A Look Inside: Sunday Night Football

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 7:45 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - “People take it for granted, they turn on their TV, there’s a football game going on. They don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. But it’s a legitimate 2 1/2 days of setting up a show like this.”

After averaging 17.4 million viewers in 2020, Sunday Night Football’s popularity continues to shatter regular season records. The December 12th game between the Packers and Bears in Green Bay was the most watched game in two months topping 19-million viewers. Those working behind the scenes for NBC Sports say it’s just another night at the office.

Tim Dekime, NBC Sports Vice-President of Operations says, “We’re about 150 people we travel, we have some locals as well, all told we’re up to 200 on game day. And we’ve got quite a bit of cameras, 50-plus cameras for this show. And is for a lot of primetime shows have a lot of people, a lot of equipment.”

Greg Hughes, NBC Sports Senior Vice-President of Communications says it’s the ultimate compliment when viewers feel watching the games are like it’s the Super Bowl every Sunday night. Hughes says the average fan would be surprised at how many hours it takes to produce Sunday Night Football.

“It starts with the crew, getting people here, getting hotel rooms, getting these production trucks set up and driven across the country, wherever we have to go. And the amount of hours of people putting together graphics, and tape, and storyboards and all of the things that go into making an exceptional production,” says Hughes.

NBC Sports embarked on an unprecedented stretch of coverage beginning with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, followed by Sunday Night Football, Notre Dame football, NASCAR, The Premiere League and the Ryder Cup this fall.

“Leading into what’s coming up ahead of us with the Super Bowl being wedged right in the middle of the Olympics. The Winter Olympics are February 3rd through the 20th. To have that kind of a six month stretch is unprecedented in television, sports media history,” adds Hughes.

Sunday Night Football is on pace to be the number one Primetime TV show for the 11th straight year. The Packers and Lambeau Field a favored destination for the Sunday Night Football crew.

Co-host of SNF’s Football Night in America Jac Collinsworth says, “The football town that loves it, lives for it, lives for nights like this. And you’re kind of right in the middle of nowhere and boom! A historic football stadium, anytime I get a chance to go to Notre Dame or Lambeau Field you can feel the mystique, the magic that this place produces.”

With NBC airing the Super Bowl in early February, that means the SNF crew will spend nearly six months together on the road. Collinsworth says the crew has not surprisingly become his second family.

“We’re on the road every single week, right, this is 16 games we’ve done now with the pre-season. You’re spending more time with these great folks than your actual family sometimes when you go through the course of the season. It almost really becomes friendship and then it becomes even more than that, because you have so much respect for one another.”

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