CBS and NFL Network executives have said for months that the pregame show leading up to Thursday Night Football would consist of a mix of talent between the two networks.
Well, get ready for one big happy NFL broadcasting family.
SI.com has learned that James Brown, Bill Cowher and Deion Sanders will form the main set group that will appear on CBS and the NFL Network from 7:30 p.m. leading up to the kickoff of Thursday Night Football this season.
Both CBS and NFL Network spokespeople declined to comment Friday when contacted about the Thursday Night pregame staffing.
The 2014 Thursday Night Football schedule will feature games from Weeks 2-8 and Week 16 (Saturday) broadcast on CBS that will also be simulcast on NFL Network. Games in Weeks 9-12 and Weeks 14-16 will be televised on NFL Network and will be simulcast on over-the-air stations in the primary markets of the participating teams. The Brown-Cowher-Sanders trio will be the 7:30 p.m. pregame show on Thursday Night, regardless of network.
All Thursday night games will kickoff at 8:25 p.m. ET, with the exception of the Week 16 Saturday doubleheader when the NFL Network will air its game at 4:30 p.m. ET with CBS at 8:00 p.m. CBS will handle the production of the games. The NFL Network is expected to have a pregame show on its air that begins at 6:00 p.m. ET. There will undoubtedly also be a postgame show on NFLN.
As for the Thursday Night schedule, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told SI.com last month that he pleased to get strong rivalry games involving major-market teams, given that those factors are key for sales and high viewership.
"I had indications early in the process that we would be given a good first game, and this is a really good way to start it off," McManus said. "Pittsburgh always travels well, and I think their rivalry with the Ravens is right up their with any other NFL rivalry. I was also happy that we have the Patriots and Giants and a lot of high-profile teams in major markets. For a first-year schedule, we are satisfied. In future years as we grow into this -- we have a one-year deal but we are hoping we carry Thursday Night Football for many years -- I think as the league learns more about Thursday night, the schedule will be even better. But I'm satisfied and our sales people are satisfied."