When the Miami Dolphins host the Chicago Bears at Sun Life Stadium tonight, the game will air nationally on NFL Network.
Although the network still isn’t available everywhere, the league reports its distribution grew 31 percent last year and is now in more than 57 million homes. (Comcast customers in South Florida get the channel.)
Judging from the comments Dolphins owner Steve Ross made at the SportsBusiness Journal’s Sports Media & Technology conference this week, that number could grow significantly, if a deal really can be worked out soon for Time Warner and Cablevision to include the network.
Ross says he ran into Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt on Monday and asked why the company didn’t have NFL Network. Ross says Britt told him, “We’re close.” Not close enough for tonight and it’s not actually clear how close, but judging from the reaction to Ross’ comments, fans are hopeful.
In South Florida, the game is airing on WSFL-TV.
NFL Network programming includes Thursday Night Football, Combine and Senior Bowl coverage and the NFL’s Top 100, in which Dan Marino ranks No. 25.
On Friday night at 8 p.m., the network debuts “Bill Parcells: Reflections on a Life in Football” – a 90-minute documentary on the legendary football executive who recently stepped down from his role as the Dolphins’ executive vice president of football operations. The documentary looks to include a who’s who of interviewees, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa, and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.