August 21, 2007
CBS SPORTS MARKS 40TH YEAR OF PROTOTYPE FOR ALL STUDIO SHOWS - "THE NFL TODAY"
This NFL season marks the 40th year of CBS Sports' NFL pre-game show, THE NFL TODAY.
CBS Sports first broadcast "NFL Today" as a 15-minute, regional sports program that "presented interviews with National Football League players and coaches, and news and features about the NFL" on September 13, 1964. Like its current edition, the show preceded the broadcasts of NFL games on the CBS Television Network.
Similar to today's NFL TODAY show, which has a segment during the last 10 minutes of the show called "First to the Field" featuring the current NFL ON CBS broadcast teams commenting on news and players surrounding their respective games, 1964's program originated live and on videotape at the playing fields where the games were being played and from special television studios at each stadium. The show was broadcast regionally to the same area carrying the game that followed. The home team commentators for the CBS Television Network broadcasts of the games were the broadcasters for "NFL Today."
THE NFL ON CBS broadcasters that called the games in 1964 included: Jack Buck, Tony Canadeo, Herb Carneal, Ken Coleman, George Connor, Jack Drees, Bill Fischer, Bob Fouts, Ed Gallaher, Jim Gibbons, Frank Gifford, Earl Gillespie, Frank Glieber, Bob Kelley, Warren Lahr, Jim Morse, Van Patrick, Al Pollard, Ray Renfro, John Sauer, Chris Schenkel, Gordon Soltau, Gil Stratton, Pat Summerall, Chuck Thompson, Clayton Tonnemaker, Joe Tucker, Billy Vessels and Jack Whitaker.
"NFL Today" was sponsored by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Hamilton Watch Company, United Air Lines, Carter Products, Inc. and the J.B. Williams Co.
Following are some of the ground-breaking historical highlights of THE NFL TODAY:
- April 17, 1964: Frank Gifford hosts NFL REPORT, later that season to be called THE NFL TODAY
- September 1967: THE NFL TODAY expands to a 30-minute format preceding game coverage
- September 20, 1970: THE NFL TODAY signs industry-pioneering women - Marjorie Margolies produces and reports features; actress Carole Howey reports
- September 1973: THE NFL TODAY begins originating from CBS's New York studios and includes reports from stadiums around the country
- September 15, 1974: THE NFL TODAY debuts new three-segment format - highlights of the day's games and commentary, special features shot during the week, and a third segment covering the day's sports news, including scores and highlights at halftime
- September 1975: THE NFL TODAY welcomes Brent Musberger, Irv Cross and Phyllis George as hosts. The show begins the complex process of producing three separate live pre-game, halftime and post-game programs for 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM games. Also for the first time, musical pieces are produced for NFL coverage
- January 18, 1976: CBS broadcasts Super Bowl X with a new 90-minute pre-game - SUPER BOWL SUNDAY SPECIAL
- August 27, 1978: Jayne Kennedy replaces Phyllis George for first of two years, joining Brent Musberger, Irv Cross and Jimmy "The Greek Snyder"; Jack Whitaker commentates
- January 22, 1984: For the first time, THE SUPER BOWL TODAY devotes two hours to pre-game coverage, with 11 broadcasters, 13 feature and remote producers and four directors
- September 9, 1990: THE NFL TODAY kicks off with a new talent lineup of Greg Gumbel, Terry Bradshaw, Pat O'Brien and Lesley Visser. The show also boasts a new state-of-the-art set that includes a 360-degree, two-story, largely mobile set; 174 televisions, separate program islands for various studio segments, neon lights, staircase, 24 motion message panels and two 43-inch television screens
- September 1993: THE NFL TODAY begins its 30th season overall and holds the distinction of the highest-rated program in its time slot for the past 18 years, longer than any other program on television
- September 6, 1998: After a four-years hiatus of 1,687 days, anchor Jim Nantz welcomed back viewers to THE NFL TODAY alongside Marcus Allen, Brent Jones and George Seifert
- September 2000: THE NFL TODAY studio show moves from the CBS Broadcast Center to a new indoor-outdoor studio located in the GM Building on Fifth Avenue in New York City
- September 2002: Former NFL quarterbacks Dan Marino and Boomer Esiason join Jim Nantz and Deion Sanders as studio analysts for THE NFL TODAY
- September 2004: Greg Gumbel returns to the anchor's chair to host THE NFL TODAY alongside Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason and newcomer Shannon Sharpe.
- September 2006: James Brown returns to CBS Sports as the host of THE NFL TODAY alongside Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason and Shannon Sharpe in a totally reconstructed state-of-the-art studio that has a bi-level set that includes a 6mm LED screen (6' high by 14' wide), 24 flat screens HD monitors, holographic screens and an ergonomically designed desk
THE NFL TODAY begins on Sunday, Sept. 9 (12:00 Noon-1:00 PM, ET) with host James Brown, along with analysts Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and newcomer, former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. Charley Casserly serves as the show's "General Manager," and Lesley Visser and Sam Ryan are reporters for THE NFL TODAY.
Eric Mann is senior producer and Bob Matina is director of THE NFL TODAY.
Sean McManus is President, CBS News and Sports. Tony Petitti is Executive Vice President and Executive Producer, CBS Sports. McManus and Petitti serve as executive producers for the Network's coverage of the NFL.