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.

PA. NFL Network Viewers Denied Tebow Time

NFL Network viewers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh - including Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley - were not able to view Friday night's Jets/Bengals broadcast, forcing Rich Eisen to address the odd situation via Twitter.

It’s as if the Keystone Kops were controlling the cable operations in the Keystone State.

On Friday night, as the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals were preparing for their first preseason action of the year – and Tim Tebow’s all-important first official snaps in a Jet uniform – many viewers of NFL Network instead were greeted with a replay of Thursday night’s Ravens/Falcons preseason tilt.

Including, for some reason, viewers in the Philadelphia area.

“Someone want to explain to me why NFL Network has a replay of the Falcons/Ravens game on and [not] Jets/Bengals?”, asked Dan Rodgers of Lower Merion, PA, moments after the game had started.

And Berwyn resident Stephane Hardinger expressed outrage, demanding: “I MUST SEE TIMOTHY TEBOW PLAY.”

Philadelphia was not alone in their lack of Tebow Time, as it appears NFLN viewers in Pittsburgh were also affected – including one LaMarr Woodley, who has only been the outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last six years.

“What channel the Jets game on?,” he tweeted to his 133,000+ followers at around a quarter to 8 PM. Moments later, he would personally tweet NFL Network’s Twitter account seeking answers.

Even viewers from “the sticks of PA” chimed in expressing their incense of not being able to watch Tebow and Co.

In fact, viewers from Virginia to Indiana had been watching the replay of the Ravens’ 31-17 road rout of the Falcons instead of what would be the Bengals beating the Jets 17-6.

What went wrong?

No, not with Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez, but with NFL Network’s apparent botching of this blackout in areas outside of New York – very far outside New York, it looks like.

Even though it’s only a preseason game, and despite the fact that the Jets were on the road in this preseason game, WCBS-TV, which carried the contest in New York, has requested the game be blacked out on NFLN in the greater New York metro.

Being situated in New York, I can confirm that I saw Ravens/Falcons on NFLN on Friday night. And when I flipped over during a commercial break on WCBS’ Jets/Bengals coverage to NFLN, for no particular reason, to watch day-old Ravens/Falcons footage, I saw Verizon FiOS insert a local ad break right in the middle of a drive.

I can understand if CBS asks for NFL Network – which was carrying WCBS’ feed of the game, thus may have lied within CBS’ request – to show alternate programming in New York so that more viewers would watch the Jets/Bengals game on WCBS’ air. (It’s moot, given that Time Warner and Cablevision, the two major cable companies in NYC, don’t even carry NFLN, but that’s beside the point.) As such, even viewers in Connecticut and New Jersey were affected by this blackout request. And so, NFLN, rather than just go dark for three hours, had beamed the Ravens/Falcons game to areas in New York City, as well as Connecticut and New Jersey.

Yet in NFLN’s infinite wisdom, this included South Jersey, which is Philadelphia Eagles territory. This caused a domino effect that spread to Philadelphia itself, and Pittsburgh, as well.

After about an hour of fielding Twitter complaints from several viewers – including the Super Bowl champion and one-time Pro Bowler LaMarr Woodley – NFL Network’s Rich Eisen was compelled to address the issue. “To the people of Pennsylvania, I have no earthly idea why you can’t see Jets/Bengals on @NFLNetwork,” he tweeted. The fact that the face of NFL Network had to tweet about this may be indicative of a veiled “mea culpa” on NFLN’s part for mishandling the blackout of Jets/Bengals in selected areas.

Just so I had all my bases covered, this morning, I spoke to Alicia, a representative from the service department at Comcast, the largest cable provider in Philadelphia, and she confirmed that, according to a colleague who was on duty Friday night, there were no issues central to Comcast with regards to blacking out NFLN or airing replacement programming, nor were there any customer complaints at that time.

Meanwhile, in an ironic twist, it appears viewers in Cincinnati – whose Bengals have been a repeated local television blackout victim during the regular season – were able to watch the WCBS-TV feed of Jets/Bengals on NFL Network on Friday night (that is, if they haven’t switched from Time Warner). Locally, Bengals preseason broadcasts are carried on WKRC-TV – and you’d have to wonder if there would have been similar issues, had NFLN opted for Brad Johansen’s call of the game. With Tim Tebow on the roster of the opposing team, probably not.

At any rate, NFL Network is scheduled to carry one more Jets preseason game this month, and it’s scheduled for next Saturday night against the crosstown rivals – and Super Bowl champions – the New York Giants. And it looks like for the second week in a row, NFLN will once again lean on the Jets’ local broadcast team. In fact, according to the schedules on both the Jets’ and Giants’ websites, it appears there’s not even going to be a Giants broadcasting crew handling the game on television. Yes, it’s considered a Jets home game, but did I mention the Giants just won the Super Bowl?

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to find out whether or not Philadelphia-area viewers will be complaining about how they’re watching a rebroadcast of Friday night’s Ravens/Lions game in lieu of Jets/Giants on Saturday night.

Likewise, we’ll also know if LaMarr Woodley – whose Steelers play both the Jets and Giants in the first half of their 2012-13 campaign – will miss out on viewing potential “game tape” as a result of another screwup at NFL Network.

He may have to go over to Culver City and punk someone.

"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.

NBC Sports Network To Hit "The 'Lights" In Morning Drive

NBC Sports Network will debut a new morning show, "The 'Lights," on August 13. As the title suggests, it will be a highlight-heavy program - and will not have any live hosts. Also, the two-hour program will consist of a twenty-minute segment airing six times in a row.

Give NBC Sports Network credit: launching a brand new daily morning show for a relatively new sports network is a big step.

For example, next week, the established NFL Network will be debuting their new morning show, “NFL AM,” which promises to execute creative ways to fill four hours each day.

So what’s NBCSN got up their sleeve? They’re going to effectively produce a twenty-minute show – and repeat it on a loop for two hours.

The name of the show, “The ‘Lights”, right away gives you the premise of the program: highlights. According to an NBCSN press release, it’s intended “to serve the busy morning schedule of sports fans.” In other words, it’s the classic news radio slogan, “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” concept, but focused on sports – and, of course, it’s on television.

But if you’re wondering what bright personality will greet you every morning on “The ‘Lights,” prepare to be burned out: “[It] will not feature an on-camera anchor or set,” the press release continues. “The show will use a unique presentation of simultaneous video clips, graphics and voiceovers to deliver the scores and information.” In other words, it’ll be a sports show commanded not by Costas, but by chyrons.

Oh, and the show “will be updated as necessary.” Like there’s really a lot of sports action going on between 7-9 AM ET, which is when “The ‘Lights” will air. It will debut on Monday, August 13, after the 2012 Summer Olympics have concluded.

This has to be a temporary fix. I mean, you couldn’t find a radio show to simulcast for a few hours? That seems to be the “in” thing on sports cable networks these days.

Of course, NBC Sports Network could easily air video of whatever morning show is scheduled on their new NBC Sports Radio Network, which launches this fall – but they don’t anticipate a complete 24/7 programming wheel for at least a few years, so “The ‘Lights” is more than likely a temporary fix until that point.

Meanwhile, it does not appear that CBS Sports Network has any original morning drive programming before they broadcast a video feed of Tim Brando’s midday radio show. Maybe they’ll be filling that time period  once their own brand new sports radio network launches full-time in January – perhaps with one Craig Carton and one Boomer Esiason, who already have a television simulcast via regional sports network MSG.

Anyway, NBC Sports boss Jon Miller calls “The ‘Lights” the show that “will serve as a catalyst for our new programming lineup” – a lineup which also includes a video version of Sports Illustrated magazine, and the post-Olympics return of their nightly “NBC SportsTalk” show.

Miller, who admits he’s “excited” (imagine that) about NBCSN’s new morning show, vows “The ‘Lights” will “quickly provide sports fans all of the scores and highlights they crave as they start their day.”

Miller then stopped short of announcing “The ‘Lights” has been replaced by “the ‘net.”

Again, I’m not panning NBCSN’s decision – just the concept. When you take “The ‘Lights” and put it up against “NFL AM” and “Mike & Mike” and “Boomer & Carton” and all of the other morning shows on sports television, people will almost always go for the live programming every time.

And if “all of the scores and highlights” is what they really “crave” when they wake up in the morning, most of these shows have tickers on the bottom of the screen with this info.

Or, if you’re fortunate enough to have a 24-hour all-news radio station, you can tune that in – of course, the caveat is you have to wait every half-hour for the sports update.

But at least there will be a live person presenting the scores – something “The ‘Lights” will not offer.

Which, if you think about it, really dims its chances right out of the gate.

Breakfast Blitz: NFL Network To Debut New Morning Show

NFL Network will launch a new four-hour daily morning show later this summer. Shown is Brian Webber, whom NFLN drafted as the "quarterback" for their new wakeup program, "NFL AM," which will air weekdays at 6 AM ET, with an encore presentation at 10 AM ET.

Rise and shine, football fans.

Presenting a new program from NFL Network, the league-run channel that senses “all you want is football.”

They’ve probably done some research and discovered you don’t want day-old “NFL Total Access” reruns in the morning.

NFLN has announced a brand new morning show, “NFL AM,” which will air weekday mornings starting July 30 – right after training camps have opened for the 2012 season – from 6 to 10 AM Eastern Time – or 3 to 7 AM in Culver City, CA, where NFL Network is based.

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand, who first broke the story, has details on the talent that will host the new NFLN morning show – and luckily, all of them have spent plenty of time in the Pacific Time Zone, so they shouldn’t have any issues akin to a West Coast team playing a Sunday early game on the East Coast.

First, there’s Brian Webber, whom NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger is dubbing the show’s “quarterback.” (I wonder if NFLN will give him the ol’ franchise tag in a couple of years.) Webber comes to NFLN from Fox Sports, including many years at the FSN regional sports channels in Seattle and the Bay Area, as well as Fox Sports Radio. Webber has also appeared on The Tennis Channel.

Then, there’s the token Super Bowl champion making up the football morning show ensemble, Eric Davis, who spent roughly the first half of his career with the San Francisco 49ers and was part of the squad that won Super Bowl XXIX. He also brings an impressive resume off the football field, as well. Last year, not only has he taken over as the color commentator for 49ers radio broadcasts, heard locally on KNBR-AM, but that same year, he had started co-hosting a sports radio talk show alongside New York import Brandon Tierney on another San Francisco sports radio station, KGMZ/”95.7 The Game.” While Davis will hang up his headphones at “The Game” to concentrate on his game face on NFLN every morning, he is expected to retain the color analyst gig with the 49ers (and the awkwardness of moonlighting at two rival sports stations in the Bay Area shall subside).

Finally, there’s a female component of the “NFL AM” crew – and it’s someone we’ve told you plenty about late last week upon her hire. Yes, as it turns out, the “high profile” anchor gig for Nicole Zaloumis will indeed be on NFLN’s brand new morning show. Originally, I speculated that she would be the new lead female anchor on “Total Access.” And that was based on logic – at the time, it was the only program on the channel outside of “Gameday” with an “anchor” position.

Not to say that a four-hour morning show about football news and discussion is far-fetched. Certainly, Eric Weinberger doesn’t think so. “How can you fill up four hours dedicated to the NFL each morning?,” he hypothetically asks USAT’s Hiestand. “It’s surprisingly easier than it sounds… It’s mind-boggling how much content is out there.”

And we know just how brilliant NFL Network can be at creating content, don’t we, kids?

Which reminds me: I guess with the advent of a new NFLN morning show, the folks at Wolfgang Puck are probably chomping at the bit to construct a new breakfast menu at the NFL Cafe.

Here are a few suggestions:

“Big Ben Bagels.”

“The Manning Mimosa.”

“Ray Rice Krispies.”

“Vix” cereal (as in Michael Vick meets “Trix”).

Or, if you prefer, “Arian Foster Flakes.”

And, of course, “Tebow Toast.”

(You can send me the check later, Puck.)

Now, I’m hungry… Anyway, back on topic: Weinberger is envisioning many ways to fill four hours on “NFL AM”. He promises “heavy debate,” which will consist of incumbent NFLN staffer, resident reporter and journalist Steve Wyche, going toe-to-toe against author Mark Kriegel, another new NFLN hire who, like Webber, comes to the network by way of Fox Sports. The program, Weinberger says, also hopes to snag interviews with coaches and players “before they start their days.” And if there are any major events in other sports leagues, Webber, Davis and Zaloumis will find an entertaining way to correlate it to football.

And if you aren’t an early bird but still want to catch the show, an instant replay of “NFL AM” will air starting at 10 AM ET/7 AM PT, starting on Labor Day. (Which means you can say goodbye to extra showings of “Top 10” reruns and the like.)

So by the time the 2012 NFL season officially kicks off, the league’s network will already have their new morning show in place, airing for one-third of the broadcast day during the week. “High profile,” indeed.

Senior Vice President of NFL Network Mark Quenzel had this to say about their new daybreak franchise: “We know that our fans are looking for more football and we are excited to provide a personality-driven show which focuses on football and everything around it. There will be no better way to start their day.”

The concept sounds promising, and should lead the football-minded sports viewer to tune away from “SportsCenter” and sample the new show. Of course, that’s provided the network is available on their local cable system.

But this development further contributes to how serious television broadcasters have been taking the morning daypart. There was a time ESPN aired a two-hour business program in the morning. Meanwhile, in your area, I’m sure there are at least a couple of broadcast stations airing a newscast starting at 5 AM – if not 4 AM.

It’s because more and more people have been turning on the tube in the morning, whether they’re preparing for work, or whatever the case may be. The viewers are there – and who better to fill a void of a football-oriented morning show than the NFL Network.

I wish “NFL AM” success. Sure sounds more promising than “Wake Up With Warren Sapp.”

UPDATE: A rather jovial update on this item: NFLN contributor Charles Davis obviously keeps up with news at the network. On Friday’s “Total Access,” Steve Wyche prefaced his comments in a discussion about Donovan McNabb by announcing that he was “radically overdressed for this segment.” Davis, making what appeared to be his first live appearance on the network since the draft, pulled back the curtain and unloaded a tremendous comeback zing when it was his turn to talk: “You’re radically overdressed because you’re preparing to get up early in the morning at the end of the month, so we know why; you’re getting set for that; you look great.”

Nicole Zaloumis Zooming To NFL Network

California native Nicole Zaloumis will be returning to the West Coast, as she will depart her current position at Comcast SportsNet New England for a "high-profile" anchor position at NFL Network. Zaloumis may likely replace Kara Henderson, who has been mysteriously absent from NFLN's air for months.

NFL Network viewers, get used to hearing the name Nicole Zaloumis – and seeing a great deal of her, as well.

Zaloumis, 32, will be joining the league-run network by way of Comcast SportsNet New England, where she has been hosting weekend editions of the channel’s “SportsNet Central” program. Prior to CSNNE, she had been working for two different Fox Sports properties: FSN Northwest (Seattle) from 2008 to 2010, followed by about a year at Big Ten Network. She moved on to Comcast in January 2011.

And before that, she had worked for another Comcast SportsNet outlet in the Bay Area, where she was born and raised, from 2006 to 2008. Previous sports broadcasting gigs include stops at the NBC affiliate in Medford, Oregon (her first such job), the ABC affiliate in Phoenix, and for the syndicated “George Michael Sports Machine” program. “Although brief, I worked in many different roles and refined my skills as a reporter there,” Zaloumis wrote on her Facebook page about her experience in 2004 working with the late George Michael. (Food for thought: Current ESPN personality Lindsay Czarniak is a protege of Michael; she had been a sports anchor for years at WRC-TV, the NBC owned-and-operated station in Washington, D.C. where “Sports Machine” was based.)

The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn, who had broken the news of Zaloumis’ CSNNE departure via Twitter on Thursday, elaborated on the transaction on Friday, describing her new job as “a high-profile gig as an anchor on the NFL Network.” Which basically means that Zaloumis will be NFLN’s new “it” girl.

We all remember who the network’s last “it” girl was. The question is, what’s the latest on Kara Henderson – and does the Zaloumis hire mean that Henderson’s tenure at NFLN is all but over?

At press time, Henderson’s still listed on NFLN’s website, and her Twitter account still lists NFLN as her employer. And just as was the case last month, Kara’s been mum on why she hasn’t been on the air for the last few months. Most of the tweets she sent for the month of June revolved around the NBA playoffs, mostly Game 2 of the NBA Finals which she attended in Oklahoma City last Thursday. She even bumped into Vikings running back Adrian Peterson at that game. “Knee injury? What knee injury,” she tweeted at him this week.

For the record (because we know you’re wondering), Zaloumis’ Twitter account is far less busy than Henderson’s, as Henderson has sent as many tweets this month (five) as Zaloumis has sent for the entire year. That could be due to the fact that Zaloumis is a tad preoccupied, what with raising a two-year-old son, and all.

And as this website points out, Zaloumis “is an avid red carpet aficionado.” So the move to Culver City should be a personal boon for her. Hey, you know how a lot of these cable networks are holding their own awards shows these days? (A trend that may have been sparked by ESPN’s ESPYs?) If NFL Network ever considers holding “The NFL Network Awards,” that just might rock her world.

Anyway, Nicole Zaloumis’ final day at Comcast SportsNet New England is scheduled for this weekend.

Incidentally, the person that she may be replacing in the anchor chair, Kara Henderson, began her television career at New England Sports Network, or NESN, which is a rival of CSNNE.

So Zaloumis could very well already be seated alongside Andrew Siciliano on “Total Access” by the Fourth of July.

In the meantime, Henderson’s Independence Day continues.