We are a nation that debates everything except this:
So everyone is watching football, but who is watching those who broadcast the sport you love? That's where we come in. Here's SI.com's NFL broadcasting guide to the 2012 season:
• La Canfora replaces Charley Casserly as the lead information broker on CBS. "Charley did a great job for us," said CBS Sports president Sean McManus. "I think he'll do a really good job for the NFL Network. We were looking for someone who could contribute to all of our platforms and Jason has the energy, exuberance and the 24-hour commitment. I talked to coaches and owners around the league, and I watched what he was doing. I saw how many stories he was on top of, and he looked to me the ideal candidate. He literally lives and breathes the NFL 24 hours a day."
• CBS is making a move on ESPN's terrain by featuring seven days of cable programming (on the CBS Sports Network) next year from Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The network also will debut a new hour-long show
"It's tough to have a viable cable network without regular NFL programming and this is the first of what I hope will be many announcements," said McManus. "Traditionally, CBS Sports has basically covered the Super Bowl on Sunday. We'd do a little programming on Saturday and then 10 or 11 hours of coverage on Sunday. I can promise you this year we will do seven complete days of coverage, almost 24/7."
• Super Bowl XLVII marks the seventh time Simms will serve as the Super Bowl television analyst. But here's something even more remarkable: Super Bowl XLVII will mark Esiason's 13th title game as an analyst on the radio side. Only Hank Stram has done more Super Bowls as a radio color commentator.
• Stability in its broadcasting teams and studio show, especially with the top three announcing teams. On this end, we note here that Eagle and Fouts are the most underrated broadcasting team in the NFL, deftly mixing humor and insight weekly.
Bills at Jets (Sept. 9, 1 p.m.), Ravens at Eagles (Sept. 16, 1 p.m.), Jets at Steelers (Sept. 16, 4:15 p.m.), Chiefs at Saints (Sept. 23, 1 p.m.), Raiders at Broncos (Sept. 30, 4:05 p.m.), Broncos at Patriots (Oct. 7, 4:05 p.m.), Bills at Niners (Oct. 7, 4:05 p.m.), Jets at Patriots (Oct. 21, 4:15 p.m.), Steelers at Giants (Nov. 4, 4:15 p.m.), Broncos at Panthers (Nov. 11, 1:00 p.m.), Bills at Patriots (Nov. 11, 1 p.m.), Texans at Lions (Nov. 22, 12:30 p.m.), Ravens at Chargers (Nov. 25, 4:05 p.m.), Steelers at Ravens (Dec. 2, 4:15 p.m.), Broncos at Ravens (Dec. 16, 1 p.m.), Steelers at Cowboys (Dec. 16, 4:15 p.m.), Jets at Bills (Dec. 30, 1 p.m.), Chiefs at Ravens (Dec. 30, 4:15 p.m.).
"The expectation level for Peyton is unrealistic because of what we think about the old Peyton. He has not played for a year. I think if his nerve comes back he will be a better quarterback in November than he is in September. I think all of the attention in the first couple of games will be about whether he can take a hit. Can he stay healthy? Will he have velocity on his throws in December? I think if he is able to do that, I think they will be in the hunt. They have a good defense and they are in a good division." - Cowher.
CBS has sold 85 percent of its Super Bowl commercial inventory, with pricing as high as $3.8 million for a 30-second ad.
One of the league's ultimate insiders,
• Given the success FOX has had with rules analyst Mike Pereira -- and how much NFL referees are in the news at the start of the season -- ESPN has brought in retired football official Gerry Austin as an analyst. He will be in the booth with Gruden and Tirico and might appear on-camera if the situation warrants it.
"It has frustrated Jon the amount of time we've spent talking about rules and I've come around to agree with Jon," Tirico said. "It's a drag on the momentum of the game. To have as great an expert as Gerry Austin, with his on-field experience, to pop in when something happens to explain, clearly, concisely what is going on, is a great addition to our Monday Night season."
• Dilfer continues to get more airtime. This is good.
• Tebow programming. Our fear, as always, is that Bristol can't quit
• It's heartening to see ESPN management invest in its
Broncos at Falcons (Sept. 17), Bears at Cowboys (Oct. 1), Texans at Jets (Oct. 8), Broncos at Chargers (Oct. 15), Lions at Bears (Oct. 22), Eagles at Saints (Nov. 5), Chiefs at Steelers (Nov. 12), Bears at Niners (Nov. 19), Panthers at Eagles (Nov. 26), Falcons at Lions (Dec. 22).
"Do I want him to go back? Hell, no. I love his company and he's become one of my better friends. There are few days that go by where we don't talk. I don't want him to go back but I want him to be happy. I think when this started, very few people thought he would be doing it for this long and here we are in Year Four. Will Jon be coaching in 2013? I have no earthly idea. But given where his temperature has been the last couple of years, I think the chances are good that he will be around with us."
"I hate to be a devil's advocate, but I think the schedule is tough. The battery of [Colts long-time offensive coordinator] Tom Moore, [former Colts center] Jeff Saturday, [former Colts line coach] Howard Mudd, the men that trained him and helped develop him and put that offense in for him are no longer with him. I think he's doing a lot of things on his own from installing the offense to calling the offense to executing the offense. He's going to have to do it with a very short period of time and a lot of young players around him. So I think it's going to be a little bit more of a struggle than people remember. But I do think physically he's back, he's quick, he looks natural to me behind the center. I think a realistic expectation is 8-8 if you ask me." - Gruden.
• Erin Andrews, who is hosting FOX's college football studio show, gets sideline duties on Thanksgiving Day and will also work during the network's NFC playoff coverage. Hale and Maggio were also added as sideline reporters. Chad Pennington and Jim Mora Jr. (who is now coaching UCLA) did not return to the network.
• FOX says for the first time in 19 years, it will update its stage setup on
• Rob Riggle joins FOX as the new in-house comedian, replacing Frank Caliendo.
• Well, the combined age of Bradshaw, Long and Johnson is 172. But it's a young-at-heart group and a tight bunch: Bradshaw and Long have been with the show since its debut in 1994 and this year marks Johnson's 13th season on the show.
• Here's hoping his bosses recognize the steady improvement from Menefee, who has become a solid studio host. The top three broadcasting teams remain unchanged, which isn't good for those of us who have to endure Siragusa's schtick.
Niners at Packers (Sept. 9, 4:15 p.m.), Saints at Panthers (Sept. 16, 1 p.m.), Cowboys at Seahawks (Sept. 16, 4:15 p.m.), Lions at Titans (Sept. 23, 1 p.m.), Niners at Jets (Sept. 30, 1 p.m.); Saints at Packers (Sept. 30, 4:15 p.m.), Eagles at Steelers (Oct. 7, 1 p.m.), Lions at Eagles (Oct. 14, 1 p.m.); Cowboys at Ravens (Oct, 14, 4:15 p.m.); Giants at Niners (Oct. 14, 4:15 p.m.); Falcons at Eagles (Oct. 28, 1 p.m.), Giants at Cowboys (Oct. 28, 4:15 p.m.), Falcons at Saints (Nov. 11, 1 p.m.), Cowboys at Eagles (Nov. 11, 4:15 p.m.), Packers at Lions (Nov. 18, 1 p.m.), Redskins at Cowboys (Nov. 22, Thanksgiving, 4:15 p.m.), Niners at Saints (Nov. 25, 4:15 p.m.), Bucs at Broncos (Dec. 2, 4:05 p.m.), Falcons at Panthers (Dec. 9, 1 p.m.), Saints at Giants (Dec. 9, 4:15 p.m.), Packers at Bears (Dec. 16, 1 p.m.), Giants at Falcons (Dec. 16, 1 p.m.), Saints at Cowboys (Dec. 23, 1:00 p.m.), Giants at Ravens (Dec. 23, 1 p.m.), Bears at Lions (Dec. 30, 1 p.m.), Eagles at Giants (Dec. 30, 1 p.m.), Panthers at Saints (Dec. 30, 1:00 p.m.).
"I don't think Peyton is 100 percent and I don't know that he will ever get back to where he once was. But watching him in practice and in the preseason, I think he will put together a great year. I like the young players they have. If they don't win the Super Bowl, some will view it as a disappointment. When the goal is only Super Bowl-or-bust, that's hard no matter who you are. But if this team is not in contention in January, I will be surprised." - Aikman.
FOX's Sunday national telecast was the most-watched show among all programs, with an average of 25.8 million viewers.
Rules analyst Mike Pereira gets Twitter. He engages fans on officiating questions, even
• After impressing the NBC brass last February as a guest analyst at the Super Bowl, Ward joins
• The high-flying Florio brand gets extended as Pro Football Talk will be become a daily show (5-6 p.m. ET) on the NBC Sports Network.
• Given the NFL's kickoff changes this fall -- some late kickoffs have been moved to 4:25 p.m. -- viewers will get to
• Tafoya's sideline microphone will be connected to an iPhone and NBC says she'll have someone with her that records and puts her reports both on Twitter, and NBC's
• Michaels and Collinsworth enter their fourth year together as NBC's lead team and the best broadcast team in the sport. Remarkably, this will be Michaels' 27th year as the lead analyst on a major football package. He's been with
• It's amazing that Dungy is now in his fourth year as studio analyst. He's quietly become one of the more thoughtful voices on an NFL studio show.
Cowboys at Giants (Sept. 5, 8:30 p.m.); Steelers at Broncos (Sept. 9); Lions at Niners (Sept. 16); Patriots at Ravens (Sept. 23), Packers at Texans (Oct. 14); Saints at Broncos (Oct. 28); Cowboys at Falcons (Nov. 4); Ravens at Steelers (Nov. 18); Patriots at Jets (Nov. 22); Packers at Giants (Nov. 25); Eagles at Cowboys (Dec. 2); Lions at Packers (Dec. 9); Niners at Patriots (Dec. 16).
"The last one I can remember like this was Joe Montana going to Kansas City and changing the dynamic of things. They went from a good team to the AFC Championship. I think that's what Denver is hoping for. I think they will be much better offensively than they were. I think Peyton will give them a lot of time to help the defense. I do know this: Peyton Manning will help everybody around him get better .They were a playoff team that went two rounds into it last year. So they will be back in the playoffs and knocking at the door again." - Dungy
• NFLN will get a start on all the other networks Sunday with
• Veteran sportscaster Rose, currently seen at MLB Network, has been added to host the Sunday night
• As predicted by just about everyone not named Matt Millen or Joe Theismann, Nessler and Mayock solidified
• Sapp's attitude with other media, for starters. He
Bears at Packers (Sept. 13); Giants at Panthers (Sept. 20); Steelers at Titans (Oct. 11); Seahawks at Niners (Oct. 18); Chiefs at Chargers (Nov. 1); Saints at Falcons (Nov. 29): Broncos at Raiders (Dec. 6); Bengals at Eagles (Dec. 13).
"But, candidly, it is a double-edged sword. Warren brings an edge to him. He played that way, and when he speaks, he speaks that way. And whether you are playing or speaking, when you are on the edge, there is always the danger of falling off that edge. We are aware of that and we work hard with Warren to make sure that we don't cross that line. Does it happen occasionally? It does. I don't think anything Warren ever done has been malicious, so I think really, when we have dealt with Warren, when we have crossed the line, it really comes down to an education process and making sure we do the best we can with him to not take that edge out of his personality while making sure that we are editorially correct.
"You have a playoff team that won a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and now you are putting Peyton Manning in there. If he is as healthy as he has been in the past, I think they are the favorite in that division. He makes everybody better. From what I have seen in his limited snaps, he has a little bit of rust, but he looks like Peyton Manning to me." - Mayock.
NFL Network wrapped up its sixth season of
With more than 400,000 followers,