NFLN exits the game-production business

Getty Images

The obvious news contained in the release announcing the new Thursday night deal comes from the placement of eight early-season Thursday night games on CBS, to be simulcast on NFL Network.

The less obvious news, as pointed out by Ross Tucker while we were preparing for Wednesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, is that the NFL has exited the game-production business entirely.

CBS will be producing not only the games broadcast on both networks, but also the games shown exclusively on NFLN.  As a result, it’ll be Jim Nantz and Phil Simms all year on Thursday nights, with the exception of the first Thursday of the season and Thanksgiving night, both of which games will be televised by NBC.  (Of course, Nantz and Simms won’t be getting Thanksgiving off; they’ll be handling the CBS early-day game at Detroit.)

Beyond the displacement of the Brad Nessler-Mike Mayock broadcasting team, the move puts out of business all of the other folks who were producing the NFLN game broadcast.  Some could be hired by CBS to work the Thursday night broadcast, in theory.

That said, NFL Network hosts and analysts will be featured in the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows, along with CBS Sports announcers.

Regardess, the league has disbanded — at least for 2014 — its game-production operation, handing the duties to CBS as part of the broader arrangement that allows CBS to protect its already-potent Thursday night programming against a challenge from FOX, ABC, or NBC.

And that ultimately may be why CBS made the (presumably) highest bid and agreed to finance the broadcast of the remaining NFLN games.  CBS has owned Thursday nights.  If it didn’t own the rights to those eight broadcast games, CBS would have surrendered Thursday night to whoever won the package.

Meanwhile, Nantz and Simms will become the first on-air team to consistently broadcast two games per week.  It’ll present a significant challenge from a preparation and workload standpoint, giving them maybe one day off per week for most of the season and forcing them to bounce from game to game to game to game.

To game.  And so on.

21 responses to “NFLN exits the game-production business

  1. I personally think Mike Mayock does a nice job. Im sure there are a few out there that disagree. One cannot disagree that Mayock has worked very hard to get where he is. I find his pre-draft evaluations
    to be the result of actually watching tape on prospective college players. I have nothing but respect for how far he has come and what he has to offer during a broadcast. I think he is much like Jaworski.
    Some people just don’t take to them but both Jaworski and Mayoock
    know the game and obviously do their homework.

  2. Mayock is the best color guy in the NFL right now because he is direct…

    he doesn’t sugarcoat anything

    and he doesn’t go off on a tangent like Collinsworth or Gruden promoting some lame tv show that noone cares about

  3. That is so sad that Nantz and Simms are going to have to work more hours in a week. I will be sure to feel real sorry for them as I sit down to watch the game after another 15-hour day.

  4. Nessler is great as a sidekick. Love him. Mayock brings a different perspective and some day might be great.

    I wish Mayock would spend more time on the X’s and O’s and off the ‘what round drafted’ deal. I LOVE The Draft in April, not December.

    Unfortunately we have all had Madden and Summerall. Life is hard without them…

  5. So the NFL got CBS to not only foot the bill for producing those games, but got CBS to pay them AND they still get to broadcast it live, which further increases their revenue. This is why the NFL is king. And why Ginger makes ridiculous bank.

  6. Count me as another Mayock fan. He sees the entire field and gives great analysis during instant replays.

  7. Yeah, hopefully Mayock gets picked up elsewhere. Nessler was fine too, but of all of the color guys out there, I only really look forward to Mayock and Collinsworth.

  8. I love Mike Mayock’s insight and commentary. His delivery is
    not polished, nor sugar-coated so he appeals to the more hardcore fans. –
    which is why I thought he was great fit for NFLN… Mayock and Nessler
    should be doing games regularly, somewhere. They are a great team.

    I also think Simms and Collinsworth are a great team.
    Props go out to Collinsworth though.. he used to be unbearable, but now
    is one of the best, and few work harder.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.