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.