It was 25 years ago this month that Fox outbid CBS for the NFL package with a $1.6 billion bid, giving the seven-year-old network a massive boost. Weeks later, Rupert Murdoch hired Madden away from CBS. The loss of the NFL left CBS in the dumps and hurt new Late Show host David Letterman's ratings. "If the rise of Fox Sports was just about money, or if the product had turned into a haunted mansion like Fox News, we could leave it at that," Bryan Curtis writes in an oral history of what he calls "The Great NFL Heist." "But (Rupert) Murdoch’s lieutenants at Fox Sports had a creative side. They thought TV football had gotten stale — 'boring as sh*t,' one of them said in an Aussie accent. 'Fox-izing' football meant the pregame show would be about laughs and relationships as much as it would be about sports. It meant the score and clock would be on the screen at all times. It meant (Joe) Buck, who was all of 25 years old, would call the first football game of his life in front of a national audience. Today, everything from Buck to the Fox Box to an unrestrained Terry Bradshaw seems normal, almost even respectable. That’s why it’s worth revisiting the nine-month period beginning in December 1993, to see how and why TV football changed forever."