Event Previews

NFL Week #13: CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC busy; Regional coverage broken out, All talent listed; Tirico calls game

12 games Sunday: 6 on CBS, 5 on Fox and 1 on NBC; Nantz/Romo work twice, Buck/Aikman have Sunday off and Michaels/Collinsworth work Sunday only


  • CBS has the doubleheader, Fox the singleton. No byes. Weekend brims with turkey and a full 16 game NFL schedule.
  • All teams play this weekend. There’s a tripleheader on Thanksgiving Day. Of the top broadcast teams, only the Jim Nantz/Tony Romo duo work both Thursday and Sunday. Joe Buck/Troy Aikman are on the Chicago-Detroit holiday game but off on Sunday.  NBC’s Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth are off off Thursday night and return for the Sunday nighter, New England at Houston.
  • Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison team on NBC for the Thursday night game, New Orleans at Atlanta. The game is only on NBC, not simulcast on the NFL Network. You might recall that there was an issue when the league insisted that Thursday night simulcasts, at the time on NBC/NFL Network, be called by Michaels and Collinsworth. Tirico had been penciled in but the NFL insisted on the network’s first team.
  • Sunday’s NFC game, Washington at Carolina flips to CBS.
  • CBS’ late game on Sunday, Oakland at Kansas City, is carried in 89% of the country. Corresponding CBS game in the window, Chargers at Denver goes to 9% of America. By NFL rule, CBS’ Arizona affiliates don’t get a second game at all in the 4p window.  The Cardinals are at home at that hour against the Rams on Fox.
  • History: The first ever national broadcast of an NFL game was on Thanksgiving Day, 1934. TV wasn’t around yet. NBC Radio ran the game, Chicago at Detroit, and pioneer Graham McNamee was the announcer. In those days, families huddled around big radio sets and Vin Scully crawled under the four legged ones to listen to football.
  • Fox is basking in ratings glory. Cowboys-Patriots last Sunday was its most watched NFL game of the season and the Penn State-Ohio State matchup was its largest college audience this year. Network’s motto: “Fox is Football.”
  • Peter Schrager, a New Jersey boy, visible on NFL Network, works the sidelines for Fox’ Miami-Philly game which goes to 15% of the country and 26 markets.
  • Talk of limited distribution. Jacksonville-Tampa Bay reaches only 5% of America and 7 Florida markets. I’m not a statistician but I’m struggling to believe that the few markets getting this telecast add up to 5%.
  • UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Thursday broadcast was the network’s most-watched Thanksgiving Day game in 27 years and the most-watched regular-season game on any network in three years. The broadcast averaged 32.538 million viewers.
  • UPDATE: Fox too was up. Its audience for Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game delivered 27, 283,000 viewers across all platforms (TV, cable, streaming) It’s Fox’ best performance since 2016.

Jake Baskin has a profile of veteran Greg Gumbel below the schedule.


NFL Week # 13

Thursday, November 28, 2019 (Thanksgiving)

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions  12:30p FOX

Joe Buck, Troy Aikman

100% of country

Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys   4:30p CBS

Jim Nantz, Tony Romo

100% of country

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons  8:20p NBC

Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison

100% of country


Sunday, December 01, 2019

San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens 1:00p FOX

Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis

44% of country/116 markets

8 California markets including SF, San Diego and Sacramento and Pacific NW. Add Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and much of Montana. Plus: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and southern markets from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia through the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic and much of New England

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers 1:00p CBS

Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

10% of country/18 markets

Mid-Atlantic south through the Carolinas and Eastern Georgia

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals  1:00p CBS

Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta 

9% of country/8 markets

NYC, Albany, Binghamton and Hartford, Cincinnati, Dayton, Lexington and Hazard, Ky (Motto: Queen City of the Mountains)

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts 1:00p (ET) 1:00p CBS

Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

9% of country/21 markets

Tennessee, Indiana, Louisville and Bowling Green, Ky, a couple Mississippi markets and Houston which will be the biggest  market picking up the game. Texans in same division

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00p FOX

Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth 

5% of country/7 markets

This all-Florida matchup will be seen in Northern and Western Florida up through the panhandle

Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins 1:00p FOX

Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber

15% of country/26 markets

All Texas markets (of NFC East interest), Albuquerque, Eastern Pennsylvania, Miami and West Palm Beach

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00p CBS

Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

71% of country/188 markets

Chicago west, except Houston and markets running Tenn-Indy, Washington-Carolina and Jets-Cincy games

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants 1:00p FOX

Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman

22% of country/50 markets

All of NYS except Buffalo and Rochester, Hartford, Ct. Big Midwest States of NFC North, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, plus much of Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals  4:05p FOX

Chris Myers, Darryl Johnston

13% of country/22 markets

LA, Palm Springs, Arizona, plus outliers, Indy, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Cleveland


Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs 4:25p CBS

Jim Nantz, Tony Romo

89% of country/210 markets

Entire country with exception of the region covering game below, Chargers-Broncos. Arizona blacked out by NFL rule and will not run either of the two late CBS games

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos  4:25p CBS

Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

9% of country/27 markets

Mountain Time Zone plus Southern California markets

New England Patriots at Houston Texans 8:20p NBC

Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth

100% of country


Monday, December 02, 2019

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks  8:15p ESPN

Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland

ESPN is in some 84 million homes

Image result for greg gumbelGreg Gumbel has the call for Sunday afternoon’s matchup between the Redskins and Panthers. Gumbel, who has been a sportscaster for over 45 years, partners with two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Trent Green in their sixth season together on CBS’s #3 team.

Gumbel, 73, played baseball at small Loras College in Iowa but only got into media in his late 20s when his younger brother Bryant, a successful TV personality in his own right, informed him of a job opening at the NBC affiliate in their hometown of Chicago. The station hired him as a sportscaster, and he proved to be successful, working for NBC 5 for seven years.

He joined ESPN in 1979 as one of its original SportsCenter anchors and got his first play-by-play work when the fledgling network picked up a small NBA package in 1982. He spent time as a host on WFAN and later MSG Network, hosting Knicks and Yankees games and filling in for Marv Albert on play-by-play who often had other commitments. After coming into national prominence, Gumbel also briefly held play-by-play jobs for the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Cavaliers.

CBS brought Gumbel in as a play-by-play announcer in 1988, and he would become their lead NFL host two seasons later. Greg held that job for four years at which point CBS lost its football package to Fox. In addition to his NFL work, he also called pro and college basketball and baseball and hosted CBS’ Winter Olympic coverage in 1992 and 1994. He jumped to NBC to work in similar roles as lead NFL host and to serve as an NBA and MLB play-by-play announcer.

Gumbel rejoined CBS in 1998 and was named top play-by-play announcer. He held the role for six seasons and called two Super Bowls, becoming the first and so far only African-American to work in the booth for The Big Game, play-by-play or analyst. Gumbel moved to the studio in 2004, but returned to play-by-play in 2006 on CBS’s #2 team. His partners over the course of his NFL announcing career have included Ken Stabler, Pat Haden, Phil Simms, and Dan Dierdorf in addition to Green.

Gumbel has been CBS’s lead studio host for the NCAA Tournament since his return to the network in 1998.

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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