CBS will air eight Thursday Night Football games in 2014

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Thursday Night Football will air on CBS for eight weeks early in the 2014 regular season, the NFL announced today.

The NFL had been searching for a broadcast partner to simulcast its NFL Network Thursday night games, and even though a simulcast with NFL Network is a less valuable property than an exclusive rights agreement, every network was interested because the NFL draws huge ratings. In the end, it was CBS that offered the NFL the most attractive package.

CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the Thursday night games, while NFL Network hosts and analysts will work alongside CBS announcers for pregame, halftime and postgame.

The NFL confirmed that NFL Network will still air eight late-season games exclusively, without the CBS simulcast. And as part of the announcement, the NFL has also confirmed that there will be two late-season Saturday games in 2014. Last year there were no Saturday regular-season games.

“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”

The agreement between CBS and the NFL is only for the 2014 season, but the deal gives the NFL the option to extend it for 2015 as well.

98 responses to “CBS will air eight Thursday Night Football games in 2014

  1. “NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,”
    Sure buddy. It has to be hard, even for you, to swallow that crap.
    nfl network ensured fewer fans would watch Thursday night games.

  2. “NFL Network built Thursday into a terrible night for NFL fans,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our goal is to continue to ruin the NFL with unprecedented overseas promotion, ridiculous rule changes, Thursday Night Football.”

  3. All the fans I have had the discussion with agree that the NFL needs to end Thursday night football. Goodell is out of touch with the “fans.”

  4. Pretty surprised that NBC didn’t get the Thursday night game package. Obviously it would have affected its normal Thursday night lineup programming, but they could have held those shows’ new seasons back until November.

    Given that CBS will be airing these games, will this affect flexing Sunday night games later in the season? I’m thinking of the NFL flexing the Patriots/Ravens game out of Sunday night Christmas week in order to balance things out for Week 17 so it could have been either an AFC or NFC matchup, since CBS normally televises AFC games.

    Then again, these games may not necessarily be only AFC-centric.

  5. I wonder what this means for Elementary, one of my favorite shows. Does it move, or does it get a later start?

  6. Cool. I wish nfc games were on cbs. I like the graphics and theme for fox, but can not stand seeing promo’s every commercial break for american idol! I have never watched a season other than parts of the first with kelly clarkson, when it was an original idea more then a decade ago, and have no reason to EVER watch american idol! Plus Joe Buck is a tool.

  7. Why not construct the schedule so that teams have bye weeks before their Thursday games? Seems hypocritical to be concerned about player safety but have players play 2 games in 5 days

  8. NFL Network should run some sort of in depth stats analysis and/or different camera angles rather than simply simulcast the same thing that’s on CBS. That’d be pretty dope for those of us who are real men and have two televisions in our living room.

  9. Serious fans can have Monday and Thursday night games on in the background with the sound muted. Pay closer attention when something of significance happens, otherwise, do something else. I save my full time watching for Sunday when the Red Zone is on or the postseason.

  10. Smart business move by NFL…….Simulcast and get folks watching on Thursday and about 1/2 way through the season remove it from CBS and keep it exclusively on their own channel. Kind of like a car salesman getting you to test drive a vehicle on their lot.

    Number of folks getting the NFL channel will drastically increase about week 7 – 10.

  11. Some good news for a change? Millions of us have cut the cable, and at least I won’t have to miss the Thursday night games, much as I hate non-weekend football.

  12. Can’t figure out why CBSs best play by play guy didn’t get this gig. Kevin Harlan is better than anything else CBS has…

  13. NFLN ratings will tank for those 8 games. I see more people turning on their local CBS station then finding out if they have NFLN and what channel it is on.

    Another point on this, how bad is CBS losing the ratings war on Thursday Nights where they have to add this to the mix??

    I think it’s dumb. Simucasting games on multiple stations doesn’t help anyone. Ratings will be skewed.

  14. Now we can watch TNF without going to NFL Network, thus giving money to the No Fun League! Goodell’s NFL isn’t something I support after the Fail Mary.

  15. But what about The Big Bang Theory? And Two and a Half Men?

    CBS is really going to bump the top two Thursday night programs on network TV? Right when the new Fall season starts?

    That’ll be interesting to see.

  16. CBS has the #2 show in the country on thursday nights..BIG BANG THEORY,,,,are they dumping that for the NFL?
    Thursday GAMES SUCK,,,you have to stay up till midnight or later (OT?),,and work the next day..oooof.
    Or as sheldon would say,,”the higgs Boson theorem, precludes the transposition of scheduled events that have few overlapping dynamic properties.”

  17. bostonian13 says:
    Feb 5, 2014 12:35 PM
    I’m all for football three days a week but it’s just something about Thursday Night games that makes them boring.
    The NFL screwed the pooch on their matchups for thursday and monday night last year. On paper they sounded good, but there were only a handful of games that came down to the 4th quarter. I can’t blame them entirely because the matchups sounded exciting during preseason, but the way the rankings lined up by midseason made for a snoozefest every monday and thursday night…

  18. Think NBC would bump Seinfeld and Cheers for NFL back in 1994? Kind of the same thing in today’s terms.

  19. How come I always find out about stuff after the fact?

    Watching CBS coverage makes me feel l’m 7 years old again watching with my Grandparents. Seriously needs an update to make it relevant in today’s market.

  20. Lately I’ve been having a lot of reservations about TNF. At first I thought it was a great idea, but now I kind of think it over-saturates the week with too many NFL games. In a way, it’s better to have too little than too much. I’m fine with a Thursday kickoff and the Thanksgiving Classic, but when there’s a random game on Thursday night, it doesn’t really add anything for me.

  21. We cut the cord recently so this is great. If I could pay for a cable service that allowed me to get the NFL package, I’d gladly pony up. I live in NYC and have one choice for a cable provider, therefore no NFL ticket.

    Am I crazy or wouldn’t the NFL make more money by selling the ticket to EVERYONE as opposed to getting the billion dollar deal from DirecTV? Sure it’s cash in hand and guaranteed, but I think they would do better selling the package or even a la carte games for $5 or $10 a pop.

  22. Looks like I’m going to have to watch these games on mute. Phil Simms is the worst.

  23. The two Saturday games will help the league make some extra money. What I don’t understand is why some owners are insistent on screwing up a great playoff system by adding two additional playoff games for what amounts to a cash grab. It seems to me that the league would make a lot more money if it added an extra bye week for each team and the league had an 18-week, 16-game regular season. There would be an extra week of Thursday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and Monday night football. To me, that appears to be a lot more profitable than adding two playoff games. Also, the league could try to schedule the extra bye week around a team’s Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.

  24. Remember when this was first league that the league was looking to include simulcast its NFL Network; the media said it was just a smoke screen and no network would argee to such an arrangment.

    The NFL does whatever it wants!

  25. The 13 time World Champion Green Bay Packers should be highlighted in as many prime time match ups as allowed by the NFL. They are the greatest franchise in all of sports with the most talented QB. Their history of winning and dedicated fans can’t be beat.


  26. Of the billions of pictures you could use for discussing Thursday night games, and a partner to simulcast each of them, this is the picture you chose? Um, yeah okay….interesting.

  27. At the end of the day the NFL is a business, it doesn’t care what the players want. They are in the business to make money and thats it. Its all about the bottom line, the faster players and fans understand this. The less we should complain.

  28. There are always complaints about the quality of play in Thursday Night Football. But you know what? We watch the games. We’ll watch the Saturday Night games too. For 17 weeks we watch 5 games a week, more if we can. And as long as we keep watching them, the NFL will put as much up as it can, because this is a $10 billion business. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

    But let’s be honest, every person commenting on this thread is going to watch every Thursday night game in 2014.

  29. I often sit at the games and wonder why I pay all the money to watch them and sit outside in the cold etc. Then I watch the away games on CBS and it is painful. Their announcers are awful and they are constantly pushing every TV show on their awful network down your throat to the point that it interferes with the coverage of the game. Did the offense really hold somone on that critical play? Who cares??? Get The Good Wife promo teed up!! Players are often injured and there is no insight about the injuries or even mention that they went down. If you want a real expert analysis on how lowsy the CBS coverage is, check out the Baltimore Sun’s coverage as they have a guy that blasts them every week. While Chris Collinsworth may be tough to stomach on NBC, at least the production is great with cameras and sideline reporters to give you full coverage. Fox does the same as does NFL Network and ESPN. CBS is the worst and it’s not even close!!

  30. I really don’t know many people that like Thursday Night Football – nobody gets juiced up for it like MNF. Hell, I have been in sports bars that have turned on the Jukebox or had a DJ/band play on Thursdays because it is a crappy match up – and that NEVER happens on Sunday or Monday. The only people that care are the fans of those teams….and they don’t even want the game on Thursday – tailgating on Thursday sucks, having to go to work on Friday is rough.

    Personally, I hate it – but as fans, we want to watch the games so we have no choice. Thus, the ratings will remain decent on TNF and the NFL will continue to not give a damn about the fans.

  31. If you’d rather watch The Big Theory or Two and a Half Men on Thursday nights instead of football, then you should be out shopping with the rest of the girls…

  32. Whats the deal?? why does everyone hate on Thursday night football? its the same game we all love, i dont have to wait till Sunday for more games, and my fantasy football begins earlier in the week. Im a fan and more football is always better. Its all the same players playing at the same level. I dont understand all the hate about TNF………..

  33. For everyone saying that we watch Thurs games – NFLN is selling the package because ratings suck.

    Friday and Saturday are out because it’s high school and college territory.

  34. And I thought Thursday Night Football couldn’t get any worse! CBS and ESPN have the WORST studio teams and sometimes the games on CBS sound like their being broadcast from a tunnel. Too bad NBC or Fox couldn’t get it. Is this arrangement governed by the same agreement as the CBS Sunday broadcasts where they have the AFC Package and can only broadcast NFC teams if the AFC teams are visiting?

  35. Play by play depth chart:
    Troy Aikman
    Chris Collinsworth
    Phil Simms

    More Simms is not a good thing.

  36. Whenever the commissioner or an owner says that something is being done “for the fans”, you can be sure that it translates to “for our pockets”.

  37. Thank GOD!
    Mayock is the absolute worst. We get it, you know a lot about college football. You don’t need to ram into our skulls how impressed you were with this kid in college

  38. Nantz is secretly praying the schedule gods will put his beloved Patriots on every Thurs night game.

  39. I like the CBS pregame show but their color commentary roster leave a lot to be desired. It’s the weakest top to bottom of any of the networks. Phil Simms is the worst, and he seems to be involved in every CBS broadcast I watch — I guess that’s because I live in Minnesota which is NFC territory and they only broadcast the most prominent AFC games here, and Simms gets those games for whatever reason.

    The entire CBS NFL operation is just stiff and overly conservative. They need to loosen up and get some people with personality in there.

  40. This deal sounds like it’s a bit of compensation for CBS giving up a “protected” Chiefs-Broncos game last season to NBC for SNF, especially if it’s for one year only.

    What I could see perhaps happening for 2015 and beyond is ESPN going back to Sunday Night Football and NBC and NBCSN between them doing a Monday night doubleheader (except for the last week, where NBC would get the Sunday night finale), with one game usually with a 7:30 PM ET kickoff on NBC in the east/NBCSN in the west and the other with an 8:00 PM PT (11:00 PM ET) kickoff on NBC in the west/NBCSN in the east. That would eliminate the Thursday games other than Thanksgiving (NBC/NBCSN probably would get a split doubleheader that night). That to me would make sense.

    If they didn’t do that and did stay on Thursday, what should happen is an 18th week is added to the NFL season in the form of a second bye week for all times, tied to the Thursday night game so teams playing those games normally are playing them with 9-10 days rest before and 9-11 days after. There would be as I do it a few cases where teams would play back-to-back Thursday night games, especially around Thanksgiving. Perhaps the NFL should also have if that happened as part of an expanded Thursday night package, a special Wednesday-after-Thanksgiving game (usually with the Jets or Giants as the home team) tied to the tree lighting in Rockerfeller Plaza that could be dubbed “The NFL Holiday Kickoff” that would bring many casual fans to the mix. That game would be an additional game to NBC’s package if it happened.

  41. Phil Simms is a horrible color commentator who likes the sound of his own voice and thus NEVER shuts the heck up. He says some of the dumbest things about football I’ve ever heard. I thought he was a decent qb but he’s a terrible commentator. Someone please tell nitwits like him and Collingsworth that’s it’s A-OK to watch the game along with us and we don’t need to hear your blathering drivel every single second of the game.

  42. Oooh, I hope Jim Nantz talks about Jim Nantz wines. I love it when he self-promotes himself, don’t you? And I can’t wait till the Masters to watch him suck up to all the elitist snobs.

  43. Its only a matter of time till the local cable companies make CBS part of one of their pay extra for view sports bundles…….

  44. Brad Nessler was awesome! Most underrated announcer in pro and college football. TNF is pretty weak overall, and it ruins fantasy matchups.

  45. I actually really miss Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, etc. Even they were better than Nantz (who needs to stick to golf) and Simms. Of course, no one can come to the gold standard of Al and John…even Dick Enberg. Oh, my!

    I always felt that CBS did better when they had the NFC and NBC had the AFC. Worst thing the NFl did was get Fox involved. Buck is quite annoying, too.

    The NFL network crew is really bad. Mayock is terrible, too.

    And almost every pre-game show is over everything. Too many people too loud, too much clowning around, etc. Needs to be scaled back.

    Og for the minimalism of Pat Summerall – even Vin Scully! Or Curt Gowdy…

  46. I hate our cable provider because NFL Network is on the most expensive cable package, so I don’t pay for it. So luckily, I can now watch 8 of the Thursday night games.

  47. Captain Cliché (hello friends) and the freaking hillbilly. Once a week was horrible, but twice will be Cruel and Unusual punishment. ACLU sould sue Goodell for crimes against football fans.

  48. I must be living in a fog ,, what’s up with all the negativity towards joe buck , I always thought he was a decent play by play man ,,, is it controversial what ever he did ???

  49. Good news for us Patriot fans. CBS loves the Pats and have a complex at Patriot Place. Simms and Nantz will schmooze with Bob Kraft, Bill and Brady. The NFL, not wanting one of their biggest clients to be disappointed, will need to ensure the Patriots are a top tram to boost ratings. At least that’s what the conspiracy theorists tell me.

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