Only in the NFL can they devote a three-hour live television event to the simple release of a schedule. And when you consider that we've already known the 2013 matchups for three and a half months, you begin to realize how much of a stranglehold the league and its cable network have over us as fans when we still tune in for every minute of their schedule release show.

This year's NFL Network special will take place Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, but at least they've added an intriguing new guest to the lineup this time around. Former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol will contribute as a guest analyst, according to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio:

"It’s fitting, since it was Ebersol’s vision that in 2006 transformed the NFL’s weekly menu, eventually making Sunday Night Football the highest rated show on television. Apart from the transformation of Monday Night Football to a cable property and Sunday Night Football to a broadcast network, the use of the “flex” device ensures that, as of Week 11, a game that looked good in April but that became not so good by November will be moved out of the evening slot, replaced by a more compelling contest."

Ebersol, who is still a senior adviser for NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, will be able to provide valuable insight regarding which games were placed in primetime and which games were left on the regular Sunday afternoon schedule. He'll also be able to explain the flex scheduling process, which isn't quite as cut-and-dry as many fans assume, since CBS and Fox have the ability to "protect" a certain number of games each week. Ebersol's addition should provide plenty of value to NFL Network's coverage.

(Pro Football Talk)

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.