*The White House had to make clear today that its decision to move President Obama’s jobs speech to Sept. 8 would not conflict with that night’s Thursday night edition of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which kicks off the 2011-12 NFL season.
The matchup between the last two Super Bowl champions – The Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints – will air at 8:30 p.m. EDT, well after Obama’s address is scheduled to end, the White House swears.
“I can assure you that, for all you football fans, that he will be completed before kickoff,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday. Carney noted that Obama, an avid sports fan himself, would also be able to tune in.
“It means that he’ll have the opportunity to watch the game like millions of other Americans,” he said.
Meanwhile, a growing percentage of those millions tuning in to “Sunday Night Football” are women, and producers are coming up with programming to make sure the numbers continue to grow.
“This is not a show for football fans only,” play-by-play announcer Al Michaels told TV critics last month in Beverly Hills. [See photo above.] “We respect the football fans, we know they are out there, we are going to take care of them, but we want everybody to come in under the tent. We try to appeal to every demographic.
“I don’t know what the exact numbers are but I think it’s something like 30 percent of our audience are women, so what we try do is not just take you totally inside the game and talk to you about the vernacular of football but to make it a human interest game, to bring everybody, the whole family into the game and put this under a big, big, big tent.”
For fans who like to watch good matchups, no matter who the team, Michaels says they won’t be disappointed with “Sunday Night Football’s” schedule this season. [Scroll down to view.]
“The schedule we know is fantastic. I have been talking to you folks for the last 26 years, doing primetime — 20 on Monday and six on Sunday. We’re always singing the same song but you can see it for yourself,” said Michaels.
“The thing I love with this schedule more than anything else is that we know that Indianapolis and New England has become the rivalry of the last decade. We have that again. And I think the up-and-coming rivalry that will rival even that rivalry is Pittsburgh against Baltimore, and we have that again. We have the Giants and Cowboys and the Eagles and combination thereof, so I think it’s just fantastic and we can’t wait to get it started.”
View the 2011 “Sunday Night Football” schedule below:
Week 1 Thursday, Sept. 8, NFL Kickoff: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers, 8:30pm ET
Week 1 Sunday, Sept. 11, Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets, 8:20pm ET
Week 2 Sunday, Sept. 18, Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons, 8:20pm ET
Week 3 Sunday, Sept. 25, Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts, 8:20pm ET
Week 4 Sunday, Oct. 2, New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens, 8:20pm ET
Week 5 Sunday, Oct. 9, Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, 8:20pm ET
Week 6 Sunday, Oct. 16, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 8:20pm ET
Week 7 Sunday, Oct. 23, Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints, 8:20pm ET
Week 8 Sunday, Oct. 30, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:20pm ET
Week 9 Sunday, Nov. 6, Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:20pm ET
Week 10 Sunday, Nov. 13, New England Patriots at New York Jets*, 8:20pm ET
Week 11 Sunday, Nov. 20, Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants*, 8:20pm ET
Week 12 Sunday, Nov. 27, Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs*, 8:20pm ET
Week 13 Sunday, Dec. 4, Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots*, 8:20pm ET
Week 14 Sunday, Dec. 11, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys*, 8:20pm ET
Week 15 Sunday, Dec. 18, Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers*, 8:20pm ET
Week 16 Sunday, Dec. 25, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, 8:20pm ET
Week 17 Sunday, Jan. 1, To Be Announced*, 8:20pm ET
*Flex schedule week. Games in Weeks 10-15 and 17 subject to change.