The first “Thursday Night Football” game of the 2011 season is this week in San Diego, where the Chargers face the Oakland Raiders, and the NFL Network will feature a new broadcast team.
Veteran ESPN play-by-play man Brad Nessler will be joined by analyst Mike Mayock as the color commentator and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan. Mayock and Flanagan work for both the NFL Network and NBC.
Gone are play-by-play man Bob Papa and analyst Joe Theismann, both of whom will remain with the network on other projects.
Mark Quenzel, the senior vice president of programming and production, is excited about the new team. I spoke to him from San Diego, where he was getting ready for the game.
What are some of the challenges of having your first telecast coming in the middle of the season?
Quenzel » “We understand fans compared our broadcast to the telecasts that Fox, CBS, ESPN and NBC have done. That is fair, and we have a solid production team that looks forward to the challenges that face us Thursday night.”
Tell me about your new broadcast team.
Quenzel » “Brad is not only a fine play-by-play man, he is one of the most prepared people that I have ever met. He really does his homework, and he has a very comfortable style that I think is something fans enjoy. Mike is amazing because he knows the NFL in its entirety. He knows all the players, all the coaches, and he is able to add a level of insight that is rare to find in this business. He is not afraid to speak his mind, and that is why we wanted him on our team. Alex is great because she gives our production team tons of information off camera that is used during the broadcast. Then when she is on camera, she understands the concept of being brief and bringing the best insight to the broadcast that she can.”
What is the biggest advantage of doing the Thursday night game?
Quenzel » “We have the advantage of being the first game of the week. So not only will people watch us for the game, they will look to us for insight. We will have the ability to begin to break down each game that fans will be watching on Sunday. So I see that as an advantage for our program and for the network.”
Read more at the Washington Examiner where this story was originally published.