July 19, 2024

NFL national TV broadcasting FAQ: Everything to know

NFL teams aren’t the only ones who have been busy this offseason. The league’s media partners have been hard at work, too.

Here’s a FAQ to catch you up on what to expect for NFL national TV broadcasting in 2024:

Who are the top broadcasting duos this season?

Amazon: Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit | Perhaps for the last time, the longtime NFL broadcaster will partner with the busiest man in football broadcasting for the third year of Amazon’s 11-year arrangement to air “Thursday Night Football.” 

Michaels, 79, is entering the final year of a three-year deal he signed with Amazon in 2022. Herbstreit also calls college football games for ESPN and is part of the network’s “College Gameday” crew. He could use the rest.

What’s more concerning in the interim is the infamous reputation “TNF” has for its subpar on-the-field product. As it turns out, playing professional football at a high level requires more than three days’ preparation and recovery. Who knew?

CBS: Jim Nantz and Tony Romo | For the eighth season, Nantz and Romo are CBS’s top broadcasting duo. The Super Bowl LVIII announcers began announcing games together in 2017, and while Nantz is routinely praised for his work, Romo has received heavy criticism for his analysis in recent years. 

He was panned during February’s Kansas City-San Francisco Super Bowl for his call on the Chiefs’ winning touchdown in overtime. Multiple outlets complained he should have waited to give commentary on Patrick Mahomes’ touchdown pass so fans could get a sense of the environment inside Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

ESPN: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman | The “Monday Night Football” broadcasters will be in their 23rd season calling games together. Buck and Aikman first linked up as the No. 1 commenters at Fox in 2002 and have been at ESPN since 2022.

FOX: Kevin Burkhardt and Tom Brady | The biggest change to the top commentating crews is at Fox, where seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady takes over for Greg Olsen as color commentator next to play-by-play broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt.

Burkhardt was promoted to Fox’s No. 1 assignment in 2022, when Buck and Aikman left for ESPN, and he worked alongside Olsen for the past two years. 

NBC: Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth | NBC’s top pairing enter their third season together after Tirico took over for longtime play-by-play man Michaels in 2022.

When does Tom Brady debut?

Fox broadcasts a Week 3 preseason game on Sunday, Aug. 18, between the Saints and 49ers, which should be our first time hearing Brady in the booth. In Fox’s Week 1 game of the week on Sept. 8, Brady will join Burkhardt on the call for Cowboys-Browns in Cleveland.

What are people saying about Brady’s broadcasting debut?

That’s the $375M question everyone wants to know. Considered by most the greatest quarterback of all time, Brady will be under heavy scrutiny as he finally makes the transition from the football field to the broadcasting booth. 

He has received plenty of advice from players who have called games after finishing their careers. Former ESPN color commentator Joe Theismann recently suggested the three-time league MVP “be Tom Brady, don’t try and be somebody else.”

Greg Olsen, whom Brady bounced from Fox’s No. 1 commentating pair, recently revealed the future Hall of Fame quarterback reached out for advice, although he didn’t divulge many details from their conversation.

Speaking of Olsen, what going on with him?

Despite earning rave reviews from fans and media over the past two seasons working with Burkhardt, Olsen was demoted to Fox’s No. 2 broadcasting unit. He’s expected to call games with play-by-play announcer Joe Davis.

Any other demotions/promotions? Hires?

CBS is altering its roster for “The NFL Today.” Longtime contributors Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason were kicked to the curb to make room for retired former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who joined the network last season as a color commentator in a three-man booth with Andrew Catalon and Tiki Barber.

At ESPN, “Monday Night Countdown” has received its own upgrade. Retired former Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce will join the crew led by “SportsCenter” anchor Scott Van Pelt and former NFLers Marcus Spears and Ryan Clark.

Meanwhile, Peyton and Eli Manning’s “Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli” will return for a fourth season, and six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Belichick is along for the ride.

Peyton confirmed Belichick’s role for the 2024 season during Netflix’s “The Roast of Tom Brady,” joking, “It’s going to give Coach Belichick something he hasn’t had in a while — a chance to be around quarterbacks he respects.”

Somewhere in Jacksonville, Mac Jones sulks.

Who’s announcing the league’s Netflix games?

Who knows? Heck, it could be you.

The league announced in May that the streaming giant will air the league’s two Christmas Day games, but six months before Netflix shows its first NFL games, it’s still searching for on-air talent.

What team will appear most in nationally televised games?

With the caveat that flex scheduling could alter things, the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs top the list of most nationally televised games at eight, nearly half of their schedule.

Kansas City kicks the season off in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night and has two Sunday night and two Monday night games. 

The Chiefs will also play on Amazon Prime’s Black Friday game against the Las Vegas Raiders. In Week 16, they play the Houston Texans at 1 p.m. ET in a Saturday showcase on NBC, followed by a second consecutive Christmas Day game four days later.