The NFL offseason is peak time for the media machine. This week we saw CBS throw Phil Simms off the boat on their first team for Tony Romo, and Amazon sign a $50 million streaming deal for 10 of the NFL’s worst standalone games on Thursday nights, games that are aired on broadcast television no less.
Anyways, we’re still at the point where NBC and CBS’s announcers aren’t set in stone. If you’ll recall, last August the NFL decided to put the kibosh on Mike Tirico calling the peacock’s Thursday night package. The NFL, sensitive to the notion that those games are inferior, mandated that NBC use Al Michaels with Cris Collinsworth.
While Tirico has publicly said that plans never went awry and he got some Sunday night games in late in the year in what amounted to a de facto make-good, this was an absurd power flexing by the NFL for it to get to that.
This year, the breakdown of how NBC will use Tirico and Michaels is still a question, and CBS also finds itself in a quandary. The network has already taken some shots about vaulting Tony Romo to their top team with no broadcasting experience. He is going to be under a microscope and people will be out for blood waiting to crush CBS if he messes up. Do they really want him pulling double-duty in the first half of the season when he is still learning the ropes?
On Tuesday, SBD’s John Ourand, who broke the Romo-to-CBS news, wrote that Romo’s preference would be to Stick to Sundays:
An unresolved question is what will happen on Thursday nights. A source says that Romo, a broadcasting neophyte, does not want to call both “TNF” and CBS’ national Sunday game right off the bat.
This is where it bears repeating that it’s absurd for the NFL to throw its weight around with these decisions. CBS and NBC pay $45 million per game for these Thursday night telecasts, in addition to spending over a billion dollars a year each on their Sunday packages. Does the NFL really think that these networks don’t want to do what’s best for their business on these games?
NBC and CBS paid for the package, and they should be able to pick whomever they want to announce these games. The NFL should focus its attention on more pressing matters.