NFL Network to Start Thursday Night Football in Week 2

James WilliamsAnalyst IIIFebruary 3, 2012

NFL Network to expand their coverage. Logo from NFL Network
NFL Network to expand their coverage. Logo from NFL Network

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Friday that starting next season, fans will have a full season of Thursday night football telecasts.

The new expanded Thursday Night Football schedule on NFL Nerwork will now feature 13 games, all on Thursdays, from Weeks 2-15, except for Week 12. In previous years, the NFLN slate included at least one Saturday night game.  NBC will televise the Thursday night game on Thanksgiving in Week 12, in addition to the NFL Kickoff game.

“Adding these games to the NFL Network schedule will give more players, teams and cities the prime-time stage,” Goodell said.  “Our fans can now get an early start on the NFL weekend in the season’s first 15 weeks.”

With the expansion of the Thursday Night Football schedule, all 32 NFL teams will now play at least one prime-time game in 2012.  In addition, every club will play on one Thursday following a Sunday game.

Also in 2012, NFL Network will unveil a new Spanish-language NFL RedZone channel.  NFL RedZone, produced by NFL Network, debuted in 2009 and whips around to every NFL game on Sunday afternoons, delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments as they happen. The channel keeps fans up to date in real time, switching from game to game with live look-ins, highlights and a chance to see the important plays.

Thursday Night Football averaged a record 6.2 million viewers in 2011 (not including over-the-air stations), topping the average playoff viewership of other sports on cable. TNF has doubled average viewership from its inaugural season in 2006 (3.1 million viewers).