NEW YORK — The NFL has decided to shift eight of its Thursday night games to a broadcast network and announced Wednesday that CBS won the bid to showcase more of television's hottest property.
CBS will air the games during the first eight weeks of the season with its top broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, simulcasting them with the NFL Network. The league's cable network will show six Thursday night games alone later in the season, produced by CBS with Nantz and Simms also in the booth. Two Saturday games are included in the deal, but it is unclear whether they will be on CBS or the NFL Network.
The NFL said the contract is for one year, and the league has an option to extend it for 2015. Terms were not disclosed.
CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and Turner were interested in the Thursday package. Live events such as sports and awards shows are increasingly important for broadcasters as the audience fragments for traditional fare.
DOLPHINS PROBE: The league's report on the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal won't be issued for at least another week, according to a statement from investigator Ted Wells' New York law firm.
HERNANDEZ CASE: Leslie Randolph, 29, of Hartford, Conn., was charged with felony assault and gun crimes stemming from the weekend shooting of an associate of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez outside a Connecticut nightclub, police said.
FALCONS: Two former longtime starters, cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker and former USF standout Stephen Nicholas, were released.
VIKINGS: Quarterback Matt Cassel will void his 2014 contract option and become a free agent.