From NBC Sports –
NBC to Air Thanksgiving Night Game for the First Time with Jets Hosting Patriots
Peyton Manning and Denver Broncos Host Pittsburgh Steelers in Opening SNF Game on September 9
NFL Season Begins on NBC with Wednesday NFL Kickoff Featuring Super Bowl Champion New York Giants Hosting Dallas Cowboys
NBC to Broadcast 19 Primetime Games in 2012, up from 18 in 2011 and 17 from 2006-2010
NEW YORK – April 17, 2012 – NBC will broadcast 19 primetime NFL games during the 2012 season, highlighted by: the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants hosting their division rivals the Dallas Cowboys on NFL Kickoff 2012; storied rivalries such as Steelers-Ravens, Eagles-Cowboys, and Giants-Eagles; two games featuring Peyton Manning with his new team the Denver Broncos – hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on the first Sunday Night Football game of the season, and the New Orleans Saints in Week 8; and NBC’s first Thanksgiving night game, featuring New England Patriots at the New York Jets.
MARK LAZARUS, CHAIRMAN, NBC SPORTS GROUP:
“The NFL is the most powerful content in the sports and entertainment universe, and we are once again poised for another exciting season of Sunday Night Football, the most-watched show on primetime television.”
Highlights of the 2012 Sunday Night Football schedule:
19 primetime games, including the opening Wednesday night game and a new Thanksgiving night game;
Every 2011 playoff team makes an appearance on Sunday Night Football; 16 of NBC’s 18 scheduled games involve at least one playoff team from last season; 10 of 18 include two playoff teams (Week 17 game TBD);
Three games each for Giants, Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers and Packers.
The defending Super Bowl Champion Giants host their division rivals the Cowboys in the Wednesday night NFL Kickoff 2012 on September 5;
The Jets host the Patriots on NBC’s first-ever Thanksgiving night game. NBC will broadcast a Thanksgiving night game each season through 2022 as part of the new NFL agreement;
Peyton Manning, in his first game as a member of the Denver Broncos, as they host Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening Sunday Night Football game of the season on September 9;
Three matchups among bitter NFC East rivals: Cowboys-Giants, Giants-Eagles, and Eagles-Cowboys;
Three playoff rematches, including a rematch of the AFC Championship Game when the Ravens host the Patriots in Week 3;
The first Sunday Night Football regular-season trip to Houston, as the Texans host the Packers in Week 6, and Cincinnati as the Bengals host the Steelers in Week 7;
NBC TO BROADCAST 19 NFL GAMES IN 2012: As part of the new agreement NBC signed with the NFL in December, 2011, NBC will now broadcast 19 regular-season games, including 17 regular season Sunday Night Football games, NFL Kickoff 2012, and the new Thanksgiving night game. NBC’s original Sunday Night Football agreement, which began in 2006, included 17 regular-season games. It was increased to 18 games in 2010.
SNF NO. 1 PRIMETIME PROGRAM ON TELEVISION: For the primetime television season (September 19-April 16), *Sunday Night Football ranks as the most-watched (persons 2+) and highest-rated show, and the No. 1 program across the key demographics of Adults 18-49, 18-34, 25-54, as well as Men 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54, based on Nielsen live + same day data. Additionally, SNF is the No. 3 show among Women 18-34, and the No. 4 show among Women 18-49.
*NOTE: The primetime television season began on Monday, Sept. 19 2011, and does not include the first three NBC primetime games of the 2011 season (Thursday night NFL Kickoff Opener and first two SNF games).
The critically acclaimed Football Night in America, which precedes Sunday Night Football, each week at 7 p.m. ET, was seen by an average of 8.9 million in 2011, its best season ever.
2012 SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Wed. Sept. 5 NFL Kickoff
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Sun. Sept. 9 Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
Sun. Sept. 16 Week 2
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
Sun. Sept. 23 Week 3
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Sun. Sept. 30 Week 4
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Sun. Oct. 7 Week 5
San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints
Sun. Oct. 14 Week 6
Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans
Sun. Oct. 21 Week 7
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Sun. Oct. 28 Week 8
New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
Sun. Nov. 4 Week 9
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons
Sun. Nov. 11 Week 10
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
*Sun. Nov. 18 Week 11
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
**Thurs. Nov. 22 Week 12
New England Patriots at New York Jets
*Sun. Nov. 25 Week 12
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants
*Sun. Dec. 2 Week 13
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
*Sun. Dec. 9 Week 14
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
*Sun. Dec. 16 Week 15
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots
*Sun. Dec. 23 Week 16
San Diego Chargers at New York Jets
*Sun. Dec. 30 Week 17
** Thanksgiving Night Game
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 5 – NFL KICKOFF 2012
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
The Super Bowl champion New York Giants host NFC East rival the Dallas Cowboys in NFL Kickoff 2012, the opening game of the 2012 NFL season. NFL Kickoff 2012 will be played on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 8:30 p.m. ET, with coverage on NBC beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The 2011 regular season ended on Sunday Night Football with the Giants defeating the Cowboys, 31-14, to capture the NFC East title. That game averaged 27.6 million viewers, the most ever for a Sunday Night Football game (Thursday openers included), and making it the most-watched regular-season primetime game on any network in 15 years (Packers-Cowboys, 31.5 million, Nov. 18, 1996, on ABC).
SUNDAY, SEPT. 9 – WEEK ONE
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.)
Peyton Manning makes his regular-season debut as quarterback of the Denver Broncos as they take on Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in a rematch of last year’s Wild Card overtime thriller won by the Broncos, 29-23.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 16 – WEEK TWO
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.)
Two NFC playoff teams square off as the 49ers, who lost in last season’s NFC Championship Game to the Giants, host the Detroit Lions, who last year qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 23 – WEEK THREE
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens (M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.)
The Baltimore Ravens head to Foxboro to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game, which the Patriots won 23-20.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 30 – WEEK FOUR
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.)
Eli Manning and the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants travel to Philadelphia to take on Michael Vick and the Eagles, who failed to qualify for last season’s playoffs for the first time in four years. These two teams split their season series last year with each team winning on the road.
SUNDAY OCT. 7 – WEEK FIVE
San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints (Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.)
Drew Brees and the Saints host Philip Rivers and the Chargers in what could be a record-setting performance for Brees. If he throws touchdown passes in each of the first four weeks, a touchdown pass against the Chargers on Sunday Night Football would break Johnny Unitas’ record for most consecutive games with a TD pass (46), a record that has stood since 1960.
SUNDAY, OCT. 14 – WEEK SIX
Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans (Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas)
Sunday Night Football makes its first trip to Houston, as the defending AFC South champion Texans host 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the NFC North champion Packers.
SUNDAY, OCT. 21 – WEEK SEVEN
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio)
The first regular-season Sunday Night Football game to be played in Cincinnati, will see the Bengals host the Steelers in a key AFC North divisional matchup.
SUNDAY, OCT. 28 – WEEK EIGHT
New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos (Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.)
A matchup of the two quarterbacks from Super Bowl XLIV, as Peyton Manning and the Broncos host Drew Brees and the Saints in what could be a fall classic.
SUNDAY, NOV. 4 – WEEK NINE
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.)
The Falcons, who have qualified for the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, host Tony Romo and the Cowboys, who are looking to get back to the playoffs after failing to qualify in each of the last two seasons.
SUNDAY, NOV. 11 – WEEK 10
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.)
The AFC South champion Texans travel to Chicago to take on Jay Cutler and the Bears in a key inter-conference matchup.
SUNDAY, NOV. 18 – WEEK 11
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.)
This game has become one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL. Both teams finished the season 12-4 last year with the Ravens taking the division on the basis of sweeping the season series from the Steelers, 35-7 in Week 1, and 23-20 in Week 9.
THURSDAY, NOV. 22 – WEEK 12 – THANKSGIVING NIGHT GAME
New England Patriots at New York Jets (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
For the first time ever the Thanksgiving night game will air on network television, as the AFC East rivals the New England Patriots and the New York Jets meet at the Meadowlands in what is annually one of the most anticipated games of the season.
SUNDAY, NOV. 25 – WEEK 12
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
The 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers meets the Super Bowl XLVI MVP Eli Manning in a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Game, which the Giants won 37-20 to advance to the NFC Championship Game.
SUNDAY, DEC. 2 – WEEK 13
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas)
A fierce NFC East division rivalry pits Michael Vick and the Eagles against Tony Romo and the Cowboys. The Eagles swept the season series winning 34-7 at home in Week 8 and 20-7 at Dallas in Week 16. The Eagles finished the season with four straight wins to even their record at 8-8.
SUNDAY, DEC. 9 – WEEK 14
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.)
Sunday Night Football returns to Lambeau Field for a key NFC North division game, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers host Matthew Stafford and the Lions. The Packers swept the season series last year, winning 27-15 in Week 12 and 45-41 in Week 17, in a game that saw 1,125 yards of total offense and 11 touchdown passes combined.
SUNDAY, DEC. 16 – WEEK 15
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.)
The NFC West champion 49ers, who lost in the NFC Championship Game to the Giants, travel to Foxboro to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. This is the first matchup between these two teams since Week 5 of the 2008, season when the Patriots beat the 49ers, 30-21.
SUNDAY, DEC. 23 – WEEK 16
San Diego Chargers at New York Jets (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
A key AFC intra-division game as the Rex Ryan and his Jets host Philip Rivers and the Chargers.
SUNDAY, DEC. 30 – WEEK 17
Teams to be announced by NFL at least six days prior.
The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but the NFL will choose matchups for each of their network partners to ensure a national game with playoff implications to conclude the season.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: The season again will utilize “flexible scheduling” in Weeks 11-17. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights.
A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the change will be announced no later than six days before the game. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot to conclude the season.
Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks, and give “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.