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NFL on Westwood One

The NFL on Westwood One is the tag line given to weekly American professional football games carried on the radio over the Westwood One network.

Westwood One's package includes two weekly Sunday afternoon games, the Sunday Night Football game, the Monday Night Football game, the Thanksgiving Day games, late-season Saturday games, all Thursday night games (beginning in 2006), the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, all playoff games, the Super Bowl, and the Pro Bowl. These games are distributed throughout the United States and Canada, but blacked out in the markets of the competing teams.

Relationship to CBS

Currently, Westwood One is managed and part-owned by CBS Radio. As such, there is often synergy between the NFL on Westwood One and its sister outlet, the NFL on CBS.

The theme music for Westwood One's pro football coverage is "Posthumus Zone" by E.S. Posthumus, the same as that used on the NFL on CBS television coverage (Westwood One's sports coverage has always used the appropriate CBS television theme for their sport where applicable).

Some personnel is shared between the two units; for instance, Dick Enberg and Don Criqui call Sunday afternoon games throughout the first several weeks of the season on CBS and then switch to Thursday/Saturday Night Football on the radio beginning on Thanksgiving. Boomer Esiason, who is an analyst for The NFL Today, calls color commentary on Monday Night Football (and will often advertise these games on The NFL Today as "the Monday night game on Westwood One"); conversely, Steve Tasker, a color commentator for CBS's Sunday afternoon coverage, serves as an analyst on Westwood One shows.

The coverage carried the CBS Radio Sports tag (both with and without "Westwood One") for many years before switching to Westwood One.

NFL on Westwood One doubleheader

Each week, Westwood One features two games from the Sunday afternoon lineup (one of the 1:00 games and one of the 4:00 games, respectively).

Broadcast teams

Harry Kalas and Bill Rosinski are the play-by-play men for the Westwood One Sunday doubleheader. Mark Champion subs for Kalas when the latter's broadcasting commitments with the Philadelphia Phillies conflict with his Westwood One duties. Kalas is joined by color commentator and former Steelers quarterback and ESPN analyst Mark Malone for 2008, his fourth different analyst in as many years; Rosinski is paired with former Giants, Broncos, and Falcons coach Dan Reeves for the third consecutive season.

The pregame and halftime shows of all NFL broadcasts are hosted by Tommy Tighe.

Sunday Night Football

Pregame

Westwood One's coverage of Sunday Night Football begins with their weekly NFL recap show, NFL Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. Their regular pregame show begins at 8 p.m. and runs until kickoff.

For the 2006 season, NBC co-produced NFL Sunday and turned it into an abbreviated radio version of its Football Night in America TV pregame, complete with the John Williams composed Sunday Night Football theme song. Al Trautwig started the season as host of the show, but was replaced by Scott Graham in the middle of the season.

Play-by-play

Prior to 1996, the play-by-play role for CBS Radio Sports' coverage of Sunday Night Football was filled by broadcasting veteran Howard David. That season, David was promoted by the network to the Monday Night Football game, and CBS Radio replaced him with (at the time) former Dallas Cowboys announcer Brad Sham, who had worked at the network in the past (and still does today) as a secondary play-by-play man.

After the 1997 season, Sham returned to the Cowboys. The network hired Joel Meyers to replace him, and he would hold the position through the end of the 2005 season.

Dave Sims is the current voice of Sunday Night Football, replacing Meyers permanently after subbing for him when his other broadcasting endeavors, including play-by-play for the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Big 12 Conference college football on Fox Sports Net, rendered him unavailable. Prior to that, Sims was one of two main broadcasters on the featured doubleheader earlier on Sunday.

Color commentary

When Howard David was in the booth, he split the season between two color commentators, John Dockery and Pat Haden. Dockery did the first half, while Haden would come in after his TNT television responsibilities were over. Other color commentators include Bob Trumpy, who served as Sunday Night Football analyst from 2000-2004 and again from 2006-2007, and John Riggins, who was the color man for the 2005 season.

Jim Fassel replaced Trumpy for the 2008 season; originally Fassel was scheduled to work alongside Harry Kalas on the doubleheader coverage as he had in 2007.

Monday Night Football

The radiocast of Monday Night Football is Westwood One's flagship NFL broadcast, and its broadcast team is regarded as Westwood One's lead team, calling all the important postseason games and the Super Bowl.

Buck and Stram

For many years, the CBS Radio/Westwood One coverage of Monday Night Football was anchored by Jack Buck (beginning in 1978), with former Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram alongside him in the color position. They stayed paired together for nearly every major game covered by the network, in two separate stints with the network (from 1978 until Super Bowl XIX in early 1985 (when NBC Radio took over the broadcasting rights), and then from 1987 until Super Bowl XXX in early 1996.)

David, Millen and Esiason

In 1996, Stram and Buck were replaced by Howard David and Matt Millen, with David moving from the Sunday Night Football broadcast and Millen moving into the booth from the pregame show. These two were joined by former ABC Monday Night Football color man Boomer Esiason in 2000; the following year Millen left to take a job as president of the Detroit Lions, a position he has been fired from since.

Albert and Esiason

After calling through the 2001 season and calling Super Bowl XXXVI, Howard David left to work the Miami Dolphins' local radio broadcasts for the 2002 season; he has since joined the Sports USA Radio Network. Marv Albert became the play-by-play voice for Monday Night Football on Westwood One. He continues in that role to this day. Esiason remains as principal color commentator. Dave Sims substitutes when Albert's other broadcasting duties (principally The NBA on TNT) conflict with his Monday Night Football schedule; in situations like these, as well as when Sims' other broadcasting endeavors (namely his Seattle Mariners duties) keep him from calling Sunday Night Football, Albert will call the Sunday night game instead.

Since Boomer Esiason has worked on the The NFL Today, he and Marv Albert have become the exclusive voices for Westwood One's coverage of the AFC Championship Game in years when The NFL Today travels to the site of the game (something it has not done since the 2006 game in Denver). In order to do both of his jobs, Esiason uses a wireless microphone to call the end of each half so he can save time in getting from the broadcast booth to the field, where the show's set typically is.

If The NFL Today chooses not to travel to the game site, Esiason stays behind in New York with the other studio hosts. To compensate, Albert either calls the game alongside another analyst (as he did with Sam Wyche in 2007) or not at all (which happened in 2008).

After his hiring at WFAN to be its morning drive-time show host, Esiason also has elected to skip certain Monday night games that would interfere with his duties there (i.e., not enough time to get back to New York to do the show). In cases like these Albert calls the game along with a rotating guest analyst.

Pregame and halftime show hosts

The pregame and halftime shows are hosted by Jim Gray, who has held the job since 2004. John Dockery is currently the sideline reporter.

Spanish language

In 2005, Westwood One carried an alternate Spanish-language feed featuring Clemson Smith-Muniz as play-by-play host and David Crommett as commentator. Those broadcasts have moved to United Stations Radio Networks.

Run to the Playoffs

With the NFL adding late season Thursday and Saturday night games to its slate in 2006 (as well as consolidating its Saturday action into one game), Westwood One has added the Run to the Playoffs games to its coverage.

CBS' Dick Enberg is the play-by-play voice for the Thursday night games, with Dennis Green serving as color commentator in 2007 (succeeding Sam Wyche from the previous season). Bonnie Bernstein is the sideline reporter.

Saturday Night Football used Don Criqui on play-by-play and John Dockery as color commentator for the 2007 season, replacing the previous year's team of Joel Meyers and Kevin Kiley.

Playoff coverage

For the first two rounds of the playoffs, often the regular broadcast teams for Westwood One are mixed, due to Boomer Esiason's unavailability. During the wild card and divisional weekends, there are four games, therefore four separate crews are needed. Some of the other established crews call the less-popular games. For instance, in 2007, Dick Enberg and Dennis Green (from the Thursday night crew), called one of the wild card games.

The only time the teams may be together is for the Conference Championship Games and the Super Bowl. Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason sometimes call the AFC Championship Game, while Dave Sims and Bob Trumpy will call the NFC Championship Game, or the AFC Championship if the #1 team does not work that game. In addition, Albert and Esiason call the Super Bowl. In 2008, this proved not to be the case. Westwood One employed every single one of its football play-by-play broadcasters except for Harry Kalas, and for the most part the teams worked together, though Albert and Esiason only called the Super Bowl together.

Other broadcasters who work or have worked on The NFL on Westwood One

2006

2007 pairings

  • Monday Night Football: Marv Albert, Boomer Esiason and Jim Gray
  • Thursday night: Dick Enberg, Dennis Green, Bonnie Bernstein
  • Saturday night: Don Criqui, John Dockery and Tommy Tighe
  • Sunday Night Football: Dave Sims, Bob Trumpy and Tommy Tighe
  • Sunday afternoon doubleheaders: Bill Rosinski & Dan Reeves
  • Sunday afternoon doubleheaders: Harry Kalas & Jim Fassel; Tommy Tighe
  • Thanksgiving Classic Mark Champion & Kevin Kiley (Detroit); Rosinski & Reeves (Dallas)
  • Playoffs : (announcers call one of each weekend's games)
  • Super Bowl XLII: Marv Albert, Boomer Esiason, John Dockery, Kevin Kiley and Jim Gray
  • Pro Bowl: Dave Sims, Boomer Esiason

Availability

During the Conference Championship round, and Super Bowl, most affiliate radio stations of the participating teams' networks must accept the feed from Westwood One. Only the flagship stations (in both English and other languages) can transmit the team's local radio broadcast, although the local broadcasts are also available on Sirius Satellite Radio and FieldPass. An exception is made for the Green Bay Packers because they technically have flagships in two separate cities, WTAQ (AM) & WIXX (FM) in Green Bay and WTMJ in Milwaukee; the latter station has produced Packers radio broadcasts for many years. If the local Westwood One affiliate is not the same as the corresponding affiliate of the team, the Westwood One station retains broadcast rights and the team's station must switch to alternate programming (for example, KSPN in Los Angeles aired an alternate feed of ESPN Radio on January 20, 2008 when the San Diego Chargers played in the AFC Championship Game, as exclusive rights belonged to KLAC.)

For all other weeks, within 75 miles of a team's stadium, only stations the team or its flagship station contracts with can carry those games, regardless if the team is home or away. Thus, any competing station that carries Westwood One broadcasts cannot air those games- for instance, any time the New York Jets are playing on Sunday or Monday nights, their games do not air on the Sunday Night Football/Monday Night Football radio flagship, WFAN, but instead WABC and WEPN (the Jets' flagships) retain local exclusivity. (In the case of the Sunday doubleheaders, most stations can opt for an alternate national game from the Sports USA Radio Network.) This rule also applies to Los Angeles whenever the Chargers air nationally, since that market's southern-most border is within the 75 mile radius of Qualcomm Stadium, as well as Toronto, Canada whenever the Buffalo Bills play nationally. (However, in the case of Toronto, the same station affiliates with both the Bills radio network and Westwood One, which means the only difference is which broadcast team the station uses).

A similar rule applies to Westwood One's NHL coverage, although the NHL's radius is much smaller, and in some markets (such as Rochester, New York), local broadcasts and national broadcasts have aired on competing stations.

The NFL on Westwood One is not available on the NFL's FieldPass subscription Internet radio service.

External links

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