Hello, friends: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are probably working 23 NFL games as announcers in 2014

Some people love the Nantz/Simms pairing, and others hate it (I think you’d find that about most lead announcing crews for any sport on any network; no one is completely revered, even Pat Summerall). Next year you’re going to get a lot more of them, because CBS picked up half the Thursday night package — and while the other half will still air on NFL Network, Nantz and Simms are the guys calling those games. They’re still calling Sunday games too, although it looks like they might get some weeks off. They’ll probably only call Sunday games when CBS has the 4:25pm ET national window of a doubleheader; that’s about eight games, plus 14 Thursday games, so … about 23 games. By contrast, the Buck-Aikman team will call about 19 games or so counting the NFC playoffs, and the Michaels-Collinsworth team will call about 19 too, counting the Super Bowl (on NBC next year). There are a couple of interesting things about all this:

1. The NFL Network, minus their studio crew being involved in Thursday night pre-game/halftime shows, is now completely out of the game production business side of the NFL; that’s all FOX, CBS, NBC and ESPN.

2. Oftentimes an announcer/production crew will get into the game city on Thursday for a Sunday game, meaning that on the eight weeks Nantz/Simms are working Sunday, they’re likely headed to the Thursday city on Monday/Tuesday and the Sunday city right after the Thursday game is done and wrapped … so Nantz’s wife, Courtney Richards (came after a public divorce from his first wife) may not be seeing him a ton in the fall.

3. Simms just does NFL, but between this 23-game schedule, college basketball, and golf, Nantz is probably on the road 45 weeks between August 2014 and August 2015, and he’s probably been to every mid-size to large airport in America by now (do CBS jets land at airports?).

4. CBS already dominates almost every night of the week, from NCIS to NFL/60 Minutes to Big Bang Theory to everything else. (Big Bang might move to Monday because of this move.) It’s going to be nearly impossible for any network to catch them with the slate of original shows they have + two days/nights of NFL. They don’t have Sunday Night Football or the Super Bowl, so those are tough losses numbers-wise, but almost everything else TV-wise in the next 16 months will point to CBS.

I personally like Nantz and Simms as a team, although they can be a little sanctimonious at times. There’s no other team on CBS that should have the top slot right now; don’t you dare say Gumbel and Dierdorf ever deserved it before the latter retired this past year. Ian Eagle-Dan Fouts is alright, I ‘spose. I’m not necessarily sure the world is ready for 23 “Hello Friends” this fall, but Joe Buck 23 times might be more egregious.

I’m not sure if Nantz is getting a raise for the extra dates, but he makes somewhere between $5-7 million per year as is, although he does pay about $1 million per in alimony. (In fairness, his ex-wife seems like she was loving spending the money.)

Ted Bauer