Since 1987 the NFL has had two primetime games a week.
For the first 11 seasons, Sunday Night Football was broadcast on ESPN with a half-season schedule. ESPN and the NFL went to a full-season schedule starting with the 1998 season. Sunday Night Football stayed on ESPN until the 2006, when it moved to NBC, which is where it remains today.
Top Sunday Night Football Moments
• The first Sunday Night Football game aired on Nov. 8 1987, when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-10 on ESPN.
• One of the biggest moments came recently in 2014 when Odell Beckham Jr. became a household name with his one-handed backward diving catch, while playing against the Cowboys, a division Rival. Color commentator Cris Collinsworth deemed it “the greatest catch (he’s) ever seen.”
• It was during a Sunday Night Football postseason broadcast when we were introduced to ‘Beast Mode’ as Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch ran over, through and around the Saints defense in Seattle’s upset of New Orleans in the 2011 NFC Wild Card game.
• In 2007, Sunday Night Football gave Cowboys tight end Jason Witten a memorable career moment as he caught a 53-yard pass from Tony Romo — with 30 of those yards coming after getting his helmet knocked off. Despite no head protection Witten continued down the field, battling defenders the entire way.
• In 2003, Saints wide receiver Joe Horn introduced props to the touchdown celebration game after he pulled a cell phone out from the padding around the goal post and pretended to call someone from the endzone.. New Orleans took a 15-yard penalty and Horn got a $30,000 fine.
• Also in 2003, Joe Namath and sideline reporter Suzy Kolber had a night they’d like to forget when Namath drunkenly asked Kolber for a kiss during an interview.
• In 1993, the Houston Oilers had a night to forget. Despite beating the Jets 24-0, defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan punched offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride before halftime of the game.
Related: NFL Betting Strategy
ESPN had Mike Patrick leading the booth throughout its tenure from 1987-’88, only missing one game due to surgery and in that 2004 game he was replaced by Pat Summerall.
Patrick had Roy Firestone and a weekly guest commentator — including Larry Csonka and John Matuszak twice, Roger Staubach, Jim Brown, Ed Marinaro, Tom Jackson, Jack Reynolds, Dick Butkus and O.J. Simpson — during the inaugural season.
From 1988 to the end of ESPN’s run, Patrick was joined by Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire. In 2005, Mike Tirico and Sterling Sharpe were ESPN’s No. 2 play-by-play and color commentator duo.
Sunday Night Football first brought in a sideline reporter with Mark Malone in 1994 and he remained until ’96 before Ron Jaworski took over for a season.
Solomon Wilcots took the reigns from 1998-2000 before Kolber finished the run from ’01-’05.
When NBC took over it looked to a legendary duo with Al Michaels and John Madden in booth from 2006-09 before Madden retired and Collinsworth took over. They’ve also had a consistent face on the sidelines with Michele Tofoya who has been there since 2011.
Who Stars on Sunday Night Football
When it comes to the winningest teams on Sunday Night Football, it goes to the Seahawks at 30-13-1, a winning percentage of .682. Seattle is followed by the Dolphins (16-8 .667), Patriots (31-18 .633), Packers (24-18 .571) and Saints (19-15 .559). No team has won more games than the Patriots’ 31.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Bengals have the worse record on Sunday Night Football at 3-15, a winning percentage of .167. Not far ahead of them are the Browns (2-8 .200), Panthers (3-12 .200), Bucs (4-12 .250) and Lions (6-14 .300).
No team has played more Sunday Night games than the Cowboys, who in 55 appearances are 23-32 (.418).
All-time team records
Seahawks 30-13-1 .682
Dolphins 16-8 .667
Patriots 31-18 .633
Packers 24-18 .571
Saints 19-15 .559
Broncos 24-19 .558
Eagles 25-20 .556
Ravens 16-13 .552
Steelers 24-20 .545
Vikings 20-17 .541
Chiefs 14-12 .538
Jaguars 7-6 .538
Titans 11-10 .524
Colts 24-24 .500
49ers 14-14 .500
Falcons 10-10 .500
Chargers 14-15 .483
Cardinals 10-10-1 .476
Redskins 16-17-1 .471
Bills 8-9 .471
Raiders 14-18 .438
Giants 20-25-1 .435
Jets 9-12 .429
Cowboys 23-32 .418
Bears 15-21 .417
Rams 7-10 .412
Texans 5-8 .385
Lions 6-14 .300
Bucs 4-12 .250
Panthers 3-12 .200
Browns 2-8 .200
Bengals 3-15 .167
The 2018 schedule
*Sept 6 is a Thursday, but it is a Sunday Night broadcast as is Nov. 22
Sept. 6 Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
Sept. 9 Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Sept. 16 New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sept. 23 New England Patriots at Detroit Lions
Sept. 30 Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Oct. 7 Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans
Oct. 14 Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Oct. 21 Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Oct. 28 New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Nov. 4 Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
Nov. 11 Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Nov. 18 Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Nov. 22 Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Nov. 25 Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Dec. 2 San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Dec. 9 Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
Dec. 16 Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams
Dec. 23 Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks
This Week: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Line: Patriots -3.5
The Chiefs and the Patriots square off on Sunday Night Football, and this has the potential to be one of the best games of the season.
Kansas City is 5-0 on the year, and Patrick Mahomes has been sensational leading one of the best offenses in the league. The Patriots are only 3-2, but Tom Brady has some nice weapons surrounding him, including the recently acquired Josh Gordon. It’s only October, but this game could have major playoff implications down the road in terms of which team has homefield advantage.
The aforementioned Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm this season in his first year as the starter for the Chiefs. Kansas City has been dynamic offensively, and Mahomes has thrown for 1,797 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions on the year. Mahomes threw for two picks against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, but the Chiefs still won 30-14.
While the offense has clicked through five games, the defense has been one of the worst in the league. Still, they have made plays in crunch time, and they haven’t had to play perfectly since the offense has been scoring at will on most teams.
After a surprising 1-2 start to the season, all is well again in New England. The Patriots have scored 76 points in their last two games — both double-digit wins — and normalcy has been restored. Julian Edelman is back after serving a four-game suspension, and Josh Gordon hauled in his first touchdown pass as a Patriot in a win over the Colts.
This is far from a perfect team, especially on the defensive end. While the defense improved the last two weeks, they still have trouble rushing the passer, and the secondary needs work. Brady has thrown for 1,259 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions so far, and he only threw eight picks in all of last season.
Bill Belichick is the best coach in football, but Andy Reid is one of the best five coaches in the league. Reid has had success against New England in the regular season, including a 42-27 win in the season opener last year and a 41-14 win on Monday Night Football in 2014.
Still, it’s very difficult to pick against Belichick and the Pats in this spot. If the Pats fall to 3-3, they would have no chance of being the top seed in the AFC this postseason. It’s certainly not a must-win game considering how bad the AFC East appears to be, but for playoff purposes, they need this win. New England has also had 10 days off to prepare for Kansas City.
While both teams have potent offenses, the under of 58.5 is actually the better bet. Given New England’s struggles defensively and Kansas City’s effectiveness offensively, the Pats might try to control the clock with Sony Michel and the ground game. The Chiefs will still be productive on offense, but we’ll take the Pats -3.5 and the under of 58.5.
New England 31, Kansas City 24