Lions in Ford Field: the Dallas Cowboys. The only way a date between these two teams on Turkey Day would happen is if the Cowboys did indeed end up getting the Chargers and Chiefs at home this season.

For the record, the sixth NFC team slated to visit Detroit is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but based on their 28-point drubbing by the Cowboys on Turkey Day 2006, I doubt they’ll be considered for Thanksgiving plans for the next 28 years.

As for which teams will be playing Thanksgiving night on NBC next year, the jury is truly out. We’re going from a probability factor of two to six to about 220 here. But believe it or not, one team that could be featured here is – call me crazy – the Denver Broncos.

If you’ve been paying attention, I have written about the possibility of both Peyton Manning and Eli Manning both playing on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. But guess what: the Broncos’ opponents for 2013 have been released, and some of the matchups make Peyton Manning vs. Tony Romo look like Mark Sanchez vs. Brandon Moore’s posterior: you have Denver scheduled to face the Indianapolis Colts, the team that drafted Peyton Manning; the New England Patriots, whose quarterback is Manning rival Tom Brady; and the New York Giants – nuff said.

We remember the Harbaugh Brothers Bowl from a couple of Thanksgivings ago (49ers/Ravens, the last Turkey Day game to be broadcast by NFL Network). So it’s only natural to think that a game with similar family ties like the Manning brothers going at it again would get such billing on Thanksgiving night again. But here’s the problem: it would mean the Oakland Raiders playing the Dallas Cowboys earlier that day. It just can’t happen.

Granted, when the Denver Broncos do play the New York Giants in 2013, it’s a virtual lock to be on NBC: both previous Manning Bowls (the Giants vs. Peyton’s former team, the Colts) in 2006 and 2010 were broadcast on NBC. So this Broncos/Giants tilt is more than likely going to air on NBC, as well – just not on Thanksgiving. It’ll probably be played in September, perhaps the opening game of the season on “Sunday Night Football.” And remember, the game is in Jersey, so if the Broncos win Super Bowl XLVII, it can’t be the “kickoff” game, since it would have to be played in Denver.

In the end, I would think that the game that ends up being scheduled in primetime next Thanksgiving would likely involve at least one AFC team. Not just because two NFC teams host games every year, either: since the night game was added in 2006, only one game was an all-NFC affair: the Arizona Cardinals at the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008. Incidentally, both of those teams are in the process of cleaning house – and are also scheduled to play each other in 2013. And word on the street is that former Eagles coach Andy Reid could become the new head coach in Arizona. And if former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt ended up in Philadelphia? Could that be the Thanksgiving 2013 nightcap?

It couldn’t be worse than the “buttfumble” game last Thanksgiving night.

Or Raiders vs. Cowboys.


Tryptophan, please.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 17


Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be working a game featuring the New England Patriots for the sixth time this season, when the Pats host the Miami Dolphins from Foxboro.

We’ve once again reached the final week of the regular season of the NFL. And so, as 2012 becomes 2013, 32 teams become 12 (with four of them on a bye week). And each and every game will be on Sunday. No Monday night game, and no Thursday night game. And the Sunday night game, as first speculated here, is going to be Cowboys/Redskins for the NFC East division title. And yes, both CBS and Fox have doubleheaders, except in markets where a team will be hosting a game, or a team fails to sell enough tickets (hello, Buffalo!). The SportsFans.org website actually tallied a grand total of fourteen games being blacked out locally this season, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leading the way with six blackouts. The San Diego Chargers are right behind them with four games – but they won’t be adding (subtracting?) to that total this year, as their home finale (which will likely be the finale of Norv Turner’s coaching career and A.J. Smith’s general managing career in San Diego) against the Oakland Raiders has been sold out. I guess they’re happy to see Norv and A.J. go, huh?


CBS: Virtually everybody west of U.S. Route 31 will be watching the Houston Texans play the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, a.k.a. The House That Peyton Built. And Peyton’s eventual successor, Andrew Luck, is no Wally Pipp, potentially leading his team to a playoff berth in his rookie season. Just two weeks ago in Houston, the Texans defeated the Colts, clinching the AFC South division. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf call this rematch. Of course, every single game on this weekend’s roster is a rematch, as they’re all games between division rivals. Remember back in Week 1, when Mark Sanchez and the Jets blew out the Bills in New Jersey? Well, as you read in the opening paragraph, Western New York wants no part of the Jets again, which means Marv Albert and Rich Gannon will be working a game that will only be seen in New York City and Albany and their surrounding areas. Reminds me of last season, when the great Marv Albert did a Jets/Eagles game, while most of the rest of the country watched the Patriots vs. the Broncos (and Tim Tebow). The Cincinnati Bengals, who were notorious for games being blacked out last year, only had one such game this season – and it was their win against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. This week, the Bengals face the team that just beat said Giants last week, the Baltimore Ravens, and Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots are assigned to that game. The Pittsburgh Steelers, another AFC North team that defeated the G-Men this year, host the Cleveland Browns, in a game that will be called by Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein. And in a game that has no playoff implications whatsoever, the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) take on the Tennessee Titans (5-10), and for those who have the will to watch it, especially now that Maurice Jones-Drew just went on injured reserve, you’ll hear Don Criqui and Randy Cross interpreting game action for you.

FOX: Looks like the NFC North is going to be split between Fox’s top broadcast booths. First, the trio of Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa will work a game between the Chicago Bears, who are in danger of missing the playoffs, and the Detroit Lions, whose current losing streak pretty much puts an end to any playoff aspirations they may have had this year. Two more teams that also had playoff aspirations this season: the Philadelphia Eagles, who will likely part ways with head coach Andy Reid next week and quarterback Michael Vick next year, and the New York Giants, who have parted ways with the desire to win football games over the past couple of months. Earlier this year on a Sunday nighter in Philly, the Eagles beat the Giants; it would be the last game they would win until they got off the schneid in Tampa earlier this month. The rematch will be worked by Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick, the former Ravens head coach who has been rumored to assume Reid’s job next year. The other two matchups in Fox’s early game window all involve the NFC South division. The Atlanta Falcons, who clinched the division and the number one seed in the NFC overall, entertain the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; working this game will be Dick Stockton and former Buc John Lynch. And the Carolina Panthers travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (not in Benzes, I’m assuming) to take on the New Orleans Saints; assigned to this matchup are Ron Pitts and Mike Martz, who never worked for the Saints, though he did coach the St. Louis Rams.


CBS: For the sixth time this season, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be working a game involving the New England Patriots. The six-pack includes a trip to jolly ol’ England, as you recall. This week, the also-rans in last year’s Super Bowl host the Miami Dolphins. For the record, Gumbel and Dierdorf worked their previous matchup back in Week 13. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts actually called a Patriots game this season (granted, it was against a lesser opponent) and this week, they’ll be in Denver, where the Broncos, behind Peyton Manning, will face the Kansas City Chiefs (poor Ian and Dan). And calling the Oakland Raiders/San Diego Chargers game that will not be blacked out in Baja California are Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker (poor Bill and Steve).

FOX: This week’s Green Bay Packers/Minnesota Vikings game is assigned to the A-team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and for good reason: Adrian Peterson could break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. He needs about 200 yards to do so – which, given AP’s body of work, isn’t entirely impossible, but perhaps he can run the Vikings into the postseason, as a playoff berth is also on the line for Minnesota. As you read last week, this game was also a candidate, in my view, of being flexed into Sunday night this week. The St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, who ended the regular season in NBC’s Sunday night spotlight two years ago – and could have possibly done so again this season, especially if a “win or go home” situation presented itself – will settle for Chris Myers and Tim Ryan instead of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. And speaking of notable announcers, Gus Johnson will once again get the call for an NFL game, as he and Charles Davis work the regular season finale for the playoff-bound San Francisco 49ers and the January-could-not-come-soon-enough Arizona Cardinals.

My next roundup will be in roughly ten weeks, when NCAA March Madness once again takes its toll. Thanks for reading.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 16

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green lashed out after losing a game at home to the Chicago Bears in 2006. These teams meet in Glendale once again this weekend.

It’s the penultimate week of the 2012 NFL regular season, and since there are only two primetime games this week – 49ers/Seahawks on Sunday night on NBC, and Falcons/Lions in a Saturday night edition of “Monday Night Football” on ESPN; remember, NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” season concluded last week – there is a whopping fourteen games on tap on Sunday afternoon. This week, Fox has the doubleheader, yet they have six games to CBS’ eight. Previously, both were set for seven apiece, until NBC opted to take a Fox (NFC) game for “Sunday Night Football” and flex out an AFC game – Chargers/Jets – to CBS. Oh, and no Gus Johnson game this week. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. And if you knew immediately after the Eagles ended their eight-game losing streak with a last-second victory in Tampa two weeks ago, that this week’s Buccaneers game would be blacked out, well, you’re a bigger soothsayer than I thought.


CBS: By the way, of those eight games on CBS’ docket, all but one are in their early game window. And of these seven games, three are divisional matchups – noen bigger than the one Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are working: the Pittsburgh Steelers, at 7-7 on the year, host the Cincinnati Bengals, who are a game up on them. Both teams are behind the Baltimore Ravens, who currently sit atop the AFC North, yet have lost three straight games. So not only is a wild card berth at stake for the Bengals and the Steelers, but perhaps the top spot in the division, as well. The Green Bay Packers have already clinched the NFC North division, and have a chance for a first-round bye if they take care of business against the Tennessee Titans; Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will be at Lambeau Field. As for the team that just lost in primetime to the Titans, the New York Jets, they mercifully have a second straight primetime dud of a game averted as their home finale against the San Diego Chargers, once penciled in for Sunday night on NBC, is kicked to CBS as a 1 PM game. And while both of these teams bear losing records and will be losing their general managers (at the very least) next season, who benefits from this game? You do, because the great Marv Albert, along with his compadre Rich Gannon, are assigned to this matchup. The team that embarrassed the Jets during their last home game in primetime, the New England Patriots, travel to Jacksonville to make jigsaw puzzle pieces out of the Jaguars, in a game that will be called by Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots. Also, the Oakland Raiders visit Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, and viewers watching this game will be greeted by Spero Dedes and former Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein. Well, I told you at the start of this paragraph that CBS was running three division games during this window, none bigger than Bengals/Steelers – and ain’t it the truth: the Kansas City Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts (okay, so it won’t be all that bad with Andrew Luck involved – but it might get ugly in a hurry); Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker will work this game from Arrowhead Stadium. And you know CBS has a heavy NFL workload when they have to bring in Don Criqui to call a game; in this case, it’s Buffalo at Miami. Criqui will be joined by CBS college football analyst and current morning show co-host on CBS Radio’s new 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Randy Cross (Criqui and Cross both called NFL games regularly on CBS for years). So the end of the world has not happened, which means people still have bills to pay – and of course, the matter is worse in upstate New York, where they still have to watch them.

FOX: The Dallas Cowboys, like the other 31 teams in the NFL, have aspirations of going to the Super Bowl, which this year takes place in New Orleans. But for the Cowboys, who are in a three-way logjam in first place in the NFC East, the road to New Orleans goes through – well, New Orleans, kinda. The Saints march into Jerry World, as will Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa to interpret game action to viewers. And let’s just get this out of the way: the St. Louis Rams, who at 6-7-1 see the playoff glass half-empty, will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who themselves saw their playoff hopes dashed, in a half-full Raymond James Stadium; as a result, six of the Bucs’ eight home games on the season will be blacked out on local television. Still, Ron Pitts and former Rams coach Mike Martz will be working this one; how much the Bucs will work it is anyone’s guess. The road teams involved in these next two games could possibly be traveling to “Sunday Night Football” next week: The Philadelphia Eagles, who handed the Bucs a loss in the last game they were able to sell out at home, will be playing what is likely the final game in South Philly with one Andrew Walter Reid on the sidelines. And who better to yank the hot seat from under him but the Washington Redskins, winners of five straight games, four of them behind Robert Griffin III, who is slated to return under center this weekend. And returning to Lincoln Financial Field are Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick. The Redskins are one of three teams deadlocked in first place in the NFC East, and next week, they host the Cowboys, so chances are, that game will be flexed to primetime in Week 17. Or could it be the game in which Adrian Peterson might break a 28-year rushing record? Next week, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Packers, but first, the team led by their reliable running back must travel to Reliant Stadium to face another division winner, the AFC South-winning Houston Texans. If Peterson manages to rush for about 150 yards – he’ll only need about 150 more to break Eric Dickerson’s record – and also, if the Vikings manage to win the game, they might find themselves playing under the lights, not only for (possibly) a playoff berth, but history, as well. As for Vikings/Texans, this contest will be worked by Chris Myers and Tim Ryan. Gee, I wonder if Christian Ponder’s new wife, Austin resident Samantha Steele, is going to attend this game.


CBS: There’s just one game in CBS’ late window, and the only people that it matters to the most are gamblers and people who have Peyton Manning on their fantasy football team in the finals. That’s right, the Denver Broncos, who at this point of the season have as many wins (eleven) in the AFC West as the rest of the teams in the division combined, plan to put their winning streak into double digits against the Cleveland Browns. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts will call the game from Invesco High Authority, or whatever it’s called these days.

FOX: The third team in a three-way tie for first in the NFC East, the New York Giants, have coughed up sole ownership of the division lead, while the Baltimore Ravens, losers of three straight games, are in danger of doing it themselves in the AFC North. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman work this game which bears severe playoff implications in both conferences. And speaking of conferences – and bears – do you remember this?

This instant classic from then-Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green came after his team had lost a Monday nighter to the Chicago Bears, who had overcome a 20-0 halftime deficit, improving their undefeated record to 6-0. Fast forward to 2012, and over their last six games, the Bears are not who we thought they were, seeing a 7-1 record slip to 8-6, tied with the Vikings for second place in the NFC North. As for the team in the cellar of that division, the Detroit Lions, they had their asses crowned by the Cardinals last week (not bad for a team that lost by almost 60 points the previous week), and if this game, which will be worked by Dick Stockton and John Lynch, shows Arizona victorious for the second week in a row, well… I’ll just be waiting to see Lovie Smith surface as an analyst on NFL Network one day.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.

Concussions, Linsanity And Tebowmania: Sports Media Journalists Look Back At 2012

In this scene from SNY’s “The Year In Review” of 2012, Daily News sports media columnist Bob Raissman takes the Post’s Phil Mushnick to school.

Christmas time means it’s almost the end of the year – and that means many year-end specials.

The regional sports network SNY has once again assembled a “Year In Sports” special for 2012, consisting in discussions of the biggest topics in the sports world not only in New York City, but nationally as well.

The local sports media panel consisted of Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, and Neil Best of New York Newsday, all of whom appeared on the 2011 edition of “The Year In Sports.” This year, the trio is joined by their counterpart from The New York Times, Ken Belson.

One of the topics discussed during the national window was the phenomenon that was Linsanity, when Jeremy Lin had led the Knicks for a remarkable stretch. He currently plays for the Houston Rockets – but the show’s moderator, Chris Carlin, asked if Linsanity would have even reached such heights if, say, Lin had never played in New York at all.

“Not one fan needed the media to tell you that that guy did something special to that team,” Mushnick contested. “No one had to read a paper, turn on the radio, watch TV, other than the [Knicks] game.”

“The beauty of the Linsanity story,” according to Best, “compared to Tebow, he actually did do something.”

In the same segment the brief Linsanity period in New York was discussed, the seemingly outgoing Tebowmania period in New York was also touched on.

“Jeremy Lin kind of came and went,” said Best. “The staying power of this Tebow story is amazing.”

“It’s driven by the media,” remarked Raissman on the media’s fixation with the Jets’ backup quarterback. “He’s not dressing, and they’re writing stories about him.”

Raissman also argued – as he has in past Daily News columns – that networks that covered Jets games this season showed more shots of Tebow on the sidelines than Jets players that are actually playing.

“We have to give this guy credit for the way he has handled this,” Best said, “because with this ridiculous spotlight on him, he has not wavered, not complained; he’s been accessible with the media.”

(By the way, not too long after the special was recorded, Tebow did kinda complain a bit.)

Also discussed by the New York sports media writers was the surreal year R.A. Dickey had for the New York Mets. “He’s a genuine character,” opined Belson. “He’ll stand at his locker and talk to you forever… You can’t help but like the guy.”

That did not seem to be the case when during the Mets’ Christmas party, he discussed his contract situation at length. “This guy was asked a question, and he gives what he always gives, an honest answer,” said Raissman. “It’s interesting to watch… the guy go from hero to bum.”

(Since the taping of the special, the Cy Young award winner has gone from New York to Toronto.)

The foursome also talked about the swift resolution of the Bernie Madoff situation involving the Mets; the future of the Yankees franchise if the team’s YES Network is sold to Fox magnate Rupert Murdoch (Raissman: “You look at everything Fox has gotten into and owns the majorityship: they’re not there to be sitting in the back of the bus; they’ll be driving the bus”); and the media’s role in the fate of the New York City Marathon after Hurricane Sandy crippled the city – and not one of them mentioned Mike Francesa – at least not in that discussion.

The locals were asked about the possibility of Francesa and his old WFAN on-air buddy, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, reuniting on the radio.

“I’m sure there’s a shot, but no,” answered Mushnick. “They’d be killing each other.”

Best affirmed that the two “do not hate each other,” they just “got sick of each other professionally.”

“Why pay them both the kind of money they’re making,” asked Raissman. “You think Francesa’s gonna give Dog part of his salary? The Pope would never do that… He’s doing his own thing with his ratings; [WFAN] don’t have to pay two guys.”

Best pointed out that Francesa could be retiring in 2014; Raissman suspects it’s a contract negotiation.

Best: “I think he’s serious about maybe walking away in 2014.”

Raissman: “Yeah, right… You’ll have to carry him out of that studio.”

The national panel consisted of Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, both making return appearances this year; plus panel newcomers Rachel Cohen from the Associated Press, and the Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Futterman. The latter had a strong opinion on the impact of concussions in the NFL.

“It’s the old journalism adage, you have to follow the money. This is cigarettes, this is asbestos, this is another big liability case, and how do those cases end? Usually, they end in really big settlements. And at some point, the NFL is probably, I think, going to have to write a very large check to a lot of people, and I don’t think it’s gonna be five years. If you let this thing drag out for five years, it’s going to be a big mistake.”

Deitsch argued that only something “catastrophic” such as “deaths on the field” would negatively impact the league. “It is a violent game; I think people have accepted that.”

When the current NHL lockout and whether or not it could be a death knell to the hockey league was brought up, after Carlin pointed out “ratings have gone down continually” before the lockout, Deitsch chimed in with: “Chris, there’s nothing more I love than hunting and fishing shows on the NBC Sports Network.” (NBCSN would be airing NHL games right about now, had there been no lockout.) Deitsch believes that viewership and attendance levels will be retained, but at “a far lower base than the NFL and the NBA,” it will take between two and four years.”

“The fans might forgive once,” Cohen argued, “I don’t know if they’ll forgive twice.”

Ourand suggested that the league consider contration in order to survive. “There’s value to having teams… in Florida and… in Phoenix,” Futterman replied, “but if you’re going to do that, you have to figure out a way to support them, because those teams can’t seem to support themselves.”

As was the case with the New York sports media panel, the red meat that is Tim Tebow was also thrown out to the national sports media panel.

Ourand: “He is such a fascinating character nationally, and polarizing. People just want to know what’s happening with him.”

Carlin: “Why is he so fascinating, especially this year when he hasn’t been on the field?”

Deitsch: “Well, he’s fascinating for [ESPN boss] John Skipper because no network has ridden Tebow harder than ESPN.”

And with social media playing a huge role in the Olympics – for viewers as a complaining device, mostly – Twitter’s existence vis a vis sports events was also discussed.

“Twitter is a game changer,” Deitsch said. “It’s become the water cooler conversation for sports fans… The fact is, we now live in a universe where the second screen is how we watch TV: first screen, we look at TV; second screen, we want to be social with our friends and family, and Twitter is among the best social emdia services you can have for sports.”

“It feels like the event’s over, and you gotta keep looking at your computer, and looking at your iPhone,” Futterman said, adding that “it can be a little frustrating” and “distracting” to the sports fan.

It can also be distracting for athletes, in a way. “Every time you put an athlete on Twitter, you give him another excuse not to grant you an interview,” Futterman argued. “And that’s my real problem with it… I think we empower it sometimes too much, in the sense that — I don’t need to talk to you, just follow my Twitter feed.”

Warned Ourand: “You do have to worry much more about what you put out there and what you tweet… But it’s changed the way people watch sports, period.”

Ourand also commented on the changing landscape of college sports, predicting that there will be “more realignment” in college football to the tune of “four 16-team conferences.”

Quoth Deitsch: “Money is driving this ship.”

Cohen: “It’s very obvious, they’re following the money.”

Futterman joked that eventually in college football, there will be “two conferences: one would be ESPN, and the other is Fox.” Yet he added: “They [schools] need the money. They gotta get it from somewhere, and TV seems to be the place where they’re going to get it.”

Members of both panels were asked to choose what they thought was their biggest stories or personalities of 2012, and what they think will be the biggest story in 2013 – but I won’t spoil it for you. (Okay, I’ll share one: Ourand says he’s looking forward to the launch of the new Fox Sports One cable network. “It’s the latest potential competitor to ESPN, and I’m dying to see what it looks like.”)

Catch the “Geico SportsNite: 2012: The Year In Sports” special when it re-airs for the remainder of the year on SNY. The special will be rebroadcast on SNY at the following dates and times: Thursday, December 20, 2 PM; Sunday, December 23, 3 PM; Wednesday, December 26, 7:30 PM; Saturday, December 29, 9 PM; and Tuesday, January 1, 2013 (New Year’s Day) at 12 Noon (all times Eastern).

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 15

The last time the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Dallas Cowboys in Texas, the Cowboys’ starting quarterback was 1986 Heisman Tropy winner Vinny Testaverde (or, if you prefer, Vinny Football). This week, his eventual successor, Tony Romo, battles Ben Roethlisberger.

First and foremost, prayers to everyone related to the victims in what was confirmed to be the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history – yes, even more than Columbine – that took place in Newtown, Connecticut.

As Roger Goodell says, back to football. But not in San Diego, where the Chargers will once again be blacked out. And the Oakland Raiders might be joining them, as they have been granted an extension to sell out their game this weekend. Any updates will be posted in this space. It’s a CBS doubleheader weekend, except for San Diego, even as it’s a Fox Chargers game, as league rules prohibit a network doubleheader being in effect in markets where a team’s game is blacked out locally.


CBS: Hard to believe that CBS has the doubleheader, despite having three less games to work with than Fox. But most of them are going to be thrilling to watch. The Denver Broncos will be taking their seven-game winning streak to Baltimore, where the Ravens, after a two-game slide, recently fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and named his replacement, Jim Caldwell – who I’m sure Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning knows a thing or two about, as Caldwell had been a coach on Manning’s former team, the Indianapolis Colts, for a decade, including three of them as the head coach. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will work this game from Charm City. As for those Colts, led by their charming rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, they’ve been on a tear, threatening the Houston Texans for the top spot in the AFC South division – there’s just one problem: in their previous thirteen games, the Colts haven’t played the Texans – and they’ll be in Houston this weekend, as will Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts. A Colts victory in Houston would certainly make their Week 17 rematch an early favorite to be flexed into this season’s “Sunday Night Football” finale. And you know what hasn’t been featured on “SNF” in awhile? A football team from Florida: the Sunshine State was last represented by the Miami Dolphins in Week 4 of 2010. This week, two Florida teams will be facing off, as the Fins host the Jacksonville Jaguars. And yes, this game will be thrilling because it will be called by the great Marv Albert, along with Rich Gannon.

FOX: Color me shocked. When Fox up and protected a three-game stretch of games involving the New York Giants this month, I was convinced that Joe Buck, who went so far as to agree to call both a Giants/49ers game from San Francisco, before taking a cable car to AT&T Park to work a World Series game with the San Francisco baseball Giants, would be all over them. As it turns out, Buck and his booth buddy Troy Aikman will actually be in Soldier Field for a divisional showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. So that rematch of last year’s wild card playoff game between the Giants and the Atlanta Falcons – in which the Falcons scored all of two points – will be worked by the trio of Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa. And there will be yet another divisional tilt taking place in New Orleans, as the Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who saw their playoff hopes all but dashed last week by the Philadelphia Eagles, who ended their eight-game losing streak on a day in which the Bucs celebrated the tenth anniversary of their Super Bowl team – a Super Bowl trip that was denied to the Eagles (who, by the way, went back to their losing ways on Thursday night). Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick will be working this game. Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson, who is charging to break rushing records this season, will be leading his Minnesota Vikings to Missouri, hoping to upend the St. Louis Rams and say, “show me the playoffs!” (Because Missouri is the Show Me State, you see.) Assigned to this game are none other than Gus Johnson and Charles Davis. And just days after enduring ESPN’s Rob Parker calling him out as a “cornball brother” (he’s since been suspended for those remarks), Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will face a true endurance test as they play a Cleveland Browns team that has won three straight games. Ron Pitts and Mike Martz will work this game from the Dawg Pound – I understand Parker will be watching this one from the doghouse.


CBS: Last season, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms called two Cowboys games: a Week 10 matchup with the Bills, and of course, the Thanksgiving contest with the Dolphins in Week 12. This week, the duo returns to Jerry World as the Cowboys host the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won their last two matchups with Dallas. (Bonus: Watch this recap of the 1994 season opener for the Cowboys and the Steelers, from ESPN B.F.T. – or Before First Take.) The fifth and final game on CBS’ menu this weekend is the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Oakland Raiders, which will be worked by Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots.

FOX: Dick Stockton and John Lynch will be shuffling off to… Toronto? Yep, it’s that time again where a Buffalo Bills home game is farmed out to Canada. This week, the Bills “host” the Seattle Seahawks, fresh off of a thumping of the Arizona Cardinals by nearly sixty points. (Question: Suppose the game didn’t sell out in the Great White North – would that mean Western New York wouldn’t get to see it?) I’m surprised that the Cardinals’ next home game isn’t blacked out after that debacle last week, and this week, they play host (without quotation marks, this time) to the high-flying Detroit Lions, in a game that will be called by Chris Myers and Tim Ryan, and shown virtually only in the states of Arizona and Michigan. As you know, around this time, fantasy football is in playoff mode, and I know several people that plan on using the Lions defense this week, so I’ll just say this: If the Cardinals win this one, there are going to be a lot of angry people calling for Jim Schwartz to be fired after this season. And speaking of head coaches getting fired, Norv Turner will be on the sidelines for his penultimate home game as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, who this week will play a team that actually has a record worse than theirs, the Carolina Panthers. In other words, expect Cam Newton to “charge” up the scoreboard. This game will be worked by Sam Rosen and Heath Evans, and televised only in the Carolinas – so if this becomes a blowout early, don’t be surprised if they start paying tribute to Andy Griffith at some point.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.