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Locking in the NFL is the cornerstone for the rest of networks’ economic planning, he said.

“I’m sure even today our ad sales guys’ phones are ringing off the hook, even though the deal doesn’t start for another two years,” Shanks said.

CBS will continue to show the AFC package on Sunday afternoons as it has since 1998, while Fox still has the NFC package that it first acquired in 1994.

“Sunday Night Football” will remain on NBC, which picked it up in 2006. The network will add the annual Thanksgiving prime-time game starting in 2012, exchange one of its current wild- card matchups for a divisional playoff game, and create a Sunday morning pregame show in 2014 on NBC Sports Network (the future name of cable partner Versus).

It also gets three Super Bowls in nine years compared with two in eight seasons under the old deal.

The Thanksgiving night game had been on NFL Network.

“It’s one of the most important advertising days of the year,” Lazarus said. “We think this will elevate Thanksgiving not only for NBC but for the NFL.”

Flexible scheduling will stay in effect to ensure quality late-season matchups on Sunday late afternoons and nights. It will be expanded in 2014 to allow some AFC games to air on Fox and NFC games on CBS, and for NBC to start switching out its prime-time matchups earlier in the season.

Shanks said the “cross-flexing” would allow more of the country to see certain appealing matchups.

The deals include “TV everywhere” rights for the networks to simulcast games online and on tablets _ though not mobile phones, for which Verizon has a separate agreement.

McManus acknowledged the NFL had become “increasingly more valuable.”

“To know there’s labor peace,” he said. “To know the ratings have just been so consistent year after year after year, and ad growth has been so consistent year after year after year.”


AP Pro Football Writers Jaime Aron in Irving, Texas, and Barry Wilner in East Rutherford, N.J., contributed to this report.