If you live in an NFL market, you’ve assuredly felt the exasperation: A 1 p.m. ET game still has a couple minutes left, with the outcome in doubt, but your Fox or CBS affiliate switches you to a series of commercials from 4:12 to 4:15, then to the start of your local team’s game at 4:15.
Fortunately, that’s less likely to happen this season.
For the network airing the double-header, the second game will now start at 4:25, not 4:15. The NFL made the switch after uncovering this factoid: From 2009-11, 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a game starting at 4:15. With a 4:25 kickoff, that number would have been reduced to 15.
• NFL Network’s new 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. morning show — featuring “Namath” author Mark Kriegel and former 49ers CB Eric Davis, among others — is trying to be more conversational than the network’s prime-time signature news show, “Total Access.” But producer Jeremy Louwerse, who helped launch the syndicated “Access Hollywood,” must be careful not to overdo the contrived debates.
• ESPN assigned Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer to the second game of its opening “Monday Night Football” double-header (Chargers-Raiders), after Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden call the Bengals-Ravens opener. Berman has never called an NFL game but will do a preseason game for practice.
• Comedian Frank Caliendo, a staple on Fox’s pregame show, is leaving to pursue other opportunities. The network will announce a replacement in late August. … Fox hired NFL Network’s Heath Evans and Mike Martz as analysts on its No. 6 and No. 7 teams. Evans replaces Chad Pennington, who was not retained.
• ESPN newcomer Jason Taylor, who was twice dumped by Bill Parcells when Parcells ran the Dolphins’ front office, told us it’s a good thing Parcells — now an ESPN analyst — has no say in the network’s personnel decisions.
“If Bill had anything to do with hiring me,” Taylor said, “they wouldn’t have hired me or they would get rid of me. I haven’t talked to Bill since he got rid of me a second time (in 2010).”
• HBO’s “Hard Knocks” was fortunate the Dolphins added colorful character Chad Johnson a couple weeks after Miami was chosen for the show. Johnson was featured prominently during the 2009 “Hard Knocks,” which chronicled the Bengals.
“I’m glad they signed Chad because it’s good television,” said NFL Films’ Ken Rodgers, who is producing his fifth “Hard Knocks,” prior to Johnson’s arrest on Aug. 11 on domestic violence charges. “In Cincinnati, he was a lovable goofball. We are interested much more in Chad’s football story than we were in Cincinnati. He’s got an A-list story line as far as trying to resurrect his career. He doesn’t have too many chances left.”
• Rodgers said no player or union member will be allowed to veto content or view “Hard Knocks” before it airs. But head coach Joe Philbin can watch it the morning it airs and “that’s for one purpose — to make sure we don’t reveal anything that affects competitive balance,” Rodgers said. “Our concern is not to give other teams audible calls or phrases they have not yet revealed in game situations.”
Barry Jackson covers sports media for the Miami Herald.