NFL preseason

The National Football League preseason is the period each year during which NFL teams play several not-for-the-record exhibition games before the actual "regular" season starts. Beginning with the featured Pro Football Hall of Fame game in early August, five weekends of exhibition games are currently played in the NFL. The start of the preseason is intrinsically tied to the last week of training camp.

Exhibition season

The games are useful for new players who are not used to playing in front of very large crowds. Management often uses the games to evaluate newly signed players. Veteran players will generally play only for about a quarter of each game (or less) in order to avoid injury; the third preseason game (or fourth for the participants in the Hall of Fame game) is generally the exception, since starters play well into the third quarter and both teams game plan for the game like the regular season.[1] Thus, first-stringers' playing time is kept brief in the exhibition season, and in fact players are not paid their regular salaries for exhibitions, but the same per diem which they receive for training camp.

The exhibition game tickets, however, are usually the same price as regular-season games. Several lawsuits, by individual fans or by class action, have been brought against specific teams or the entire NFL over the practice of requiring season-ticket holders to purchase exhibition games. To date, none of these suits has been successful.

History

Exhibition games have been played in professional football since the beginning of the sport. In fact, until league play was formalized in 1920, one could consider virtually all of an independent professional football team's schedule to be exhibitions (as in test matches). In the early years of the sport, teams often "barnstormed", and played squads from leagues outside their own, or against local college teams or other amateur groups, charging fans whatever the traffic would bear.

When the NFL was founded in 1920, there were no such things as exhibition games: all games counted in the standings and would be used to determine the league champion. In 1921, this was revised to only count games involving two league members, thus allowing non-league exhibitions, but effectively banning exhibitions between two league teams. This rule had a direct impact on deciding the 1921 championship, in which the losing team insisted, both before and after, that the deciding game only be considered an exhibition.

In 1924, the league again changed the rule to declare any games held in December or later to be exhibitions. By the mid-1930s, teams prepared for a standard 12-game regular season schedule, although even as late as 1939 teams would schedule non-league exhibition games both before and during the season (during bye weeks). The Pittsburgh Steelers (then known as the Pirates) were well known for playing both in the NFL and on a limited schedule in the decades-old Western Pennsylvania circuit in the 1930s.

In the 1960s, teams began playing 14 regular season games, with a corresponding decrease in the length of the preseason. Teams played four or five preseason games each year; for example, in 1966 each of the nine American Football League teams each played four preseason games. By the end of the decade, however, there would be a rapid increase in the number of preseason games, quickly reaching 1950s levels.

With the AFL–NFL merger of 1970, the newly merged NFL was granted a Sherman Anti-Trust Act exemption, which emboldened some team owners to expand the exhibition schedule and to require season-ticket holders to pay for one, then two, then three home exhibition games if they wanted to keep their season tickets.

The exhibition season then became, and remains, a large source of owner revenue that is not shared with the players. From 1970 through 1977, the NFL season consisted of 14 regular season games and six exhibition games, sometimes but not always three at home and three away (the 1973 Washington Redskins, for instance, played all but one of six preseason games at home), with some played at neutral sites. Since 1978, the regular season is 16 games, and the exhibition season was cut from six to four games; two teams play five exhibition games, however.

From 1999 to 2001, when the league consisted of an uneven 31 teams, some additional exhibition games (usually two or three) were played over Hall of Fame weekend. In order to account for the uneven number of teams, each team was required to have a bye week during the exhibition season. Most teams held their bye week in Hall of Fame weekend, while the others utilized them somewhere else during the exhibition season. This practice was abandoned after the Houston Texans were added to the league in 2002, giving it an even 32 teams.

The exhibition games do not count toward any statistics, streaks, season standings or records whatsoever. For instance, the four wins incurred by the 2008 Detroit Lions & the 2017 Cleveland Browns exhibition seasons did not count "against them" when they went on to become the only teams to go 0–16, and the 1972 Dolphins, despite losing three exhibition games, are still considered to have played a perfect season. Similarly, Ola Kimrin's 65-yard field goal in an exhibition game is not considered the league record, despite being longer than the 64 yard mark set by Matt Prater in the regular season (in 2013).

Still, professional football is popular enough that many fans still pay full price for exhibition game tickets, which they must purchase in order to keep their regular-season seats. Many teams are sold out on a season ticket basis and have large waiting lists, with fans required to pay a one-time or annual fee for the privilege of remaining on the waiting list.

A minority of teams offer promotions and discounts to fill the stands for exhibition games; an example of this is the Buffalo Bills' annual "Kids Day" promotion, where tickets, already the lowest priced in the league, are slashed to bargain-basement prices (around $10) for children under 12.

International and neutral-site games

Prior to the commencement of the NFL International Series, the NFL had another "featured" exhibition game called the American Bowl. This matchup was an extra exhibition game for the two teams involved and was often played on the same weekend as the Hall of Fame Game. It was played outside the United States, usually in Mexico or Japan; in the latter case, it often involved games that started at 5:00 A.M. U.S. Eastern time. The American Bowl was held from 1986 to 2005; similar international matches had occurred regularly since 1969.

In addition, teams previously played home games at stadiums on the fringes of their markets or in markets not currently served by NFL teams. The Alamodome in San Antonio hosted games in this fashion, as did Rogers Centre (as part of the Bills Toronto Series), with Camp Randall Stadium, the on-campus home of Wisconsin Badgers football in Madison, Wisconsin, hosting one preseason Green Bay Packers game per year until the late 90s. The Citrus Bowl was previously a common venue for games. The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York has been mentioned as a potential site for such a game, with the host team not yet mentioned.[2]

Television and radio

While selected preseason games are televised nationally by the NFL's main broadcast partners, the majority of them are in-house productions of the individual teams, often in association with a local television broadcaster or regional sports network (such as Root Sports Northwest for the Seattle Seahawks, NBC Sports Washington for the Washington Redskins, MSG Western New York for the Buffalo Bills and Fox Sports Detroit for the Detroit Lions). Especially if a team's flagship station is affiliated with or owned by CBS or NBC, rightsholders may also subcontract with their network's respective sports department, such as CBS Sports (in the case of the Atlanta Falcons, whose flagship is CBS-owned The CW affiliate WUPA)[3] or NBC Sports (in the case of the New York Giants) to provide resources such as camera crews and graphics, or produce the entire broadcast, giving those networks their own ability to evaluate their production teams and the chemistry of network announcing teams before the season starts.

Preseason broadcasts are typically syndicated to a network of stations within the team's market region, which also typically includes a package of team-produced programming throughout the season (such as analysis and coach's shows), local rights to games broadcast on cable, and the right to brand themselves as the "official" station of the team in the market.

Exhibition games are almost exclusively played at night due to hot summer weather, and are frequently scheduled based on local convenience (e.g. games on the west coast tend to start at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET). When applicable, the NFL's blackout restrictions apply, although stations are allowed to play the game on a tape delay if the game does not sell out (unlike the regular season policy, when rights revert to NFL Films). However, the blackout restrictions have never been applied since 2015 as a result of a passed vote during the league's owners' meeting in March in which the league, as an experiment because no regular season games in the 2014 season were blacked out and an FCC vote in September 2014 to no longer enforce blackouts, eliminated blackout rules for at least the last two seasons. Many more exhibition games fail to sell out than do regular-season games.

The Hall of Fame Game is carried by NBC as an edition of Sunday Night Football, and on radio by Westwood One, with alternating carriers such as ESPN and NFL Network in Summer Olympics years, which are not allowed pre-emption of any form by NBC (locally produced games usually airing on NBC affiliates must also be re-located to other stations due to the same policy). Beginning in 2015, Compass Media Networks carries select preseason contests involving the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys nationwide.[4] The games are also carried by the teams' local radio networks, but the affiliate count is often reduced due to conflicts with baseball and other local sports.

Matchups

Unlike the regular season, the exhibition matchups are not based on any rotating or set formula.

The NFL schedules the matchups for all of the exhibition games; since 2002, individual teams have been allowed to negotiate their own deals to play each other during the preseason: the league allows individual teams to provide input into desired matchups and determines the matchups for any games that were not individually negotiated, while the league sets all game dates and times.

The exhibition season schedule is released in the spring, shortly before the regular season schedule is announced. The NFL has set a loose precedent of determining exhibition matchups:

  • No two teams have faced each other in the same exhibition season more than once since 1992.
  • No NFL team has played a team outside the league since 1976.
  • Teams in the same division usually do not play one another during the exhibition season. The last in-division preseason matchup occurred in 2000.
  • Interconference game (AFC vs. NFC) matchups are common and encouraged, since regular season matchups between interconference teams are infrequent, with teams playing other-conference teams only once every four years during the regular season. These games allow teams to travel to particular markets more frequently than normal, and represent "fresh" matchups.
  • Geographically close matchups are preferred, to provide teams with minimal (if possible) exhibition season travel. As such, intrastate rivals are frequent matchups, provided they are not already division foes: Giants/Jets (the MetLife Bowl), Ravens/Redskins, Eagles/Steelers (Quaker State Rivalry), 49ers/Raiders (Battle of the Bay), Bucs/Dolphins/Jaguars, and Chargers/Rams (Battle for Los Angeles) are all frequent exhibition matchups. The Broncos and Cardinals, the only two teams in the Mountain Time Zone, also play every preseason (though due to Arizona non observance of daylight saving time, Denver is one hour ahead of Arizona during the NFL preseason, which occurs in August).
  • Teams with close personal ties often play each other.
  • Along with general in-state rivalries, some long-established "Governor's Cups" are played annually.
  • After the division realignment in 2002, the NFL factors in former division rivalries which were broken due to teams moving to different divisions if possible. For a five-year period from 2002–2006, the league had the authority to schedule former division rivals for exhibition games (the Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, who were switched from the NFC East and AFC West, respectively, to the NFC West, are the most notable examples). It was a move intended to recover potentially lost revenue due to the end of a popular annual rivalry game. In some rare cases, the league has scheduled "hot" regular-season matchups if they did not happen to be scheduled to play that season. For instance, Tampa Bay and St. Louis had a popular mini-rivalry from 1999 to 2004. The teams were not scheduled to play one another in 2003, so the league reacted by scheduling a Monday night preseason game for them that season.
    • The Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers are former division rivals in the old AFC Central. 2018 was the first time the two teams met in the preseason since the Titans became a member of the AFC South and the Steelers became a member of the AFC North. [7]
    • The Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are former division rivals in the old NFC Central. 2018 was the first time the two teams met in the preseason since the Lions became a member of the NFC North and the Buccaneers became a member of the NFC South. [8]
    • The Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers got scheduled to play each other in the 2013 preseason in a rematch of Fail Mary. Both teams were not scheduled to play each other in the 2013 regular season. [9]

The teams that play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game are determined solely by the league (and the Hall of Fame committee), featuring one AFC team and one NFC team. Its matchup is announced well in advance, around the time of the Super Bowl, when the Hall of Fame inductees are announced. Under some circumstances, the matchup is planned well into the future. For example, the Buccaneers played the Steelers in the 1998 Hall of Fame Game, a matchup that had been announced in 1983. In recent times, if there has been an expansion team added to the league, that team will be invited to play in the Hall of Fame game (Carolina, Jacksonville, the new Cleveland Browns, and Houston all played in their expansion seasons in 1995, 1999, and 2002 respectively). The 2009 game, however, was between two original American Football League teams: the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans (formerly the Houston Oilers). This matchup was announced after Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. an AFL founder and the only owner ever of the Bills, was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 1, 2009. The Titans' owner, Bud Adams, was also the only owner his team has ever had. Wilson and Adams were the two last surviving members of the original AFL ownership cabal and are two of the only three men who have majority-owned a Professional Football franchise continuously for fifty years (the late George Halas, who owned the Chicago Bears from 1920 to 1983, is the third). The Hall of Fame game served as a kickoff to the 2009 season, which would have been the 50th season of play for the AFL had it survived as an independent entity. The 2011 (canceled), 2012, and 2016 (canceled) games were between two NFC teams. Normally, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game has an AFC and NFC matchup, but that is not always the case.

Prior to the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, it was common for teams to play each other twice in the same pre-season. Among the most recent occurrences were in 1992 when the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers played on August 1 in Tokyo, then again on August 15, in Dallas, and in a more recent season, the Buccaneers and the Dolphins played each other twice in one preseason. To this day, although multiple preseason games against the same two teams are no longer common, two teams may hold a joint practice and scrimmage in addition to a preseason contest (see, for example, the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014). It is still somewhat common to see teams that play each other during the regular season once play a preseason game (either the two teams split in playing at the other's home stadium, or the two teams play at one of the other's home both times); the majority of preseason contests each year are between teams that do not play each other in the regular season that year.

It was also commonplace for division opponents to play each other in the preseason, due to the larger size of pre-merger divisions, but has not happened since 2000, when the Seattle Seahawks played the Oakland Raiders. [10]

As recently as 1984, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers played a preseason game[11] despite the two being bitter rivals. In 1999 the San Diego Chargers played their division rivals the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in the preseason.[12]

Also formerly commonplace was for teams from all time zones to play each other. Teams from the Eastern time zone and Pacific time zone played each other more often.

Since the league realignment in 2002, when the NFL began to have 32 teams, teams more than two time zones apart normally do not play each other, to save teams from long travelling times. However, there have been some exceptions: excluding the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game and international series, where the site of the locations are neutral, there have been a few matchups that involved teams from the Eastern time zone and Pacific time zone playing each other.

In 2009, the San Diego Chargers played the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta.The San Francisco 49ers played the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, and the Los Angeles Rams played the Baltimore Ravens in 2018, both in Baltimore. The Arizona Cardinals, who are on the Pacific time zone during August, have played the New England Patriots in 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 and 2009, the Washington Redskins in 2010, and Atlanta Falcons in 2017.

Non-league opponents

The College All-Star Game, usually the first game of the preseason, was played annually in Chicago from 1934 to 1976 (except 1974), and featured the NFL (from 1966 World) champion against an all-rookie team of college all-stars.

During the earlier years of the competition, numerous other regional all-star games of the sort also existed, but after the games became lopsided in favor of the NFL, they were abandoned.

Between 1950 and 1961, the NFL also attempted exhibition matches against the Canadian Football League (mixing NFL and CFL rules), but these, too, were abandoned after the 1961 preseason, as the NFL won all six matchups. The CFL finally won a game against American opposition in August 1961, but this was against an American Football League team; as a result of the embarrassment, the AFL opted not to play the CFL again beyond that one game.

From 1967 to 1969, during the transition period leading up to the formal AFL–NFL merger, the NFL and American Football League played each other in a series of exhibition matches; notably, the 1969 match between the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins was the only time Vince Lombardi ever lost to an AFL team.[13] The 1968 games were played under an experimental rule that eliminated extra point kicks and required a play from scrimmage to score one point (a rule later implemented by the World Football League in 1974 and the XFL in 2001).

Games against non-league opponents were occasionally played after that time, usually with the NFL teams sending a rookie "split squad" to the game. In 1969, the Atlanta Falcons rookies defeated the Alabama Hawks of the Continental Football League 55–0, [14] and in 1972, the New York Jets rookies defeated the Long Island Chiefs of the Seaboard Football League 29–3.[15]

The 1976 All-Star Classic is the last game between an NFL team and a non-NFL team as of 2018. This is in contrast to current practice in MLS, NBA, NHL and recent practice in baseball, in which teams play exhibition games against non-league teams.

While there is no official prohibition, a near-even parity of talent exists in the latter leagues with foreign or minor league teams, whereas the de facto second tier of American football, college football, is banned by the NCAA from playing against NFL teams, and the difference in talent between NFL teams and foreign and/or non-league professional teams is too large for any contest to be competitive.

Likewise, the differing rule sets and venues between the NFL, the CFL and the Arena Football League also complicates any real competitive attempt at an exhibition game between those organizations (NFL-CFL interleague competitions have been attempted in the past).

Even in years when there has been second-tier or competing professional leagues playing by standard 11-man rules, the NFL has opted not to play exhibition games against them. The XFL, USFL, UFL, FXFL and AAF never played against the NFL in their short lifetimes, with the NFL not wanting to run the risk of injuring its star talent and/or giving any credibility to potential threats to its monopoly on American professional football.

Schedule

The exhibition season typically begins the first weekend of August with the Hall of Fame Game; though in some years it can be on the second weekend. Previous seasons have seen the American Bowl game held the last weekend of July. The first full schedule of exhibition games is held the following weekend. Most games are held on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights, with one nationally televised game each night of the week: NFL Network airs a Thursday game, CBS and Fox a Friday and Saturday night game each, NBC with Sunday night games, and ESPN a Monday night game. Unlike the regular season, CBS's and Fox's national exhibition game opponents are selected regardless of conference. Four full weekends of games are held. The fourth and final full week of exhibition games (fifth weekend overall) usually has teams playing exclusively on Thursday night (plus Friday, if any), with no national games. This allows teams a few extra days to prepare for the first week of the regular season. It also prevents conflict with the start of the regular seasons for high school and college football, allowing those venues to expand their first weekends' games from Thursday through Monday (Labor Day).

There is usually a conflict with the Major League Baseball season, a situation seen in the 2015 preseason when the Pittsburgh Steelers moved a Sunday evening game against the Green Bay Packers at Heinz Field to a traditional 1 p.m. kickoff to avoid parking conflicts with the Pittsburgh Pirates across their shared lot at PNC Park, when the Pirates had a game moved to Sunday evening as part of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

Nationally televised exhibition games start at 8:00 PM Eastern Time, while regionally televised games usually start at 7:00 PM local time. Select game nights feature rotating coverage from the NFL RedZone channel.

On various occasions, severe weather or other factors, have postponed or outright canceled some preseason games. Due to their exhibition nature, suspended or canceled preseason games are normally not made up. In 2004, Hurricane Charley postponed a Tampa Bay game against Cincinnati from Saturday until Monday. In 2001, a preseason game between Philadelphia and Baltimore was canceled due to turf problems at Veterans Stadium.[16] Similar turf concerns prompted the league to cancel the 2016 Hall of Fame Game at the last minute. The 2017 Cowboys-Texans preseason game, originally scheduled for Houston, was at first switched to Arlington due to the flooding spawned by Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas. The day prior to the scheduled game, it was cancelled to allow the Texans, who departed Houston the previous Friday to play at New Orleans and then were diverted to Dallas/Fort Worth after the game vs. the Saints, to return to Houston.

Controversy

Currently, every NFL team requires its season ticket holders to purchase tickets at full price for two exhibition games as a requirement to purchase regular-season tickets. Complaints regarding this policy have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but have failed to change the policy. A judgment in 1974 stated: "No fewer than five lawsuits have been instituted from Dallas to New England, each claiming that the respective National Football League (NFL) team had violated the Sherman Act by requiring an individual who wishes to purchase a season ticket for all regular season games to buy, in addition, tickets for one or more exhibition or preseason games."[17]

Additionally, some players, coaches, and journalists, and numerous fans, object to the 4-week exhibition schedule. Players have little monetary incentive to play in exhibitions, since they are paid only a training-camp per diem for these games. Their salaries do not begin until the regular season, and thus they are essentially playing in exhibitions "for free". Regardless of these objections, owners continue to endorse the four-game exhibition season. The games are an easy source of revenue, and thus are unlikely to be dispensed within the foreseeable future.[18]

Proposed reductions

In 2008, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell raised the possibility of shortening the exhibition season, in favor of lengthening the regular season. There was a possibility that by 2012, the league would switch to two primary exhibition games (down from 4) and an 18-game regular season (up from 16). Reasons cited were solutions to future labor concerns about revenue, and the overall dissatisfaction with the exhibitions among players and fans. Also, since the NFL is now widely considered a competitive year-round business, veteran players normally train and condition year round, and do not need the extensive exhibition season to get back into playing shape after the previous regular season. This proposal was eventually rejected in negotiations for the league's collective bargaining agreement, due to objections and concerns over fatigue and injuries raised by the National Football League Players Association.

Another proposal said to be gaining "growing sentiment among NFL owners" as of 2016 is a proposal to eliminate the last preseason game and give a league-wide bye week leading into the regular season.[19]

References

  1. ^ http://espn.go.com/nfl/trainingcamp12/story/_/page/claytoncamp120821/nfl-importance-week-3-preseason
  2. ^ http://www.cnyradio.com/2009/04/21/galaxy-extends-su-sports-deal-through-2013/
  3. ^ "Falcons Announce New Local TV Partner". atlantafalcons.com. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  4. ^ http://www.compassmedianetworks.com/sports/sportslandingpage.jsp?tab=1
  5. ^ Battista, Judy (4 February 2012). "Three Football Families, Linked by Philosophies". www.nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  6. ^ http://news.steelers.com/article/104389/
  7. ^ https://www.titansonline.com/news/titans-take-on-steelers-saturday-at-heinz-field
  8. ^ https://start.att.net/news/read/category/news/article/gannett-lions_vs_buccaneers_how_to_watch_listen_stream_pre-rgannett
  9. ^ https://www.si.com/nfl/audibles/2013/08/23/fail-mary-reunion-adds-drama-to-packers-seahawks-preseason-game
  10. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2000/preseason.htm
  11. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kFlAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=v1YMAAAAIBAJ&pg=1066,2673152
  12. ^ http://www.profootballarchives.com/1999nflsd.html
  13. ^ http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLNFLexhibitions.htm
  14. ^ Ford, Mark L. (2000). "25 Significant "Meaningless" NFL Games" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. 22 (5). Pro Football Researchers Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 14, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2010. Note: The PFRA erroneously refers to this matchup as the last such contest.
  15. ^ "Hartford Gets Grid Franchise", Reading Eagle – May 31, 1972, p58 The Chiefs played an exhibition game against the New York Jets rookies on July 29, 1972, losing 29-3, "Packer Excels at Quarterback As Jets Top L.I. Chiefs, 29-3", New York Times, July 30, 1972, pS-3; "Rookie QB Fires Jets", Pittsburgh Press, July 30, 1972, pD-8
  16. ^ Game canceled because of turf problem
  17. ^ Angelo F. Coniglio v. Highwood Services, Inc., 495 F.2d 1286 (2d Cir. 1974-04-17).
  18. ^ Starkey, Joe (2006-08-17). "Exhibition overkill". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2006-11-17.
  19. ^ Gaughan, Mark. For the love of God, spare us NFL preseason. The Buffalo News. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
2012 Irwin Tools Night Race

The 2012 Irwin Tools Night Race was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race held on August 25, 2012 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Contested over 500 laps, it was the twenty-fourth race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing won the race, his first at Bristol and third of the 2012 season. Jimmie Johnson finished second and Jeff Gordon was third. Nearly 150,000 people attended this 189-minute racing event.This race was broadcast on ABC (through ESPN on ABC), but was not available in all areas. A handful of ABC affiliates aired NFL preseason football games, with most of the affected affiliates preempting the race altogether, although at least one joined the race in progress in its final hour. Because of this, WOTV in Battle Creek, Michigan was the only West Michigan ABC affiliate airing the race, as WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan was simulcasting WXYZ-TV in Southfield, Michigan's Detroit Lions coverage and, unlike WXYZ-TV, chose not to join the race in progress, choosing to air syndicated programming instead.

Anthony Floyd

Anthony Franklin Floyd (born February 1, 1981 in Youngstown, Ohio) was a safety for the Indianapolis Colts. He spent 2006 NFL Europe season with the Berlin Thunder, where he earned All-NFL Europe honors after making four interceptions, tied for second in the league. He spent the 2006 NFL preseason with the Houston Texans before being released at the conclusion of training camp.

Butch Lewis (American football)

Butch Lewis (born December 1, 1987) is a former American Football offensive lineman. Lewis was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2011. Following the 2011 NFL Preseason, Lewis was waived by the Chiefs. After clearing waivers, Lewis was signed to the Chiefs practice squad. Lewis was released from the practice squad on September 8, 2011. Shortly after, Lewis was re-signed to the practice squad, only to be released once again on October 5. On October 26, 2011 Lewis was signed to the Vikings practice squad. Lewis went to high school at Regis Jesuit in Aurora, Colorado where he was a Parade Magazine All-American, and played his college football at the University of Southern California.

Canadian Football Act

The Canadian Football Act (1974), also known in its long title as An Act respecting Canadian Professional Football, was a proposed Act by the Parliament of Canada in April 1974 designed to give a government-protected monopoly over professional football in Canada to the Canadian Football League (CFL). Although it was never signed into law, the move by the government eventually compelled the World Football League's Toronto Northmen to move to the United States as the Memphis Southmen. The spectre of the Act was again raised when John F. Bassett, the owner of the Northmen/Southmen franchise, proposed a United States Football League franchise for Hamilton, Ontario, in 1983.

In 2007, there was speculation that a similar act would develop if the National Football League attempted to expand to Toronto and thus threaten the Canadian league's existence. Such an act would likely still allow for an NFL team to play in Canada in an NFL preseason game and the CFL's off season; thus allowing for a Canadian city to host the Super Bowl if the NFL decided to host their premier event in a stadium far from an NFL city.It is also unlikely that any future act will be passed to affect American college football, such as the NCAA and NAIA, who have or have had teams based in Canada (Simon Fraser University being the lone NCAA member in Canada) and bowl games hosted in Canadian cities, with no opposition, in part because the CFL draws some of its players from American college teams (and, in the case of bowl games, because their December and January scheduling is well after Canadian university football ends its season).

China Bowl (NFL)

The China Bowl was the name of a proposed National Football League (NFL) pre-season exhibition game that had been scheduled to take place in August 2007, but later postponed to 2009 and ultimately canceled, between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the National Stadium in Beijing.The originally scheduled China Bowl was to be played at Workers' Stadium in Beijing, China, on August 8, 2007. The game was to kick off the one-year countdown before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and was to take place right before the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup (also being held in China), and would have been the first NFL-sanctioned game to take place in China, as well as the first NFL preseason game played outside the United States since the league abandoned the American Bowl series in 2005 (game 1 of the Bills Toronto Series held that honor).

On April 2, 2007, the NFL announced the rescheduling of the preseason game in Beijing to August 2009, so that more focus could be placed on the start of the International Series, the first regular season game to take place outside of North America, which took place at Wembley Stadium, London that October. Both teams expressed interest in still playing the game, and the Patriots, having operations in China at the time, would have been an opponent either way.

As a result of the 2008 recession, the Patriots shut down their base of operations in China, and the game was never played. The Patriots were instead assigned to the next game in the International Series, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was played at Wembley on October 25, 2009. The Patriots won 35–7. Since then, the NFL has not openly expressed interest in scheduling any game, whether preseason or regular season, in China or any other Asian country.

Curt Menefee

Curt Menefee (born July 22, 1965) is an American sportscaster who is currently the host of the Fox network's NFL show Fox NFL Sunday. His co-hosts are Jimmy Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, and Michael Strahan.

FXFL Blacktips

The Florida Blacktips were a professional American football team, operating as a traveling team. They were a charter member of the Fall Experimental Football League, which was trying to become the developmental league for the National Football League. They were to play their home games at FIU Stadium in Miami, also the home to the FIU Panthers football and track and field teams. However, it was announced on September 22, 2014, that the Blacktips would drop 'Florida' from its name and play a truncated road schedule of only three games. The Blacktips' inaugural season began on October 15, 2014. They finished the 2014 season in last place at 0–3.

On September 18, 2014, the Blacktips announced the signing of former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, however Boyd never played for the Blacktips, moving to the Boston Brawlers before the season started.

The team was initially expected to permanently settle in a market it will share with an unspecified New York–Penn League baseball team for the 2015 season. However, a later announcement indicated the Blacktips would return in the same traveling-team status it held in 2014, solely owned and operated by the league. The team later quietly re-added the "Florida" portion back to its name. The Blacktips were unusual among FXFL teams in that it did not rely on NFL preseason castoffs for the majority of its roster (indeed, an article in The New York Times described the Blacktips as having "no set roster"). Its players were also paid significantly less than the other FXFL franchises, receiving only $300 for each of the two games that were played as opposed to the $1000 per game payout of the other teams.The FXFL, and thus the Blacktips as well, suspended operations on September 2, 2016.There are now rumblings going on at press time that former FXFL commissioner Brain Woods is considering bringing the Blacktips or the Brooklyn Bolts back to play in an indoor league and is eyeing the Arena Football League, National Arena League, Champions Indoor Football or Indoor Football League.

KEYE-TV

KEYE-TV, virtual channel 42 (UHF digital channel 43), is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Austin, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. KEYE's studios are located on Metric Boulevard in North Austin (it is one of two area television stations whose studios are located in that section of town—ABC affiliate KVUE, channel 24, being the other), and its transmitter is located on Waymaker Way on the west side of Austin.

On cable, KEYE can be seen on Charter Spectrum, Suddenlink and Grande Communications channel 5.

List of Pittsburgh Steelers figures in broadcasting

The Steelers franchise has a rich history of producing well-known sportscasters over the years: the most famous of whom was Myron Cope, who served as a Steelers radio color commentator for 35 seasons (1970-2004).

Additionally, several former players for the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up the broadcast microphone:

Lynn Swann (wide receiver, 1974-1982) - starting in 1978 was a sideline reporter for ABC Sports. Over the 2005 and 2006 NFL seasons, he had taken a leave of absence to unsuccessfully pursue the governor's office of Pennsylvania. Swann has also had several Hollywood roles, making cameos in 1998's The Waterboy, 1993's The Program and 1991's The Last Boy Scout. His TV cameos include Saturday Night Live and The Drew Carey Show.

Merril Hoge (running back, 1987-1993) - has hosted sports shows on ESPN and ESPN2 since 1996 most notably NFL Matchup, Football Friday and NFL 2Night/ NFLLive. He has also had hosting duties on ABC/ESPN's Great Outdoor Games. He also served as an analyst for the Steelers radio network alongside Bill Hillgrove and the late Myron Cope.

Mark Malone (quarterback, 1980-1987) - began his career as a sports reporter for Pittsburgh's WPXI-TV from 1991–1994, from 1994 to 2004 he hosted nationally-televised sports shows for ESPN, including NFL 2Night, NFL Matchup and the X-Games. From 2004-2008 he was director of sports broadcasting at CBS2 Chicago. Now Hosts his own program weeknights from 7 PM - 10 PM on NBC Sports Radio.

Jerome Bettis (running back, 1998-2011) - formerly an analyst for NBC Sunday Night Football's Football Night in America pregame with Bob Costas 2006–2009, also is host of the Pittsburgh broadcast The Jerome Bettis Show 1998–2007 on KDKA-TV and 2007-Present on WPXI-TV.

Hines Ward (wide receiver, 1996-2005) - former analyst for NBC Sunday Night Football's Football Night in America. Pregame/halftime analyst for Notre Dame Football on NBC (2013–2015), Now is a Sports Analyst for CNN since 2016 and hosts The Hines Ward Show 2013–Present on WPXI-TV.

Bill Cowher (head coach, 1992-2006) - co-host of CBS Sports NFL Today on CBS as a studio analyst, joining Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esiason. Cowher had a cameo in 1998's The Waterboy, and in 2007 Cowher appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, featuring a dozen celebrities in a stock car racing competition. Cowher matched up against Gabrielle Reece and William Shatner. Cowher has also made a cameo in The Dark Knight Rises with several other Steelers players, as the coach of the Gotham Rogues.

Terry Bradshaw (quarterback, 1970-1983) - started as a guest commentator for CBS NFL playoff broadcasts from 1980–1982, after retirement he joined Verne Lundquist at CBS full-time as a game analyst on what became one of the top rated sports broadcasts. In 1990, he went from the broadcast booth to the pregame studio shows anchoring the NFL Today pregame shows on CBS and later on Fox NFL Sunday. In recent years he has started to host regular features in addition to the show, "Ten yards with TB" and the "Terry Awards". In addition to broadcasting Bradshaw has had appearances in several major motion pictures (most notably Smokey and the Bandit II, Black Sunday, and Failure to Launch) as well as spokesman for Radio Shack and SaniKing among others in commercials. He also has made many guest appearances on sitcoms from Married... with Children to Evening Shade and Wee Willie Winkie.

Kordell Stewart (quarterback 1998-2003) - currently an ESPN analyst for all NFL shows and an Analyst for TuneIn's NFL Coverage.

Tunch Ilkin (offensive tackle, 1980–1992) - current Steelers radio color commentator; Pittsburgh CW Network In the Locker Room Host 2006–Present.

Craig Wolfley (offensive lineman, 1980-1989) - current Steelers radio sideline reporter; Pittsburgh CW Network In the Locker Room Host 2006–Present.

Rod Woodson (defensive back, 1987–1996), (1997 with 49ers), (1998-2001 with Ravens), and (2002-2003 with Raiders) - current analyst for NFL Network 2003–Present.

Jack Ham (linebacker, 1971–1982) - did color commentary for the Steelers on KDKA-TV during the NFL Preseason into the early 2000s before leaving and being replaced by former teammate Edmund Nelson. Ham also co-hosted some pregame and postgame shows on the station, but was replaced by Nelson in those roles as well. Since 2000, Ham has been the color analyst on the Penn State football radio network.

Edmund Nelson (defensive lineman, 1982-1988) - served as the color analyst for Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season games and participated as a co-host to Bob Pompeani in KDKA-TV's regular season pregame program Steelers Kickoff until retiring in 2015.

Charlie Batch (quarterback, 2002-2012) - took a Steelers pregame studio analyst job with KDKA-TV for the 2013 season alongside KDKA-TV sports anchor Bob Pompeani and ex-Steeler defensive lineman Edmund Nelson, effectively ending his NFL career. He continued in this role for the 2014 season. In 2015, Batch replaced the retiring Nelson as KDKA-TV's color commentator for preseason games, while becoming the main studio analyst for the Steelers pregame coverage prior to the national airing of The NFL Today. Former teammate Chris Hoke replaced Nelson for the post-game show.

Tony Dungy (defensive back, 1977-1979) - as an analyst on NBC's Football Night in America.

List of programs broadcast by NFL Network

The following is a list of programs broadcast by the NFL Network.

Mark Mariscal

Mark Mariscal (born September 10, 1979) is a former American college and professional football placekicker and punter who played in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for a single season in 2004. He played college football for the University of Colorado, earned consensus All-American honors, and was recognized as the top punter in college football. He played professionally for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.

Mariscal attended the University of Colorado, where he played for the Colorado Buffaloes football team from 2000 to 2003. As a junior in 2002, he set an NCAA Division I record for most punts of fifty yards or greater (29), was a first-team All-Big 12 selection, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American (2002). He was also the 2002 recipient of the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best college punter.

Mariscal signed with the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL) as an undrafted free agent in 2003, and was later a member of the NFL preseason or practice squads of the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. In 2004, he appeared in six regular season CFL games for the Montreal Alouettes, acting as both the Alouettes' punter and placekicker.

Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium

Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium is an outdoor football stadium in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium has been the home stadium of the Jackson State Tigers football team since 1970, and owned and operated by Jackson State University since July 1, 2011. Originally known as War Veterans Memorial Stadium, it was later known as Hinds County War Memorial Stadium. It was redesigned and enlarged in 1960 and Ole Miss vs. Arkansas dedicated Mississippi Memorial Stadium in 1961 before a capacity crowd of 46,000. With political support from Ole Miss and Mississippi State and leadership from Ole Miss Athletics Director Warner Alford, Mississippi Memorial Stadium was enlarged to 62,500 in 1981 and on September 26, 1981 Ole Miss and Arkansas again dedicated the facility before 63,522.

As referenced, for many years Mississippi Memorial Stadium served as an alternate home stadium for The University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, and occasionally The University of Southern Mississippi. From 1973 to 1990 the Egg Bowl was played there and from 1992 to 2013 it hosted the Mississippi High School Activities Association state championship football games. In addition to college and high school games it has hosted several National Football League (NFL) preseason games.. The Stadium was renamed Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in 1995.

Jackson State's first game at the stadium was an October 1967 contest versus Grambling State. JSU won that game 20-14.

NFL AM

NFL AM (also known as NFL All Morning) was an NFL morning television program on NFL Network. The program premiered on Monday, July 30, 2012. It aired from 6a to 10a ET. On May 8, 2015, the program went on hiatus. Network executives stated that they will perform performance reviews and planned to relaunch sometime during the 2015 NFL preseason. It was subsequently cancelled and replaced by NFL HQ, which was, in turn, replaced with Good Morning Football.

The program featured Rhett Lewis, Erin Coscarelli, LaVar Arrington, Eric Davis, Terrell Davis, Jordan Babineaux, Steve Wyche, Molly Qerim and Mark Kriegel. In July 2014, Coscarelli and Lewis were added to the cast of co-hosts.

Owner's Manual (TV series)

Owner's Manual is an American reality television series that airs on AMC and premiered on August 15, 2013. Announced in November 2012, the series' first season consists of eight, half-hour episodes. Owner's Manual tests whether it is best to read the included owner’s manual or not by representing each side of the divide in a weekly challenge. Ed Sanders and Marcus Hunt attempt to operate machinery and technology each week with one man working strictly from the manual and the other using his instincts.

Paul Burmeister

Paul Burmeister (born March 10, 1971) is a studio host, play-by-play announcer and reporter for NBC Sports since 2011. He has also worked for NFL Network and has been the national radio voice of Notre Dame football.

Phillips Field (Florida)

Phillips Field was a medium-sized stadium (maximum capacity approximately 20,000) located on the west bank of the Hillsborough River across from downtown Tampa, immediately adjacent to the University of Tampa. It opened on October 4, 1937, and served as the home for the University of Tampa's football team from 1937 to 1967. The facility was named for local businessman I. W. Phillips, who donated the land to the school so that the Spartans would not have to share nearby Plant Field, which was often unavailable due to its use for many different sports and community events.Besides "Tampa U" home games, Phillips Field hosted many other sporting events. It was the home football field for Middleton High School and Blake High School, two segregated schools that ended the season with a rivalry game at the field. Hillsborough High School and Plant High School also played their annual rivalry at the site. Phillips Field was the site of the Cigar Bowl, the area's first college bowl game, from 1946 to 1954, and the Florida Gators scheduled several home games at the facility during the 1930s and 1940s. Phillips Field was also the site of several NFL preseason contests in the mid-1960s that helped Tampa earn an eventual expansion franchise.The field was also the site of stock car races, large boxing matches, and other community and sporting events.When Tampa Stadium was completed in 1967, the city of Tampa gave Plant Field to the University of Tampa, and Phillips Field fell into disuse. It was razed in the early 1970s, and Tampa Preparatory School and Julian Lane Riverfront Park were built at its former location.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is an annual National Football League (NFL) exhibition game that is held the weekend of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies. The game is played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which is located adjacent to the Hall of Fame building in Canton, Ohio. It is traditionally the first game played in the NFL preseason for any given year, marking the end of the NFL's six-month off-season.

Raycom Sports

Raycom Sports is an American producer of sports television programs. It is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and owned and operated by Gray Television.

It was founded in 1979 by husband and wife, Rick and Dee Ray. In the 1980's, Raycom Sports established a prominent joint venture with Jefferson-Pilot Communications which made them partners on the main Atlantic Coast Conference basketball package. Raycom was acquired in 1994 by Ellis Communications. Two years later, Ellis was acquired by a group led by Retirement Systems of Alabama, who renamed the entire company Raycom Media to build upon the awareness of Raycom Sports. The company would be acquired by Gray Television in 2019.

The company was well-known for its tenure with the ACC, and has also had former relationships with the SEC, Big Eight, and Big Ten conferences, as well as the now-defunct Southwest Conference. In the 2010's, Raycom lost both its ACC and SEC rights to ESPN (a network which had, in its early years, picked up Raycom-distributed ACC basketball games for national broadcasts), and transferred these rights to in-house cable networks.

The company also produces sports telecasts for other entities; via Raycom Sports or related operation Tupelo Raycom, Gray produces NFL preseason games for several teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

Ty Long

Ty Long (born April 6, 1993) is an American professional gridiron football placekicker and punter for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He most recently played for two seasons with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football for the University of Alabama at Birmingham and holds records for career field goals as well as the longest field goal in school history. He also has played for the Washington Redskins during the 2015 National Football League (NFL) preseason.

AFC
NFC

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