We're four months away from the NFL pre-season, which isn't all that far away at all.
Starting with August 4th's Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins, the NFL's TV partners will present a total of 11 nationally televised games (not counting the numerous live games that NFL Network will pick up) of the league's much maligned, but still highly-rated, pre-season. 22 teams will be featured, and no team more than once.
NFL Network's broadcaast of the Hall of Fame Game, and the other networks' (CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN) totaled 12 broadcasts that combined to average 5.3 million viewers each. Take out the lone NFL Network game, and that's 5.64 million viewers over 11 telecasts. That's more than NBC draws for any regular night that doesn't have The Voice on it.
So continue to laugh at NFL pre-season if you like, it brings home the proverbial bacon for the networks paying to air their interminable boredom. What follows is the 2013 NFL pre-season schedule, and a look at the viewership for all of the nationally broadcast pre-season games from 2012.
2013 NFL pre-season TV schedule
Dallas vs. Miami, Aug. 4 (NBC)
Cincinnati vs. Atlanta, Aug. 8 (ESPN)
San Diego vs. Chicago, Aug. 15 (ESPN)
Tampa Bay vs. New England, Aug. 16 (Fox)
Indianapolis vs. NY Giants, Aug. 18 (Fox)
Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Aug. 19 (ESPN)
Carolina vs. Baltimore, Aug. 22 (ESPN)
Seattle vs. Green Bay, Aug. 23 (CBS)
St. Louis vs. Denver, Aug. 24 (CBS)
New Orleans vs. Houston, Aug. 25 (Fox)
Minnesota vs. San Francisco, Aug. 25 (NBC)
2012 NFL pre-season viewership totals
Arizona vs. New Orleans, Aug. 5 (NFL Net): 1.9 million
Green Bay vs. San Diego, Aug. 9 (ESPN): 3.3 million
Dallas vs. Oakland, Aug. 13 (ESPN): 5.3 million
Cincinnati vs. Atlanta, Aug. 16 (Fox): 4.7 million
Detroit vs. Baltimore, Aug. 17 (Fox): 3.9 million
Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh, Aug. 19 (NBC): 9.5 million
Philadelphia vs. New England, Aug. 20 (ESPN): 5.0 million
Arizona vs. Tennessee, Aug. 23 (ESPN): 3.3 million
Chicago vs. NY Giants, Aug. 24 (CBS): 5.1 million
Houston vs. New Orleans, Aug. 25 (CBS): 5.1 million
San Francisco vs. Denver, Aug. 26 (Fox): 7.1 million
Carolina vs. NY Jets, Aug. 26 (NBC): 9.8 million