List of NFL on Thanksgiving Day broadcasters

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The following is a list of the television networks and announcers to broadcast the NFL's annual series of Thanksgiving Day games. Since the NFL merged with the AFL in 1970, the games had been held only in Detroit and Dallas. Because of TV network commitments, to make sure that both the AFC-carrying network and the NFC-carrying network got at least one game each, one of these games was between NFC opponents, and one featured AFC-NFC opponents. Thus, the AFC could showcase only one team on Thanksgiving, and the AFC team was always the visiting team. This was in spite of the fact that the AFL had fielded annual Thanksgiving games since its inception in 1960, six years before the NFL's Cowboys first played on the holiday, but with no permanent host in any of those years.

The two afternoon games are held at Detroit (12:30 p.m. EST) and Dallas (4:15 p.m. EST), respectively. Detroit always hosts the first game because a 12:30 p.m. EST kick-off at Dallas would be 11:30 a.m. local time (CST), and the NFL avoids starting games before noon locally. The two games rotate annually as intra-conference (NFC vs. NFC) and inter-conference (AFC vs. NFC) games. This is largely due to the format of the television contract with CBS and Fox. CBS usually broadcasts Sunday afternoon games involving the AFC team as the road team, and Fox usually broadcasts Sunday afternoon games involving the NFC team as the road team. Since both Detroit and Dallas are NFC teams, in order for CBS to televise one of the games, one game must be against an AFC opponent. Inter-conference games of which the AFC team is away, are televised on CBS. For fairness between both networks and markets, the two games rotate annually between the two networks.

The "early" game kicks off at a special time of 12:30 p.m. EST as opposed to the typical afternoon start time of 1 p.m. This provides an additional 30 minutes to prevent overlapping of the "late" game, and also gives both networks time for a pregame show and some additional time for a halftime concert. In addition, the "early" game's network pre-game show is 30 minutes (12:00-12:30 p.m.) and the "late" game's pre-game show is 45 minutes (3:30-4:15 p.m.)

On December 14, 2011, the NFL, along with CBS, Fox and NBC, announced the league's rights deal with all three networks was extended to the end of the 2022 season.[1] The new rights deal also includes NBC receiving the prime time game of the Thanksgiving tripleheader previously carried by NFL Network's Thursday Night Football.

Detroit Lions hosted games[edit]

2010s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
2014CBSJim NantzPhil SimmsTracy Wolfson
2013FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver and Erin Andrews
2012CBSJim NantzPhil Simms
2011FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver
2010CBSJim NantzPhil Simms

2000s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
2009FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver
2008CBSJim NantzPhil Simms
2007FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver
2006CBSJim NantzPhil Simms
2005FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver
2004CBSJim NantzPhil SimmsBonnie Bernstein
2003FoxJoe BuckTroy Aikman and Cris CollinsworthPam Oliver
2002CBSGreg GumbelPhil SimmsArmen Keteyian
2001FoxPat SummerallJohn MaddenRon Pitts
2000CBSGreg GumbelPhil SimmsArmen Keteyian

Notes[edit]

1990s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1999FoxPat SummerallJohn MaddenD. J. Johnson
1998CBSGreg GumbelPhil SimmsArmen Keteyian
1997FoxPat SummerallJohn Madden
1996NBCDick EnbergPhil Simms and Paul MaguireJim Gray
1995FoxPat SummerallJohn Madden
1994NBCDick EnbergBob TrumpyHannah Storm
1993CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1992NBCDick EnbergBob Trumpy
1991CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1990NBCDick EnbergBill Walsh

1980s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1989NBCDick EnbergBill Walsh
1988CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1987NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1986CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1985NBCDick EnbergMerlin OlsenAhmad Rashad
1984CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1983NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1982CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1981NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1980CBSPat SummerallTom Brookshier

1970s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1979CBSPat SummerallTom Brookshier
1978NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1977CBSPat SummerallTom Brookshier
1976NBCCurt GowdyJohn Brodie
1975CBSPat SummerallTom Brookshier
1974NBCCurt GowdyAl DeRogatis and Don Meredith
1973CBSRay ScottPat SummerallBruce Roberts
1972NBCCurt GowdyAl DeRogatis
1971NBCCurt GowdyAl DeRogatis
1970NBCCurt GowdyKyle Rote

1960s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1969CBSRay ScottPaul ChristmanBruce Thomas
1968CBSRay ScottPaul ChristmanBruce Thomas
1967CBSVan PatrickGil Stratton and Frank Gifford
1966CBSVan Patrick (first half) and Bob Fouts (second half)Frank Gifford
1965CBSVan Patrick (first half) and Chuck Thompson (second half)Pat Summerall (first half) and Frank Gifford (second half)
1964CBSVan Patrick (first half) and Jack Buck (second half)Jim Morse (first half) and George Connor (second half)
1963CBSVan Patrick (first half) and Ray Scott (second half)Russ Thomas
1962CBSRay Scott (first half) and Van Patrick (second half)Johnny Lujack
1961CBSVan Patrick (first half) and Ray Scott (second half)Tony Canadeo
1960CBSRay Scott (national feed)
Van Patrick (Detroit market only)
Tony Canadeo (national feed)
Bob Reynolds (Detroit market only)

Notes[edit]

1950s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1959CBSJoe Boland (national feed)
Ray Scott (Green Bay market only)
Van Patrick (Detroit market only)
Paul Christman (national feed)
Tony Canadeo (Green Bay market only)
Bob Reynolds (Detroit market only)
1958CBSJoe Boland (first half; national feed) and Chris Schenkel (second half; national feed)
Ray Scott (Green Bay market only)
Van Patrick (Detroit market only)
Paul Christman (national feed)
George Connor (Green Bay market only)
Bob Reynolds and Leon Hart (Detroit market only)
1957CBSJoe Boland (national feed)
Ray Scott (Green Bay market only)
Van Patrick (Detroit market only)
Bob Kelley (national feed)
Johnny Lujack (Green Bay market only)
Bob Reynolds and Les Bingaman (Detroit market only)
1956CBSHarry Wismer (national feed)
Ray Scott (Green Bay market only)
Van Patrick (Detroit market only)
Hunk Anderson (national feed)
Jerry Dunphy (Green Bay market only)
Bob Reynolds (Detroit market only)
1955ABCHarry WismerBudd Lynch
1954DuMontChris Schenkel
1953DuMont (national broadcast)Byrum Saam

Notes[edit]

Dallas Cowboys hosted games[edit]

2010s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
2014FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver and Erin Andrews
2013CBSJim NantzPhil SimmsTracy Wolfson
2012FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver and Erin Andrews
2011CBSJim NantzPhil Simms
2010FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver

2000s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
2009CBSJim NantzPhil Simms
2008FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver
2007CBSJim NantzPhil Simms
2006FoxJoe BuckTroy AikmanPam Oliver
2005CBSJim NantzPhil SimmsBonnie Bernstein
2004FoxJoe BuckTroy Aikman and Cris CollinsworthPam Oliver
2003CBSGreg GumbelPhil SimmsArmen Keteyian
2002FoxJoe BuckTroy Aikman and Cris CollinsworthPam Oliver
2001CBSGreg GumbelPhil SimmsArmen Keteyian
2000FoxPat SummerallJohn MaddenD. J. Johnson

1990s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1999CBSGreg GumbelPhil SimmsArmen Keteyian
1998FoxPat SummerallJohn Madden
1997NBCDick EnbergPhil Simms and Paul MaguireJim Gray
1996FoxPat SummerallJohn Madden
1995NBCDick EnbergPhil Simms and Paul MaguireJim Gray
1994FoxPat SummerallJohn Madden
1993NBCDick EnbergBob TrumpyO. J. Simpson
1992CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1991NBCDick EnbergBill Walsh
1990CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden

1980s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1989CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1988NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1987CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1986NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1985CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1984NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1983CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1982NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1981CBSPat SummerallJohn Madden
1980NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen

Notes[edit]

1970s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1979NBCDick EnbergMerlin Olsen
1978CBSPat SummerallTom Brookshier
1976CBSPat SummerallTom Brookshier
1974CBSPat SummerallTom Brookshier and Bart StarrFrank Glieber
1973NBCCurt GowdyAl DeRogatis
1972CBSRay ScottPat SummerallBruce Roberts
1971CBSRay ScottPat SummerallBruce Roberts
1970CBSFrank GlieberFrank GiffordBruce Roberts

1960s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1969CBSJack BuckPat SummerallFrank Glieber
1968CBSJack BuckPat SummerallFrank Glieber
1967CBSJack Buck (first half) and Jack Drees (second half)Pat Summerall
1966CBSJack Buck (first half) and Frank Glieber (second half)Pat Summerall

Thursday night games[edit]

Since 2006, three contests have been played on Thanksgiving. In addition to the traditional Detroit and Dallas home afternoon games, a third game is now played in prime time and televised by NFL Network. The addition of the NFL Network game on Thanksgiving has AFC fans hoping that their conference will now have equal exposure, perhaps with an NFC-NFC, AFC-NFC, and an AFC-AFC game each Thanksgiving; in fact, the Kansas City Chiefs (after the Thanksgiving 2006 game) attempted to regain "regular" status with the night game (it was Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt who actively pushed for the night game to be established, and the league appeased him with the request[7]).

Starting in 2012 with the beginning of the NFL's new network agreement, NBC would begin to air this game in place of NFL Network.[1]

2010s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
2014NBCAl MichaelsCris CollinsworthMichele Tafoya
2013NBCAl MichaelsCris CollinsworthMichele Tafoya
2012NBCAl MichaelsCris CollinsworthMichele Tafoya
2011NFL NetworkBrad NesslerMike MayockAlex Flanagan
2010NFL NetworkBob PapaMatt Millen and Joe TheismannAlex Flanagan

2000s[edit]

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
2009NFL NetworkBob PapaMatt MillenScott Hanson
2008NFL NetworkBob PapaCris Collinsworth
2007NFL NetworkBryant GumbelCris CollinsworthAdam Schefter
2006NFL NetworkBryant GumbelCris CollinsworthAdam Schefter

Former hosts[edit]

St. Louis Cardinals hosted games[edit]

The Dallas Cowboys were replaced by the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals as a host team in 1975 and 1977; Dallas and St. Louis faced each other in Dallas in 1976. Because of the long-established KirkwoodWebster Groves high school football game that takes place on Thanksgiving in St. Louis, the Cardinals' hosting of the Thanksgiving game was not popular.[citation needed] Dallas returned to hosting the game in 1978 and has hosted ever since.

YearNetworkPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1977NBCCurt GowdyJohn BrodieLee Leonard
1975NBCCurt GowdyAl DeRogatis and Don Meredith

American Football League games[edit]

From 1960 through 1966, one AFL game was played every Thanksgiving. In 1967, 1968 and 1969, in the buffer period before the AFL-NFL merger, each Turkey Day had two AFL games. The team with the best record in AFL Thanksgiving Day games was the New York Titans, who played in the first three, and were 3-0. The Oakland Raiders were second best, with a 3-1 record.

YearNetworkTeamsPlay-by-playColor commentator(s)Sideline reporter(s)
1969NBCDenver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers-Houston Oilers
Charlie Jones
Jim Simpson
Elmer Angsman
Al DeRogatis
1968NBCHouston Oilers-Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills-Oakland Raiders
Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Kyle Rote
Al DeRogatis
1967NBCOakland Raiders-Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers
Curt Gowdy
Charlie Jones
Paul Christman
George Ratterman
1966NBCBuffalo Bills-Oakland RaidersCurt GowdyPaul Christman
1965NBCBuffalo Bills-San Diego ChargersCurt GowdyPaul Christman
1964ABCBuffalo Bills-San Diego ChargersCharlie JonesGeorge Ratterman
1963ABCOakland Raiders-Denver BroncosCurt GowdyPaul Christman
1962ABCNew York Titans-Denver BroncosCurt GowdyPaul Christman
1961ABCBuffalo Bills-New York TitansJack BuckGeorge Ratterman
1960ABCDallas Texans-New York TitansJack BuckGeorge Ratterman

Radio coverage[edit]

The NFL on Westwood One Sports holds national radio broadcast rights to all three games. The network's usual Thursday night announcers handle the evening game, with a mix of other Westwood One announcers handling the Cowboys game. The Detroit game, however, uses other announcers not normally employed by Westwood One; Detroit-area broadcasters were used until 2008, but in 2009, Sports USA Radio Network took over the announcing duties for the Lions game.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]