Fox Sports fought hard to convince the NFL not to flex Sunday's matchup between the Eagles and Rams into prime time, and the network is now pulling out all the stops to cover the first face-off between the 2016 NFL draft's top picks, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
For the second time this season, Fox Sports is moving Fox NFL Sunday out of its studio in Los Angeles' Century City and taking the show on the road. The program, hosted by Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee with analysts Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Strahan, will broadcast Sunday from the Olympic Cauldron outside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum starting at noon.
Tickets to the pre-game show are available for free to all Eagles fans who have made the trip to Los Angeles, which could be a large crowd.
"This Sunday's game is arguably the biggest game of the season in the NFC," John Entz, Fox Sports' president of production and executive producer, said in a statement. "Having a marquee matchup this late in the season taking place in our backyard lends itself to this kind of unique on-site visit for our pregame show."
The OT, Fox Sports' NFL postgame show, will also appear live from the Coliseum. But Fox NFL Kickoff, the network's 11 a.m. pre-game show hosted by Charissa Thompson, will remain in the network's Century City studios.
Fox had considered doing something similar with its crew to cover the Rams' 2016 regular-season opener against the Seahawks, but ultimately decided against it, in part due to the cost.
The NFL Network has no special coverage plans for the 4:25 p.m. matchup.
So far, Fox Sports and the NFL don't expect the wildfires in Southern California to affect Sunday's game. The Rams plan to practice normally Thursday at their Thousands Oaks, Calif., facility. A fire is burning slightly northwest of the Coliseum in Bel Air, where a mandatory evacuation order is in effect.
"It is obviously a serious issue with what's going on, and our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people that are affected," Eagles coach Doug Pederson told my colleague Les Bowen. "I know the Rams were affected these last couple of days and it makes it a little uncomforting and unsettling."
Fox Sports' decision to make the Eagles-Rams matchup its national afternoon game meant moving the Cowboys' matchup with the Giants to the network's national 1 p.m. window, the first time that's happened since 2005. The NFL moved Seahawks-Jaguars into Fox's regional 4:25 p.m. window.
The move also meant shifting Fox's top broadcasting team, featuring Troy Aikman, Joe Buck and sideline reporter Erin Andrews, from the Cowboys to the Eagles, something that hasn't happened often in 15 years Aikman has been on Fox's "A-Team." Kevin Burkhard and Charles Davis, along with sideline reporter Pam Oliver, will call the Cowboys-Giants game.
Here is the coverage map showing who will see Eagles-Rams (in red), via 506 Sports. As you can see, the NFL really, really wants fans to see this game.