NFL UNVEILS FULL '08 REGULAR-SEASON SCHEDULEWhen
NFL Network Moves Up Kickoff For 2008 Primetime Schedule
Net Hosts Games Featuring Six Playoff Teams, ESPN Has Baker’s Dozen
When it comes to the NFL, $1.1 billion apparently doesn't buy you much.
That's ESPN's annual rights payment under an eight-year, $8.8 million dollar deal. For its 10-figure disbursement, the total sports network has received a 17-game schedule featuring just two games matching playoff games
yeah, I know ESPN received basic cable-top dual revenue strteam $3.25 per month per sub, accrodngtoKagan Assocaitesestaimetr, an industry leadigt total fueld in large part by the NFL games. Yes, MNF presence fueld a monday night lineup footbsall and drived outstnd Werb straic gai. And Yes,grabs signficnagt ad dollars ffrom games, which lasgt year accoutned for tk , including the networks msot -wtche dtgelecat
freeagency, draqfts, strenght of schduels movement and injried change team's fortuen quicks in a leafeu marked by mediortcirt, er parity.
does get Patx and Giiats
Still on its face, the NFL deosnt'don EPSN any favors.
only saddle ESPN with stinker of schedule
To be fair, the NFL didn't discrimate solely againt one cablr partern. NFL Network's slate
not exactly a burner either. For its $400 milion to $450 million rights fees handoff, NFL Netowrk ony gets one contest of its eight primetm achups of palyoff teasms. and two with winner.
What the leafgue did do was move NFl up three weeks to Nov. 6 opener, insread of haningback to Tanksing
Although doens ' have a week 17 contest -- there was a litle gae of hsotimnc valeu n tht slot lasgt seaosn-- be in the public and Congressonla eye a little bit longer, where fans whose cable companesd done't carry the controversial package bith cnad mona (hey buddy, your Sunday Ticket bar has the games)
No Pats, Gor Gians ,altughoBoys ae in clsoer
Contrast to NBSpreimte slate,,a For apaltr $600 million, NBC has 11 games paiig plauof teams
flex shcedule Unlike ESPN and NFL Nework, both of which are stuck with one contest ,NBC deosn't have any matchups of teams tht has lsoting record in 2007. At worst, one listing record with a .500 club lasty season\
Of cours, none of this speakd to a pair of divisla wid card games, and two Super Bowls over life of six yer $3.6 billion pact.
While last year was a Patriot premium dones; tife to be in mix forany of the networks thi sgo round
The National Football League released its full schedule Tuesday with a revamped set-up for its in-house service.
NFL Network’s third primetime season kicks off three weeks earlier than in the past and doesn’t include a contest on the final weekend. Whereas the service had inaugurated its eight-game packages on Thanksgiving during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, NFL Network comes off the scrimmage line during the league’s 10th week with the Denver Broncos visiting the Cleveland Browns at 8 p.m. (ET). This year’s Thanksgiving night contest – the finale of pro pigskin tripleheader pits the Arizona Cardinals at the Philadelphia Eagles, marking the first NFL “turkey day” game in the City of Brotherly Love since 1940
All of NFL Network’s game will be played on Thursdays at that time, save for Baltimore Ravens-Dallas Cowboys finale on Saturday Dec. 20. Previously, NFL Network, whose 2008 schedule includes six playoffs teams from last season, played out with five Thursday games and three on Saturdays. The Dec. 18 match-up of the Indianapolis Colts-Jacksonville Jaguars marks its only contest pitting post-season squads from last season.
Similarly, ESPN hosts one such game within its 17-game Monday Night Football slate: the week 8 Colts-Tennessee Titans battle Oct. 27.
All told, ESPN’s games, which start at 8:30 p.m., feature 13 playoff teams, including three appearances by the Green Bay Packers, who enter the campaign without their legendary leader and quarterback Brett Favre. The Pack bookend ESPN’s schedule with the opener of its Sept. 8, week one doubleheader versus the Minnesota Vikings and in the Dec. 22, week 16 finale against ancient rival, the Chicago Bears. (All of week’s 17 games are on Sunday this season). In between, Aaron Rodgers’ team squares off against the New Orleans Saints Nov. 24
The Pittsburgh Steelers also appear twice versus the Baltimore Ravens Sept. 29 and the Washington Redskins in the nation’s capitol Nov. 3, the night before the presidential election.
ESPN also has the Super Bowl XLII combatants: the champion New York Giants take on the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 13, while the runner-up New England Patriots, whose undefeated season fell to Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress in the final minute of the championship game, host the Denver Broncos the following week.
The ’08 NFL schedule was announced on NFL Network at 2:00pm ET today, with ESPN simultaneously airing a two-hour broadcast. The Chiefs, Jets and Titans had schedules posted their schedules on team Web sites before the NFL’s official announcement. Both the Rocky Mountain News and KCNC-CBS in Denver posted the Broncos’ full schedule online before the announcement. The Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune and ESPN.com’s Hashmarks blog began reporting select games before 2:00pm.
Eight teams are tied for the most scheduled primetime appearances with five – the Bears, Browns, Chargers, Colts, Cowboys, Eagles, Patriots and Steelers. The Chiefs, Dolphins, Falcons, Lions and Rams are the only teams that are not currently scheduled to appear in primetime.
Of the 32 appearances by teams scheduled for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” there were 25 playoff appearances last season among them. Of the 34 appearances by teams on ESPN’s “MNF,” there were 14 playoff appearances. Of the 16 appearances by teams on NFL Network, there were six playoff appearances. Three teams appearing on NBC this season had a losing record last year. ESPN features 11 teams with losing records last season. NFL Network has seven teams with losing records (THE DAILY).
NBC’s John Madden said of the net airing Patriots-Colts in Week 9, “Before the schedule comes out ... you say, ‘OK what’s the best game?’ It has to be the Patriots and the Colts.” NBC can flex out of its scheduled game beginning with Week 11, but Madden said, “Right now I couldn’t pick a game that we would flex out of. They all look very good in that period” (NFL Network, 4/15).
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob Wolfley said NBC’s schedule “is way sexier than ESPN’s. Not even close. Even though the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions, the Patriots remain the marquee team in the NFL.” He added it is “easier to locate more potential clunkers" on ESPN than on NBC (THE DAILY).
NFL Network’s Solomon Wilcots said of the Bears and Browns having five primetime games, “Even the fans of Chicago and Cleveland know that their teams don’t deserve to be in primetime for five times” (NFL Network, 4/15). PROFOOTBALLTALK.com's Mike Florio writes in the Browns' first four games, "Anything less than 2-2 would set the wrong tone for a team that the league apparently believes to be on the cusp of big things" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 4/15).
ESPN's Trey Wingo noted the Steelers have the toughest schedule in the league based on last year's statistics, with 9 of their last 16 games in '08 coming against playoff teams from last season (ESPN, 4/15).
View the entire NFL regular-season schedule.
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