Let’s give you what the networks are saying about Week 8 action in the league where they play for pay.
Starting with ESPN, here’s what the network is airing on its various studio shows.
ESPN’s Weekend and Monday NFL Studio Features
Ed Werder and
Kenny Mayne to cover Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau Field
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.
ESPN will dispatch two reporters – Ed Werder and
Kenny Mayne – to to cover the Brett Favre’s first game against the Packers at Lambeau Field. Also, Rachel Nichols will cover the Broncos – Ravens game, Sal Paolantonio will handle the Giants – Eagles game and Bob Holtzman will be in Green Bay for the 49ers at Colts. Other highlights: Indianapolis
Former Packers on Brett Favre’s Homecoming: Tom Rinaldi reports what legendary Packers (Willie Davis, Jerry Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston) and former teammates (Leroy Butler and Antonio Freeman) think of Favre’s return to
. Green Bay
New York-Philadelphia – Tale of the Tape: With
New Yorkand teams facing off in the 2009 World Series and the Giants-Eagles NFC East matchup, Countdown compares the two cities – Tougher fans? Better landmark – Liberty Bell or Philadelphia ? Philly cheese steaks vs. Empire State Building style cheesecake? New York
Best of Brett Favre on Mayne Event: In this week’s Mayne Event,
Kenny Mayne, also in reporting on Favre’s return to Lambeau Field, re-lives some of the most memorable Favre moments in his self-titled weekly series. Green Bay
Virtual Playbook – Brett Favre vs. Al Harris: Using the Virtual Playbook, Tom Jackson goes back to the first Vikings-Packers game to re-create a play where Favre took advantage of cornerback Al Harris for a 31-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian.
Soundtracks – Cardinals/Panthers Divisional Playoff: The 2008 Arizona Cardinals were criticized for never winning on the East Coast – that was until the Divisional Playoff game at
where they won 33-13. Countdown relives the sights and sounds of that game in Soundtracks. Carolina
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 8 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 New Orleans, La.) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.
Reporters Suzy Kolber (Falcons) and Michele Tafoya (Saints) will cover the teams. Other highlights:
Soundtracks – Drew Brees and Sean Payton: In this week’s Soundtracks, fans hear Saints quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton communicate during a game.
ESPN The Magazine’s “For Love or the Game” – Tony Gonzalez: Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is paired with his wife, Tobie, and teammate Brian Finneran to see who really knows Gonzalez better.
Virtual Playbook – Sharper to the House: Jackson takes viewers on the field to show how Darren Sharper has become a scoring machine for the Saints defense.
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.
– 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. FIELD PASS
C’MON MAN – Countdown personalities share their head-scratching plays from Week 8.
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
– highlights team strategy and game planning. This week’s features: Mt. Laurel, New Jersey
Vikings @ Packers: Packers Defense – Jaworski spotlights why and how the Packers must change their defensive approach against
if they plan to spoil Brett Favre’s homecoming. Minnesota
Vikings @ Packers: Vikings Defense – Hoge shows how
Minnesota’s coverage and play recognition in Week 4 played a huge role in their victory and why both will be vital in Sunday. Green Bay
Broncos @ Ravens – Hoge goes to the ‘Coaches Clicker’ to illustrate how
disrupts opposing pass protections with player alignment. Denver
Giants @ Eagles – Hoge showcases how a visible tendency in the Giants’ pass coverage has allowed teams to take advantage of their defense through the air.
Falcons @ Saints – Jaworski goes to “The Film Room” to show exactly what the Saints are doing to run the ball so effectively.
Dolphins @ Jets – The Jets struggled to stop the Wildcat when they lost to the Dolphins in Week 5. Hoge reveals how head coach Rex Ryan and the Jets defense can shut down the Wildcat.
Seahawks @ Cowboys – Jaworski displays how formation and great play design have helped
create favorable mismatches in their passing game, creating an explosive offense. Dallas
49ers @ Colts – The 49ers made the change at quarterback to Alex Smith this week. Jaworski shows how the 49ers can help their young signal-caller and make him more comfortable.
To CBS and analysts Phil Simms and Bill Cowher give us what they’re thinking about for this week.
THE NFL ON CBS: WEEK 8 (SUNDAY, NOV. 1)
AUDIBLES WITH LEAD “NFL ON CBS” ANALYST PHIL SIMMS AND “NFL TODAY” ANALYST BILL COWHER
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. 1 (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 Miami Dolphins-New York Jets game live from Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. 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.BILL COWHER
(On 4-3 teams; N.Y. Jets and
Houston): When you look at the 4-3 teams that are hovering, in particular the Jets and , this is a pivotal week. For the Jets, it’s a divisional game being played at home, and is a game that they have to win. Houston is a team that needs to make the next step. To get a win on the road against a Houston team that has won ugly the past couple of weeks would be a big statement game. Buffalo is a team that has the best receiver in football (Andre Johnson). They may have the best tight end in football in Owen Daniels with the start he’s off to, one of the top returners in Jacoby Jones, and they have a quarterback (Matt Schaub) right now who’s playing as well as anybody in the League. They have offensive firepower, and Mario Williams and group of linebackers give them playmakers on defense. But they have to be able to win and put together streaks of games. Houston is a team that has flashed, but they have to show an ability to be more consistent week-in and week-out. Houston
(On pivotal games for 3-3 teams;
Baltimoreand San Diego): San Diegohas to show that their performance last week against wasn’t just an anomaly. They have to show that they are more consistent. They have a chance to do that at home against Kansas City this week. For Oakland , this is a very pivotal game. You can’t lose four in a row. That could be a hole too big to dig out of in that division. And, they’re playing against a quality team in Baltimore . Denver may be playing against the best defense they’ve played against, on the road. Denver
is a team that it seems has been having to prove the critics every week. People are still questioning the validity of their 6-0 record. There are going to be a lot more answers coming out of this game, Denver Denverat , than there will be questions. This game may answer a lot of questions about both teams when all is said and done – the validity of Baltimore Denver’s record, and ’s ability to have a strong performance against a quality team. Baltimore
(On Miami vs. N.Y. Jets): The thing about the Jets and the Dolphins, there’s always been a rivalry but it’s really stepping up. Rex Ryan is making sure to step it up at a faster pace than these rivalries are used to. It makes for good preparation during the week. It’s getting close to desperation game time for the Miami Dolphins. One, because of the number of losses, if they did lose; and two, because it’s a division game. This time of year it’s getting to that stage of the season where if you lose, it’s hard to make it back up with the season almost half over.
Miami’s Henne): The big thing with Chad Henne is that many people don’t even recognize his name. I have been impressed with him. He’s played very well. He’s very talented, and he absolutely has a chance to be in the same class as Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. But you can’t tell anybody that because he’s just not a big enough name. He wasn’t ballyhooed on draft day. He probably deserved to be a first round draft pick, but was not. Chad
(On Jets’ Rookie Shonn Greene): I liked Shonn Greene a lot coming out of college, and I thought that when the Jets moved up in the draft to get him it was a great move on their part. I think there were quite a few NFL teams that were sitting back and shaking their heads because they were mad they didn’t make the move to go up and get Shonn Greene.
(On Brett Favre and
Minnesotaat Green Bay): I think Brett Favre will get a great reception in . But between the players and the coaches of the organization, there’s extra. I don’t want to say motivation, but there comes a time when you just say okay we’ve had enough. And that’s why I think Green Bay will find a way to win the game. Green Bay
* * * * *
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 Cleveland-Chicago game will be highlights of Walter Payton breaking Jim Brown’s all-time rushing record on October 6, 1984 against
, honoring the 10th anniversary of Payton’s death. New Orleans
Last week, Boomer Esiason made a splash with his list of Top 10 QB’s in the NFL through Week 7. Now he has another list for you on the NFL Today.
“THE NFL TODAY’S” BOOMER ESIASON TREATS VIEWERS TO HIS “SCARIEST THINGS IN THE NFL” FOR WEEK 8 ON SUNDAY, NOV. 1
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. 1 (1:00-7:00 PM, ET) beginning with THE NFL TODAY (12:00 Noon-1:00 PM, ET).
This week THE NFL TODAY’s Boomer Esiason treats viewers to his list of “Scariest Things in the NFL,” which includes facing
Indianapolis’s Peyton Manning to going one-on-one in the open field against ’s Adrian Peterson. Charlie Bloom produces. Minnesota
James Brown hosts THE NFL TODAY along with analysts Dan Marino, Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Bill Cowher, NFL TODAY “General Manager” Charley Casserly, as well as Lesley Visser and
NBC may not have a game Sunday due to Game 4 of the World Series, but it will have a one hour edition of Football Night in America which will mean fewer highlights than ever on the show.
CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED "FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA" AIRS SUNDAY AT 7 PM ET“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” HAS BYE FOR WEEK 8;
RETURNS WEEK 9 WITH COWBOYS AT EAGLES
“The most refreshingly honest voice on television.” – ESPN’s PTI on Rodney Harrison
Tony Dungy has morphed from a Super Bowl winning coach to the voice and conscience of the NFL." – USA Today
NEW YORK – Oct. 28, 2009 – "Football Night in America" airs this Sunday from 7-8 pm ET. "NBC Sunday Night Football" has a 'bye' due to game four of the World Series but returns Sunday, November 8 with an NFC East rivalry when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys.
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 Philadelphia on the Giants-Eagles game.
"Football Night" has received significant critical acclaim this season following new changes to its format. It added new analysts Dungy, who introduced the popular 'Coach's Clicker,' and the straight-talking Harrison. In addition, Bob Costas now hosts the show from the game site instead of the studio. "Football Night" allows viewers to catch up on the games and highlights of the day before each Sunday Night game. With no "Sunday Night Football" game this week, here's what they're saying about "Football Night in America" this year:
"Shout out to some new colleagues...Rodney Harrison, the most refreshingly honest voice on television, and Tony Dungy, who's precise analysis is just wonderful to listen to. I love these guys on NBC Sunday Night."
-ESPN Pardon the Interruption
"The hiring of former Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, the former New England Patriots safety, has refreshed the program...Harrison appears to be close to uncorking a nearly combustible personality...(Dungy's) insights are sophisticated and clear."
-The New York Times
"You go to sleep one day and wake up to find that Tony Dungy has morphed from a Super Bowl winning coach to the voice and conscience of the NFL."
- USA Today
(Tony Dungy) is candid, prepared and delivered the goods as a studio analyst."
- Sports Illustrated
"'Football Night in America' might be the best of all the pregame shows...Costas' presence at an event gives it an air of importance."
-Ventura County Star
On Harrison: "Smart, honest, forthright, unafraid to be crtitical. Don't be surprised if he becomes a star."
- San Diego Union Tribune
On Bob Costas: "He's the best interviewer in sports."
- Sports Illustrated
"FOOTBALL NIGHT" OFF TO BEST START EVER: The changes in "Football Night" have led to the best audience for the program since its inception in 2006. Below is the viewership for "Football Night" through Week 7:
2009: 7.5 million viewers
2008: 6.5 million, up 14%
2007: 6.2 million, up 20%
2006: 7.0 million, up 7%
SNF DOMINATES PRIMETIME THROUGH 7 WEEKS: Since the beginning of the football season (9/10/09-10/25/09) "Sunday Night Football" ranks as the top program in all of primetime television in the key advertising demos including Adults 18-49 (7.6), Adults 18-34 (6.7), Adults 25-54 (8.2), Men 18-49 (10.5), Men 18-34 (9.0) and Men 25-54 (11.3). For the season, SNF ranks No. 2 among viewers with 19.1 million trailing only NCIS (19.5 million) and ranks No. 2 in household rating with an 11.6 (NCIS, 11.9).
BEST START IN "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" HISTORY: Through seven weeks "Sunday Night Football" is off to its best start since NBC acquired the NFL's premier primetime package in 2006 (SNF, 2006-Present, MNF, 1970-2005). Below is the SNF viewership through seven weeks from 2006-2009:
2009: 19.1 million
2008: 15.9 million, up 20%
2007: 16.1 million, up 19%
2006: 17.2 million, up 11%
And finally, Fox Sports talks about its Game of the Decade, Minnesota and Brett Favre taking on Green Bay at his old Lambeau Field stomping grounds.
FOX SPORTS NOTES, QUOTES & ANECDOTES
All Eyes Descend on
Green Bayfor Epic : Battle
Favre’s Highly Anticipated Return to Lambeau Sunday Only on FOX
Isolated ‘Favre-Cam’ Follows Every Move of No. 4’s Return to Frozen Tundra
Streaming Video Available on FOXSports.com & NFL.com
Aikman on Rodgers Playing Against the Legend He Replaced:
“I Can’t Even Imagine What That’s Like”
Bradshaw Sits Down with Favre for Candid Interview on Emotional Return
VIKINGS/PACKERS PREPARE FOR THE FAVRE BOWL IN LAMBEAU – The 2009 NFL on FOX campaign rolls into Week 8 on Sunday, Nov. 1 with doubleheader coverage of six exciting matchups—each presented in crystal clear HD. Emotions are expected to be high at 4:15 PM ET, as Brett Favre makes his return to Lambeau Field, leading the Vikings against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver call the action from
. Also featured at 4:15, Larry Fitzgerald and the NFC Champion Cardinals host the Panthers. The early games are highlighted by an NFC East clash. At 1:00 PM ET, seven hours before the Phillies and Yankees meet in Philly for Game 4 of the World Series, Eli Manning and the Giants enter Lincoln Financial Field to take on Donovan McNabb and the Eagles. In Green Bay , Tony Romo and the Cowboys look to keep their offense on track as they host the Seahawks. 49ers coach Mike Singletary entrusts his offense in the hands of former No. 1 pick Alex Smith as they go on the road to face Peyton Manning and the red-hot Colts. Dallas
Coverage begins at 12:00 PM ET with
’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. America
In this week’s show, Bradshaw, an outspoken critic on the way Favre handled the off-season and his ultimately signing with the Vikings, sits down with the legendary quarterback to discuss his mindset and emotions upon his returning to Lambeau Field in a rival’s uniform. Also, Long finds out what the Packers can do to prevent Vikings DE Jared Allen from causing as much damage as he did in their earlier matchup.
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.
FAVRE-CAM LETS FANS FOLLOW EVERY MOVE NO. 4 MAKES ON FOXSPORTS.COM & NFL.COM – With all the hype surrounding Brett Favre’s return to the place he called home for so many years, it’s fair to assume fans attending the game will have their eyes glued on him from the moment he runs out of the visitor’s locker room and takes the field for warm ups to the last second of this highly anticipated ‘homecoming.’ FOX Sports gives fans watching at home the same opportunity. A camera stationed high on the 50-yard line will be isolated on Favre from the second he takes the field against his former team until the moment he runs back into the locker room. A constant video stream of this select angle is available to fans by logging on FOXSports.com and NFL.com.
HALL OF FAME QB AIKMAN PREVIEWS EPIC SHOWDOWN IN GREEN BAY – In the most anticipated matchup on any network this season, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre leads Minnesota into his former home, Lambeau Field, as the Vikings take on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL on FOX lead analyst Troy Aikman shared his thoughts below. Aikman, along with play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brennaman and sideline reporter Pam Oliver call all the action LIVE this Sunday, Nov. 1 (1:15 PM PT/ 4:15 PM ET LIVE) on FOX.
AIKMAN ON FAVRE’S PERFORMANCE THIS SEASON, AT THE AGE OF 40 — “The thing that is most impressive is not that he’s played at such a high level, it’s that he’s been able to come back week after week and continue to play. We tend to take it for granted with him now because he hasn’t missed a game. We have to remind ourselves that he’s 40 years old! When I retired at age 34, it was hard to come back after a physical game during my last season and be prepared the following week to play physically. You’re just so sore and it started taking longer and longer to recover. Now he’s six years older than what I was and yet he’s still coming back and is able to play and fight through a lot of things. To me, that’s the most impressive part.”
AIKMAN ON SUSTAINING THEIR SUCCESS THUS FAR — “They have so many great pieces in place. The important thing for them is staying healthy. MINNESOTA Minnesotawent and could’ve won. They went toe-to-toe with them and beat a good Pittsburgh team. They’ve played some good teams and have found ways to win.” Baltimore
AIKMAN ONAARON RODGERS FILLING FAVRE’S SHOES IN GREEN BAY— “The most comparable situation to what Aaron is going through would be Steve Young’s start in . He was replacing Joe Montana yet Joe was still playing. That’s the hard part. It was going to be hard for anybody if Brett had just retired and you’re going to be compared to him. But then to be compared to him while the guy is still playing and playing at a high level, I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I’ve been very impressed with how Rodgers has handled it. I’ve been impressed both publicly as well as privately. I have the opportunity to visit with these guys privately and I will tell you that he’s been as classy in my conversations with him as he has been publicly. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy for that entire organization or Aaron. I think Aaron has handled it unbelievably well. Fortunately for him, he’s played well.” San Francisco
AIKMAN ON FAVRE SETTING FOOT IN LAMBEAU AS A VISITOR — “The first time these two teams played he talked about how nervous he was. I’m sure that experience was very emotional but different because of where that game was played. This will bring about a different set of emotions. On the other side, I think there will be a level of comfort for him because it is a place he is so familiar with. Granted he’ll be playing against his former team but he’s done that. The strange thing will be that he’s going to be dressing in the visitors’ locker room. My guess is that, he’ll without even thinking about it, walk into the Packers’ locker room because that’s what he did for all of those years. It’ll be different for him viewing the game from a different sideline than he stood on for all of those years. I think it will be a much more emotional experience for him than anything he experienced on Monday night in
That is it. Have a Happy and safe Halloween.