Sunday program to provide 'greater context' for game

NBC is tweaking its Sunday “Football Night in America” pre-game program by focusing more on the “Sunday Night Football” game itself.

Bob Costas and the play-by-play team of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will chat up the game in the first 15 minutes of “Football Night” in addition to discussing the NFL news of the day and other important sports developments.

“We want to provide greater context for the game,” said NBC Sports topper Dick Ebersol. “We aspire to give the viewer the best seat in the house.” In another change, Costas will host the show from the stadium rather than from NBC headquarters in Gotham. Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann will remain in the studio offering highlights of the day’s games.

The NFL has given NBC the exclusive window to show highlights from 7:15 until 8 p.m. ET, when ESPN recaps the day’s action. (Fox can also offer limited highlights on its post-game show “The OT,” which runs until 8 p.m. ET when the net airs the late game.)

NBC’s Sunday night schedule offers several intriguing matchups, including the Sept. 20 showdown between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys at the Cowboys’ new $1.2 billion stadium. That game goes up against the Emmy Awards on CBS.

Other rivalry games on the sked include Bears-Packers (Sept. 13), Cowboys-Eagles (Nov. 8) and Steelers- Ravens (Nov. 29).

NBC moved Collinsworth to the broadcast booth this season after John Madden retired.

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