CBS plans to have on its National Football League game telecasts this season three men who will prominently figure in speculation when a coaching job opens up - John Madden, Hank Stram and George Allen, all veterans of Super Bowls.
Some former players are expected to be casualties of network shakeups. NBC has no plans to bring back Paul Warfield. But George Kunz, dean's list communications and philosophy major from Notre Dame, who retired from the tbaltimore Colts Monday, will get a tryout.
CBS presently is thinking of Jim Brown and Nick Buoniconti as reserves. Curt Gowdy, formerly of NBC, will do his first NBC game, with Stram, on Sunday, Aug. 19, when the Oakland Raiders play at New England. Allen will be teamed with Vin Scully again. The pairing of Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier will do the top CBS games.
Merlin Olsen and Dick Enberg and the combination of John Brodie and Simpson do NBC's top attractions.
ABC has added Fran Tarkenton to its team of Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Don Meredith.
In Washington, WJLA-TV will have Irv Cross and Dan Lovett on Redskin exhibition-game telecasts, replacing Jerry Smith and Mike Patrick. WMAL radio will cover all Redskins games with Sam Huff and Frank Herzog.
NFL exhibition games may be meaningless, but not to the networks. The ratings are there, against nonsports summer reruns, although few teams want to play in the hot afternoons of August.
Two of four afternoon network games will be played in domed stadiums, at Houston and New Orleans. Three exhibitions will be played in prime evening time.
Two prime time exhibitions in the summer of 1978 were seen in an average of 9 million homes, topping the final game of the NBA championship series (an afternoon game) in the ratings.
Saturday and Sunday afternoon football exhibitions drew more television viewers than recent regular-season baseball games in Monday night prime time.