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.

67 responses to “NFL expected to give CBS marquee Thursday night games

  1. 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.

  2. 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”

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

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

  5. 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’….


  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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!!

  15. 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%?

  16. 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.

  17. “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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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…

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

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

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

    Browns have the largest US based sports fan club.

  27. 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.

  28. 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???

  29. “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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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”.

  33. 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 ..

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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 !!!

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