By Marty Hendricks —
The kickoff to the National Football League’s historic 100th season is fast approaching.
And football fans in Western Wisconsin can catch the action on Fox 25/48, which features 10 Green Bay Packers games, 11 Minnesota Vikings contests, and six Chicago Bears games on its extensive 2019 broadcast schedule—culminating with the NFC Playoffs and Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
And there’s an added bonus this year. The Minnesota Vikings have a new home for preseason football: Fox 25/48.
Judson Beck, general manager and vice president of the station, made that official announcement in May.
“We’ve got a lot of Vikings fans as viewers,” Beck said. “I cannot express how happy I am to have this relationship with the team so we can share those games with our viewers. Not only will we have all four Viking preseason games, we’ll have an entire regular season of pregame coverage with ‘Vikings GamePlan’ and Vikings lifestyle programming with ‘Vikings Connected.’ We’ll air over 50 hours of Vikings game and game-related coverage in 2019. Yet another reason we ARE Destination Football for NFL fans in this area, prime territory for the Packers-Vikings border rivalry.”
Former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka sees the NFC North as a three-team race.
“Hey, every team in the division got better through the draft, but the Bears are the defending champions,” Ditka said. “Whoever—the Bears, the Packers, the Vikings—comes out of that division with a 4-2 record or better will be in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot. It will be a dogfight. That’s one of the toughest divisions in football.”
As always, the marquee Packers matchups on Fox 25/48 include a clash with the Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sept. 15 and a trip to Soldier Field to face the rival Bears on Dec. 15.
“With 10 Packer games, 11 Vikings games and six Bears games, we are really loaded,” Beck said. “Bears fans are numerous and vocal in our viewing area—they want more Bears games. We’re glad to oblige them. The NFL scheduling this season allows us to showcase great NFC North games for our viewers. Look at our doubleheader the second week of the season. At 12 noon we have Vikings at the Packers followed by the Bears out west against the Broncos. That’s an outstanding day of football.”
Thursday Night Football was new to the Fox network in 2018.
“TNF was a huge hit for us last year,” Beck said. “This year looks even better. In addition to a Packer game and a Viking game, one that stands out is the Steelers-Browns on Nov. 14. What would have been viewed as a likely blowout a few years ago looms as an incredible AFC matchup this season. That’s the beauty of NFL football.”
Of course, all eyes are on the Super Bowl in February. The New England Patriots are defending champions and—as long as Tom Brady is playing—perennial contenders. Many NFL experts are expecting the Kansas City Chiefs to challenge the Patriots’ supremacy, while NFC favorites include the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and Bears. But don’t count out the Packers or Vikings in 2019.
“Remember Super Bowl LI—the last Super Bowl on Fox?” Beck asked. “Patriots rally to the greatest comeback in NFL history against the Falcons. We have a lot of great wood to chop before Feb. 2, but we’re pleased to bring the postseason to viewers and cap it with another exciting Super Bowl. It’s tough to hype something already as big as the Super Bowl but this is destined to be a special one with the NFL celebrating its 100th season.”