NBC’s Sunday NFL: fewer highlights, more talk

As reported by the indispensable Neil Best of Newsday, when NBC Wednesday announced the additions of Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy to Football Night in America, network sports kahuna Dick Ebersol also said the show was going to change in ways beyond the personnel moves. (Harrison and Dungy replace Jerome Bettis, who was bounced, and Cris Collinsworth, who moves into John Madden’s analyst spot.)

“We’re clearing out more time to talk football, in particular about the game that follows us,” Ebersol said.

That means fewer highlights, though Ebersol said FNIA will continue to feature tape on every game.

This was the concern of football fans everywhere when NBC assumed control of Sunday night’s NFL franchise from ESPN. The hallmark of ESPN on Sunday nights always was sufficient highlights on every game, so much so that the program was must-see even though you found the host annoying.

(ESPN can still show highlights on Sunday evenings, but the amount is contractually limited.)

Maybe it makes sense from NBC’s standpoint to hype the game to come, but fans don’t want that. Give us the highlights, as many as you can squeeze in. We know there is a game to follow.

There is only that one game each week per team, so let’s see the touchdowns, big hits and bonehead plays. That’s what we want. (Hey, Elvis said it best.)

And when I say “we,” I hope you don’t mind how I was speaking for you.


  1. Ray speaks for me on this one. If I watch “Football Night in America” at all it’s for the highlights — and that’s what I want to see, highlights, highlights, and more highlights. I want to catch up on the games I missed. Nothing bothers me more than a highlight that consists of one play followed by gabbing about a game that has yet to take place that I may not even be watching.

  2. I’m all in with Ray on this one, too. Chris “The Orca” drives me up a wall nearly every time he opens his mouth, but I dearly miss ESPN’s Sunday night highlight show. Plays, plays, plays, plays. And more plays.

    “Football Night in America” stinks. NBC is trying to make it into a sports version of Face the Nation. Too much talk, too high brown, and ‘way too much Peter King.

    I refuse to watch it.

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