The NFL on FOX is the brand name of the Fox Broadcasting Company's coverage of the National Football League's National Football Conference games, produced by Fox Sports. Game coverage is usually preceded by the pre-game show FOX NFL Sunday. The broadcast's distinctive theme song has been used since its inception in 1994. Derivatives of the NFL on FOX theme have been incorporated throughout Fox Sports' programming, including Fox Sports Net, as Fox Sports' overall theme, and Fox is in the process of registering the original theme as a trademark. The theme was composed by Scott Schreer, Reed Hays and Phil Garrod of a New York, New York, recording studio company called NJJ Productions (NJJ stands for Not Just Jingles) which was acquired by Bertelsmann.
Though Fox was growing rapidly as a network, and had established itself as a presence, it was still not considered a major competitor to the "big three" broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). Fox management, having seen the critical role that sports programming (football programming in particular) had played in the growth of satellite service BSkyB, believed that sports, and specifically professional football, would be the engine that would make Fox a major network the quickest. To this end, Fox bid aggressively for football from the start. In 1987 (Fox's first full year on the air), after ABC initially hedged on renewing its contract to carry Monday Night Football, Fox offered the NFL to pick up the contract for the same amount ABC had been paying, about $1.3 billion at the time. However, the NFL, in part because Fox had not established itself as a major network, chose to renew their contract with ABC. Despite a few successful shows, the network did not have a significant market share until the early 1990s when News Corp. bought more TV station groups, such as New World Communications, Chris-Craft Industries, BHC Communications, and United Television, making it the largest owner of television stations in the United States. Six years later, when the football contract was up for renewal again, Fox made what at the time was a bold and aggressive move to acquire the rights. Knowing that they would likely need to bid considerably more than the incumbent networks to acquire a piece of the package, Fox bid $1.58 billion for 4 years of rights to the NFC, considered the more desirable conference due to its presence in most of the largest U.S. markets, such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. To the surprise and shock of many, in late 1993, the NFL selected the Fox bid, in the process stripping CBS of football for the first time since 1952. Fox's coverage would start in the 1994 season. CBS apparently underestimated the value of its rights with respect to its advertising revenues and to its promotional opportunities for other network programming. Indeed, Fox was still an upstart player in 1993, not yet considered on par with the "Big Three" networks - CBS, NBC and ABC. It had already had offbeat hits such as The Simpsons, but had no news or sports divisions, and its coverage was significantly weaker than that of its elder counterparts. Fox's acquisition of football was a watershed event not only for the network but for the NFL as well. Not only was it the event that placed Fox on a par with the "big three" broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) but it also ushered in an era of growth for the NFL which continues on largely to this day. While the heavy concentration of population in NFC markets - as opposed to the smaller markets generally served by the AFC - virtually guaranteed a substantial audience, its instant success has nonetheless been remarkable given the substantial differences between Fox's coverage and the coverage provided by ABC, CBS, and NBC up to that time. After the 2005 season, Brown left Fox to return to CBS Sports, where he will be the host of The NFL Today. On August 16, 2006, after weeks of speculation, the network officially announced that Joe Buck would take over the role, with analysts Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, and Jimmy Johnson joining Buck at the site of the game to which Buck is assigned as play-by-play announcer. Curt Menefee will work the halftime and postgame shows from the studio with one or more additional analysts to be announced. He's also expected to host FOX NFL Sunday during the several weeks in October when Buck is not available; during that time, Buck calls Major League Baseball postseason games, including the World Series.
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