On Tuesday, The Shadow League was at CBS headquarters in New York City for press conference/meet and greet preempting the network's 57th season covering the National Football League.
On hand were Greg Gumbel, Dan Fouts, Phil Simms, James Brown, Tony Gonzalez, Jim Nantz, Chris Sims and the rest of their veteran team of pro football commentators and analysts.
Sean McManus, CBS Sports chairman and Executive Producer of The NFL on CBS, broke down what viewers can expect this upcoming season.
"I'm very proud to have two NFL packages on CBS, both Thursday Night Football and Sunday afternoon," McManus said. "This year CBS will be producing more football games than any other network. We're very proud of that. Coming out of negotiations we're glad to have accomplished our three goals; number one was to retain the package, number two was retain it in such a way that was financially responsible, and number three was to get the early part of the season. We felt so strongly that having the promotional weight and the incredible platform of the NFL in the beginning of the season was very important to us. We didn't want it in the beginning of the season. We didn't want it at the end of the season because, quite frankly, we didn't want it to disrupt our prime time service."
(Photo Credit: CBS Sports)
But the CBS deal, while significant, is only a slice of the pie. A huge slice, but a slice all the same.
"Would we have liked to have had he entire package exclusively on CBS? I guess we would have, but I guess the NFL realized CBS had done such a good job promoting Thursday Night Football that having another major media company like Comcast NBC promoting Thursday Night Football also would be good for the package and good for the NFL," McManus said. "So, we accepted that and were fortunate enough to get all three of our goals accomplished."
The National Football League has been notoriously stingy with its content. When they say any rebroadcast or redistribution of NFL content is strictly prohibited they really mean it. McManus told the press that CBS will take the unprecedented step of making games available via Twitter.
"I'm happy to welcome Twitter into the fold," he said. "I think Twitter will truly be a second screen experience for the viewer. We're not concerned about cannibalization. The good news is CBS advertising is carried on all the platforms that carry Thursday Night Football. The NFL Network, Twitter and all the interactive digital properties will carry our ads. Twitter we look at as being additive as opposed to being cannibalistic."
(Photo Credit: CBS Sports)
Though most fans don't think about the synergy and collaborative effort it takes to put together a superior broadcast.
"With respect to talent for Thursday Night Football, Jim Nantz, Tracy Wolfson and Phil Simms will be doing the games. Our studio talent will remain basically the same," said the CBS Sports chairman.
"I'm also excited about Sunday afternoon in the NFL, coming off the most watched AFC package, and the most watched NFL package on CBS since the NFL came back to CBS, also the highest rated and most watched AFC package since 1987 when it was back on NBC. I do think we have the strongest and deepest broadcast team in the NFL. I'm really proud about that. The NFL Today is also coming off its highest rated season since 1998. So, we've got a lot of momentum there."
"The most important thing that I'm proud of is the Emmy Award we received from last year's Super Bowl. It was the biggest and most important Super Bowl in television history and in some ways the biggest and most important program in television history."
CBS Thursday Night Football is scheduled to kick off during Week 2 with the New York Jets at the Buffalo Bills, with the entire schedule running through Week 7.
Sept. 15 (Week 2): Jets at Bills
Sept. 22 (Week 3): Texans at Patriots
Oct. 6 (Week 5): Cardinals at 49ers
Oct. 13 (Week 6): Broncos at Chargers
Oct. 20 (Week 7): Bears at Packers