NBC Sunday Night Football

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NBC Sunday Night Football
NBC Sunday Night Football logo
Format Sports
Directed by Drew Esocoff
Starring Commentators:
English:
Al Michaels
Cris Collinsworth
Michele Tafoya

Studio hosts:
Bob Costas
Dan Patrick
Tony Dungy
Rodney Harrison
Hines Ward

Spanish:
Jessi Losada
René Giraldo
Edgar López
Theme music composer John Williams (main theme)
Desmond Child and Joan Jett (opening theme)[1]
Opening theme "Sunday Night Football Theme"[1]
Performed by Carrie Underwood
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 9
Production
Producer(s) Fred Gaudelli
Location(s) NFL stadiums
Studio 8H, GE Building, New York City
Running time 180 minutes+
until the conclusion of the game
Production company(s) National Football League
NBC Sports
Broadcast
Original channel NBC (English)
Telemundo (2012– Spanish simulcasts)
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run August 6, 2006 (2006-08-06) – present
External links
Website

NBC Sunday Night Football is a weekly television broadcast of American football games in the National Football League on NBC. It began airing on Sunday, August 6, 2006 with the pre-season opening Hall of Fame Game. It replaced ESPN Sunday Night Football, which ran from 1987 through 2005. (ESPN took over Monday Night Football from sister network ABC starting in 2006.)

In the 2011–12 season, it was the highest rated, most watched TV program[2] in Nielsen ratings, beating American Idol, which had previously been the most watched TV program for eight consecutive seasons and eight straight years.[3]

Al Michaels is the play-by-play announcer, with Cris Collinsworth as the color commentator and Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter. Fred Gaudelli and Drew Esocoff, the lead producer and director respectively, carry over their duties from ABC's telecasts of Monday Night Football. John Madden, the color commentator for the first three years of the program, retired prior to the 2009 season;[4] Collinsworth succeeded him.

Starting in 2012, under the new NFL television contract, a Spanish-language simulcast will eventually air on sister network Telemundo; currently like all networks with NFL television contracts, NBC's SAP channel features Spanish-language audio, though promoted by NBC as "provided by Telemundo".

Studio show[edit]

The studio show Football Night in America, featuring Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Hines Ward, Peter King and Mike Florio precedes the broadcast each week, featuring a recap of the other Sunday NFL contests. Costas, Tafoya, Collinsworth, and Michaels also contribute to the studio show from the game site.

Contract[edit]

NBC's current contract includes the season-opening Thursday night NFL Kickoff Game and two Saturday games in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The network aired, or will air, two Super Bowl games during the six years of the deal, following the 2008 (Super Bowl XLIII) and 2011 (Super Bowl XLVI) seasons, and the Pro Bowl games in the years NBC airs the Super Bowl. Beginning with an extended contract in 2012, NBC will also air a primetime Thanksgiving game (which had previously been part of NFL Network's Thursday Night Football package), one divisional playoff game in lieu of a Wild Card game in the postseason, and three more Super Bowls beginning in 2015 with Super Bowl XLIX, 2018 for Super Bowl LII, and 2021 for Super Bowl LV. The new contracts will run until 2022. However, the annual Pro Bowl is not included in the new deal as exclusive rights will revert to ESPN in 2015. As a result, NBC's broadcast of the 2014 Pro Bowl was the final time the game aired on network television for the foreseeable future.

NBC is the current home of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, which begins the NFL's preseason each August. However, the 2007 game aired on the NFL Network because the league had planned to stage the China Bowl just a few days later, to be televised by NBC as a tie-in to its coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in that country. The China Bowl was postponed indefinitely. Normally, there are two other preseason telecasts on NBC; however, because of the Beijing Olympics, only two were shown in 2008. Two preseason games (the Hall of Fame game and one other match-up, depending on other NBC Sports commitments), and the Thursday night season opener will be retained in the new contract beginning in 2014.

During Wild Card Saturday, Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentator) called the afternoon game for NBC from 2007 to 2009, while Al Michaels and John Madden handled the evening game. In addition, due to Madden's fear of flying, Collinsworth substituted for Madden on October 19, 2008 for the game featuring the Seattle Seahawks at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was due to Madden not wanting to make back-to-back-to-back cross-country trips via bus (the October 5 game was in Jacksonville and the October 12 game was in San Diego). Collinsworth was commentator for the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii for Madden following Super Bowl XLIII, and (in his capacity as Michaels' broadcast partner) will presumably do so again before Super Bowl XLVI. For the 2009–10 playoffs, Hammond teamed with Joe Gibbs and Joe Theismann to call the early Wild Card game, while Michaels and Collinsworth called the late game.[5] For the 2010–11 playoffs, Hammond and Mike Mayock called the early Wild Card game, while Michaels and Collinsworth called the late game.[6] For the 2011–12 playoffs, Hammond and Mayock again called the early Wild Card game, while Michaels and Collinsworth called the late game. For the 2012–13 playoffs, Dan Hicks and Mike Mayock called the early Wild Card game, while Michaels and Collinsworth called the late game once again. For the 2013–14 playoffs Hicks and Mayock once again called the early Wild Card game. while Michaels and Collinsworth called the late game once again.

Scheduling[edit]

Opening game[edit]

The first regular season game to be shown by NBC under this contract, Miami at Pittsburgh, aired September 7, 2006, followed by the first Sunday-night game—Indianapolis at the New York Giants—on September 10, 2006. The actual first game of the run—the 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between Oakland and Philadelphia—was televised on August 6, 2006.

Flexible scheduling[edit]

NBC Sunday Night Football is the beneficiary of the league's new flexible-scheduling system. Since the NFL now considers Sunday Night Football to be its featured game of the week, for the final seven weeks of the season (seven of the final eight weeks during the 2006 and 2011 seasons because of Christmas weekend), the NFL has the flexibility in selecting games that are more intriguing and typically have playoff implications to air on Sunday night.

World Series conflicts[edit]

In its first four seasons of Sunday night coverage, NBC took one week off in late October or early November, so as not to conflict with Fox's coverage of baseball's World Series. In 2006 NBC did not air a game on October 22, which was the set date for World Series Game 2, but a potential conflict still existed on October 29 had the series gone seven games (the conflict never arose, however, as the 2006 World Series ended in five games). With the change in World Series scheduling beginning in 2007, NBC did not air a game in order to avoid a conflict with World Series Game 4, which is the first chance a team would have to clinch the series. In 2007, there was no game on October 28; in 2008, there was no game on October 26; and, in 2009, there was no game on November 1. Although no games aired on these nights, Football Night in America still aired as scheduled at 7 pm Eastern.

NBC televised a game on October 31, 2010 and again on October 23, 2011, opposite Game 4 of the World Series on Fox in both cases. Both games featured the New Orleans Saints at home, first in 2010 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, then in 2011 against the Indianapolis Colts. New Orleans and Indianapolis do not have a Major League Baseball team, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have been recently poor, at the time having not recorded a winning record since 1992.

Ratings have been mixed for these results, with the NFL winning the night in 2010 while MLB won in 2011. While the Saints won both games, the former matchup featuring a major ratings draw in the Steelers, combined with the latter matchup against the Colts being a 62–7 blowout while Game 4 of the 2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers was a more closely contested game, caused the ratings to slip in 2011.[7]

In 2012, the NFL once again scheduled the Saints to play on Sunday Night Football in late October, this time against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 28. (Denver does have an MLB team, the Colorado Rockies, that has had limited success in recent seasons, though they did not contend for the National League West in 2012.) The game wound up being scheduled opposite the fourth (and final) game of the 2012 World Series.

For 2013, SNF aired the Packers–Vikings rivalry game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 27, opposite Game 4 of the 2013 World Series. Both the Packers and Vikings have a baseball team in their respective home states (Wisconsin's Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota's Twins), but the two Major League Baseball teams have struggled in recent years.

2000s[edit]

2006[edit]

In the 2006 season, in addition to the World Series off week, there was no game scheduled for Christmas Eve night; NBC broadcast that week's game (Eagles at Cowboys) on Christmas afternoon instead. A half-hour version of Football Night in America aired before the Christmas game and the two "Wild Card Saturday" games. During the 2006 season, no game was initially scheduled for NBC in the affected weeks—instead, the schedule slot for the NBC game was left blank, with one Sunday afternoon game being moved to the primetime slot (the schedule for the affected weeks simply read 'one of these games will move to 8:15 Eastern'). CBS and Fox could each protect four of its games during Weeks 10–15 and also each protect one of its games for Week 17; however, these two networks had to decide which games to protect in early October 2006, after Week 4 of the NFL season.

2007[edit]

For the first time since NBC gained the rights to Sunday Night Football, a tentative full-season schedule was unveiled, including games in the last seven weeks of the season. Those games could be replaced under flexible scheduling if the need arose. The same rules under which CBS and Fox protect games for their own packages still apply.

Three of the games in the last seven weeks were eventually replaced with more compelling matches. This resulted in the unprecedented situation—twice—of having a team playing consecutive Sunday nights. New England had consecutive Sunday nighters: the November 18 New England at Buffalo game was moved to prime time and was followed on November 25 by the already-scheduled Philadelphia at New England game. Likewise, the Washington Redskins played a scheduled game at the New York Giants on December 16, and their December 23 game in Minnesota was moved to prime time. For the last week of the season, the Tennessee Titans–Indianapolis Colts game was moved, switching places with the Kansas City Chiefs–New York Jets game that was originally scheduled in the Sunday Night slot; the Titans needed a win to secure the final AFC playoff spot.

In addition, the annual preseason Hall of Fame Game telecast was shifted to NFL Network in anticipation of NBC airing the China Bowl contest from Beijing; however, the China Bowl was canceled.

2008[edit]

The 2008 schedule, released April 15, continued the 2007 practice of a scheduled game possibly being moved in favor of a more compelling one during Weeks 11 through 16 (November 16 through December 21), but left the slot open on the final Sunday, December 28. The NFL Kickoff Game between the Washington Redskins and defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants that was played on September 4 started at 7:00 pm instead of the normal 8:30 pm time in order to avoid conflict with the nomination speech that John McCain gave at the Republican National Convention that night; the game ended at 10:01 pm EDT, averting any conflict. As happened in 2007, a team played on consecutive Sunday nights due to a game being moved into the Sunday night time slot. The originally scheduled New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game on December 14 was followed by a flexed December 21 home game for the Giants against the Carolina Panthers; the Giants-Panthers game was flexed because it carried serious playoff implications, as the winner would clinch the NFC's top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. This was the second of three flexed games, with a December 7 interconference matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins. The league filled the open spot on December 28 with a game between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers with major playoff implications, as the winner of that game would win the AFC West and earn a home game in the playoffs while the loser would be eliminated.

2009[edit]

The 2009 schedule, released April 14, continued the 2007 and 2008 practice of scheduling a game every Sunday night during the season (except during the World Series) but declaring the games in Weeks 11 through 16 (November 22 through December 27) subject to change, should a more compelling matchup arise. The pattern of the 2007 and 2008 schedules was continued, as the slot for the final Sunday night of the season—January 3, 2010—was left blank. Two games were "flexed" in the 2009 season, as the Minnesota Vikings-Arizona Cardinals game replaced the original December 6 matchup between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. To fill the blank game for the last week of the season NBC was given the matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets that was originally scheduled for 4:15 on CBS, with this game having playoff implications for both teams. For the Jets, a win would have put them in the playoffs, while the Bengals had the potential to improve their seeding for the playoffs with a victory.

2010s[edit]

2010[edit]

The 2010 schedule, released April 20, placed a Sunday night game (Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints) against a World Series game for the first time since the NBC-Sunday night contract began. It also continued the previous practice of scheduling a Sunday night game during every week of the season, and declaring the games in Weeks 11 through 16 (November 21 through December 26) as "flex games", meaning they reverted to Sunday afternoon if a more attractive matchup arose.

The Week 16 game, between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles, originally scheduled for December 26, was moved to December 28 due to the December 2010 North American blizzard. The NFL postponed the game after Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter declared a snow emergency for the city.[8][9] It was the 23rd NFL game to be played on a Tuesday, but the first since 1946.[8][9] This was the only game, outside of the final Sunday night, to be "flexed" in the 2010 season; the original schedule called for the San Diego Chargers to play the Bengals in Cincinnati (the game was moved to CBS, and was indeed blacked out in Cincinnati). Because of this, a full 90-minute edition of Football Night aired on December 26, with a short five-minute pre-game leading into the game on the 28th, while Faith Hill's introduction was not played due to time constraints before kickoff.

For the Week 17 matchup, NBC featured the 7–8 St. Louis Rams playing the 6–9 Seattle Seahawks in a win-and-in game, where the winner of the game would qualify for the playoffs as the NFC West Division Champion.[10]

2011[edit]

The 2011 schedule, released April 19, once again placed a Sunday night game (Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints on October 23, the fourth straight time these teams played each other on national TV) opposite a World Series game. Sunday night games between November 13 and December 18 (inclusive) were "flex games", which could have reverted to Sunday afternoon if a more competitive matchup arose (one was; see below). The final Sunday night of the season—January 1, 2012—was likewise a "flex game"; the slot, blank when the schedule was released, was filled by the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants (see below). The Hall of Fame Game scheduled for August 7, and to be shown on NBC, was canceled due to the lockout that offseason; it was the only game to be affected.

The NFL announced on November 8 that the Week 13 rivalry game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots would be moved to 1 pm on CBS, while a replacement game would be announced by November 22.[11] This was due to the Colts struggling without their star quarterback Peyton Manning (without him, the Colts lost 62–7 to the New Orleans Saints in a Sunday night game on October 23). This also marked the first time the NFL announced that a Sunday night game was being moved to the afternoon without simultaneously announcing a replacement. On November 21, the matchup between the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints was flexed into the Sunday night slot.[12] As compensation to Fox because they only had two other games in the early time slot, the league gave them the Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings game that was originally to air on CBS. This was the first time that the league moved an interconference telecast to the home team's Sunday afternoon regional broadcaster.[13][14]

On November 14, the NFL decided to keep the Week 12 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs on November 27 in place after the league considered flexing it out for other matchups, particularly the AFC East showdown between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets and the interconference matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans, due to the AFC West (where the Chiefs play) being a weak division for 2011.[15]

On December 7, the NFL ended up keeping the Week 15 matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Diego Chargers on December 18, a decision that came a day late due to the NFL Committees meetings that took place on the day before. NBC wanted the game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos as it featured a matchup between Tom Brady and Tim Tebow, two players with high popularity. While CBS did not protect that game, the network was fighting to keep the game since they had lost the aforementioned Week 13 Broncos-Vikings game to Fox, denying the network the earlier chance to capitalize on Tebow's marketability.[16]

For the second consecutive season, and third overall, the last Sunday night game that was flexed in featured a contest where the winner would win the division and earn a home game in the playoffs while the loser would be eliminated. This particular matchup was for the NFC East between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium, a rematch of Week 14's Sunday night broadcast.[17] This was the first time NBC had shown both meetings of division rivals during a regular season.[18]

The 2011 season ended with an average of 20.7 million viewers and was the highest-rated program of the 2011–12 television season, dethroning American Idol, which was the highest-rated program for eight consecutive seasons. As a further result, Sunday Night Football became the first-ever television sports series of any kind to finish a television season as the most-watched show.

2012[edit]

The 2012 schedule, released April 17, once again placed a Sunday night game (New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos) against a World Series game. This was the third straight year a World Series game competed against a Sunday night game. During the halftime of that game, NBC News aired a brief special report with Brian Williams regarding Superstorm Sandy. Sunday night games between November 18 and December 23 (inclusive) were "flex games"; they would revert to Sunday afternoon if a more competitive matchup arose. The only flexed game of the season that displaced a scheduled game took place on December 23; the San Diego Chargers at New York Jets game reverted to the afternoon, and the San Francisco 49ers played in Seattle that night. This resulted in the 49ers playing on consecutive Sunday nights, both on the road (the team played in New England the previous Sunday night, December 16). A portion of the San Francisco-New England game aired on the NBC Sports Network and CNBC due to NBC News' live coverage of Barack Obama's speech following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The final Sunday night of the season—December 30, 2012—likewise was a "flex game"; the slot was left blank when the schedule was released, as has been the practice of the past four seasons. It was filled by the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. Usually announced on the Tuesday before game day (but sometimes before), the game typically highlights a situation in which the winner advances to the playoffs while the loser does not; the winner of this flex game would win its division, although the Redskins would still advance to the playoffs as a wild card team—even if the team lost—if certain other teams lost. After the first 15 games were played that day, which included the Minnesota Vikings clinching the No. 6 seed in the NFC with a win, the game would turn out to be a winner-take-all, in which the winner would clinch the No. 4 seed in the NFC and the loser would be eliminated regardless. The Redskins would eventually defeat the Cowboys 28–18 and clinch their first NFC East crown since 1999.

2013[edit]

The 2013 schedule, released on April 18, once again placed a Sunday night game (Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings) against a World Series game. This was the fourth straight year that a World series game competed against a Sunday night game. Sunday night games between November 17 through December 22 (inclusive) were "flex games", they would revert to Sunday afternoon if a more competitive matchup arose. The final Sunday night of the season—December 29, 2013—likewise was a "flex game"; The slot was left blank when the schedule was released, as has been the practice of the past five seasons. The game site (and, by extension, its teams) was determined after the completion of most Week 16 games. It was filled by the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys.

The league announced on November 1, 2013, that the Week 11 Kansas City ChiefsDenver Broncos game, originally scheduled as CBS's only late 4:05 p.m. ET singleheader game, was flexed into the Sunday Night Football, replacing the originally scheduled Green Bay PackersNew York Giants game. CBS originally selected the Chiefs–Bronocs matchup as one of their "protected games" from flex-scheduling, but later allowed the league to flex it so it could be seen by a national audience.[19] This would be one of two cases of a team playing on consecutive Sunday nights due to one of the games being moved in to the Sunday night slot (as the Broncos would play the New England Patriots the following Sunday night); the Philadelphia Eagles, the other team to play on consecutive Sunday nights, played at home against the Chicago Bears on December 22 and played in Dallas on December 29.

On December 2, 2013, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported (via Twitter) that the Week 15 rivalry game between the Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals for December 15 would remain in the Sunday night slot, a report later confirmed by the NFL. The league had considered flexing the game out due to the Steelers starting the season 0-4, which included a 20-10 loss to the Bengals on Monday Night Football earlier in the season that was more of a blowout than the final score indicated. Ultimately, it was decided to keep the rematch in the Sunday night slot due the Steelers making a late playoff push, the team's fanbase that provides high ratings regardless of how well the Steelers are doing, as well as a lack of compelling matchups for the week, with only two other pairings that did not have a team with a losing record by the flex deadline (Patriots at Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions, the latter being a Monday night game which could not be flexed out of its slot).[20]

On December 10, 2013, the NFL decided to flex the Week 16 Chicago Bears-Philadelphia Eagles matchup into the Sunday night slot, replacing the New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens matchup, which moved to the late afternoon slot on CBS. The move surprised many in the television industry, as all four teams were strong playoff contenders. Some have speculated that since the Patriots had an opportunity to lock up the AFC East before their game in Baltimore (the Patriots were ultimately upset by the Dolphins 24-20),[21] while the other three teams would not be able to clinch playoff spots (nor would they be eliminated) prior to Week 16, that the Bears-Eagles matchup might be more compelling. There was also speculation that moving the Patriots-Ravens game to the late afternoon slot on CBS gives that network a more compelling matchup in their week to have a doubleheader, as the other two matchups scheduled to air on CBS in the late afternoon slot featured teams that were having down years (Steelers-Packers) or weren't expected to contend for the playoffs and only appealed to their home markets (Raiders-Chargers);[22] the Patriots-Ravens matchup ultimately received CBS's primary broadcasting crew (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms) and national coverage outside the local markets and blacked out markets of the other late games.[23] John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal reported that the league wanted to keep the total number of games taken from CBS and Fox, dating back to the start of the current TV contracts, roughly equal. Otherwise, an obscure rule in the broadcast contracts would have prevented the league from possibly flexing a Week 17 AFC game, originally scheduled to be televised on CBS, to the final Sunday Night slot.[24]

2013 Sunday Night Football "flex schedule" games
Week Planned game Selected game Ref.
11 Packers at Giants Chiefs at Broncos [25]
12 Broncos at Patriots [26]
13 Patriots at Texans Broncos at Chiefs [27]
14 Falcons at Packers Panthers at Saints [28]
15 Bengals at Steelers [29]
16 Patriots at Ravens Bears at Eagles [30]
17 no game scheduled Eagles at Cowboys [31]
2014[edit]

The 2014 NFL schedule will be released on Wedensday April 23.

2014 schedule[edit]

Preseason[edit]

Date Kickoff (EDT) Visiting team Final score Host team Game site
Sunday, August 3 8:00 p.m. New York Giants Buffalo Bills Fawcett Stadium
Sunday, August 24 8:00 p.m. Cincinnati Bengals Arizona Cardinals University of Phoenix Stadium

Regular season[edit]

Week Date Kickoff (ET) Visiting team Final score Host team Game site
1 Thursday, September 4 8:30 p.m. Seattle Seahawks CenturyLink Field
Sunday, September 7 8:20 p.m.
2 Sunday, September 14 8:20 p.m.
3 Sunday, September 21 8:20 p.m.
4 Sunday, September 28 8:20 p.m.
5 Sunday, October 5 8:20 p.m.
6 Sunday, October 12 8:20 p.m.
7 Sunday, October 19 8:20 p.m.
8 Sunday, October 26 8:20 p.m.
9 Sunday, November 2 8:20 p.m.
10 Sunday, November 9 8:20 p.m.
11 Sunday, November 16 8:20 p.m.
12 Sunday, November 23 8:20 p.m.
13 Thursday, November 27 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 30 8:20 p.m.
14 Sunday, December 7 8:20 p.m.
15 Sunday, December 14 8:20 p.m.
16 Sunday, December 21 8:20 p.m.
17 Sunday, December 28 8:20 p.m. TBA TBA TBA
Legend
Winning team in bold.

Post season[edit]

Playoff round Date Kickoff time (ET) Visiting team Final score Host team Game site
Wild Card Saturday, January 3 8:00 p.m. TBA TBA TBA
Divisonal Playoff Saturday, January 10 8:00 p.m. TBA TBA TBA
Super Bowl XLIX Sunday, February 1 6:30 p.m. TBA TBA University of Phoenix Stadium

Winning team in bold.

TV ratings[edit]

8:31pm to 11:25pm; Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys; Household Rating: 12.7; Viewers: 22.074 million [1]

Sept. 23, 2013 to Dec. 15, 2013: 21.495 million viewers [2]

  • Pre Kick: 15.599 million viewers

Similarity to ABC[edit]

Much of NBC's Sunday Night Football production crew comes from ABC/ESPN, including Fred Gaudelli and Drew Esocoff (producer and director, respectively), as ESPN moved most of its previous Sunday night crew over to Monday Night Football. Michaels, Madden and Kremer also came to NBC directly from ABC/ESPN, and Football Night in America's Sterling Sharpe was a member of ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown in recent years (calling several Sunday night games for the network in 2005).[32] With regard to using ABC/ESPN talent, NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said, "I was not interested in the quote, unquote vanity of starting anew ... There's not a lot of room for experimentation."[32]

Also, NBC has the starters introduce themselves, much as ABC did in the last few years of its run, and the short postgame show (so affiliates can get to their late newscasts) follows a similar format to ABC's.

Michaels and Madden ended each telecast in the 2007 and 2008 NFL seasons by selecting an MVP for that night's game to receive the Horse Trailer award (with a photo of each recipient being affixed to the side of a production truck, also known as a "horse trailer"). This concept originated from Madden's days with the NFL on CBS, where he invented the similar "Turkey Leg Award" for the Thanksgiving Day game in 1989 (he later took the concept to Fox, then expanded it to every game of the year with the Horse Trailer Award when he joined ABC in 2002). In the 2006 season, the MVP concept was modified slightly, where the game's MVP was called the "Rock Star of the Game" and had his photo placed on a display at the "Top of the Rock" observation deck atop the GE Building, NBC's New York headquarters, in New York. When Madden retired following Super Bowl XLIII, the Horse Trailer Player of the Game award was discontinued.

Theme music[edit]

Academy Award winner John Williams composed the instrumental theme music[33] for Sunday Night Football. For Super Bowl XLIII, NBC commissioned Joel Beckerman[34] of Man Made Music to create new instrumental cues adding techno and rock elements around the main brass melody. These cues replaced the original Williams arrangements full-time at the start of the 2009 season. Singer Pink sang the theme song for the broadcast[35] in 2006, a reworking of the Joan Jett song "I Hate Myself for Loving You" retitled "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night".[36][37] Several alternative versions were used throughout the season, substituting different lyrics when appropriate, e.g. "Waiting All Year For Opening Night."

In 2007, country singer Faith Hill replaced Pink as the singer of the opening theme, and a new arrangement of the Joan Jett song coincided with her debut.[38] The Faith Hill intro, in particular, has not been without criticism[39] and parody. On the October 9, 2010 episode of Saturday Night Live, host Jane Lynch as Hill (with Jason Sudeikis as Al Michaels and Bill Hader as Cris Collinsworth), lampooned the intro.[40][41] On the 30 Rock episode "Season 4", Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) sings what appears to be an allusion to the Faith Hill intro for NBC's fictional Tennis Night in America[42][43] program. In the South Park episode entitled "Faith Hilling", Eric Cartman sings an obvious spoof of Hill's actual Sunday Night Football song. On April 15, 2013, Hill announced that she will no longer sing the intro song for Sunday Night Football.[44]

The use of the reworked Joan Jett song is another similarity to ABC's Monday Night Football coverage. From 1989 to 2011, Hank Williams, Jr. opened MNF with a reworking of his song "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" entitled "All My Rowdy Friends Are Back for Monday Night (Are You Ready for Some Football?)".

On Sunday October 7, 2012, the Soul Rebels Brass Band had a featured performance on NBC Sunday Night Football, performing the show's theme song.[45]

It was announced May 7, 2013, that Carrie Underwood would take over singing the theme song.[46]

Show opening[edit]

The song is at the centerpiece of the opening montage, which has changed in the following ways over the years. Williams' music has always played in the background over the official welcome after the opening is completed and the teams take the field.

2006[edit]

For the first season, Pink appeared to sing from the top of a skyscraper as a helicopter zoomed down on a city skyline with enlarged players Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson and Tom Brady and the field, the results of computer-generated imagery. A television monitor, which resembles NBC's monitor at Times Square, showed game preview footage and opening credits.

2007[edit]

Faith Hill, who replaced Pink, sang on a stage while some of the key players in the game and announcers Michaels and Madden arrived in limousines and walk on a red carpet as they head to a simulated theater. The marquee outside the theater showed the logo of then-official NFL communications partner Sprint, which paid a product placement fee, and one of the "bystanders" recorded the red carpet scene on a Sprint camera phone. Access Hollywood co-hosts Shaun Robinson and Tony Potts also appeared in the opening. Also, some of the lyrics were changed slightly and the musical arrangement tilts toward country more than rock, to reflect the change in singers.

2008[edit]

The 2008 opening, which debuted on September 7, takes place in a stadium. Hill performs surrounded by video screens with simulated game action, and the song ends with a computer-generated fireworks display. Once again, a Sprint camera phone is used, this time by a fan. Among the spectators are NFL stars Ray Lewis and Antonio Gates. Again, there were some lyrics changes, among them was the substitution of the lyrics "last one standing better turn out the lights."[47]

2009[edit]

Faith Hill sang the theme song for the third straight year. This time, she performed in a closed-studio setting, surrounded by video monitors, neon lights, and a message board that displayed the names of the production staff. Sprint returned for more product placement, as a branded cell phone appeared to give an alert that the game was about to start.

2010[edit]

Faith Hill was seen in front of a Ford Mustang convertible as the song began, overlooking a bluff; the scene was taped in the Hollywood Hills in Southern California. A number of NFL stars appeared in front of various landmarks throughout the United States, including Peyton Manning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Eli Manning at Times Square, Desean Jackson at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Larry Fitzgerald in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Drew Brees on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Hill herself drove down a road with some simulated billboards with the opening credits and a product placement ad for Verizon (which replaced Sprint as the league's telecommunications sponsor) and was also seen at the Washington Monument. Some of the lyrics changed yet again; for example, the opening line once again asked, "Alright, Sunday night, where are you?" Hill gathered with the NFL stars on a computer-generated football field inside a stadium at the end of the video. In Week 16, the introduction did not air due to the game moving to Tuesday night and time constraints.

2011[edit]

There were a few significant changes from the previous year, including Faith Hill (who herself returned for her 5th year as part of the telecast's opening) arriving in a motorcycle. Also, Verizon returned for more product placement. And most of the scenes, including the NFL stars' appearances in front of various landmarks throughout the U.S. and Hill at the Washington Monument (with the minor difference being her wardrobe), were repeated from 2010, as mentioned above. Several new stars appeared, including Adrian Peterson and Brian Urlacher; and in the last few seconds, all of them gather on a computer-generated football field. In another notable change, the opening credits are gone. J. Ivy, a spoken word poet from Chicago who has worked with Kanye West and Jay-Z, also appears during the opening.

Super Bowl XLVI[edit]

Faith Hill performed a special Super Bowl version of the song at the start of the network's Super Bowl XLVI broadcast. With computer-generated technology, this was filmed in a closed-studio setting, with Hill surrounded by video screens showing clips from past Super Bowls. A Verizon smartphone (product placement) was seen at the beginning of the video sequence.

2012[edit]

The show's opening had some changes, including Faith Hill walking through the tunnel towards the stage. She then performs with a rock band in front of a live audience, with video screens in the background. Shortly after the start of the song, there have been weekly guest appearances on the video screens (such as three of The Voice judges from Week 1 and the Chicago Fire Department from Week 3) singing the line "We want it too!". The live audience uses their smartphones to form the Verizon logo. NFL stars are also seen going through the tunnel with moving images of city landmarks, players and team logos (through computer-generated imagery). Initially, the stars presented were Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Clay Matthews (Packers), Ray Lewis (Ravens), Patrick Willis (49ers), Jimmy Graham (Saints), DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys), Calvin Johnson (Lions), Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals), Jared Allen (Vikings), Rob Gronkowski (Patriots), Darrelle Revis (Jets) and Eli Manning (Giants). The opening itself has been remixed with Nick Mangold (Jets) and LeSean McCoy (Eagles) filling in for Ray Lewis and Darrelle Revis. This opening graphic sequence was not used at the start of the NBC Sunday Night Football Thanksgiving Special broadcast (November 22, 2012), nor on December 16, 2012, two days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

2013[edit]

Carrie Underwood's intro debuted on September 8. She replaced Faith Hill as the performer for the theme song, which itself tilted even more towards country to reflect the change in singers. In this animation sequence, Underwood performs on stage inside a computer-generated stadium. Verizon also returned for more product placement. Some of the NFL stars appearing in this opening include Andrew Luck (Colts), Eli Manning (Giants), Peyton Manning (Broncos), Clay Matthews (Packers) and J.J. Watt (Texans). The animation ends with the NBC Sunday Night Football logo written in laser lighting. As was the case the previous year, the opening graphic sequence was not used at the start of the Sunday Night Football on Thanksgiving Night broadcast on November 28, 2013.

2014[edit]

Graphics[edit]

The scoring banner used from 2006 to 2008.

NBC's Sunday Night Football graphics, logos and scoreboard were designed by Troika Design Group, along with the city skyline graphics used in the introductions to both Football Night in America and the game itself.[48] It was effectively the first time the network used permanent time/score boxes throughout any of their sports broadcasts outside of Olympic Games broadcasts, where permanent scoring displays were compulsory; previous to 2006 the network continued the previous mode of score presentation of flashing the score on-screen for a short time every few minutes or so seen in American sports broadcasting until Fox's 1994 introduction of constant scoring displays.

NBC's game telecasts use the same type of bottom-line scoreboard that Monday Night Football used in the 2005 NFL season (and was subsequently used by ABC Sports until its rebranding in August 2006). After its debut, the graphics also began to be phased in across other NBC Sports properties, including its coverage of Notre Dame football and the annual Bayou Classic game (which uses the exact graphics used on SNF broadcasts), National Hockey League coverage (which uses the SNF graphics but with a scoreboard on the top), and tennis and golf (which use a modified version influenced by the look, but with bolder text for readability purposes). NBC's Olympics coverage continues to use a different package mixed between NBC's graphics and those of the IOC's world feed. The NBC football graphics are also used, in some form or another, on certain local preseason telecasts carried by the network's stations who are the flagship stations to NFL teams (such as New York Giants preseason games on WNBC, and the Minnesota Vikings on KARE-TV).

The scoring banner used from 2009–2011 (regular season). Notice the addition of timeout indicators at the bottom, and the cleaner looking font in the team's initials.

NBC's bottom-line scoring banner underwent a significant revamp for the 2009 season. The revamped banner debuted during the network's Super Bowl XLIII coverage on February 1, 2009. The changes included presenting downs and yardage in a feather derived from NBC's famous peacock logo in the colors of the team currently on offense. Also, when a team scores a touchdown, the banner will open, the team's logo and initials will slide to the left of the banner and "TOUCHDOWN" is displayed in the remainder of the banner. After a few moments, the banner will show the drive information. Then the banner returns to normal and show the change in the team's score. Additionally (beginning with Week 9), timeout indicators were added below each team's respective scores. For the 2010 season, the timeout indicators were changed to 3 white trapezoids below the team abbreviations, and the play clock was moved from above the team in possession of the football to above the game clock (for the final 2 minutes of regulation and if necessary, overtime). The down markers also changed in 2010, which is now featuring the team logo next to the down marker.

The scoring banner used since the 2011 NFL Wild Card playoffs.

On January 2, 2012 during the NHL Winter Classic (with a sneak two days before during a Notre Dame hockey game on Versus), the graphics of all of NBC Sports' productions were updated to a new package intended to unify the graphical image between both the network and the rebranded NBC Sports Network, which relaunched that same day. Subsequently on Wild Card Saturday (January 7), the network's NFL presentation was changed to the new graphical styling to match the style and layout of the recently christened NBC Sports Network. Most of the banner's styling remains the same, but with a cleaner and larger font for readability and a more neutral NBC logo to the left rather than the "aggressive peacock" used since 2006. Elements such as team and individual player stats take on team colors (main color as the background, secondary color as the accent), and the down/yardage/possession graphic also takes on team coloring, with neutral team comparison stats and other elements having a gold/blue/black coloring. Additionally, the play clock appears directly above the game clock throughout the entire game.

International broadcasts[edit]

In Canada, SNF telecasts are seen live on TSN, using the NBC feed (despite not being an over-the-air channel, it is simsubbed by Bell TV and cable providers which carry feeds from the service). In the United Kingdom, SNF is aired live on Channel 4 carrying the NBC branding and commentators during games, it is hosted by Nat Coombs and analysed by Mike Carlson.

In Brazil, SNF is aired on ESPN Brasil, with SAP available, Original English Audio and Brazilian Portuguese audio hosted by Everaldo Marques and Paulo Antunes presenters. Australia takes a live feed of SNF on ONE HD with Al and Chris airing on Monday early afternoon.

Season TV ratings[edit]

Season averages [viewers/household rating/household share]

  • 1. 2010, 21.8 million, 13.0/21
  • 2. 2009, 19.4 million, 11.7/19
  • 3. 2006, 17.5 million, 11.0/18
  • 4. 2008, 16.6 million, 10.2/16
  • 5. 2007, 16.0 million, 10.0/16

Through the first four weeks of the NFL season in 2010, SNF is averaging 22.9 million viewers, the most for the first four weeks of a primetime NFL package in 14 years (24.0 million in 1996 on ABC: four broadcasts). [3] [4]

SNF; Series High: 30.426 million viewers [5] [6](most watched regular-season primetime game in 16 years; since ABC’s Packers-Cowboys coverage on Monday, November 18, 1996, 31.5 million viewers) [7]

Sunday Night Football is averaging 21.9 million viewers (15 broadcasts; Turkey Bowl) in 2013, up 5 percent versus the year-ago period, and is up 3 percent with a 12.9 household rating. In terms of sheer reach, this marks the highest average viewership for an NFL prime time package since 1996. Its highest rated airing was on October 20, 2013, (Denver/Colts) with 26.9 million viewers. [8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Repertoire Search". BMI. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 24, 2012). "Full 2011–2012 TV Season Series Rankings". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ "TV’s most watched shows of the 2011–2012 season". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-02-02. 
  4. ^ "John Madden retires from broadcasting". NBC Sports. April 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  5. ^ Florio, Mike (December 6, 2009). "Gibbs, Theismann join NBC's playoff coverage". ProFootballTalk.com. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  6. ^ Leahy, Sean (January 3, 2011). "NBC adds Mike Mayock to roster for wild-card weekend". USA Today.com. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  7. ^ "Game 4 of World Series beats ratings for New Orleans Saints-Indianapolis Colts – ESPN". Espn.go.com. October 24, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  8. ^ a b Maadi, Rob (December 26, 2010). "Vikings-Eagles moved to Tuesday night". Yahoo! Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Stamm, Dan (December 26, 2010). "Snow Postpones Eagles-Vikings Game to Tuesday Night". NBCPhiladelphia.com. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Rams-Seahawks Week 17 matchup to air in primetime". NFL.com. December 26, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Colts, Patriots' Week 13 meeting no longer set for prime time". NFL.com. November 8, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  12. ^ Yuille, Sean (November 21, 2011). "NFL Flexes Week 13 Lions-Saints Game To Sunday Night". Pride of Detroit. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
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  15. ^ "Steelers/Chiefs to stay in prime time for Week 12". Fox News. November 14, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Patriots-Broncos stays put, without explanation". Boston Globe. December 8, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Cowboys-Giants Week 17 showdown moved to prime time". nfl.com. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  18. ^ Horn, Barry (December 24, 2011). "Cowboys-Giants shifts to prime time on NBC, pulling the plug on Fox". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  19. ^ "Broncos-Chiefs shifted to prime time". ESPN. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2103. 
  20. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000291703/article/bengalssteelers-remains-in-snf-slot-for-nfl-week-15
  21. ^ http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2013121504/2013/REG15/patriots@dolphins#menu=highlights&tab=recap
  22. ^ http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24371353/eaglesbears-game-flexed-to-sunday-night-week-16
  23. ^ http://506sports.com/nfl.php?yr=2013&wk=16
  24. ^ "Report: Obscure broadcast contract term drove Week 16 flex decision". ProFootballTalk.com. December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  25. ^ Legwold, Jeff (November 1, 2013). "Broncos-Chiefs shifted to prime time". ESPN. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2103. 
  26. ^ "Week 12 Flex Scheduling: No Changes to Original Schedule Broncos-Patriots Remains NBC Sunday Night Game". NFL Communications. National Football League. November 11, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Week 13 Flex Scheduling: Patriots-Texans Moves to 1:00 PM ET on CBS; Broncos-Chiefs Moves to 4:25 PM ET on CBS". NFL Communications. National Football League. November 12, 2013. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Week 14 Flex Scheduling: December 8 Panthers-Saints Game Moves to NBC Sunday Night Football; Falcons-Packers Goes to 1:00 PM ET on FOX". NFL Communications. National Football League. November 24, 2013. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Week 15 Flex Scheduling: Bengals-Steelers Remains NBC Sunday Night Game; Saints-Rams and Cardinals-Titans Go to 4:25 PM ET on FOX". NFL Communications. National Football League. December 2, 2013. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Week 16 Flex Scheduling: December 22 Bears-Eagles Game Moves To NBC Sunday Night Football Patriots-Ravens Goes To 4:25 PM ET On CBS". NFL Communications. National Football League. December 10, 2013. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Week 17 Flex Scheduling: Eagles-Cowboys to be NBC Sunday Night Football Game on Dec. 29; Bills-Patriots Moves to 4:25 PM ET on CBS; Buccaneers-Saints to 4:25 PM ET on FOX". NFL Communications. National Football League. December 22, 2013. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b Barron, David (September 18, 2006). "Grading NBC in prime time". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-09-18. 
  33. ^ John Williams Sunday Night Football Theme – Song – MP3 Stream on IMEEM Music
  34. ^ "Joel Beckerman Creates New Arrangement For This Year's Superbowl". Man Made Music. SHM. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  35. ^ From Hank to . . . Pink?: NFL Sunday Night Adds Unneeded Girl Power
  36. ^ "'Sunday Night Football' Thinks Pink". Zap2it.com. August 30, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-19. 
  37. ^ "Multi-platinum pop singer Pink performs "NBC Sunday Night Football" opening music". NBC. August 30, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  38. ^ "Faith Hill to sing Sunday Night Football theme". The Associated Press. August 30, 2007. 
  39. ^ Fogarty, Dan (September 19, 2010). "Is NBC’s Sunday Night Football Intro With Faith Hill The "Worst Intro in the History of Television?"". SportsGrid. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  40. ^ "SNL Transcripts: Jane Lynch: 10/09/10: Sunday Night Football". Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  41. ^ Farrar, Doug (October 10, 2010). "Jane Lynch sings a more useful ‘Sunday Night Football' theme song". Shutdown Corner – NFL Blog. Yahoo! News Network. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  42. ^ J, Adam (October 16, 2009). "Video: 30 Rock’s "Tennis Night In America" Promo". SPORTSbyBROOKS. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  43. ^ J, Adam (October 16, 2009). "NBC's "30 Rock" Spoofs Net's Sports Lineup During Season Premiere". Sports Business Journal Daily. Street and Smith’s Sports Group. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  44. ^ Hanzus, Dan (April 15, 2013). "Faith Hill stepping away from 'Sunday Night Football'". National Football League. Retrieved April 15, 2013. 
  45. ^ i. "The Soul Rebels on Sunday Night Football". Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Underwood to sing 'Sunday Night Football' theme". Associated Press. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  47. ^ This may be a paraphrase.
  48. ^ Troika Design Group Creates New Identity and Packaging for "NBC Sunday Night Football"

External links[edit]

Official sites
Others
Preceded by
ESPN
NFL Sunday Night Football broadcaster
2006–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent