It was announced today that the NFL Network and CBS have reached an agreement to televise 16 Thursday night games during the 2014 season. The broadcast team of Phil Simms and Jim Nantz will be covering all 16 games this season, meaning the previous Thursday Night Football team of Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock will NOT be broadcasting those games any longer. The agreement gives CBS the rights to simulcast 8 of the early season games on their network, while the NFL Network retains the rights to broadcast the 8 later season games leading up to the playoffs.
The 2014 NFL schedule has not been set, so it remains to be seen how this might affect the Vikings. But with 16 games being broadcast, there is a chance that every team in the league will have at least one Thursday Night game. If you're like me and you don't subscribe to cable, then you don't have the NFL Network. So my fingers are crossed that the Vikings score an early season Thursday Night Game, and then we'll all be able to get the game over-the-air on CBS.
But this is pretty clearly the NFL attempting to further their market share and make their games more widely available. Thursday Night games have been "a thing" since they were first introduced 8 years ago in 2006 with a limited number of games. But they have only grown in popularity and there were 13 games broadcast on Thursday nights last season. I haven't been a big fan of them personally, mainly because they've been limited to the NFL Network and I'm usually a pretty busy guy on weeknights. But by simulcasting half of the games on CBS, I might just learn to accept them as part of the regular football routine. The NFL Network retains the option to continue the contract in 2015 as well.
Long live Thursday Night Football?