According to my cable listings, Sunday Night Football begins at 8:15 p.m. Well, someone needs to tell NBC. Maybe 8:15 Central time, but definitely not Eastern time.
To demonstrate this, I now present the play-by-play of what happens on NBC from 8:15 p.m. until the actual kickoff.
8:15 p.m. NBC’s Football Night in America is still on, showing flash highlights of several of this afternoon’s games. Mind you, they’ve already spent the last hour and 15 minutes showing detailed highlight packages of these same contests. Apparently there’s going to be a quiz later.
8:16 p.m. More quickie highlights, this time of the Patriots win over San Diego, at least I get to relish in the Kris Brown missed field goal that won the game for New England. The last time I remember Kris Brown, the Patriots blocked his field goal in the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh after the 2001 season and ran it back for a touchdown. Suffice it to say, Kris Brown is the Patriots’ bitch.
8:17 p.m. Rodney Harrison tells us how proud he is of Brandon Meriweather for conforming to the league’s new zero-tolerance blow to the head rules. As a Patriots fan, I’m proud of Meriweather too, Rodney, but we’re running a little late. Let’s move it along.
8:18 p.m. Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison announce today’s Subway Winners of the Day – DeAngelo Hall and the Tennessee Titans. Huh? What the hell is the Subway Winner of the Day? Does this mean free subs for Hall and everyone on the Titans? Playing well in the NFL really has its perks.
8:19 p.m. Dan Patrick just threw it out to Green Bay, where Bob Costas is now prepared to give us his “final word.” Now it’s official. The game won’t begin until Wednesday morning.
8:20 p.m. A house commercial tells us that Halloween Thursday on NBC is coming up, featuring Scared Shrekless. Does Shrek play offensive line? Hey, isn’t there supposed to be a game on now?
8:21 p.m. Did you know Tim Cahill is one of nine kids who dreamed big, opened a small business because he needed a job and is now one of America’s best treasurers? Just so you know, he wants your vote for governor. I can’t wait for this election to be over with.
8:22 p.m. Faith Hill begins belting out the theme song. “Hey Jack, it’s a fact, the show’s back in town.” She looks about as enthusiastic as a political prisoner. Oh boy, Dick Ebersol is the executive producer for Sunday Night Football, according to the opening credits. Do they think I give a shit what Dick Ebersol is? I’m here to watch the football players, not the executive producer.
8:23 p.m. Wow! Fred Gaudelli is the producer. A Fred Gaudelli Production really lends some much-needed credence to this broadcast of a league that’s been around for 90 years. I’ll definitely have to recommend a Fred Gaudelli Production to my writers’ group. By the way, Faith is still singing.
8:24 p.m. It’s not over ‘til Faith Hill sings: “’Cuz the NFL Rocks on NBC!” Finally! Oh, if you’re scoring at home, Drew Esocoff is the director and Geoff Butler the technical producer. These NBC TV folks must have a hell of a union. If you’re Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, aren’t you pretty pissed that Drew Esocoff is in the opening credits and you’re not?
8:25 pm. Al Michaels is setting the stage. Since tonight’s matchup is the Vikings at the Packers, and Brett Favre is returning to Green Bay, this could add an extra 90 minutes of pre-game hyperbole.
8:26 p.m. Cris Collinsworth: “Maybe tonight’s the night it all comes together for Minnesota.” Maybe it is, Cris. But probably not, because there’s no indication anybody will stop yapping long enough for a game to start until Monday or Tuesday.
8:27 p.m. NBC wants you to know Spanish audio for tonight’s game is presented by Telemundo, and…commercial break. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. This game is now 12 minutes late.
8:28 p.m. Somebody please smack the e-Trade baby.
8:29 p.m. You should own a Verizon phone. Why, you ask? Because, according to this commercial, if you’re lost in the woods and you turn on your Verizon service, the Jets and Saints will magically appear and start playing a game in the middle of the forest. Oh, and NBC just told me I can follow Andrea Kremer on Twitter. Tremendous. Maybe if I follow her, she’ll reciprocate and follow my blog. Finally, here comes that music that accompanies the NBC shield, and the voice-over says, “NBC Sports welcomes you to the following presentation of the National Football League.” I have to admit, the shield intro does get me pretty jacked and pumped, to use Pete Carroll terminology. If I were outside right now, I might tackle someone.
8:30 p.m. Andrea Kremer presents the right-before-kickoff interview. Tonight’s lucky interviewee: Green Bay receiver Donald Driver. I wonder if Driver follows Andrea on Twitter.
8:31 p.m. Wait a second, this is really weird. I see Mason Crosby lining up as if he’s about to….oh my God, are you kidding me? Green Bay is actually lining up to kicking off. There it is! There it is! This is like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin.
8:32 p.m. Kickoff. About fucking time.