American Football Database
File:FOX NFL Sunday.png
FormatNational Football League
StarringCurt Menefee
Terry Bradshaw
Howie Long
Jimmy Johnson
Michael Strahan
Jay Glazer
Pam Oliver
Mike Pereira
Rob Riggle
Country of origin United States
Location(s)Fox Network Center, Los Angeles, California
Running time1-hour
Production company(s)Fox Sports
Original channelFox (1994–)
Picture format480i (SDTV),
480p Upconversion (HDTV)
Original runSeptember 4, 1994 – present
External links

Fox NFL Sunday is the pregame show for the TV show NFL on Fox. The program is broadcast on Fox television affiliates nationwide. The audio portion of the show is broadcast over the Fox Sports Radio network, distributed by Premiere Radio Networks. The show has won four Emmy Awards.



Fox NFL Sunday debuted in 1994 with hosts James Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, and Jimmy Johnson. The program was notable in being the first hour-long NFL pregame show on a broadcast network; previous network pregames such as CBS' The NFL Today or NBC's NFL Live! had always been 30 minutes in length. Fox's show also adopted a looser, more irreverent approach than its predecessors.

During Johnson's initial season on the show, he would often join the show from his home in Florida. There was much speculation that Jimmy Johnson would return to coaching during the first year of the show. Prior to the end of the year, Johnson made an 'announcement' saying he was happy with his new career in broadcasting. But in 1996, he left to coach the Miami Dolphins, with Ronnie Lott brought in to succeed him for two seasons.

During the time with Jimmy Johnson, the opening to the show would feature a comedic skit involving several or all of the hosts.

On-location broadcast sites


In 1998, off the heels of NBC losing the rights to telecast the NFL to CBS, Cris Collinsworth joined Fox NFL Sunday and subsequently replaced Ronnie Lott.

During this period, promotional claymation spots and teases became a popular fixture. The four hosts were depicted as animated characters in live-action situations, usually starring real NFL players. Beginning in the 1999 season, comedian Jimmy Kimmel began making weekly game predictions and performing comedy skits on the show; the following year, Jillian Barberie was added to the program to provide weather forecasts for each week's game sites.

On-location broadcast sites


Collinsworth left the show in 2002, when he was promoted to Fox's newly formed "A Team" NFL game announcing team alongside Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (replacing Pat Summerall and John Madden). Fox did several commercials featuring Buck, Collinsworth, and Aikman dressed as characters from the popular 1980s TV show of the same name.

Initially, the vacated fourth seat was to feature a rotating series of guest analysts, with Jimmy Johnson returning in Week 1. John Elway sat in Week 2. For Week 3, Johnson returned, and took over the position permanently, and remains on the program to this day. Jimmy Kimmel left the program after the 2002 season, primarily to focus on his new show Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He was replaced by MADtv comedian Frank Caliendo, who had previously guest-starred during Kimmel's skits (performing his famous John Madden impersonation). Caliendo's prognostication skits began to feature his talented impersonations, including Madden, Jay Leno, Jim Rome, George W. Bush, as well as show hosts Brown, Bradshaw, Long and Johnson. After the 2005 season, James Brown left the program in order to host rival show The NFL Today on CBS.

On-location broadcast sites

2005 was the last season in which Fox (along with CBS) would air Saturday afternoon NFL games toward the end of the regular season in December. On these occasions, Fox would precede its coverage with a studio pregame show titled Fox NFL Saturday and featuring the regular Fox NFL Sunday commentators and introduced Fox Robot figure.


On August 13, 2006, FOX announced that Joe Buck and Curt Menefee would succeed James Brown in hosting the program. Because Buck was already the lead play-by-play man for The NFL on Fox, Fox NFL Sunday traveled to the site of Fox's top game each week, in a move similar to Fox's NASCAR coverage, where the prerace show emanates from the race site. Curt Menefee hosted the halftime and postgame segments on location with the Fox NFL Sunday crew. Chris Rose was the update host for game breaks. When Joe Buck had to go on a postseason Major League Baseball assignment for Fox (thus being unable to appear on the NFL on Fox program), Menefee took over for Buck as the full-time host from Hollywood. During Weeks 6 through 8, while the show was in Hollywood, Jillian Reynolds (née Barberie) returned to her position reporting gameday weather.

During Weeks 16 and 17, Joe Buck was the full-time host from Hollywood with the rest of the Fox NFL Sunday crew. Dick Stockton took over as No. 1 play-by-play man alongside Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver, while Curt Menefee returned to the booth as No. 2 play-by-play man alongside Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa. Though the show returned to Hollywood for two weeks, Jillian Reynolds did not rejoin the cast, presumably to go on maternity leave, as she was pregnant with her first child.

During Wild Card weekend, Curt Menefee substituted for Joe Buck as host, as the pregame show broadcast from Hollywood. Meanwhile, Buck called the game between the New York Giants at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, January 7.

During the Divisional Playoffs, Curt Menefee once again substituted for Joe Buck as host, as the pregame show broadcast again from Hollywood for both games. Dick Stockton called the game between the Philadelphia Eagles at the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, January 13 and Buck called the game between the Seattle Seahawks at the Chicago Bears on Sunday, January 14.

For the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, January 21 between the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, Joe Buck hosted the pregame show with the Fox NFL Sunday crew on-site from Soldier Field. After Buck joined Troy Aikman for the play-by-play, Curt Menefee took over as host for the remainder of the game and hosted the halftime and postgame shows. Terry Bradshaw handled the trophy ceremony during the postgame show.

2006–2007 On-location broadcast sites


In March 2007, it was announced that The Built Ford Tough Fox NFL Sunday[8] would move back to the studio for the 2007 season, with Curt Menefee assuming full-time host duties and Joe Buck reverting to play-by-play only. Jillian Reynolds, coming off of maternity leave, returned full-time to report weather. However, the pre-game show was on-site at Lambeau Field for the 2007 NFC Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers and at Super Bowl XLII.

Fox NFL Sunday had a new feature, a pre-recorded segment named "Grumpy Old Coaches", where Jimmy Johnson and fellow former Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer talk about the week in football. A segment of highlights and commentary of the previous day's college football games is also featured, as a gesture to Fox's recent acquisition of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). This segment lasted on the show for only the 2007 season.

On June 24, 2008, it was announced that Michael Strahan would join the show.[9]

On November 8, 2009, there was a special 2-hour pregame show that took place from Afghanistan. While the regular Fox NFL Sunday crew did the pregame show, Chris Rose served as the studio host and anchored the in-game highlights, as John Lynch and Trent Green served as studios analysts this week for the halftime and postgame reports. On January 24, 2010, Fox NFL Sunday was on-site in New Orleans for the 2009 NFC Championship.

On January 23, 2011, Fox NFL Sunday was also on-site at Soldier Field in Chicago for the 2010 NFC Championship and at Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, TX on February 6, 2011.

Starting with the 2011 NFL season, the show introduced a new feature called "Fox :45", which is usually a sing-along parody of a famous song, or a comedic sketch. The parodies and sketches usually relate to current events in the football season. Another feature introduced was the Twitter tracker, which scrolls tweets of NFL players and coaches.

On August 2, 2012, Frank Caliendo announced on his official Twitter account that he would not be on Fox NFL Sunday for the 2012 season,[10] and was eventually replaced by Rob Riggle.[11]

Full list of on-air staff

Current on-air staff

File:Fox NFL Sunday team at Bagram Airfield 2009-11-07 2.JPG

Menefee, Bradshaw, Long, Strahan, Johnson, and Glazer at Bagram Airfield in November 2009.

Former on-air staff

On-air staff chart

Season Studio host Studio analysts
1994 James Brown Terry Bradshaw Howie Long Jimmy Johnson
1996 Ronnie Lott
1998 Cris Collinsworth
2002 Jimmy Johnson
2006 Joe Buck (pregame host)
Curt Menefee (halftime host)
2007 Curt Menefee
2008 Michael Strahan

Cleatus the Fox Sports Robot

"Cleatus the Robot" is the official mascot of Fox NFL Sunday, named by a viewer during a contest in the winter of 2007 in which fans were able to submit entries as to what they thought the robot's name should be. Cleatus made his first appearance during the 2005–2006 NFL season, but was not used regularly until the following season.

Cleatus mainly appears during the intro sequence of the show as well as brief commercials for movies and TV shows. In these commercials he commonly gets attacked by a CGI character from whatever the advertisement is about. He has thus far been attacked by Iron Man, a dragon from the movie Eragon, and a T-1000 robot from the TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and taunted with thrown objects by The Burger King. Cleatus is also known to hop on two feet, play the electric guitar, shake out his limbs, and dance using such moves as the swim and the electric slide; he Tebowed during the December 11, 2011 Fox broadcast of a Denver Broncos game. Games on the weekend following New Year's Day show Cleatus sitting on a bench holding an ice pack to his head, nursing a hangover. When the MLB postseason begins on Fox in October, he will also take baseballs from a basket and hit them with a bat towards the background of the screen. After the World Series is over, he will not do this again until the next year's postseason begins.

If a Thanksgiving NFL game is on Fox, he is usually replaced with a robot turkey.

The character has an action figure on sale from Fox's website.[12] He is available as he appears normally and even in special uniforms customized for all 32 NFL franchises.

In response to Cleatus, NASCAR on Fox created Digger, an animated gopher mascot who was originally only used in the broadcast involving the "Digger Cam" but his role has since expanded. Unlike Cleatus, however, Digger had an animated short series aired during the 2009 NASCAR season; the series was not brought back for 2010, and Digger now has a role similar to that of Cleatus.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 [1][dead link]
  2. [2][dead link]
  3. [3][dead link]
  4. [4][dead link]
  5. "NFL Marketing Notes: Fox To Broadcast From Ford Field – SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal | SportsBusiness Daily Global". SportsBusiness Daily. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  6. Bouchette, Ed (October 16, 2003). "Steelers Report: 10/16/03". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  7. Griffith, Bill (October 17, 2004). "It's a road game for the Fox team". The Boston Globe.
  8. "Ford Suits Up for Online Fantasy Football". September 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Caliendo, Frank. "To all my fans who've ben asking-I wont be back atFOX this season.I love those guys,but its time 4 my next venture". Twitter. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Rob Riggle set to replace Frank Caliendo on Fox NFL pregame". USA Today. August 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-23.
  12. "Cleatus – Fox Sports Robot". Retrieved 2011-10-23.

External links