Jim Nantz and Phil Simms of CBS will be busier than ever this year, with 14 Thursday night games to handle on top of their regular duties. Omitted from Wednesday’s announcement regarding the new package, however, is the fact that Nantz and Simms will catch a break on some Sundays.
According to CBS, Nantz and Simms won’t be doing a game every Sunday this year. Their final schedule has not yet been determined.
There’s talk that they’ll call only the lead late-afternoon game on weekends when CBS televises a double-header. If so, that would give them roughly eight NFL Sundays off.
That would still be a heavy load, with 14 Thursday games and up to nine Sunday games. But they’ll at least get a chance to periodically catch their breath throughout the 23-game grind.
While CBS may have preferred to have its top team available every Sunday, the presence of the top CBS team on Thursday night in theory gives the broadcast a more special feel — especially when it moves exclusively to NFL Network late in the season.
And if that was one of the key considerations for the NFL, CBS was the only network in position to assign its No. 1 team to 14 Thursdays. NBC (and the NFL) would have wanted Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on every Sunday night, ABC/ESPN would have wanted Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden on all Monday nights, and FOX would have had a hard time making Joe Buck available to Thursday nights during the baseball playoffs.