The next evolution in the Thursday night NFL package will arrive in 2014. The league has announced that, starting next season, NFL Network and CBS will split Thursday night, with the two networks simultaneously airing the first 8 games and NFL Network exclusively airing the remainder. The package will also include a pair of Saturday night games to be aired by NFL Network.
So if you’re keeping score, that’s 8 Thursday night games simulcast by CBS and NFL Network, 6 Thursday night games broadcast exclusively by NFL Network and 2 Saturday night games broadcast exclusively by NFL Network.
All 16 games will be produced by CBS and will use CBS’s lead announcing team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. This evidently means that football nerd favorite Mike Mayock is out as a Thursday night color man.
How do you guys feel about that swap? Simms in for Mayock? I predict many an angry tweet.
Roger Goodell explained the move in a statement, “NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans. Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”
Fans who watch on regular TV but don’t get NFL Network will be glad to know they can now get half the Thursday/Saturday night slate on CBS. Fans who stream all this stuff illegally over the internet anyway won’t care.
CBS may improve production values on Thursday night, but one thing the network can’t do? Improve the quality of the actual games. That will continue to be an issue as long as the Thursday night thing goes on.