Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
NFL's Late Sunday Afternoon Doubleheader Window Gets the Most Scrutiny and Viewers
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 16, 2024

The NFL schedule is released, and the most attention each year is focused on the late afternoon window for Fox and CBS with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys often showcased. (AP/Butch Dill)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

When the NFL schedule gets released, fans and commentators obsess over how many prime-time appearances teams will make. However, the biggest competition and most attention when it comes to formulating the schedule each year is the late afternoon window for Fox and CBS.

The 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday spot is the most-viewed game of the week. Last season for the first time in many years, CBS edged Fox in the showcase window. CBS averaged 24.64 million viewers in their 10 doubleheader weeks while Fox averaged 24.62 million.

With the importance of that spot, it isn’t a surprise the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys will be showcased often. Fox received the most-desired game on the schedule with the Chiefs visiting the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 20. It will mark the first time since Fox started carrying the NFL in 1994 that it has a Super Bowl rematch.

Chiefs and Cowboys in the Spotlight

It is also the only regular-season Chiefs game Fox will carry. “We think a lot about having one good Kansas City game, and we got the best one of them all,” said Mike Mulvihill, Fox president for insights and analytics.

With the league shying away from putting rematches on the same network that aired the Super Bowl, CBS made Chiefs-Bills its top request. The Nov. 17 game in Buffalo, a rematch of last season’s AFC divisional round game, marks the fifth straight year Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen will meet in the regular season.

“We felt like as the home of the AFC, we should continue to tell that story,” CBS Sports CEO and President David Berson said. CBS will also feature Kansas City’s Sept. 15 game against Cincinnati and Sept. 29 at the Los Angeles Chargers.

Dallas gets the top treatment on Fox three times the first six weeks. The Cowboys’ Sept. 8 opener at Cleveland marks the first time since 2019 Fox has had them in Week 1. It also has them hosting Baltimore on Sept. 22 and Detroit on Oct. 13.

Prime-Time Appearances and Division Matchups

Fox also returns to having the exclusive Week 1 doubleheader as the Cowboys-Browns game will be Tom Brady’s debut as an analyst. “I just feel like with what we’ve got for our showcase window in the first half of the season, that’s about as close to a best-case scenario as it could be for us,” Mulvihill said. “We made it a point with the league that we wanted to establish a stronger narrative in September.”

Besides the Chiefs, CBS also has strong NFC matchups for the late window, including Dallas at Philadelphia on Nov. 10 — one of three Eagles appearances in CBS’s doubleheader window — and Green Bay at the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 6.

Both networks will have doubleheaders on Dec. 15 — instead of Week 1 — and the last week of the regular season on Jan. 5.

“Is it better to do it later in the season when you have a better sense of where all the teams are and how to get the right teams into those windows?” said Hans Schroeder, the executive vice president of NFL Media. “We continue to tweak and evolve. If teams play their way on, we have a chance to look at that we wouldn’t have in Week 1.”

Monday Night Highlights and Sunday Night Surprises

San Francisco bookends the “Monday Night Football” package. The 49ers host the Jets in the season opener on Sept. 9 and then host Detroit on Dec. 30 in a rematch of the NFC championship game.

Six teams will make multiple Monday night appearances. Of the 25 games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN+, 11 are interconference matchups but Rosalyn Durant, ESPN’s executive vice president for programming and acquisitions, likes the strength and depth of the schedule.

“We have the Chiefs twice, we have the Cowboys twice in Dallas. We have strong matchups throughout the schedule,” she said. “There are plenty of storylines that should have broad appeal.”

ESPN also has the Harbaugh Bowl three days before Thanksgiving on Nov. 25, when John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens take on Jim Harbaugh’s Chargers in Los Angeles. Many thought that might be a Thanksgiving night or Christmas game.

Due to last year’s writers strike, ABC carried most of the Monday night schedule, but it returns to four simulcasts and three exclusive games. ABC also has both Week 18 Saturday matchups.

Last year, the odds of a Chicago-Houston matchup being on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” would have been staggering. But with the Bears taking Caleb Williams with the top pick in this year’s draft and C.J. Stroud leading the Texans to the divisional round of the playoffs last year, it will get the prime time treatment on Sept. 15.

“That’s a matchup any football fan wants to take in and look at maybe the future of the league,” NBC Sports President Rick Cordella said.

NBC’s first six games feature strong quarterback matchups, especially the three in Week 1 with Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson visiting Kansas City’s Mahomes in the Sept. 5 Kickoff Game; Green Bay’s Jordan Love taking on Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts in Brazil the next night on Peacock; and the Rams’ Matthew Stafford facing Detroit’s Jared Goff on Sept. 8.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

DON'T MISS

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

DON'T MISS

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

DON'T MISS

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

DON'T MISS

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

DON'T MISS

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

DON'T MISS

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

DON'T MISS

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

DON'T MISS

Boeing Tells Federal Regulators How It Plans to Fix Aircraft Safety and Quality Problems

DON'T MISS

First-Generation Fresno State Student Selected for Congressional Internship

UP NEXT

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

UP NEXT

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

UP NEXT

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

UP NEXT

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

UP NEXT

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

UP NEXT

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

UP NEXT

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

UP NEXT

Boeing Tells Federal Regulators How It Plans to Fix Aircraft Safety and Quality Problems

UP NEXT

First-Generation Fresno State Student Selected for Congressional Internship

UP NEXT

IRS Makes Free Tax Return Program Permanent and Is Asking All States to Join in 2025

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

2 hours ago

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

2 hours ago

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

3 hours ago

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

3 hours ago

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

3 hours ago

Boeing Tells Federal Regulators How It Plans to Fix Aircraft Safety and Quality Problems

3 hours ago

First-Generation Fresno State Student Selected for Congressional Internship

3 hours ago

IRS Makes Free Tax Return Program Permanent and Is Asking All States to Join in 2025

3 hours ago

Walkouts, Encampments & Protests Provided Me With a Classic Berkeley Education

3 hours ago

Warning: Pay Special Attention to California’s November Ballot Measures

4 hours ago

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

NEW YORK — Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes Thursday as a New York jury found him guilty of f...

21 mins ago

21 mins ago

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

34 mins ago

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

2 hours ago

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

2 hours ago

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

2 hours ago

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

3 hours ago

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

3 hours ago

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

3 hours ago

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend