Football Night in America
|Football Night In America|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||80 minutes|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),
|Original run||September 10, 2006– present|
Football Night in America is the studio pregame show usually preceding NBC's broadcasts of Sunday night and Wild Card Saturday National Football League (NFL) games starting in the 2006 National Football League season. The program airs at 7 pm Eastern live, and is broadcast from Studio 8H in the GE Building in New York, where NBC's Saturday Night Live program is also taped.
- 1 Show title similarities
- 2 Personalities
- 3 Show format
- 4 Wild Card Saturday
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Show title similarities
The show's title closely resembles CBC Television's long-running Hockey Night in Canada franchise. Also, NBC (along with ABC and Major League Baseball in a joint effort called "The Baseball Network") had previously (1994–1995) aired baseball games as the similarly titled Baseball Night in America.
Bold indicates currently on the show
- Tiki Barber: (studio analyst 2007–2009; on-site reporter, 2009–2010)
- Jerome Bettis: (studio analyst 2006–2009)
- Cris Collinsworth: (studio co-host and analyst 2006–2009; on-site co-host/color commentary 2009–present)
- Bob Costas: (on-site host 2006–present)
- Tony Dungy: (studio analyst 2009–present)
- Mike Florio: (NFL insider 2010–present)
- Rodney Harrison: (studio analyst 2009–present)
- Peter King: (NFL insider 2006–present)
- Andrea Kremer: (sideline reporter 2006–2010)
- John Madden: (color commentary 2006–2009)
- Al Michaels: (play-by-play 2006–present)
- Keith Olbermann: (studio co-host 2007–2010)
- Dan Patrick: (studio host 2008–present)
- Scott Pioli: (contributor 2013)
- Sterling Sharpe: (studio analyst 2006)
- Michele Tafoya: (sideline reporter 2011–present)
- Hines Ward: (on-site analyst 2012–present)
On September 7, 2006, Jerome Bettis arrived on the exterior set in a school bus. His nickname as a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers was "The Bus." That night, in addition to analysis, Bettis received his ring for winning Super Bowl XL.
Bettis missed the December 3 show to prepare for the funeral of his father, Johnnie, who had died of a heart attack the previous Tuesday. Bettis was replaced by Marshall Faulk of the NFL Network (who at the time was technically still an active player in the NFL, although the St. Louis Rams eventually cut him after a series of injuries).
At the end of the 2006 season, Sharpe's contract was apparently terminated, and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber replaced him in 2007. MSNBC Countdown anchorman Keith Olbermann was named as another co-host.
During the 2006 preseason, the Football Night team appeared at halftime from an exterior set at the site of that night's game. This is because the set at 30 Rock was still being prepared.
The show changed its format by the end of the first half of the 2006 season. Originally, the program began with a video package in which a football seemingly flies throughout the country. Several landmarks were featured in the introduction, including the Gateway Arch, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. After a welcome, the day's scores were read off, before a first visit from the game announcers Al Michaels and John Madden.
The simulated landmark flyover was eventually removed and the reading of the game scores was replaced by a round table discussion called The Week (number of NFL week) Buzz. The scores flash on the bottom of the screen during this discussion. Al Michaels and John Madden were now shown only once, on the later segment, Drive to Kickoff. Just before the first highlights are shown, a rundown is on screen with the order in which the highlights will appear. This is similar to the list shown on FSN Final Score.
Originally, the second segment featured several field reports from the day's games, more analysis, and inside information about the NFL from Peter King.
The field report segment was eventually eliminated and field reports on the show were limited, supposedly due to cutbacks at NBC Universal.
The second segment now contained an interview conducted earlier in the week, usually by Costas.
In the third segment, the studio team moved to a screening room, in which highlights of the daytime games were reviewed. This is the only show allowed to carry long-form highlights (up to three minutes, twice as long as the usual allowance). Because of Game Two of the 2006 World Series, and the preference that no NFL game goes up against Major League Baseball's Championship, a one-hour edition aired from 7 PM to 8 PM on October 22. Additionally, as the NFL spurns Christmas Eve contests (which was revoked in 2007), another one-hour show aired December 24.
GMC Drive to Kickoff
Shortly before 8 p.m. Eastern time, a segment begins called GMC Drive to Kickoff (sponsored by General Motors' Chevrolet brand in 2006 and 2007). Michaels and Madden are shown, followed by closing analysis of the upcoming game. Within minutes, Football Night ends and game coverage begins with the theme sung first by Pink in 2006 and now by Faith Hill, who has been the singer since 2007.
Some major changes were effected for the 2007 season. Once again, Michaels and Madden are seen in the first segment. The second segment brings in Barber for some analysis. Starting in the third portion of the program, Costas and Olbermann take turns reading the highlights, while Barber, Collinsworth and Bettis are isolated in the "players' room" on another part of the set. After each set of highlights, the analysts comment on what has been shown. King also chimes in from a location on the main set.
For the last 30 minutes, Collinsworth emerges from the room and joins Costas on the large screen for highlights and analysis of two pre-selected "marquee matchups" (in Week 1, they were New England Patriots at New York Jets and Chicago Bears at San Diego Chargers).
At the end of the show, the panelists reunite for a one-sentence summary before kickoff.
On the other hand, two features have been added: "TKO Report" (the letters stand for The Keith Olbermann) is a mini-commentary by Olbermann on a topic related to the game. "Monday Morning Headlines" summarizes the big stories of the afternoon, according to the panel.
At halftime, a shortened version of this show appears and Olbermann presents a new segment called "Worst Person in the NFL," modeled after "worst person in the world" on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. His first "honoree" was himself, for advocating a light prison sentence for Michael Vick on his debut August 26 during a preseason game (The next day, Vick pleaded guilty to dogfighting). On the regular season debut, Olbermann pilloried Jets fans for cheering as Chad Pennington limped off the field with an ankle injury.
On September 16, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared live to discuss the videotape scandal that enveloped the New England Patriots and their head coach Bill Belichick. In the interview, Goodell revealed that the Patriots were asked to turn over all videotape and still photography from previous games and that the team could face further punishment than what had been announced. Olbermann missed this program due an emergency appendectomy, but he returned the following week.
A one-hour version of the show aired on October 28 as Game Four of the 2007 World Series was played that evening, and the NFL decided not to schedule a game that night. The show aired at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT. This turned out to be the last game of the baseball season as the Boston Red Sox completed its sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
It was announced on July 7, 2008 that Dan Patrick, formerly of ESPN and ABC, was joining NBC and would become a co-host of Football Night in America. The move reunited Patrick and Olbermann on television for the first time since their days on ESPN's SportsCenter. Also getting tweaked was the highlights package at the end of the show that was called "Olbertime", and renamed "The Little Big Show", a reference to the duo's nickname during their time on SportsCenter. Olbermann quipped, "We tried 'Sportycenter', but that didn't work out."
Again, as in the past two years, a one-hour edition aired October 26 from 7 PM to 8 PM due to Game 4 of the 2008 World Series and the NFL not scheduling a game for that night.
At first, the reunion of Patrick and Olbermann was the only change from the year before. However, in November 2008, NBC released Bettis and Barber from the studio and effectively closed the "players' lounge." Barber spent the rest of the season from the field and was a field-level reporter for the NFC Wild Card game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals on January 3, 2009. Bettis bounced around between Rockefeller Center and some game sites. Bettis was on the studio show for the 2008 edition of Wild Card Saturday. In the playoffs, Matt Millen, who had been fired earlier in the season after roughly eight years as general manager of the Detroit Lions, joined the Football Night in America team as a studio analyst for the 2008-2009 playoffs.
Super Bowl XLIII
Since NBC was the rightsholder to Super Bowl XLIII, a five-hour show was telecast at 1 PM US EST/10 AM US PST before the game. Bob Costas anchored the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows with Cris Collinsworth as the co-host and lead studio analyst. On the main set were recently retired coaches Mike Holmgren and Tony Dungy along with former executive Matt Millen. Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann hosted segments on an auxiliary set from outside the stadium and on the field and locker room (standing up) with FNIA regulars Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber as well as guest analyst Rodney Harrison. Andrea Kremer and Alex Flanagan filed reports on the Steelers and Cardinals respectively. Patrick handled the Super Bowl presentation.
Collinsworth replaced Madden as a color commentator alongside Michaels following Madden's retirement in 2009. Bettis' contract was not renewed; Dungy and Harrison replaced Collinsworth and Bettis as full-time studio analysts. Barber will serve as an onsite reporter.
This season is set to kick off Sunday, September 13, 2009.
On August 26, NBC announced that pregame host Bob Costas would host the pregame show at the game site. Pregame panelists Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison would remain in the New York studio.
The basic format remained unchanged from the previous year. All commentators remained except for Olbermann.
The December 26 edition of the series aired for 90 minutes with Costas at Lincoln Financial Field and the regular studio analysis despite the weather postponement of that night's Vikings/Eagles game due to a blizzard to December 28. A short five-minute pre-game show aired on that night preceding the game, and the usual Faith Hill introduction did not air.
The format remained virtually unchanged as all commentators returned to the show from last season.
TV ratings (Sept. 23, 2013 to Dec. 15, 2013): 4.123 (part 1); 4.960 million (part 2); 11.677 million (part 3; 8pm to 8:22pm) 
Super Bowl XLVI
NBC was the rightsholder to Super Bowl XLVI, and a five-hour show was telecast at 1 PM US EST/10 AM US PST before the game for the second straight Super Bowl NBC has aired. Bob Costas and Dan Patrick anchored the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison as the co-hosts and lead studio analysts. Current NFL players Aaron Rodgers and Hines Ward contributed as guest analysts in the pre-game show. They did not appear in the halftime or post game show. Costas hosted segments on an auxiliary set from outside the stadium and on the field. Patrick hosted segments from the stadium concourse on an additional auxiliary. Michele Tafoya filed reports on the Giants and Patriots respectively. Patrick handled the Super Bowl presentation.
Wild Card Saturday
Prior to the Wild Card Saturday doubleheader a half-hour version of Football Night in America is aired with in depth preview of the first game, and during the afternoon halftime a version of the Sunday Night Football halftime show is shown. After the conclusion of the afternoon game and before the kickoff of the night game, a version known in 2007 as the Diet Pepsi Bridge Show is shown.
At this point, the format becomes very similar to the traditional Football Night in America, with Faith Hill singing a special playoff version of the intro, Al Michaels and John Madden working the booth, and Olbermann doing a segment during halftime. Also, a horse trailer player of the game is named for the night game as well. In 2009/10 the Wild Card version was renamed NFL ON NBC Studio Show.
In 2006, Jim L. Mora appeared in place of Cris Collinsworth.
Costas hosted from New Orleans, while Charles Barkley sat in with Patrick, Dungy and Harrison in New York. Barkley was in 30 Rock to host that evening's episode of Saturday Night Live, taped next door in Studio 8H.
- "TIKI BARBER JOINS NBC". NBC Sports. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2009-06-03.[dead link]
- "KEITH OLBERMANN NAMED CO-HOST, NBC's 'FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA'". NBC Sports. 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2009-06-03.[dead link]
- Raissman, Bob (2009-06-02). "Sources: Tony Dungy to join NBC's "Football Night In America" team". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- Matt Mitovich (25 June 2009). "NBC ANNOUNCES FALL SERIES PREMIERE DATES". TV Guide Online. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
- Semigran, Aly (January 8, 2012). "'Saturday Night Live' recap: Charles Barkley's third hosting gig was a missed shot". PopWatch. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 8, 2012.