Change is on the way to “Thursday Night Football.”
It was announced Wednesday that the NFL will partner with CBS to produce and televise 16 games under the “Thursday Night Football” banner for the 2014 season.
CBS will air eight early-season games before NFL Network takes the baton for eight late-season games leading up to the playoffs. Fourteen games will be played Thursday, with two late-season games taking place Saturday.
All 16 games will be produced by CBS with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms — the network’s No. 1 announcing team — calling Thursday night games. The first eight games on CBS will be simulcast on NFL Network. The agreement is for the 2014 season with an additional year at the NFL’s option.
“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for ‘Thursday Night Football’ on CBS.”
What does this mean? Well, “Thursday Night Football” is about to get bigger. Airing eight games in prime time on television’s top-rated network will be a ratings bonanza. Expect to see some premium matchups in those first eight weeks as the brand is established on a new platform. The CBS ratings surge should create momentum when NFL Network takes over in the season’s back end.
Many fans also will be pleased to see the return of NFL football on Saturdays, something that slipped off the grid in recent years. The only real negative on our end? This looks like the end for the Thursday night team of NFL Network’s Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock, who have done quality work for the past three seasons.
MUST SEE VIDEO: Dallas Cowboys top three draft picks meet Dallas media | Jason Garrett on NFL Network
Meet three of the newest Dallas Cowboys, Travis Frederick, Gavin Escobar, and Terrance Williams as they are introduced at Valley Ranch.
RELATED POST ON THE BOYS ARE BACK BLOG:
MEET THE STUDS: Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference (Special Feature)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett joins NFL Network to discuss the team’s picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.
MOBILE, Ala. — Jerry Jones wanted uncomfortable. He openly spoke about an offseason with everyone being on edge.
Wish granted. This is what it feels like.
NFL personnel people pulling friends aside and wondering, “What’s going on with the Dallas Cowboys?” The team’s owner speaking with reporters for 30 minutes to address the issue of who will take over as offensive play caller, only to leave those listening with merely an indication of the team’s direction. Jones and head coach Jason Garrett both embracing a reality neither has supported in the past.
Oh, and the Cowboys still trying to climb out of a ditch, as Jones put it.
Yup. These are the Dallas Cowboys of 2013. The reality is, these circumstances are setting Garrett up for a make-or-break season, which of course is better than not having the opportunity to return in the first place.
“We’ve got a lot of things about our team — the problem is a deal called 8-8,” Jones said while sitting on the NFL Network set following a Senior Bowl practice Tuesday. “When you’re 8-8 and the rules say, ‘We want everybody to be equal,’ you’ve got to break out of the ditch that we’re in at 8-8. That’s promoting some of the changes we’re making. To step this thing up.”
What have the Cowboys done this offseason, which began abruptly after Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins took Dallas’ playoff spot in a de facto NFC East title game? Plenty of restructuring.
Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan likely will call plays, taking over the role from Garrett. Soon-to-be 73-year-old Monte Kiffin, back in the NFL after a lackluster stint in the college game, will be the team’s defensive coordinator. Former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is the defensive line coach. Jason Garrett’s brother, John, was re-routed to Tampa Bay to become the Buccaneers’ receivers coach. There will be more tinkering.
NFL people raised their eyebrows about the move to hire the master of the Tampa 2. Could be genius. Could be … not. For his part, Kiffin laughed about his age.
“I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think I could do it,” Kiffin said. “I’m excited. I know before the game, they don’t say, ‘How tall are you, how much do you weigh, how old are you?’ They don’t as a player. It’s, ‘Let’s go play.’ So, ‘Let’s go coach.’ “
As Kiffin slowly morphs the defense, installing the 4-3 scheme for which he believes the personnel is better suited, Garrett will watch the offensive adjustments from not quite as close. In his new role, Garrett will be free to focus on in-game situations, time management and other head-coaching duties he had no choice but to short-change while simultaneously serving as offensive play caller. Jones says Garrett encouraged this shift. Perhaps that’s true. But on Tuesday, while speaking with local reporters before Jones had officially announced the news, Garrett simultaneously supported a move away from calling plays while pointing out that there’s nothing that says a coach can’t call plays and master in-game situations. Um, OK then.
“I’ve been on teams where it’s worked a lot of different ways,” Garrett told reporters. “This idea that there’s no way you can call plays and handle the game situations … We’ve come back in a lot of games and handled game situations really well, and sometimes we haven’t handled them as well.”
The Cowboys love Garrett as a leader. The brass was especially pleased with his delicate and masterful handling of the off-the-field drama that followed the death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown and the related DWI incarceration of defensive tackle Josh Brent. And it was noted that Garrett somehow managed to sidestep a PR disaster when Brent appeared on the sidelines for a game after the incident by making sure it wouldn’t happen again while also refusing to treat Brent as an outcast. The doors of the facility were always open to Brent. Players noticed. Everyone did.
In an unfortunate coincidence, Garrett and the Cowboys suddenly found themselves facing another drunk-driving issue: Starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested and charged with DWI early Tuesday after his pickup truck struck an 18-wheeler. The coach’s handling of this situation will be closely monitored.
But the fight the Cowboys showed in 2012 when they were down in games — which happened frequently — demanded attention. Oh, and Garrett also helped the ‘Boys overcome a slow start to win five of their first six in the second half of the season, putting them in position to … lose their final two games and come up short for the playoffs.
Now, it seems, he has one more year to make it happen. Is it playoffs or bust? It might not be so simple. What if the Cowboys start out slow and look anemic, as they did this past season? Could Garrett withstand a limp out of the gate?
What if they make the playoffs and lose? Does he have enough job security to handle that?
The Cowboys believe in Garrett. They have since they sunk millions into him as an offensive play caller. They’ve believed in the process. It took them to the brink of the playoffs, but no further.
And now? They have stripped away the foundation and rebuilt. New defense. New offensive play caller. A new focus for the head coach. And a new view of the timetable facing Garrett going into his third full season at the helm.
Only time will tell if the new approach yields different results.
Courtesy: Ian Rapoport | Reporter, NFL.com and NFL Network
Editors comments; Pardon the negativity from the official National Football League’s website, much of which (NOT ALL) was edited out. The interpretation of the Valley Ranch changes should be one of optimism and one of an owner (and general manager) searching for answers …and a turnaround. Listen to the actual words from Jerry Jones in the video to get a sense of what the real intention are here. Try to overlook the NFL websites attempt to kill the golden goose (Dallas Cowboys). Without the Dallas Cowboys, what is the NFL? The irresponsible reporting from Ian Rapoport and Gregg Rosenthal (editor) are beyond contempt. It’s beyond me how the official website of the National Football League can justify bias reporting and pandering against the Dallas Cowboys. You’d expect a balanced, factual based account of all 32 teams … not idiotic statements from these two jackass yahoo’s in a suit. Publish facts as responsible journalists and let the readers decide.
I published this post to make several points. Namely, listen to the actual voices (in there entirety) of role-players (and decision makers) that matter … Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett, coaches, staff, and players … and rely on this blog if you want ACTUAL factual coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and their quest to remain America’s Team. 99% of the time you’ll find articulate and accurate representations of facts from skilled and informed sports journalists … the ones that have earned trust.
LOOKING FORWARD: The future of the NFL Pro Bowl could incorporate the NCAA Senior Bowl (Special Feature)
So what would a Pro Bowl-less NFL calendar look like? According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, one possibility would be replacing the game with a college all-star game.
Breer writes that the AFC and NFC’s all-star team could be recognized at the NFL Honors award show on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, with the college players hitting the field after.
"That game would likely be an existing college event, most likely the Senior Bowl, which would be moved to be part of the NFL calendar, with the thought that it could kick off draft season and highlight prospects on a bigger stage, though the league would certainly be careful about NCAA rules entanglements," Breer writes.
The concept would be to mix today’s stars with future stars. Breer’s well-researched piece has comments from NFL executive vice president of business ventures Eric Grubman, who sounds like he doesn’t see a traditional Pro Bowl in the future.
IRVING, Texas – The NFL Network’s NFL Replay will televise Sunday’s triumphant, come-from-behind 20-19 victory Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.
Following the tragic loss of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown, the Dallas Cowboys rallied to outscore the Bengals by 10 points in the fourth quarter and win in Cincinnati on a 40-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey as time expired.
A 27-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant brought the deficit to two points, and the Cowboys defense forced the Bengals to punt on each of their last three possessions, allowing Bailey to seal the win.
NFL Replay provides viewers an exclusive look at the game in a 90-minute format with bonus footage from NFL films and the NFL Network, along with new camera angles, coaches’ commentary and wired sound.
NFL Game Rewind allows for re-viewing games on your schedule! Check it out!
Last season, the Cowboys played in Washington the week before Thanksgiving. They pulled out a 27-24 overtime victory before traveling home for a short week getting ready for Miami.
This season, the Cowboys are at home the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Redskins, who play at Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving, are at home against Philadelphia on Sunday. NFL rules make it mandatory for the team playing a Thursday road game to play a home game the previous Sunday.
"I just think it’s a matter of hours," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of being at home this week. "I think we played in Washington last year and got home pretty late at night and had the quick turnaround. As you guys know, that Thursday game comes quickly. Your Monday practice is kind of a walk-through, and you’re just trying to transition as quickly as you can to get ready for the game and before you know it you’re out warming up before the next game. Even the fact it’s an early game, we played a 12 noon game, those three or four hours you have between playing the early game and the later game that makes a difference. It certainly helps. It helps our preparation. We’ll be that much more ready for Monday’s practice."
The NFL opted this season to have a Thursday game every week. Road teams have been at a disadvantage. They are 3-6 in the Thursday games this season. (That does not include the Cowboys’ season-opening victory over the Giants on a Wednesday night, since neither team played on a short week.)
Road teams are 22-36 in Thursday games since the NFL Network started its late-season Thursday broadcasts in 2006. That includes the annual Thanksgiving Day homes hosted by the Cowboys and Lions, who are a combined 5-7 as home teams in the past six seasons, and a Jets victory over the Bills in Toronto.
NFL Films has compiled a Super Bowl collection with 45 hours of content that features highlights from all 46 of the games.
The 23 DVDs and a 26-page retrospective book with a foreword by the late Steve Sabol will be released through Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment on Nov. 13. It also includes an NFL Network program counting down the top 10 Super Bowls, and a year-in-review film for each team that lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Since 1965, NFL Films has been a ground breaker in telling the stories of the league. It has won 107 Emmy awards.
Founded by Ed Sabol, his son Steve began as a cinematographer and eventually became president of the company. Steve Sabol died in September, a year after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Steve always loved the Super Bowl films," said Todd Schmidt, senior producer at NFL Films. "He either cut them himself or put one of the top producers on it. Steve knew that the Super Bowl transcended the average football fan and he wanted films that told the story in historical context with an emphasis on the personal triumph on the largest stage imaginable."
Sabol was one of a handful of people who attended every Super Bowl. So his perspective from the days of Paul Hornung and Joe Namath to the Steel Curtain, the West Coast offense and the Mannings at quarterback was particularly insightful.
"The first law in the entertainment business is that you have to know how to put on a big show," Sabol wrote in the foreword. "After 46 years, the Super Bowl isn’t merely big, it’s an enormous, excessive, preposterous extravaganza — which is what’s so great about it."
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel might be willing to shave as much as $2.5 million off his earnings for next season to facilitate the team’s efforts to trade him, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Saturday.
Columnist Paul Domowitch wrote that Samuel, who is set to make $9.5 million in 2012, would be open to reducing that figure to $7 million, though he didn’t cite a source.
Alonzo Shavers, the nine-year veteran’s agent, told TitanInsider.com earlier this week that Samuel would consider re-negotiating his contract to make a trade possible.
The Eagles have long been known to have an interest in dealing Samuel, who with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was part of a crowded secondary. Earlier this week, the Titans reportedly emerged as possible suitors.
However, Samuel hasn’t been moved yet, and league sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that one factor limiting the market for the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback is his contract. Sources told La Canfora the Detroit Lions are among the teams that aren’t interested in Samuel.
The NFL draft returns to primetime in 2012. Watch all of the excitement of the 2012 NFL Draft live on NFL Network, beginning on Thurs., April 26 with the first round, continuing on Friday, April 27 for the second and third rounds, and concluding on Sat., April 28.
With just over 30 days to go … it’s time to get ready. In that spirit,
The Boys Are Back blog has updated the “PROSPECTS” page of the blog. You’ll find the Top 150 players listed by projected draft order, highlighted players at each position, and a notation of where Dallas selects in this years draft.
There is a lot of buzz about what Dallas will do in the draft this year, especially considering the free agency impact on the roster. As always, your comments and predictions are welcome.