Months before the National Football League opened its 2006 season last night in Pittsburgh, the league’s crowded house of network partners, who fill the owners’ coffers with billions of TV dollars, were already registering record highs on the acrimony meter. They are at each other’s throats. For Fox, CBS, ESPN and NBC, there is a lot at stake. Ultimate success for the suits is making money on NFL football, but part of the plan is convincing fans and media that your product is better than the other guys’. Judging by what’s gone down so far, the goal will be accomplished by any means necessary. In years past, there was always one network on the outside looking in more than willing to pound those in the business of airing NFL football. In 1994, when CBS walked away from the NFL, allowing Fox to come in, Black Rock honchos said paying exorbitant amounts of money for the right to televise NFL football was simply bad business. CBS changed its tune in 1998 when it came crawling back to the NFL, picking up the AFC package vacated by NBC. At that time, NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol said signing a TV deal with… Read full this story
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