Tag:NFL Network
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:04 pm

Time Warner subscribers can forget about NFLN

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The NFL Network is a pro football fan’s dream. It’s on 24/7, and if there’s not some kind of analysis show running, most of which are quite excellent, there’s probably an old-school NFL Films documentary that could keep you home all day, playing hooky from work.

But the fact that it’s not available in much of the country is disappointing, and considering the NFLN has been up and running since 2003, it’s a rather shocking point (it just goes to show that EVERYONE has problems with the cable companies, even U.S. sports’ most powerful entity).

That’s highlighted by today’s report by the Sports Business Journal that the NFL and Time Warner Cable cut off talks last week to bring the NFL Network and the RedZone to TWC’s subscribers, and according to the SBJ, it’s not looking like an agreement between the two sides will happen this year.

While the two sides have grown closer on most major issues – they have, after all, had eight years! – the companies’ executives participated in a “contentious meeting” in New York last Friday that ended without another bargaining session scheduled.

It’s sure to leave TWC’s tens of millions subscribers heated and frustrated. But perhaps not as much as the NFL. Or as Pro Football Talk writes, “The league’s network has done an incredible job creating outstanding programming, but the NFL should not own a channel available in fewer homes than MLB Network, the Golf Channel, and Speed.”

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Posted on: May 2, 2011 5:15 pm

Hot Routes 5.2.11: Draft viewership up AND down

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Austin Karp of the Sports Business Journal reports that the NFL Network had it's best three-day viewership of the NFL Draft they've had yet. However, ESPN saw a dip -- 17.7 percent, actually, which is a LOT -- in draft viewership. What does that tell me? More people have the NFL Network now than used to, hence the growth in viewership. Otherwise, it's pretty obvious that the NFL Draft wasn't nearly as compelling with the labor junk going on in the background.
  • The NFL has responded to the news that Dave Duerson had brain damage when he committed suicide, saying they will continue to support the work of the scientists at Boston University.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 11:37 am

Serious flaws in Thursday night schedule

Network (US Presswire)Posted by Andy Benoit

In its nearly eight years of existence and four years of broadcasting live games, NFL Network has drawn plenty of external and internal criticism.

The external criticism has been from fans who subscribe to non-dish cable services and, for many years, have been unable to receive the channel as part of their basic programming package (the unavailability was a consequence of the NFL and cable providers – most notably Comcast – bickering about the channel’s price).

The internal criticism is less publicized but perhaps more damaging to the league. The eight-game Thursday night package is rumored to be costing the NFL hundreds of millions in lost revenue (considering the package could have been sold to another network like Versus or Turner). What’s more, many teams privately disdain having to play on a Thursday night, especially on the road.

Expect that disdain to manifest. This year’s NFL Network schedule contains three uncommonly brutal scheduling snafus.

In the Week 11 Thursday package opener, the New York Jets must fly across the country to face the Denver Broncos. Exacerbating the Jets’ travels is the fact that they host the Patriots in the Week 10 Sunday night game. The Jets players won’t even leave the Meadowlands until well after midnight Sunday night. The coaches might not leave the Meadowlands period.

In Week 11, the 49ers must fly across the country to face the Ravens on a short week. (John Harbaugh, by the way, has been privately clamoring for a primetime home game for several years; the Ravens often get stuck on the road for night games.) This isn’t an atrocious scheduling blunder, especially given that the league wants to trumpet the Harbaugh Brothers matchup on the ultimate family holiday. But a west coast to east coast trip on a short week? Iffy.

It gets worse. The Eagles host the Patriots at 4:15 in Philly in Week 12 and then travel to Seattle for a Week 13 Thursday night matchup. That’s a late start preceding a cross-country trip that is already outrageously unfair in the first place. What’s more, the Seahawks get to play at home in Week 12. In a more just world, Seattle would at least be on the road in Week 12 so that both the Seahawks and Eagles would have some sort of travel in the short time leading up to their Week 13 contest.

Instead, the Eagles will lose one of their three days of prep time to dealing with the hassles of travel and adjusting to a three-hour time zone change. The Seahawks will be comfortable at home for all three days of prep time, thus ensuring 50 percent more prep time than their opponent (two days the Eagles, three days for the Seahawks). This same issue occurs with the Ravens-Niners game, by the way.
To be fair, the NFL got it right with it’s Week 14 Thursday matchup (Cleveland @ Pittsburgh) and especially with its Week 15 matchup (Jacksonville @ Atlanta). The Jacksonville-Atlanta matchup is a.) short travel for the Jags and b.) a non-conference game, making the more difficult short week slightly less impactful on the standings.

Obviously, the league is not trying to bilk any teams. Scheduling is complex and impacted by many unseen factors (stadium availability, team requests, etc.) Certainly the league took travel concerns into consideration.

That said, to appease teams and ensure fairness, the NFL may want to consider a time zone rule with the Thursday night package (something along the lines of “no team shall have to travel more than one time zone away for a Thursday game”). Or, as the league has always done with the Thanksgiving games, ensure that any team playing on Thursday at least gets the earliest possible kickoff time for their previous week’s game on Sunday.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: April 14, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 4:17 pm

Changes in the NFL Network Thursday night booth

Posted by Andy Benoit

There are changes coming in the NFL Network booth. Our friend Richard Deitsch at Sports Illustrated reports that Mike Mayock, one of the fastest-rising analysts in the business, will replace Matt Millen and Joe Theismann as the color commentator.

Mayock has earned respect throughout the league for his tireless work ethic and commitment to film study. He drew rave reviews for his work in the Saints-Seahawks wild card thriller this past January.

There are also whispers that the lovable Gus Johnson and his ALL CAPS play-by-play style could replace Bob Papa.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 8:47 pm

Mike Mayock a possibility for in-game NFLN role?

Posted by Will Brinson

There are many people who wonder why Joe Theismann and Matt Millen continually call NFL Network games. (I'm not touching this one, but suffice to say, people are curious about the choice.)

So it's not shocking to hear, per Peter King of Sports Illustrated, that the league's flagship station is considering a change at announcer.

It's also not surprising -- though it is quite exciting -- to hear that Mike Mayock is considered a potential replacement for whatever spot they might theoretically be filling in the future.

Mayock is one of the game's best analysts and has, as I've heard, developed a reputation as being one of the hardest-working and most well-prepared analysts in the business.

Mayock's star has risen tremendously with his draft coverage; while Mel Kiper might be the biggest "name" in terms draft analysis, Mayock is the favorite for many an NFL fan. (For my money, you don't do better than Rob Rang or Chad Reuter. Though I may be biased.)

Listening to Mayock call some games -- he did color for Notre Dame games on NBC last season and also called the Saints-Seahawks matchup during the playoffs -- it's no surprise why the NFL Network would consider making him one of their prominent voices for television broadcasts.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 19, 2010 12:58 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2010 1:34 pm

Deion Sanders talks Vick, McNabb, NFL Top 100

Posted by Will Brinson

CBSSports.com: I picked the Falcons to win the Super Bowl before the year -- do you think they can make a case for being the dominant team in the NFL?

Deion Sanders: I don't know about dominant. I think the win over Baltimore a week ago did a lot for their confidence and did a lot for them getting tot he next level physically and emotionally and psychologically. I don't know about dominant because the back end of their defense is not dominant -- you've got [John] Abraham who's one of the best pass rushers in the game, but when you think about dominant you think about a dominant defense.

CBS: Alright, how about Michael Vick then?

DS: Unbelievable. Can you win MVP and Comeback Player of the Year? Because right now, I think he's the frontrunner for both.

CBS: Yeah, and it's crazy because so many people passed on him for PR reasons and then so many people wanted him to be something like a wide receiver or running back …

DS: Well that was ignorant -- ignorant folks who probably have never played the game really wanted to be the first to make a stupid statement like that. How could a guy that's gone to the Pro Bowl, you say he's going to have to change his whole position? That's like saying a guy who has a knee injury and then come back and subsequently next year have another injury should change position. That's crazy -- just sitting out two years of incarceration, he's still a quarterback. Not only that, he led his team to the NFC Championship before and made a few Pro Bowls so to change positions, that's just crazy.

CBS: How much of his success -- and it's unbelievable to see how he's developed as a pocket passer -- do you put on the situation that he landed in, with Andy Reid and the Eagles?

DS: You put that on the team -- you put that on the team he plays with. How can you stay in the pocket with the Falcons when they're one of the worst offensive lines in the game? So being in the pocket where you've got not only two receivers [DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin] but maybe three receivers, because [Brent] Celek is a great alternative and one of the better tight ends in the league. Having someone to throw to in a real scheme and having confidence in his abilities, I think that attributes to his success right now. And having a year to really sit back … and I think if you asked him to pinpoint some things, I think he would tell you what a vital role Donovan McNabb played in his life. The preparation, getting ready mentally, physically and psychologically during the week as well -- I think that's the first time he saw a professional act as a professional at the quarterback position that he can identify with.

CBS: Speaking of McNabb, the details of his contract changed and it looks more favorable for Washington -- do you think he's making a mistake by leaving himself open to getting locked in with Mike Shanahan again next year?

DS: No, I don't think he's making a mistake. One thing about athletes -- you want sure money. And I think that's what he did. I think both situations lend itself to one another, because if he goes to another team, he'll still get his guaranteed money, and [the Redskins] took care of themselves at the same token. So I think both parties win.

CBS: The NFL Network recently did the Top 100 players of all-time, and for those of us who grew up cheering for the Braves and the Falcons, your ranking seemed a little auspicious -- do you think a versatile guy like yourself got kind of hosed there?

DS: The thing about it is that some people who voted in that selection process, they let personal feelings get in the way of reality. And that should never come into play. You should never let the way you feel personally about a person get into what's real about a person and what's genuine about a person as well.

CBS: On that same note, personal feelings seem to factor into the Hall of Fame discussion too -- a guy like Terrell Owens comes to mind immediately because---

DS: How can he not be in the Top 100 players? That's just crazy.

CBS: So you think it's crazy if he doesn't get serious Hall of Fame consideration?

DS: Well, he wasn't in the Top 100, so lets you know right there how they feel about him and you can't go by personal stuff, you've got to go by what they did on the field.

CBS: Alright, is this the craziest NFL season you've ever seen, between the parity and all the different storylines?

DS: No, not really. There's a lot of parity -- it's not really crazy, there's a lot of parity. And that's what you want -- you want every team to have the ability to win the Super Bowl. And it goes back to what we were saying, there's no dominance right now, like the Cowboys did in the 90's, like the Patriots did, even Pittsburgh, who won two Super Bowls out of the last few, there's no dominance right now.

CBS: Speaking of dominating, I would assume if you're working out with every day people, which I believe you're doing with EA, I would assuming you're dominating some people there?

DS: [Laughing] Yeah, I'm having a good time with the EA Sports Training Camp and it's wonderful. Not only are we getting kids off the couch, but we're getting adults off the couch and allowing them to participate and compete as well. There are over 70 drills and eight challenges in this game -- it's designed to increase your strength, power, balance and agility just to name a few areas of concern for people. It gives you a total body workout and it monitors your heart as well and I'm really happy to be one of the guys behind the scenes who helped develop this thing.

CBS: Alright, good stuff, Deion, thanks for talking to us and take it easy.

DS: Alright man, have a good one.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com