A defensive coordinator making an attempt to place collectively a sport plan to cease Justin Herbert or Patrick Mahomes has a neater activity than the NFL making an attempt to place collectively the schedule for Thursday Night Football.
There’s making an attempt to place collectively intriguing matchups, solely 4 groups can play a number of Thursday video games, and there are the concerns of who and the place groups are taking part in the week earlier than due to the quick turnaround.
Add into it a brand new tv accomplice paying $1.2 billion a season to hold these video games for 11 years, and the stress is ratcheted up much more.
Yet, regardless of all of the hurdles. Amazon Prime Video is happy about its slate of video games for its first season because the unique provider of “Thursday Night Football.” The Los Angeles Chargers-Kansas City Chiefs matchup on Sept. 15 was introduced two weeks in the past, whereas the remaining 14 video games have been unveiled on Thursday as a part of the complete rollout of the NFL regular-season schedule.
“We’re very excited. We think we have some can’t-miss games. A lot of these are all about the matchup,” stated Marie Donoghue, Amazon’s vice chairman of Global Sports Video.
Donoghue stated Amazon made their first formal pitch to the league’s broadcasting division the week earlier than the Super Bowl to allow them to find out about their focus and priorities. As with all the networks, discussions continued up till the ultimate schedule was set.
Even although Amazon is the league’s first new broadcast accomplice since Fox in 1994, Donoghue is conversant in the method as a senior VP at ESPN for 19 years. Jeffrey Kaiser, Amazon’s head of US Sports Programming, was with NFL Network for 5 years.
Hans Schroeder, the manager vice chairman of NFL Media, additionally famous there was slightly little bit of a familiarity course of with Amazon as a result of they’d partnered with CBS, Fox and NFL Network on a tri-cast mannequin for Thursday evening video games for 5 seasons.
Still, there was slightly little bit of a “getting to know you” interval for each side.
“There’s a lot that everyone was going through for the first time, but there was great collaboration and cooperation between the teams,” he stated. “I think we’ve put ourselves in a really good position for a strong launch of TNF.”
The package deal gets off to a powerful begin. After Chargers-Chiefs, Pittsburgh goes to Cleveland on Sept. 22 which might be a matchup between Steelers’ first-round decide Kenny Pickett and the Browns’ DeShaun Watson, who was acquired in a mega-trade with Houston.
On Sept. 29, it is a matchup of 2020 first-round quarterback draft alternatives when Miami and Tua Tagovailoa head to Cincinnati to face the defending AFC champion Bengals and Joe Burrow. The following week has two sign callers in new locations with Indianapolis’ Matt Ryan visiting Denver and Russell Wilson.
“You’ve really got a long and strong runway of great games, hopefully, that help build that behavior and customer awareness that Thursdays are now on Amazon,” Schroeder stated.
The headline sport on the schedule is Oct. 27 and the second matchup between Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady. Other video games of observe are Tennessee at Green Bay (Nov. 17), Buffalo at New England (Dec. 1), Las Vegas at Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 8) and Dallas at Tennessee (Dec. 29).
“I was really pleasantly surprised. I think there’s some real major attractions on this schedule,” government producer Fred Gaudelli stated. “The quarterback matchup is so critical because good quarterback play usually means good competitive football. I did Brady against Jackson when Brady was with New England a few years back (on Sunday Night Football). That’s a great quarterback matchup just because of the contrasting styles.”
Every workforce will play on Thursday, however the New York Giants, Minnesota and Detroit is not going to seem on the Amazon package deal. All three are taking part in on Thanksgiving. Buffalo and New England are additionally taking part in on Thanksgiving earlier than meeting one another the following week.
As with each league accomplice, Amazon additionally can have a preseason sport when San Francisco faces Houston on Aug. 25.
Donohue and Schroeder stated that there shall be loads of alternatives to inform individuals the place and easy methods to tune into the video games. They may even be obtainable on stations within the taking part groups’ markets, which is similar apply when they’re on ESPN and NFL Network.
While Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit have been introduced because the broadcasting workforce, together with Tony Gonzalez as an analyst on its pregame, halftime and postgame reveals, the method of placing collectively the remainder of the workforce is continuing. Gaudelli stated they’re within the technique of finalizing who would be the sideline reporter.
Gaudelli spent a pair days earlier this month meeting with Amazon executives in Los Angeles, and stated getting the whole lot collectively continues to progress, though the primary sport is three months away.
“I can tell you, people are going to have options and enhancements that they haven’t had with NFL games. And, for someone like me that’s been at this for a while, it’s just been a great jolt of energy,” he stated.