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NFL expected to give CBS marquee Thursday night games

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When the NFL regular-season schedule is released, expect the Thursday night games in the first half of the season to look better than the Thursday night games in the second half of the season.

That’s because the NFL plans to give CBS, its new broadcast partner for Thursday nights in the first half of the season, a great package of games to start the season. SportsBusiness Journal reports that the CBS games will be much stronger than ESPN’s Monday Night Football package and much stronger than the Thursday night games in the second half of the season.

In other words, games featuring teams that made the playoffs last year, and teams with the biggest fan bases, will go on CBS early in the season. Games like Texans-Jaguars and Browns-Bills will be relegated to NFL Network late in the season.

Of course, there’s no way to say for sure in April which games will be good in the fall. The NFL is unpredictable enough that Texans-Jaguars or Browns-Bills could turn out to be big games between teams fighting for playoff spots, and Seahawks-49ers or Broncos-Patriots could turn out to be matchups or disappointing teams. The only package that is guaranteed to have strong games is the NBC Sunday night package, which takes advantage of flexible scheduling to move marquee games into prime time.

But the NFL has a pretty good idea in advance which games will generate the largest audiences. And a lot of those games will be on Thursday nights early in the season.

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67 Responses to “NFL expected to give CBS marquee Thursday night games”
  1. rodvmunchiii says: Apr 7, 2014 3:40 PM

    Damnit. You stole my Jacksonville and Cleveland references. Now what will I post?!?

  2. eaglesfan036 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:41 PM

    I like this idea. The NFL network crew is awful, so while the games on Thursday will still be awful at least we will have a decent broadcast crew.

  3. donny1rodriguez says: Apr 7, 2014 3:43 PM

    Panthers@Ravens week 1 TNF

  4. macdaddyspeed says: Apr 7, 2014 3:44 PM

    So we can anticipate the vikings having a Thursday night game or two during the 2nd half of the season. SKOL!!!

  5. andrewluck12 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:47 PM

    So will the CBS games only feature AFC teams or interconference games or will some NFC games be shown too?

  6. glennsyank13 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:47 PM

    Seems like monday night games are the games no other network wants. How many Jaguars, Vikings, or other last place teams will be on?

  7. kd75 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:47 PM

    Prime time games should be solid matchups.

    But lets face it. The Seahawks blew doors off the Broncos in the Super Bowl.

    There is no way to predict a “good game”

  8. rdrs68 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:48 PM

    The NFL does not “give” anything-someone stepped up at CBS up with big $$$$$$ to buy the rights.

  9. granadafan says: Apr 7, 2014 3:48 PM

    Translation, CBS threw a boatload more of cash at Goodell.

  10. fissilemissile says: Apr 7, 2014 3:49 PM

    So the NFL is admitting to the pay per view debacle of it’s Thursday night venture. Bad news for the bars but good news for the home viewer.

  11. ninetysixer says: Apr 7, 2014 3:50 PM

    I’m sure the folks over at ESPN are thrilled with this news…..hogs get slaughtered

  12. allhailkingflacco says: Apr 7, 2014 3:51 PM

    Panthers @ Ravens
    Seahawks @ Ravens

    Not a fan of either but this is going to be a fun one: Redskins @ Eagles

  13. isphet71 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:52 PM

    I don’t get why people think Thursday games are such a detriment to a team. The Lions and Cowboys play on a Thursday every year and they don’….


  14. irishinyourface says: Apr 7, 2014 3:52 PM

    the Raiders vs anyone will be a marquee game

  15. chc4 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:54 PM

    Why does Mayock always refer to players as “kids”? It’s nauseating.

  16. harrisonhits2 says: Apr 7, 2014 3:57 PM

    They’re still going to be awful games.

    Why ?

    Because early in the season before rookies and new players to a given team do not yet know their playbook well. They do not know where they’re supposed to be on the field much of the time.

    With only 3 days between Sunday and Thursday and no full practices as a result, there’s not enough practice time for the rooks and newbies to sort out what they’ll have to do.

    These games will be black holes of suck just like they were last year.

  17. 87hollywoodhorn says: Apr 7, 2014 4:00 PM

    give us more sunday night games! sunday games at noon are not convenient for church or a healthy drinking routine (hammered at 3pm nothing to do), everybody loses

  18. logicailvoicesays says: Apr 7, 2014 4:00 PM

    The best 16 regular season games are the Redskins’ games but the NFL can’t make the Redskins the late Sunday afternoon game, the Sunday night game, the Monday night game and the Thursday night game in the same week. As dominant as the Redskins are, they only play one game a week. #EveryonewatchestheRedskins

  19. th56 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:01 PM

    Now put the Monday night games back on broadcast TV. ESPN and NFL network are just plain awful at broadcasting NFL games, they sap all the excitement there used to be on Monday night, plus getting it off cable lets everybody, including the cable cutters and people who just cant afford cable to see the games.

  20. fanofthegame1 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:09 PM

    Marquee? These games are all a joke. Get rid of this thursday crap, nobody cares.

  21. ballboy48 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:11 PM

    Can we stop giving Dallas a ton of night games? They suck.

  22. steves11 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:12 PM

    You can bet that Eagles/Redskins will be one of the early “marquee” games that CBS gets (DeSean Jackson’s revenge!)

  23. whatjusthapped says: Apr 7, 2014 4:20 PM

    Marquee is roughly defined as any game the Vikings, Browns, Jacksonville, or the Raiders are not in.

  24. jbeagles23 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:20 PM

    Desean Jackson revenges the eagles by having 2 catches for 39 yards and losing 35-10

  25. billsboy88 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:20 PM

    Thursday night games just suck in general, doesn’t matter who plays

  26. jacobk621 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:22 PM

    Will we have to pay for the cbs’s games ???

  27. broncfanor says: Apr 7, 2014 4:25 PM

    All NFL games should be on network T.V. PERIOD.

  28. dickshotdogs says: Apr 7, 2014 4:27 PM

    Thursday night crew = Ebonics

  29. TheWizard says: Apr 7, 2014 4:28 PM

    You really think Pats / Broncos could be a game between disappointing teams?

    That game is about as “sure thing” as it can get this year.

  30. myeaglescantwin says: Apr 7, 2014 4:30 PM


  31. schmitty2 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:31 PM

    So during the week fans get to listen to Tirico/Gruden followed by Nantz/Simms. That’s just plain painful.

  32. rodh32340 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:31 PM

    CBS buys into Neutered Football League as it starts it’s slide into the murky waters of mismanagement or over-Goodalled!

  33. realnflmaster says: Apr 7, 2014 4:40 PM

    JETS should play every Thursday, huge ratings for their 16-0 regular season campaign.

  34. crownofthehelmet says: Apr 7, 2014 4:42 PM

    Bad idea to have more Thursday night games. A team like the Ravens will lose half their fanbase due to the TV-watching conflict with Dancing With The Stars and/or Devious Maids. Packers too.

  35. xcflqb7 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:44 PM

    They can cherry pick the schedule all they want to but the one thing that would improve a crappy and unnecessary product is for both teams to be coming off a bye.

    It was hard in a lesser league to deal with 5 days between games ; the body can’t recover and you cannot adequately game plan in 3 .

    Current set up is not fair to players ; its not safe and one step up on the ripoff scale from charging full boat to fans for substandard preseason football – not that the owners care, ESP a vampire squid like Dan Snyder always looking for another arm to stick in the fans wallets

  36. hyguy47 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:46 PM

    All this talk about scheduling and nobody is addressing the most important scheduling fix that is needed….move the Super Bowl to Saturday for crying out loud!!

  37. naes says: Apr 7, 2014 4:53 PM

    I am not a fan of this. If you’re going to put marquee games on Thursday then the teams should be coming off a bye.

    The Thursday games suck because everyone is beat to hell from playing four days earlier and they haven’t game planned.

    Don’t waste marquee matchups on Thursday. What does it prove to have a Broncos/Seahawks game when both teams are at 70-80%?

  38. reesesteel23 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:53 PM

    People act like the Vikings didn’t make the playoffs season before last.

  39. kevjones75 says: Apr 7, 2014 4:54 PM

    Dang, I was really hoping for the Chargers v. Cardinals game to be on Thursday night. LOL

  40. elmerbrownelmerbrown says: Apr 7, 2014 4:58 PM

    i wont be watching so i dont care

  41. borisbulldog says: Apr 7, 2014 5:01 PM

    Mike Mayock’s lisp makes NFL Network games virtually unwatchable!

  42. nflyoda says: Apr 7, 2014 5:02 PM

    I was never sure how they actually selected Thursday night games to begin with. It seemed like they were intentionally picking the worst games every week. Somehow it always seemed to be a Jaguars or Raiders game. I don’t really care who announces the game as long as they dont bring Dan Deardorf out of retirement to do it.

  43. jgedgar70 says: Apr 7, 2014 5:04 PM

    “In other words, games featuring teams that made the playoffs last year, and teams with the biggest fan bases, will go on CBS early in the season.”

    Translation: Every Thursday night game will contain one or more of the following: Cowboys, Redskins, Steelers and a New York team.

    I’ll pass. On all of them.

  44. bigperm33 says: Apr 7, 2014 5:10 PM

    Here is the problem – you have a marquee game on Monday night. On Sunday night. And then CBS and Fox both want a marquee game for Sunday afternoon games. There are only so many marquee games to go around, and Thursday night games have been sloppy and sluggish – part of that is surely the short rest and lack of preparation time, but it also is the fact that there are only so many marquee games to go around. Sure, endings can always be interesting, and games that don’t look like marquee games when the schedule come out can turn into it by the time the game is played. But this is the issue the NFL is going to face – people are busy and how many weeks are there going to be five marquee games?

  45. blkandgld4eva says: Apr 7, 2014 5:14 PM

    I expect a lot of Pats games then, so Mr. “Hello friends” Nantz can continue to display his mancrush with Robert Kraft as they match NE up with the powerhouse AFC East foes Bills, Fins, and Jets – yawn…

  46. logicalvoicesinmyhead says: Apr 7, 2014 5:14 PM

    Thursday night games, regardless of matchup, are pretty darn awful.

  47. jayniner says: Apr 7, 2014 5:29 PM

    How funny would it be if Jacksonville and Cleveland make it to the AFC Championship game!

  48. tigerlilac says: Apr 7, 2014 5:34 PM

    Funny, Nantz isn’t sitting next to Kraft in those pizza commercials that pay him handsomely, it’s Peyton’s business partner, John Schnatter.

  49. coltsreign says: Apr 7, 2014 5:47 PM

    Im sick of the cowboys earning night games. Last year it was nice to see the colts get 4 night games. Now from the colts to eagles or some team ho turned things around

  50. wantcheesewityourwhine says: Apr 7, 2014 5:53 PM

    All this crying because of thur games. You like me will watch. Whoever to complain & others that love football. There are only 17 regular season weeks. I dont like all games jumbled at 1pm and 4pm & 1 game Sun night. So scary your team going to lose a game? Sorry but a thur game for your team wont ruin the season.

  51. donnymacjack says: Apr 7, 2014 6:29 PM

    The “best” games always feature two teams with good defenses. That’s essentially keeps them close and entertaining. So something ala 49ers/Seahawks can be fairly predictably close.

  52. roadtrip3500 says: Apr 7, 2014 6:32 PM

    If they’re looking at “fan base” teams as well as playoff contenders, you can probably expect the Giants, Jets, Cowboys, Steelers, and Dolphins to be the “non-2013-playoff high-fan-base” teams to get a CBS Thursday game.

  53. kwjsb says: Apr 7, 2014 6:47 PM

    ” and teams with the biggest fan bases, will go on CBS early in the season.”

    Browns have the largest US based sports fan club.

  54. rajbais says: Apr 7, 2014 7:02 PM

    Can they also not have crappy teams play primetime games in short time spans???

    The Redskins were risky to put on any primetime games and they were on 5 prime time games!!!

    Can a team at most have 3 and then flex scheduling can work???

    Also, no AFC/NFC issue!!! Let SNF pick the teams they want to cover except not have them back-to-back or twice in 30 days.

  55. rajbais says: Apr 7, 2014 7:10 PM

    Also, let the fans speak!!!

    Let us pick the teams that should be in primetime within reason.

    You have the time slots and group them all for Sunday afternoons and WE pick the ones for SNF, MNF, and TNF.

    After all, it’s better than airing Redskins and Cowboys games!!!

    And let us pick the announcers.

    Nantz is the most unqualified man to ever call football.

    Golf guy for football???

  56. trollaikman8 says: Apr 7, 2014 7:12 PM

    Marquee Thursday Night Games:

    Jets vs. Bills
    Jacksonville vs. Colts

  57. tommythek says: Apr 7, 2014 8:46 PM

    Can’t wait till we get Saturday morning games after the catoons.

  58. steves11 says: Apr 7, 2014 8:55 PM

    “How funny would it be if Jacksonville and Cleveland make it to the AFC Championship game!”

    I think I’ve got better odds of winning the lottery!

  59. gigem20 says: Apr 7, 2014 9:02 PM

    I’ve got no problem with CBS getting the broadcast rights for Thursday Night Football but I wish they would use a pairing other than Nantz and Simms. I don’t want to listen to them twice a week. I think CBS should have considered using Ian Eagle or Kevin Harlan for the play-by-play.

  60. cincyfredo says: Apr 7, 2014 10:30 PM

    Get ready for 4 hour games. CBS had to pay so much that they negotiated for a 10 minute commercial break every change of possession, 8 minute break after PAT and after every kickoff, and a 12 minute break on challenges.
    CBS will use the time to tell us they have the #1 comedy, #1 new show on Wed, #1 reality show, #1 news show, and have Dennis Leary sell us F150’s 20 times.
    Mark Cuban may be right. So much money spent on NFL that the networks have to keep adding commercials.

  61. mayfieldroadboy says: Apr 7, 2014 11:29 PM

    So many complaining about the announcers is my biggest gripe. I personally like Nantz/Sims the best and never really noticed Mayock’s lisp so it can’t be that bad that it unnerves some people.

    Watch football, damnit! And if you want vocal technique and drama, ask PBS to resurrect a copy of Charles Laughton’s reading of “A Christmas Carol”.

  62. raiders4ever says: Apr 7, 2014 11:35 PM

    everyone either loves or hates the Raiders there is no in between ..NFL fans love to watch Raider games just like boxing Fans liked watching Muhammed Ali fight back in the day…either you love us or hate us but you watch ..

  63. raiders4ever says: Apr 7, 2014 11:42 PM

    how about CBS old school broadcasting pair Don Criqui and Bob Trumphy those 2 were pretty good for the old NBC games …they did the AFC before CBS got them and Fox got the NFC…i would love to see those announcers back doing games

  64. bobzilla1001 says: Apr 8, 2014 12:35 AM

    Couldn’t care less who plays on Thursday nights. As a football fan, I’ll be watching regardless. However, a steady diet of Peyton Manning in primetime gets old, real fast.
    The only thing Mark Cuban is right about is the NFL chasing off serious football fans by expanding the playoffs to include mediocre teams. Too much mediocrity is what will eventually curtail the NFL’s popularity.

  65. Vim says: Apr 8, 2014 1:33 AM

    Never been a fan of TNF, whether marquee teams or not. It is just so much more risk from an injury point of view due to the fewer days between games. I am surprised the owners continue to support this crowded scheduling.

    If they must have TNF, the least they can do is make sure the teams are coming off a bye.

  66. mnviking56 says: Apr 8, 2014 1:35 AM

    I beginning to rethink my subscription to the Sunday Ticket ! I get to watch my Vikes automatically then the double header is usually a good game and of course you have the Sunday night game which is usually a pretty good match up . So now we have nothing but weak match up’s leaving the Ticket useless !!!

  67. bobsnygiants says: Apr 8, 2014 9:47 AM

    wait until the players start to get hurt and lost for the season.

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