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(Courtesy photo) Clark Kellogg (center) and Jim Nantz work the semifinals of the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament.
Pierce: Jim Nantz will call more NFL than ever this fall
Sports on TV » He has Thursday and Sunday games — and don’t forget Madden 15.
First Published Aug 19 2014 11:15 am • Last Updated Aug 19 2014 09:52 pm

Jim Nantz is going to be an incredibly busy man during the upcoming NFL season.

The veteran CBS sportscaster (and KSL alumnus) will be appearing slightly less on Sundays than he has in past seasons. But considerably more overall.

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Nantz will be the play-by-play voice of Thursday Night Football through eight games on CBS and seven on the NFL Network. He’ll do nine national games on CBS (when the network has Sunday doubleheaders) and three regional matchups.

"So it’s 27 games versus 17 normally," he said

From Sept. 7, the first Sunday of the NFL season, through Sept. 25, he will call six games.

"There are sequences like this throughout the schedule," Nantz said. "I’m talking six games in 18 days."

In late October, he’s scheduled for Thursday-Sunday games two weeks in a row.

"That’s four games in 10 days," Nantz said. "I don’t know what it’s going to feel like, but I’m going to figure it out." The hardest part "will be the prep. I’ve always prided myself in just, all week, chipping away and getting ready for the games and every day working on it.

"And now I’m going to get home from a Sunday game, and I’ll have to turn right around and start thinking about Thursday. I don’t know how the rhythm and flow of this is going to feel, to be perfectly honest."

It’s not like CBS was holding a gun to his head, however.

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"I wanted to work as many [games] as I could," Nantz said. "As the season is winding down toward the playoff chase, I didn’t want to do just the Thursday games and be off the air on an important Sunday."

It does mean he’ll be spending more time than ever with his broadcast-booth partner, Phil Simms.

"We pretty much won’t be leaving each other’s side this coming season," Nantz said. "By the way, we talk a lot during the offseason because the little-known secret is that, during the offseason, we do the Madden [video] game together."

That involves calling hundreds of "imaginary games" over a nine-month period spent trekking back and forth to a production studio "and just being handed a script with some scenarios – third-and-six, running play to the right. Give me 15 different versions of that. It’s amazing.

"Those are much harder games to call than the real ones," Nantz said with a laugh.

(Madden NFL 15 is scheduled for release on Aug. 26.)

Nantz did forego one of his regular gigs this year because of the birth of his daughter, Finley, on March 14. He didn’t works the British Open golf tournament.

"I play the role of the foreign voice for the BBC, which is great fun," said Nantz, who plans to do it again next year. Given all his other assignments, it’s not adding that much to his schedule.

"Because of a full NFL schedule, even before Thursday nights come along, college basketball and the golf tour that I cover, I don’t have many weeks off," he said. "There aren’t many people that have three sports they are entrusted with."

And he’s chomping at the bit to get back to the NFL broadcast booth.

"This is good," he said. "I’ve been doing this a long time. To have a new challenge like this — it’s exciting."

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