ESPN NFL Primetime 2002 is the first football game to combine the NFL license with the ESPN license. This NFL adaptation boasts a comprehensive franchise mode that introduces some innovations in this standard mode. One of these is a draft ticker, which puts your team on the clock each time it selects a player in the draft. With the draft ticker on, it is important to scout college players beforehand and analyze draft positions and team needs in order to preselect your team's draft candidates. In simulated games, NFL Primetime gives a variety of coach options. Here you can customize your team's aggressiveness level in offense and blitz tendencies and even set spies on more mobile quarterbacks for simulated games. Naturally, there are also obvious franchise mode options such as the ability to draft, trade, and sign/release free agents over multiple seasons.
The game also provides the standard football modes of exhibition and season play.
The cutscenes between plays give the game a TV-style presentation, which borrows graphics from the ESPN Primetime show.
Chris Berman and his Primetime sidekick, Tom Jackson, provide the commentary during games.