TNT had its run with Sunday night football. Now it's ESPN's turn, starting Sunday with the Raiders against the Kansas City Chiefs at Kansas City.
ESPN will unveil a new opening and will use a score-and-time graphic similar to Fox's.
What ESPN should also do sometime is put Phil Simms in the booth with Joe Theismann and play-by-play man Mike Patrick.
Simms and Theismann entertained reporters on a conference call this week, showing they click pretty well together.
The first question was about quarterbacks--Troy Aikman in particular--and concussions, and whether the coach or the player should determine if he plays.
Theismann said, "Troy knows how he's feeling and how he will do. As a quarterback, or any player, you have to be the ultimate judge."
Simms disagreed, saying, "With my experiences, and fortunately I had only one concussion, players and especially quarterbacks, we never want to leave the field. (Aikman is) never going to pull himself out of the game, no matter what.
"Sometimes the best thing for me to do was sit out a game, but we quarterbacks can't determine that. It's not in our personality."
Theismann stuck to his guns. "I totally disagree," he said.
With the Raiders on ESPN Sunday, the next question, naturally, had to do with Art Shell and Jeff Hostetler.
Simms, who played ahead of Hostetler with the New York Giants, said he believes the feud between Shell and Hostetler will linger.
"I've never known of a player (before Hostetler) who ever talked back to Art Shell," he said. "Some coaches you just don't talk back to, and Shell is one of those. He does not strike me as a coach who encourages a player to speak up."
Said Theismann: "Joe Gibbs was like that. I would have never confronted him because I would have been fearful of my job. I would have been benched.
"Players today don't fear for their jobs. There is an authority problem today. You never know who is in charge."
Simms said, "With the teams doing well, the coach is in charge."
Regarding his outbursts with former Giant coach Bills Parcells, Simms said, "He almost encouraged that because he wanted to know he was reaching you. But whenever we had one of those confrontations or arguments, I never lost sight of who was in charge. And (the arguments) weren't 50-50, more like 90-10, Parcells."
Now warmed up, Theismann and Simms jumped all over the next topic--officiating.
"It's getting worse," Theismann said. "And it hasn't been a subtle change. The officiating this season has become horrible."
Theismann referred to a key play in the Giants' overtime loss to Detroit last Sunday. Lion receiver Herman Moore's knee was down at the 34 but he was allowed to continue on to the seven, setting up the winning field goal.
"The TV cameras caught the official right there missing it," Theismann said. "This is the kind of stuff they've been blowing all season.
"We'd have been better off using replacement officials and letting this group go on strike."
Theismann referred to another play in the Lion-Giant game, on which one official ruled that a touchdown catch by Moore had not been a touchdown because Moore was out of bounds when he made the catch. That official was overruled and the score was allowed.
"If I had been that official and seen it, I would not have let anyone talk me out of it," Theismann said.
He also pointed back to two weeks ago, when the Rams' Robert Bailey scored on a 103-yard punt return when the Saints thought the play was dead.
"There had to be 40 guys on the field (but the play was allowed)," Theismann said.
Theismann said he is not advocating hiring full-time officials.
"The officials we have must start making the right decisions," he said. "As players, you blow a few plays and you don't have a job. It should be that way for officials, too."
Simms advocated bringing back instant replay.
Said Theismann: "No, don't bring it back. It slows up the game too much. And replay officials make mistakes too. Officials just have to do a better job."
What job security? The Angels greased the revolving door in their broadcasting booth, then fired Billy Sample and hired Mario Impemba, a Michigan State graduate who was the voice of the Tucson Toros of the Pacific Coast League the last four seasons.
Continuity--in the booth and front office--has not been an Angel attribute.
Vin Scully has been with the Dodgers since 1950 and Ross Porter since 1977.
The list of Angel broadcasters has included:
Bob Kelly, Don Wells, Buddy Blattner, Dick Enberg, Don Drysdale, Dave Niehaus, Al Wisk, Bob Starr, Steve Shannon, Ron Fairly, Al Conin, Steve Bailey, Ken Brett, Bob Jamison, Ken Wilson . . . well you get the picture.