We go to the NFL TV partners and what they’ll be discussing on their pregame shows as well as the storylines they’ll be covering over the weekend.
Beginning with ESPN and the features you’ll see on the pregames shows on Sunday and Monday.
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown will preview the day’s matchups Sunday at 11 a.m. ET with Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson. ESPN senior analyst Chris Mortensen and NFL insider Adam Schefter will provide headlines and league news.
The two-hour program will include reports from Rachel Nichols covering the Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants, Sal Paolantonio in Baltimore for the Colts at Ravens, Ed Werder in Dallas for Redskins at Cowboys, and Michael Smith covering the New York Jets at New England Patriots. Other highlights:
4th Down Decisions: On Sunday night, Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a coaching decision to go for it on fourth down and two yards at his own 28-yard line. The play didn’t work and ultimately led to the Patriots loss against the Colts. Belichick is one of several NFL coaches who have studied the work of a former Cal-Berkeley economics professor – who advocates coaches being much more aggressive going for it on fourth down. Greg Garber examines Belichick’s decision and whether strange mathematical symbols and theories should intersect on the football field.
The Island: No position is more isolated on a football field than cornerback. When left in one-on-one coverage, it’s often stated that cornerbacks are out on “the island.” Pro Bowl cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Nnamdi Asomugha share their knowledge – and Keyshawn Johnson takes a visit to “the island” with Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis as his guide.
Colts D: Symbols of Success: The Colts defense has lost three starters for the year, but, instead of talking X’s and O’s, Colts head coach Jim Caldwell is talking Chinese characters. He’s told his team about the symbol for crisis – it includes one character meaning danger, the other standing for opportunity or crucial moment. Bob Holtzman reports on how the symbols have been metaphors for the Colts’ perfect season thus far.
Mayne Event – Maurice Jones-Drew’s Revenge: Maurice Jones-Drew leads the league in rushing touchdowns – and could have had one more if not for kneeling at the one-yard line against the Jets last Sunday. Some thought it was a strategy play, but in this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne finds out Jones-Drew was getting revenge – and on whom.
Soundtracks: Chargers-Broncos Rivalry: The Chargers and Broncos have been the rivalry to watch in the AFC West. Battling for first place in the division along with a fair share of bad blood can make for some interesting sights and sounds in this week’s Soundtracks.
Wide Receiver Demo: The Island: Countdown’s former Pro Bowl wide receivers Johnson and Carter take to the demo field to show how they attacked cornerbacks on “the island” and which wide receivers are most dangerous to defend one-on-one. Johnson and Carter debate whether the “cover corner” is a dying breed in today’s NFL,
as Randy Moss suggested earlier this season.
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em with Matthew Berry and Merril Hoge: ESPN’s fantasy football guru Matthew Berry and NFL analyst Merril Hoge debate which players to start or sit this weekend.
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson and Johnson will pick the biggest games of the day and tell fans which players will make the biggest impact in NFL’s Week 11 action. The list of game picks will be posted on www.espn.com/sundaycountdown after the show.
MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN, 7 P.M. ON ESPN
Monday Night Countdown with Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Mortensen and Schefter (in Bristol) and Stuart Scott, Matt Millen and Steve Young (at the MNF game in Houston) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.
Reporters Suzy Kolber (Titans) and Michele Tafoya (Texans) will cover the teams. Other highlights:
Soundtracks: DeMeco Ryans: Texans Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans may be the best player who still is not a household name in the NFL. The 2006 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is wired for sound as he battles Maurice Jones-Drew in a game earlier this season.
ESPN The Magazine’s For Love or the Game: Matt Schaub: Monday Night Countdown and ESPN The Magazine will feature Texans quarterback Matt Schaub this week. Schaub’s wife, Laurie, and his teammate David Anderson will battle to see who really knows Schaub better.
WEEKLY MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN SEGMENTS
TEAMS AT 20 – Every 20 minutes reporters Tafoya and Kolber will update news from the teams in their preparations for the game, beginning with NFL Live at 3:30 p.m.
FIELD PASS – Countdown offers an all-access look at pre-game preparations as the players get ready for kickoff. Analysts will also breakdown the important storylines and key players before the game.
C’MON MAN – Countdown personalities share their head-scratching plays from Week 11.
In addition, Monday Night Football’s Tirico, Jaworski and Gruden will preview the night’s match-up, with Mortensen and Schefter covering breaking news from around the league, and the Countdown analysts offering their “Lead Pipe Lock” predictions for the game.
NFL MATCHUP, SUNDAY 3 A.M. AND 7:30 A.M. ON ESPN
NFL Matchup with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the weekend’s games by bringing viewers inside the film room for the Xs and Os analysis of the matchups. The 30-minute program – taped each week at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey – highlights team strategy and game planning. This week’s features:
Jets @ Patriots: Patriots Offense – Jaworski goes ‘Inside the Matchup’ to clarify how the Patriots can use an extra offensive lineman or a tight end to help protect against the Jets’ complex blitz schemes.
Jets @ Patriots: Mark Sanchez – Hoge pulls out his ‘Coaches Clicker’ to highlight how rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez needs to be more disciplined with his footwork in the pocket.
Chargers @ Broncos – Hoge shows how San Diego can use screens to provide a pseudo running game.
Redskins @ Cowboys – Tony Romo is the most blitzed quarterback in the NFL. Jaworski illustrates how Romo and the Cowboys’ offensive line have struggled to recognize and adjust to blitz pressure.
Colts @ Ravens – Hoge spotlights how the combination of player alignment and Manning’s ability to manipulate defenders makes it nearly impossible to stop the Colts offense on certain plays.
Seahawks @ Vikings – The Vikings are 8-1 for the first time since 1998, due in no small part to Brett Favre. Matchup goes ‘Beyond the Film Room’ onto the field for a glimpse of Favre when he’s playing quarterback.
Eagles @ Bears – Hoge reveals how Donovan McNabb needs to make quicker reads and throw with more accuracy in the red zone if the Eagles want to avoid wearing out their field goal kicker.
Titans @ Texans – Jaworski displays how the Titans have used Vince Young’s talents wisely both to help him feel comfortable and to take advantage of Chris Johnson, arguably the most dangerous running back in the game.
Over to Fox Sports where Fox NFL Sunday co-host Terry Bradshaw has it out for Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams.
NFC East Rivals and Playoff Contenders Share the Spotlight on the NFL on FOX
Terry Bradshaw on Roy Williams: “He’s Not Proving Anything”
NFL ON FOX HIGHLIGHT PLAYOFF CONTENDERS – The 2009 NFL on FOX campaign rolls into Week 11 on Sunday, Nov. 22 with singleheader coverage of six exciting matchups—each presented in crystal clear HD. At 1:00 PM ET, two of the NFC East’s fiercest rivals meet in Dallas as Tony Romo and the Cowboys host the Redskins. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver call the action from Cowboys Stadium. In New Jersey, Eli Manning and the 5-4 Giants look to right the ship. Standing in their way are Matt Ryan and the 5-4 Falcons. Adrian Peterson and the 8-1 Vikings are on a roll and aim to keep it that way when they host the Seahawks. The undefeated Saints visit Tampa to face the Bucs and the Packers host the 49ers to round out the 1 PM slate. At 4:00 PM ET, Kurt Warner and the Cards are on the road to take on the Rams in St. Louis.
Coverage begins at 12:00 PM ET with America’s most-watched pregame show, FOX NFL SUNDAY. Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee co-host the Emmy Award-winning program and are joined by analysts Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson. The crew is joined by NFL Insider Jay Glazer who presents the latest league news and scoops in the FOX NFL SUNDAY studio and comedic prognosticator Frank Caliendo contributes his weekly “Frank’s Picks” segment. In this week’s show, Oliver sits down with the V
ikings’ wide receiver corps to find out how they meshed so well and in such little time with Brett Favre. Johnson breaks down the anatomy of a head coaching decision based on the Jaguars’ Jack Del Rio and the Pats’ Bill Belichick.
For instant updates during the week and games from the entire NFL on FOX crew, follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NFLONFOX. Fans can gain more access to exclusive FOX Sports content by logging on to www.facebook.com/foxsports and www.myspace.com/foxsports.
BRADSHAW ON ROY WILLIAMS: “HE’S NOT PROVING ANYTHING” – Coming off four straight wins, the 6-3 Dallas Cowboys were nearly shutout at Lambeau Field last Sunday, losing to the Green Bay Packers. “Dallas lost that game when Roy Williams dropped that pass and then fumbled, too. He may have finished with 100 yards receiving, but he’s certainly not worth two first-round picks and all that money Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is paying him. He’s not proving anything,” said four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and FOX NFL SUNDAY co-host Terry Bradshaw. “Last Sunday was their chance to make a statement. If they beat the Packers, they have the Redskins and the Raiders coming into Dallas and they are 9-2 with five games remaining and they have the NFC East all wrapped up. Instead, they brought the Giants back into the picture.”
For more from Bradshaw and the entire FOXSports.com NFL crew, log onto http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/10378122/Eagles’-red-zone-issues-give-Chargers-boost
BILLICK: “CONFIDENCE IS A MISSING ELEMENT FOR THE BROWNS RIGHT NOW” – “As usual, it comes down to the simple things,” NFL on FOX analyst Brian Billick says regarding the Browns’ problems. “Every team has talent but the difference between legitimate talent, NFL talent and star talent is so very subtle. So much of it really does come from confidence and that’s something that’s missing from the Cleveland Browns right now. It’s a horrendous cycle and sometimes you just have to start from ground zero.”
On the NFL Today on CBS, James Brown will interview embattled Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini.
THE NFL ON CBS, home of Super Bowl XLIV and broadcasting its Golden Anniversary 50th year of the NFL, continues its 2009 NFL season on Sunday, Nov. 22 (1:00-7:00 PM, ET) beginning with THE NFL TODAY (12:00 Noon-1:00 PM, ET).
This week THE NFL TODAY’s host James Brown sits down with Cleveland Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini. Deb Gelman is the producer.
Brown hosts THE NFL TODAY along with analysts Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Bill Cowher, NFL TODAY “General Manager” Charley Casserly, as well as Lesley Visser and Sam Ryan reporting.
Eric Mann is senior producer and Bob Matina is director of THE NFL TODAY.
CBS previews Week 11 with analysts Phil Simms and Dan Fouts.
AUDIBLES WITH LEAD “NFL ON CBS” ANALYST PHIL SIMMS AND DAN FOUTS
The CBS Television Network, home of Super Bowl XLIV, continues its Golden Anniversary 50th year broadcasting the NFL with THE NFL ON CBS on Sunday, Nov. 22 (1:00-7:00 PM, ET) beginning with THE NFL TODAY, the Network’s one-hour studio show (12:00 NOON-1:00 PM, ET), live from THE NFL TODAY studio in New York City.
THE NFL ON CBS lead announce team of Jim Nantz, who this year is marking his 25th with CBS Sports, and Phil Simms call the action from the New York Jets-New England Patriots game live from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Lance Barrow is the coordinating producer and lead game producer and Mike Arnold is the lead game director.
Throughout the 2009 season, THE NFL ON CBS will broadcast all of its games each week in HDTV, the highest definition television format – 1080i lines of picture resolution – along with 5.1 digital audio.
Sean McManus is President, CBS News and Sports, and serves as executive producer of CBS Sports’ coverage of THE NFL ON CBS. Harold Bryant is Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.
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(On Bill Belichick’s fourth down call in Indianapolis game): It’s been documented that this was a premeditated thought. The whole week leading up to the game, he decided he was going to do this. I always tell people this about coaches: if it’s fourth-and-one from the one, the last play of the game, coaches already know what play they’re going to call. They determine those kinds of things during the week. So do I agree? It’s not about agreeing. Would I have done it? No, I would not have done it. What gets overlooked is not having timeouts. If he would have had one, I believe he would have won the challenge because in my mind Kevin Faulk was past the 30 yard line and clearly had possession of the football. It’s a general rule in the NFL to use your timeouts, no matter what, in the first half. In the second half, save them regardless of almost any situation, unless it’s a scoring opportunity. Save those timeouts for the end of the game.
(On how Patriots will respond to N.Y. Jets after loss to Colts): Emotionally there’s a little bit of a hangover from it because you put so much into the game. It was such an emotionally charged game. Then it’s talked about by the media, your family, your friends, your teammates. Sometimes it’s hard to put that behind you. If I was the coach, I would hope we do something good early to get the emotions and everything going our way in the game against the Jets.
(On Jets coming off five losses in last six games): The Jets have played a lot of close games. It’s how you play the last couple minutes of the game that many times determines if you’re a playoff team. They have not reacted well when the pressure is on – on either side of the ball – when it comes to those moments late in the game. Overall, the Jets have done a lot of good things. I’ve watched all of their games and Mark Sanchez has had a good rookie year. Has it been great? No, but it’s very good.
(On Jets-Patriots rematch): When the Patriots played in Week 2 they did not block the New York Jets very well. But now there’s a lot of film out there. There have been a lot of things to look at as the NFL season has settled in. Can the Jets get guys free and running at Tom Brady consistently like they did in Week 2? My first thought is, I have to see it to believe it. Because they’re experienced and had more time to prepare, I think the Patriots will handle the Jets’ blitz much better this time around.
NOTE: The Spor
ting News/Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily listed its Top 25 Football Broadcasters and CBS Sports was well represented: Gary Danielson (1), Phil Simms (4), Verne Lundquist (8), Jim Nantz (10), Greg Gumbel (17), Dan Fouts (20), Gus Johnson (24) and Dick Enberg (25).
(On AFC West race): There’s no question this is a two-horse race between Denver and San Diego. There’s no doubt in my mind, this race will go down to the end.
(On Chargers being different team from last time they met Denver): They’re healthier number one. They’ve gotten healthier on the offensive line and at running back with LT (LaDainian Tomlinson), and defensively they’re playing a lot better. They had the huge loss in Jamal Williams and they’ve kind of gone to playing nose tackle by committee without him. The biggest thing is that they’ve regained their health, as well as LT and Shawne Merriman being healthy helps as well.
(On San Diego): Although the running game is important, it’s still the passing game that’s winning games for San Diego. With those receivers, along with LT and Darren Sproles coming out of the backfield along with Antonio Gates, they have so many weapons. The Chargers are not all that concerned with running the ball. They know they can win by throwing it.
(Keys to game for Denver): If you look back to the first game that Denver won, they got two touchdowns in the return game. So if you take those out of the game, it’s a different plan defensively for Denver as well. They got five sacks in that game. That would be my game plan if I were Mike Nolan –continue to put pressure on Philip Rivers and don’t let him beat you. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
(On Denver’s quarterback situation): It will be interesting to see how many reps Chris Simms gets in practice this week and how many reps Kyle Orton gets due to his ankle. He had an ankle injury last year when he was with the Bears that caused him problems. It’ll be interesting to see how long Josh McDaniels takes to make the decision on his quarterback.
(On how pivotal this game is for San Diego): There’s no question that if San Diego loses then they lose the tiebreak to Denver. And, a loss in conference impacts the wild card race down the road with other AFC teams as well. You don’t want to lose any game. You certainly don’t want to lose a divisional game with a team you’re tied to that’s already beaten you. And you don’t want to lose a conference game. San Diego would say that all games are critical, but this one, mathematically, would be devastating.
NOTE: This week Dan Fouts and LaDainian Tomlinson were the leading vote getters among the 53 players and coaches selected as the Greatest Chargers of all-time during the team’s 50th Anniversary season.
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TRIP IN THE NFL ON CBS WAY BACK MACHINE…
In commemoration of THE NFL ON CBS celebrating its 50th year broadcasting the NFL, footage from historic highlights will be featured during each game. Included among the clips this week during the Pittsburgh-Kansas City game will be a highlight of Super Bowl XIV when Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and John Stallworth connect for a 73-yard touchdown pass on their way to a 31-19 win over the Rams on January 20, 1980.
And NBC tries to hype a matchup of two NFC teams, Chicago at Philadelphia. A glamor Patriots-Colts game it’s not.
PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS AT STAKE WHEN BEARS HOST EAGLES ON “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” – AMERICA’S NO. 1 SHOW
“Teams know that a game like this could decide a playoff spot.” – Football Night’s Dungy
“This is a must-win game.” – Football Nigh
t’s HarrisonNEW YORK – Nov. 18, 2009 – The Chicago Bears (4-5) host the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) on "NBC Sunday Night Football" – the No. 1 show in America – in a game with playoff implications for both teams.
Coverage begins with "Football Night in America," Sunday at 7 p.m. ET with Bob Costas hosting live from inside the stadium. Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) call the action from Soldier Field.
Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann will co-host "Football Night" from NBC's 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios joined by Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison and Sports Illustrated's Peter King. "Football Night's" Tiki Barber will report from Invesco Field at Mile High on the Chargers-Broncos game.
DUNGY: "Thanksgiving is when you start looking at playoff implications. It's always better when both teams are in a similar situation. Head-to-head is the first tie breaker and teams know that a game like this could decide a playoff spot."
HARRISON: "This is a must-win game for two teams that have been inconsistent and underachieving."
BEARS VS. EAGLES: The Bears lead the all-time series 27-10-1, including three playoff games (Eagles 2-1). The Bears have won the two most-recent regular-season meetings in 2007 and 2008, but the Eagles won the five preceding games, including a Divisional Playoff game in 2001. The teams' most famous game was the 1988 Divisional Playoff game, dubbed "The Fog Bowl" because a dense fog permeated the playing field and severely hampered visibility. The contest was won, 20-12, by the Bears.
BEARS-EAGLES IN PRIMETIME: Since NBC acquired the NFL's premiere primetime package in 2006, the Chicago Bears are 4-5 and the Philadelphia Eagles are 0-7 on "Sunday Night Football." The Bears defeated the Eagles, 24-20, last year on "Sunday Night Football" by securing a fourth-quarter goal-line stand. This is the third SNF appearance for the Bears this year. They were defeated, 21-15, by the Green Bay Packers on the road in Week 1 and by the Atlanta Falcons, 21-14, in Week 6. The Eagles lost to Dallas, 20-16, at home on SNF in Week 9. They are scheduled to travel to New York to face the Giants in Week 14.
SUNDAY NIGHT IS 300-YARD NIGHT: Seven quarterbacks have passed for 300-or-more yards nine times on "Sunday Night Football" this season. Colts QB Peyton Manning has accomplished the feat three times. Bears QB Jay Cutler passed for 300 yards in a 21-14 loss to the Falcons in Week 6. Earlier this season (Weeks 2-5), winning quarterbacks passed for 300-or-more yards in four consecutive weeks, the first time in Sunday Night history.
Following are the nine 300-yard passing performances this season on SNF:
Week 2 Eli Manning, Giants, 330 yards vs. Cowboys – W 33-31
Week 3 Peyton Manning, Colts, 379 yards vs. Cardinals – W 31-10
Week 3 Kurt Warner, Cardinals, 332 yards vs. Colts – L 31-10
Week 4 Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, 333 vs. Chargers – W 38-28
Week 5 Peyton Manning, Colts, 309 yards vs. Titans – W 31-9
Week 6 Jay Cutler, Bears, 300 yards vs. Falcons – L 21-14
Week 9 Tony Romo, Cowboys, 307 yards vs. Eagles – W 20-16
Week 10 Tom Brady, Patriots, 375 yards vs. Colts – L 35-34
Week 10 Peyton Manning, Colts 327 yards vs. Patriots – W 35-34
And that does it for this post.