What made NFL Primetime work on ESPN for 19 years was the immediacy of recapping each game with highlights and stats, and the energy that both Chris Berman and Tom Jackson injected into the program. Each game even the dogs of the day were given equal footing, attention, and hype. No mention of the match up was made until all the footage and commentary could be provided at once. There was suspense and drama in each game presented. It was for the real fan.
I argue that NFL Primetime on ESPN followed by the Sunday Night game did more to grow the NFL than Monday Night Football did. Sure MNF no doubt broadened the NFL’s fan base. But ESPN took the ball from there and actually solidified football as America’s favorite pro sport. They knew the viewer, what the viewer wanted and wasn’t getting from the broadcasters, and they delivered consistent programming each year.
God forbid that the Sunday night game go to NBC. In so doing the NFL granted exclusivity to NBC for the highlight show. Now we have Costas. Costas is just a box of generic corn flakes, not even Kelloggs, who drank a soda before hitting the air to get his energy level up. He’s great for the Olympics… on second thought maybe this is why the Olympics ratings have been steadily declining. Scrap that, he stinks and should be banished from all sportscasting.
Football night in America. Please. I wager that before the end of the season that MNF as an entire package on ESPN is beating the Sunday night show and game on NBC on ratings hands down. What makes “football night in America” isn’t the day of the week that the games are on, it’s the night of the week that the fans tune in and make it so. NBC stinks. ESPN has them beat running away and thus the fans will return to Monday night once again.
As for Sunday evenings, I guess I’ll have to spend them watching Survivor reruns until kickoff.