“We wanted to take what we had started on the NFL Network, continue to grow the NFL Network, but really create a greater awareness of the NFL on Thursday night in a franchise that we all will be proud of,” he said. “We believe very much in the NFL Network as a strategic asset. I fully anticipate, going forward, that we'll continue to have games on the NFL Network.”
Of course, that could derail CBS’s hopes for making a longer-term deal next year.
“It is our job to show the NFL what we can do and how great it's going to be and how great the partnership is going to be,” said CBS president Leslie Moonves. “And we're confident that at the end of the year, they're going to feel like CBS did a tremendous job. As Roger said, this is a building process. This is the first year. But we're confident that after this year is over, they'll sit down and, hopefully, give us a longer deal than that.”
A pre-game show will begin at 6 p.m. on NFL Network and CBS will begin its pre-game coverage at 7:30 p.m. Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher will be part of the broadcast team and unlike on Sunday games, Mr. Cowher will not be in the New York studio; he’ll travel to game locations weekly from New York, where he now makes his home.
“I’m almost having to work for a living now,” Mr. Cowher joked. “I’m looking forward to it. In the past we were only on-site for the Super Bowl.”
Mr. Cowher called the Thursday slate of games “the best they’ve ever had. Every game except one is a divisional game.”
As for his assessment of the Steelers going into a new season, Mr. Cowher sounded an optimistic note.
“I think they’ll be fine,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of speed and I think they’re developing their offensive line. The big key will be staying healthy.”