|Football Night In America|
|NBC Sports (NBC-TV)|
|First Aired/Last Aired:|
|September 9, 2006-present|
| 480i standard definition (SDTV),|
1080i hi-definition (HDTV)
|website = http://www.snfonnbc.com/|
Football Night in America is the studio pregame show usually preceding NBC's broadcasts of Sunday night and Wild Card Saturday National Football League (NFL) games starting in the 2006 NFL season. The program always airs at 7 PM Eastern live from Studio 8G in the GE Building at Rockefeller Center in New York, where the NBC network has its headquarters.
Show title similaritiesEdit
The show's title closely resembles CBC Television's long-running Hockey Night in Canada franchise. Also, NBC (along with ABC and Major League Baseball in a joint effort called "The Baseball Network") had previously (1994–1995) aired baseball games as the similarly titled Baseball Night in America.
On September 7, 2006, Jerome Bettis arrived on the exterior set in a school bus. His nickname as a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers was "The Bus." That night, in addition to analysis, Bettis received his ring for winning Super Bowl XL.
Bettis missed the December 3 show to prepare for the funeral of his father, Johnnie, who had died of a heart attack the previous Tuesday. Bettis was replaced by Marshall Faulk of the NFL Network (who at the time was technically still an active player in the NFL, although St. Louis Rams eventually cut him after a series of injuries).
At the end of the 2006 season, Sharpe's contract was apparently terminated, and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber replaced him in 2007. MSNBC Countdown anchorman Keith Olbermann was named as another co-host.
During the 2006 preseason, the Football Night team appeared at halftime from an exterior set at the site of that night's game. This is because the set at 30 Rock was still being prepared.
The format for Football Night originally had the program begin with a video package, in which a football seemingly flies throughout the country. Several landmarks were featured in the introduction, including the Gateway Arch, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. After a welcome, the program featured a rundown of the day's scores, before a first visit from game announcers Al Michaels and John Madden.
The simulated landmark flyover was eventually removed and the reading of the game scores was replaced by a round table discussion called The Week (number of NFL week) Buzz. The scores flash on the bottom of the screen during this discussion. Al Michaels, John Madden, and Cris Collinsworth were now shown only once, on the later segment, Drive to Kickoff. Just before the first highlights are shown, a rundown is on screen with the order in which the highlights will appear. This is similar to the list shown on FSN Final Score.
Originally, the second segment featured several field reports from the day's games, more analysis, and inside information about the NFL from Peter King.
The field report segment was eventually eliminated and field reports on the show were limited, supposedly due to cutbacks at NBC Universal.
The second segment now contained an interview conducted earlier in the week, usually by Costas.
In the third segment, the studio team moved to a screening room, in which highlights of the daytime games were reviewed. This is the only show allowed to carry long-form highlights (up to three minutes, twice as long as the usual allowance). Because of Game 2 of the 2006 World Series, and the preference that no NFL game goes up against Major League Baseball's Championship, a one-hour edition aired from 7 PM to 8 PM on October 22. Additionally, as the NFL spurns Christmas Eve contests (which was revoked in 2007), another one-hour show aired December 24.
GMC Drive to KickoffEdit
Shortly before 8 p.m. Eastern time, a segment begins called GMC Drive to Kickoff (sponsored by General Motors' Chevrolet brand in 2006 and 2007). Al Michaels and John Madden are shown, followed by closing analysis of the upcoming game. Within minutes, Football Night ends and game coverage begins with the theme sung first by Pink in 2006 and currently by Faith Hill, who has been the singer since 2007.
Some major changes were effected for the 2007 season. Once again, Michaels and Collinsworth are seen in the first segment. The second segment brings in Barber for some analysis. Starting in the third portion of the program, Costas and Olbermann take turns reading the highlights, while Barber and Bettis are isolated in the "players' room" on another part of the set. After each set of highlights, the analysts comment on what has been shown. King also chimes in from a location on the main set.
For the last 30 minutes, Collinsworth emerges from the room and joins Costas on the large screen for highlights and analysis of two pre-selected "marquee matchups" (in Week 1, they were New England Patriots at New York Jets and Chicago Bears at San Diego Chargers).
At the end of the show, the panelists reunite for a one-sentence summary before kickoff.
On the other hand, two features have been added: "TKO Report" (the letters stand for The Keith Olbermann) is a mini-commentary by Olbermann on a topic related to the game. "Monday Morning Headlines" summarizes the big stories of the afternoon, according to the panel.
At halftime, a shortened version of this show appears and Olbermann presents a new segment called "Worst Person in the NFL," modeled after "worst person in the world" on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. His first "honoree" was himself, for advocating a light prison sentence for Michael Vick on his debut August 26 during a preseason game (The next day, Vick pleaded guilty to dogfighting). On the regular season debut, Olbermann pilloried Jets fans for cheering as Chad Pennington limped off the field with an ankle injury.
On September 16, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared live to discuss the videotape scandal that enveloped the New England Patriots and their head coach Bill Belichick. In the interview, Goodell revealed that the Patriots were asked to turn over all videotape and still photography from previous games and that the team could face further punishment than what had been announced. Olbermann missed this program due an emergency appendectomy, but he returned the following week.
A 1 hour version of the show aired on October 28 as Game Four of the 2007 World Series was played that evening, and the NFL decided not to schedule a game that night. The show aired at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT. This turned out to be the last game of the baseball season as the Boston Red Sox completed its sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
It was announced on July 7, 2008 that Dan Patrick, formerly of ESPN and ABC, was joining NBC and would become a co-host of Football Night in America. The move reunited Patrick and Olbermann on television for the first time since their days on ESPN's SportsCenter. Also getting tweaked was the highlights package at the end of the show that was called "Olbertime", and renamed "The Little Big Show", a reference to the duo's nickname during their time on SportsCenter. Olbermann quipped, "We tried 'Sportycenter', but that didn't work out."
Again, as in the past 2 years, a 1 hour edition aired October 26 from 7 PM to 8 PM due to Game 4 of the 2008 World Series and the NFL not scheduling a game for that night.
At first, the reunion of Patrick and Olbermann was the only change from the year before. However, in November 2008, NBC released Bettis and Barber from the studio and effectively closed the "players' lounge." Barber spent the rest of the season from the field and was a field-level reporter for the NFC Wild Card game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals on January 3, 2009. Bettis bounced around between Rockefeller Center and some game sites. Bettis was on the studio show for the 2008 edition of Wild Card Saturday. In the playoffs, Matt Millen, who had been fired earlier in the season after roughly 8 years as general manager of the Detroit Lions, joined the Football Night in America team as a studio analyst for the 2008-2009 playoffs.
Super Bowl XLIIIEdit
Since NBC was the rightsholder to Super Bowl XLIII, a 5 hour show was telecast at 1 PM US EST/10 AM US PST before the game. Bob Costas anchored the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows with Matt Millen as lead studio analyst. On the main set were recently retired coaches Mike Holmgren and Tony Dungy. Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann hosted segments on an auxiliary set from outside the stadium and on the field and locker room (standing up) with FNIA regulars Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber as well as guest analyst Rodney Harrison. Andrea Kremer and Alex Flanagan filed reports on the Steelers and Cardinals respectively. Patrick handled the Super Bowl presentation.
Harrison replaced Bettis as full-time studio analysts. Barber will serve as an onsite reporter.
This season is set to kick off Sunday, September 13, 2009.
On August 26, NBC announced that pregame host Bob Costas would host the pregame show at the game site. Pregame panelists Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison will remain in the New York studio.
The basic format remained unchanged from the previous year. All commentators remained except for Olbermann.
The December 26 edition of the series aired for 90 minutes with Costas at Lincoln Financial Field and the regular studio analysis despite the weather postponement of that night's Vikings/Eagles game due to a blizzard to December 28. A short 5 minute pre-game show aired on that night preceding the game, and the usual Faith Hill introduction did not air.
The format remained virtually unchanged as all commentators returned to the show from last season.
Super Bowl XLVIEdit
NBC was the rightsholder to Super Bowl XLVI, and a 5-hour show was telecasted at 1 PM EST/10 AM PST before the game. Bob Costas anchored the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison as lead studio analysts. Current NFL players Aaron Rodgers and Hines Ward contributed as guest analysts in the pre-game show. They did not appear in the halftime or post game show. Costas hosted segments on an auxiliary set from outside the stadium and on the field. Patrick hosted segments from the stadium concourse on an additional auxiliary. Michele Tafoya filed reports on the Giants and Patriots respectively. Patrick handled the Super Bowl presentation.
The format remained virtually unchanged as all commentators returned to the show from the previous season.
With Studio 8G being prepped to become the home for Seth Meyers' version of Late Night, production of Football Night in America moved to Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the studio in which Saturday Night Live also broadcasts. Earlier that year, in March, NBC Sports' operations and all other studio programs moved from the network's New York City headquarters to a new facility in Stamford, Connecticut.
Football Night in America joined the other NBC Sports studio programs at the new NBC Sports Headquarters in Stamford, where an entirely new set for the program was introduced with the debut of the program's ninth season on September 7, 2014, replacing the original set that had been used since the program's 2006 debut. In addition, Kia Motors replaced Hyundai (both automakers are owned by Hyundai Motor Group) as the sponsor for the program's Sunday Night Kickoff segment. Then-recently added NBC Sports correspondent Josh Elliott (formerly of ESPN and later, ABC's Good Morning America) also joined the FNIA broadcast team that year. Elliott left NBC Sports to join the network's sister news division in March of the following year.
Super Bowl XLIX Edit
On February 1, 2015, NBC aired a 5-hour Super Bowl 49 pre-game telecast starting at 1:00 p.m. ET, hosted by Bob Costas and Dan Patrick, who also emceed the halftime and post-game shows; Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison once again served as lead studio analysts, along with guest analyst John Harbaugh.
The "4 Downs" segment was added as the final segment of FNIA before ending with Bob Costas at the game site.
Other than Mike Tirico joining Football Night in America to alternate pregame hosting duties with Bob Costas at the Sunday Night Football game site, the format remained virtually unchanged as all commentators returned to the show from the previous season.
Mike Tirico became the new host of the program from the Sunday Night Fooball game site, replacing Bob Costas Also, the format remained virtually unchanged as all of the other in-studio commentators (Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, and Rodney Harrison) returned from the previous season.
Wild Card Saturday Edit
Prior to the Wild Card Saturday doubleheader a 1/2 hour version of Football Night in America is aired with in depth preview of the game 1, and during the afternoon halftime a version of the Sunday Night Football halftime show is shown. After the conclusion of the afternoon game and before the kickoff of the night game, a version known in 2007 as the Diet Pepsi Bridge Show is shown.
At this point, the format becomes very similar to the traditional Football Night in America, with Faith Hill singing a special playoff version of the intro, Al Michaels and John Madden working the booth, and Olbermann doing a segment during halftime. Also, a horse trailer player of the game is named for the night game as well. In 2009/10 the Wild Card version was renamed NFL ON NBC Studio Show.
2006–2008 seasons Edit
For the 2006 Wild Card coverage, Jim L. Mora appeared as co-host in place of Cris Collinsworth. In 2007, Miami Dolphins player Jason Taylor filled in for Cris Collinsworth in the player's room, as Cris Collinsworth was in Seattle, serving as a commentator for game 1 with Tom Hammond. Matt Millen made his first public appearance in Cris Collinsworth's seat for the network's 2008 Wild Card coverage, after being fired by the Detroit Lions. Barber did not appear as he was assigned as the sideline reporter for the early game.
2011 season Edit
Bob Costas hosted the pre-game from New Orleans, while Charles Barkley – who was at 30 Rock to host that evening's episode of Saturday Night Live, which taped next door at Studio 8H – sat in with Patrick, Dungy and Harrison in New York City.
2014 and beyond Edit
NBC renegotiated its contract with the NFL following the 2013 season and ceded 1 of its 2 Wild Card Saturday playoff games in order to obtain rights to 1 of the Saturday playoff games in the Divisional Playoffs. This guarantees NBC at least 2 primetime games per playoff year, with the network airing the Saturday Night Wild Card matchup (the afternoon game is now simulcasted by ESPN and ABC) and the Saturday night Divisional playoff, alternating conferences each year.
Thursday night games Edit
Football Night in America is also used as the pre-game show for NBC-produced Thursday Night Football games, with the show renamed to reference the specific city of that week's game.
For the program's inaugural season in 2006, Bob Costas served as the host, with Sterling Sharpe and Jerome Bettis as analysts, and Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King as the special "insider" reporter. On September 7, 2006, Jerome Bettis arrived on the exterior set in a school bus (a reference to his nickname as a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, "The Bus"); that night, in addition to providing analysis, Bettis received his ring for winning Super Bowl XL. Bettis missed the December 3 broadcast to prepare for the funeral of his father, Johnnie, who had died of a heart attack the previous Tuesday. NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk (who at the time was technically still an active player in the NFL, although the St. Louis Rams eventually cut him after a series of injuries) substituted for Bettis that week.
At the end of the 2006 season, Sharpe's contract was apparently terminated, and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber replaced him in 2007. Keith Olbermann, then host of MSNBC's Countdown, was named as another co-host. In addition, Costas and Collinsworth hosted the halftime show for the Georgia Tech–Notre Dame game on September 1, 2007; this turned out to be a one-shot promotional appearance.
- Al Michaels: play-by-play, (2006–present)
- Cris Collinsworth: color commentator, (2009–present)
- Tony Dungy: studio analyst, (2009–present)
- Mike Florio: NFL insider, (2010–present)
- Rodney Harrison: studio analyst, (2009–present)
- Peter King: NFL insider, (2006–present)
- Michele Tafoya – sideline reporter (2011–present)
- Dan Patrick – studio host (2008–present)
- Mike Tirico – fill in on-site host/fill in play-by-play (2016), on–site host (2017–present)
- Tiki Barber – studio analyst (2007–2009), on-site reporter (2009–2010)
- Jerome Bettis – studio analyst (2006–2009)
- Bob Costas – studio host (2006–2008), on-site host (2009–2016)
- Josh Elliott – contributor (2014)
- Andrea Kremer – sideline reporter (2006–2010)
- John Madden – color commentary (2006–2009)
- Keith Olbermann – studio co-host (2007–2010)
- Scott Pioli – contributor (2013)
- Sterling Sharpe – studio analyst (2006)
- Hines Ward – on-site analyst (2012–2015)
Nielsen ratings Edit
For the 2013 season (from September 23 to December 15, 2013), Football Night in America averaged 4.123 million viewers between 7:00 and 7:29 p.m. Eastern Time; 4.960 million between 7:30 and 7:58 p.m. Eastern and 11.677 million between 8:00 and 8:22 p.m. Eastern.
The November 2, 2014 broadcast averaged 3.408 million viewers between 7:30 and 7:58 p.m. Eastern Time, and 10.124 million viewers between 7:59 to 8:22 p.m. Eastern.