NFL Week #1 Voices; News heading into season; Fox’ GB-Saints and CBS’ KC-Cleve go to 85% of US


NBC’s Dallas vs. Tampa Bay launches 2020-21 season Thursday night!

Pre-season news and notes, followed by schedule and voices for Week #1:

Let’s start with the three top stories as the NFL broadcast season begins:

1) The Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli, will host an impromptu, live unorthodox show on ESPN #2. They’ll be yakking during 10 Monday Night Football games against mainstream ESPN which will have its trio of announcers Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick calling the game in a conventional manner. It gives viewers a snazzy option, to watch MNF with no traditional announcers, other than the quirky and unscripted Mannings and their guests. The brothers and their guests will comment randomly as they watch the game from some site other than stadium where the game is played. We’ve witnessed experiments like this fail such as an announcerless broadcast in 1980. Will this too wind up being a botched experiment or will fans find it pleasantly entertaining and sufficiently informative. If so, we might be living through a metamorphosis of broadcast sports. The Nickelodeon NFL broadcast last year did well. So don’t dismiss this idea too quickly.

2) At this point, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth are signed up for one last NBC season, culminating with the Super Bowl. Could the longtime partners end up with Amazon next season on Thursday nights? Can the two also continue to do some work together in 2021-22? It’s still a possibility. Lots of pieces of the future puzzle are not yet in place. Stay tuned!

3) The more the merrier. The talented Tom Rinaldi will make it a four man team for Fox’ lead voices of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews. We’ll see whether one mic is enough for the quartet. Rinaldi is a superior interviewer to Andrews.

Random notes, heading to Week # 1

Fox’ Kevin Burkhardt has a new partner, Greg Olsen who had a couple reps while still playing in the league. His work had excellent reviews. He’ll partner with Burkhardt, once a car salesman in New Jersey. Daryl Johnston, Kevin’s boothmate last year, is now teamed with Mr. Versatile, Chris Myers, who can do just about anything well.

Fairly fresh name on CBS’ NFL roster is Sherree Burruss who’s done work locally in Washington. Sherree says she’ll bring energy and enthusiasm to the job. Burruss will be with Andrew Catalon and James Lofton. Catalon had a busy summer doing golf for CBS. Meanwhile, Lofton should have been moved up a notch on the CBS depth chart when Rich Gannon wasn’t renewed. Instead, Adam Archuleta was moved to #4 with Greg Gumbel.

The Foxies knocked Kevin Kugler down a notch. He’ll break in newcomer Mark Sanchez. Kugler has done lots of radio. TV as we know is a different animal.

Steady Kenny Albert will be in the 4th slot of Fox’ play-by-play. Ahead of him are Joe Buck atop the heap, Burkhardt, second, and Adam Amin, third.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya

100% of US

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver

100 markets; Much of the eastern seaboard turning west into Texas; 50% of US

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn

149 stations; Most of northern slice of America; CBS’ largest distribution for early game, 55% of US, 

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Andrew Catalon, Tiki Barber, Sherree Burruss

14 stations; Carolinas, Utah, NY and Ct; 13% of US

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Jen Hale

44 stations, From Western Pa; through much of Upper Midwest; 16% of US

San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin

20 stations; Must of California and Michigan; 14% of US

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta, AJ Ross

34 stations; Much of Texas, northern FL and lower Ga and Alabama; 13 % of US 

Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma

48 stations; Pacific NW, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado; 19% of US

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Tom McCarthy, Aaron Taylor, Sara Walsh

22 stations; dominated by SE states; 8% of US

Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football Team, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Spero Dedes, Jay Feely

20 stations; Carolinas, Utah, DC area; 11% of US

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET CBS

Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson

208 stations, All of country except Florida, Alabama and NE; 85% of US

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Kevin Harlan, Trent Green, Melanie Collins

30 stations; Florida, Alabama and NE; 15% of US

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Tom Rinaldi (played in Jacksonville)

184 Stations; All US except the 18 stations covering DEN-NYG; 84% of US

Denver Broncos at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m ET, FOX

Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake

28 stations; NYS, Ct, Mountain time zone; 15% of US

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya

100% of US

Monday, September 13, 2021

Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC

Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters

75 million subscribers across the US


(D. J. Halberstam 9.6.21)

David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

Jake Baskin

Jake Baskin is a graduate of Dean College who majored in sports broadcasting. He does play-by-play for Northeast Sports Network and previously wrote about hockey for various SB Nation blogs. He loves the history and evolution of sports broadcasting and dreams of being a national-level announcer.

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