With less than a month to go before the 2017 NFL regular season kicks off, the major television networks have released their commentary teams (and there are plenty of changes this year), plus a handful of confirmed game assignments.
Unsurprisingly, Seattle’s season opener at the Green Bay Packers gets the “America’s Game of the Week” billing, so the #1 crew of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Erin Andrews will be on the call for that one. They were also at Lambeau Field for the last Seattle at Green Bay encounter, and I don’t like to remember that one. Buck/Aikman is a duo that has more than its fair share of detractors, but I definitely feel like Buck has gotten a lot better as a play-by-play voice than he used to be. Compare what he did in his first season as lead NFL on FOX commentator with how he called Jermaine Kearse’s game-winning TD to send the Seahawks to Super Bowl XLIX.
In week 2, the Seahawks’ home game against the San Francisco 49ers will uh... not get headlining status. That matchup will be done by Sam Rosen and David Diehl, who appear to be last in the pecking order of commentary lineups if we go by FOX’s press release. Rosen has been a part of the NFL on FOX lineup since the mid-1990s, and his most recent Seahawks game was the 2015 home loss to Carolina. He also announced Pete Carroll’s Seahawks debut in 2010, when Seattle thrashed the 49ers 31-6. David Diehl is a former Giants offensive lineman who became a FOX analyst in 2014, and one of his first assignments was Seahawks at Chargers in 2014.
Also of note, Tony Romo’s first live game as lead analyst for NFL on CBS will start with the Chiefs at Seahawks showdown on August 25th, which is exactly one year since his back injury against Seattle, which ushered in the Dak Prescott era for the Cowboys and effectively led to Romo’s retirement. His regular season debut will be Raiders at Titans.
Other notable tweaks to CBS’ rotation include James Lofton replacing Solomon Wilcots, and the addition of Beth Mowins as the network’s first women’s play-by-play voice. She’ll be handling Chargers at Broncos with Rex Ryan for ESPN on Monday Night Football, then work with Jay Feely on Browns at Colts for CBS in week 3. By the way, CBS got rid of Mike Carey, so you don’t have to worry about him stammering all over the place and getting calls frequently incorrect.
FOX was supposed to have a new three-man booth of Kevin Burkardt, Charles Davis (promoted after John Lynch joined the 49ers), and Jay Cutler, but with Cutler off to Miami, it’ll be just Burkhardt and Davis. Ronde Barber has been paired up with Kenny Albert, while Daryl Johnson is with Chris Myers. Former ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth has moved to FOX and will be joined in the booth by Dick Stockton.
On the national TV front, it’s still Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, and Lisa Salters on Monday Night Football for ESPN, while Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michele Tafoya handle Sunday Night Football on NBC, as well as Super Bowl LII. Thursday Night Football on CBS will feature Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, but NBC broadcasts of TNF will be handled by Mike Tirico and Collinsworth. You can also expect to hear Kurt Warner on a couple of late-season games on NFL Network.
If you care, here are the NFL on CBS and NFL on FOX pairings for the 2017-18 season.
NFL on CBS
Jim Nantz/Tony Romo (Sideline reporter: Tracy Wolfson)
Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts (Sideline reporter: Evan Washburn)
Greg Gumbel/Trent Green (Sideline reporter: Jamie Erdahl)
Kevin Harlan/Rich Gannon
Andrew Catalon/James Lofton
Spero Dedes/Adam Archuleta
Tom McCarthy/Steve Tasker/Steve Beuerlein
Beth Mowins/Jay Feely
NFL on FOX
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman (Sideline reporter: Erin Andrews)
Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis (Sideline reporter: Pam Oliver)
Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber (Sideline reporter: Kristina Pink)
Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston (Sideline reporter: Laura Okmin)
Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth (Sideline reporter: Shannon Spake)
Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman (Sideline reporter: Peter Schrager)
Sam Rosen, David Diehl (Sideline reporter: Jennifer Hale)
To recap things from a Seahawks perspective:
Week 1 (at Green Bay, FOX) - Buck/Aikman/Andrews
Week 2 (vs. San Francisco, FOX) - Rosen/Diehl
Week 3 (at Tennessee, FOX) - TBD
Week 4 (vs. Indianapolis, NBC) - Michaels/Collinsworth