Ok, I lied. This is the last press release post. I was waiting for the last network previews to come in today before posting this. I’m putting off driving in the snow for as long as possible. Plus, Absolute Radio UK is playing great 1980′s music today, so I don’t have an incentive to drive home, at least not right now.
First, here’s what ESPN is going to air during its NFL studio shows.
ESPN’s Weekend NFL Studio Features
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown will preview the weekend’s NFL matchups Sunday at 11 a.m. featuring host 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.Sunday’s two-hour show will include reports from Rachel Nichols covering the New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings, Michael Smith covering the New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, Mike Reiss covering the New England Patriots at Houston Texans, Bob Holtzman covering the Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders, Ed Werder covering the Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys and Sal Paolantonio at the Meadowlands for the Bengals-Jets.Sunday’s highlights:Eagles – Cowboys Rivalry: The Eagles and Cowboys’ rivalry takes another turn as they battle for the NFC East crown. Whether it’s the past or more recent moments like T.O.’s return to Philly as a Cowboy or McNabb’s 14-second scramble, the memories of this rivalry are vivid to those who played in it. Jeremy Schaap reports.Philip Rivers Unmasked: The Chargers are one the hottest teams in the NFL on a 10-game win streak, led by quarterback Philip Rivers. Like all quarterbacks, Rivers doubles as a translator with a good portion of his work being done before the snap. This week’s Unmasked goes under the helmet as Rivers takes viewers through his thought process.Mayne Event Awards: In this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne looks back at some of the best and brightest Mayne Event performances of the year in the Mayne Event Awards, with help from seven-time Grammy winner John Mayer, who will host and help hand out the hardware in categories like Best Famous Person, Best Actor and Best Story.Jets’ Good Fortunes: Rex Ryan made a Christmas wish that came true, when the Colts sat many starters in the third quarter last week, which helped propel a Jets win. If the Jets’ produce a win versus the Bengals Sunday, they are in the postseason party. How do the Jets’ feel about their good fortune and the perception that they’re backing into the playoffs?Saints and Vikings: Panic or Patience?: Two of the NFC powers for most of this season are now limping toward the postseason – the Saints losing two straight after a 13-0 start and the Vikings losing three of their last four. Is it time for New Orleans and Minnesota fans to panic or show patience? The Countdown crew has the answers.No Huddle Awards: With the 2009 regular season coming to a close the Sunday NFL Countdown crew declares some award winners for the season. MVP? Coach of the Year? Rookie of the Year? Defensive Player of the Year? Find out who the crew feels deserves some hardware.Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em ESPN’s fantasy football: ESPN’s NFL experts will tell viewers 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 17 action. The list of game picks will be posted on www.espn.com/sundaycountdown after the show.NFL MATCHUP, SUNDAY 3 A.M. AND 7:30 A.M. ON ESPNNFL 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:Eagles @ Cowboys: Cowboys Offense – Hoge reveals how Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense can attack the Eagles’ blitz.
Eagles @ Cowboys: Eagles Offense – Jaworski displays how the Cowboys used a defender to spy McNabb in their previous matchup, and how having one less defender rushing the passer or dropping into coverage can only help the Eagles’ explosive passing game.Giants @ Vikings: Vikings Offense – Ideologies collide when Jaworski and Hoge debate about what the correct approach should be for the Vikings Offense as they head into the playoffs.
Giants @ Vikings: Vikings Defense – Hoge exposes how Vikings linebacker E. J. Henderson’s replacement, Jasper Brinkley, can be exploited in the passing game.
Bengals @ Jets – Hoge highlights how the Jets must break their tendencies to run the ball and throw the ball out of big personnel sets on first down.
Ravens @ Raiders – Jaworski illustrates how Baltimore must continue to use run looks and play action to create favorable throwing situations.Packers @ Cardinals – Hoge uncovers how the Cardinals have used disguise and a little bit of chaos to shut down some of the best passing teams.Patriots @ Texans – For the Texans to have any shot of making the playoffs this season they’ll have to lean on their playmakers, namely Andre Johnson. Jaworski unveils how the Texans must continue to use great play design to get the ball into Johnson’s hands as often as possible.
During its final regular season edition of the NFL Today, CBS will give us the most fascinating plays of the 2009 season.
BOOMER ESIASON HIGHLIGHTS 10 MOST FASCINATING PLAYS OF 2009 NFL SEASON FOR WEEK 17 ON “THE NFL TODAY” ON SUNDAY, JAN. 3THE 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, Jan. 3 (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 highlights the 10 most fascinating plays of the 2009 NFL season. The plays range from Bill Belichick’s controversial fourth-and-two call against
Indianapolisto Ben Roethlisberger keeping the Steelers’ playoff hopes alive with a last-second touchdown pass against . Jeff St. Arromand is the producer. Green BayJames 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 Sam Ryanreporting.Eric Mann is senior producer and Bob Matina is director of THE NFL TODAY.Sean McManus is President, CBS News and Sports, and serves as the executive producer for the Network’s coverage of the NFL. Harold Bryant is Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.
CBS analysts Phil Simms and Bill Cowher preview Week 17.
THE NFL ON CBS: WEEK 17 (SUNDAY, JAN. 3)AUDIBLES WITH LEAD “NFL ON CBS” GAME ANALYST PHIL SIMMS AND “NFL TODAY” STUDIO ANALYST BILL COWHERThe CBS Television Network, home of Super Bowl XLIV, continues its Golden Anniversary 50th year broadcasting the NFL with THE NFL ON CBS on Sunday, Jan. 3 (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 Baltimore Ravens-Oakland Raiders game live from Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. 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.* * * * *PHIL SIMMS(On
Baltimore): is as good as they were last year, and that’s the team that went to the AFC Championship game. They could be 12-3 as easy as they are 8-7. If you said to me the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl, I can’t say I’d be completely shocked if it happened. They are a dangerous team with a unique style, especially on defense. Of course, they have to win Sunday to get this thing going. If you think back to all their games: against New England; against Baltimore Indianapolis, when they had about ten chances to beat them; an incredible loss to , it keeps going and going. Of course they won some close ones too. I don’t discount any of these players, or these wild card teams, when they go to the playoffs. Pittsburgh(On Giants): To say the Giants need an overhaul is just not the truth. At the worst they need to be tweaked. But they definitely do not need an overhaul. They had injuries in key situations and spots this year that they did not overcome. Listen, the team did lose a little bit of its edge and not making the playoffs, that’s one way to get it back. Any team that I’ve ever been around, played on, or covered, there is a group of five guys that kind of run the football team. And they run it with their work habits, the way they act, and maybe most importantly, with their play on the field. I don’t think at this time I can name five guys on the Giants who are those guys. Now I could be wrong. They might have five that are leading, but it’s not noticeable…I’m a pretty good fan and I couldn’t pick them out for you. New York(On Jets): The Bengals and the Patriots will both rest players. That is going to give the Jets a good opportunity to take advantage, which they did last week, and win. New YorkBILL COWHER(On some teams that need Playoff help): Houston, and the Steelers have put themselves in a position where they need help. Unfortunately, the teams that they need help from don’t have the same amount at stake as they do. Consequently, their fate is in a team that really doesn’t have to win the game. I’m talking about the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots. They control the fate of a lot of people. As I used to always tell my teams, they earned that right. Just like the Indianapolis Colts earned the right to do whatever they needed to do to get themselves prepared for the playoffs. As a football team that needs help, when it’s all said and done, if you don’t get in, you reflect back on some of the games that you let get away; a missed opportunity here and there where you could have controlled your own fate. Denver(On Week 17 being so meaningful): It’s wonderful for a Week 17 to have as many playoff-implication games as we have, particularly in the AFC, and even still now in the NFC with a bye week riding on the final results. The NFL playoff system is as good as you’re going to have it. I’ve always said about the National Football League, as opposed to the other professional Leagues, you can play your way into the playoffs. In a lot of other Leagues you play your way out of the playoffs. That very clearly indicates to me that the NFL has the right amount of teams in the playoffs – not too many, not too few. Nothing is more evident than what we see in Week 17 with all the possible playoff implications that still exist.
Here’s Fox Sports’ preview of this week’s action.
FOX SPORTS NOTES, QUOTES & ANECDOTESNFC East Title and No. 2 Seed on the Line in NFL on FOX Week 17 Doubleheader Action
NFL ON FOX WEEK 17: SEEDING IN NFC PLAYOFFS ON THE LINE – All six spots are filled in the NFC, but the schedule and seeding picture is still cloudy as the NFL on FOX wraps up its 16th regular season with an eight-game doubleheader on Sunday, Jan 3. Beginning with the 1:00 PM ET games, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings look to secure the No. 2 seed and a first round bye when they host the Giants. In
, the No. 1 seeded Saints play a playoff tune-up against their NFC South rival Panthers. Falcons/Bucs, 49ers/Rams and Bears/Lions round out the early action. At 4:15 PM ET, the NFC East division title is on the line when Tony Romo and the Cowboys host Donovan McNabb and the Eagles. Charlotte Philadelphiacan clinch the No. 2 seed with a victory and secures a home playoff game with a win. In Dallas , Kurt Warner and the Cardinals can secure the No. 2 seed with a victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coupled with Vikings and Eagles losses. Also, the Chargers host the Redskins. ArizonaCoverage 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. AmericaFor 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.
LONG QUESTIONS WHO WILL RISE TO THE TOP OF THE NFC – Following the Vikings loss to the Bears on Monday night, the Saints backed into the No. 1 seed in the NFC but how the other five teams will rank comes down to Week 17. FOX NFL SUNDAY analyst Howie Long looks at how the NFC playoff picture has been drastically changed in a few short weeks: “Four weeks ago, I thought there was only one team that had a shot of beating
New Orleansin New Orleans, and that was . Now, with both the Saints and Vikings struggling, you can make a case that Minnesota Philadelphiaand might be the best teams in the NFC. After watching the Packers beat the Seahawks Sunday, I came away totally impressed with Aaron Rodgers, who is looking every bit the part of a franchise quarterback. He Dallas ‘s everything that coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson thought he would be. But the best news for the Packers is they are getting their running game on track at the right time. Ryan Grant scored twice and missed 100 yards by only 3. He has become a force. It’s amazing how things have changed over the last few weeks.”
BILLICK ON ’S DECISION: “WINNING A SUPER BOWL IS THE ONLY BAROMETER FOR COLTS” – “You can go around and around on both sides of whether Jim Caldwell’s decision to sit his starters was the right move,” said NFL on FOX analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick. “If the Colts win the Super Bowl, it means absolutely nothing. If they stumble anywhere along the way and don’t win it all, this game will be looked upon as the reason. For the Colts right now, that’s the only barometer. At the very least this has caused a pause for a team that had a great deal of momentum and was feeling good about themselves. I know they’re going with the company line and the players are signing off on it but in that locker room there’s some question about whether they should have rested their starters. If nothing else it has created a distraction.” CALDWELL
And finally, NBC previews the final Sunday Night Football game of the season, the Jets hosting the Cincinnati Bengals.
JETS CAN CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH WITH WIN AGAINST BENGALS ON “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL”
“Whoever stops the run most effectively is going to win the game.” – Football Night’s Dungy
“These are really two defensively dominant football teams.” – SNF’s Collinsworth
NEW YORK – Dec. 30, 2009 – The host New York Jets can clinch an AFC Wild Card playoff berth with a win against the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals in the final game of the NFL’s regular season on “NBC Sunday Night Football.”
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 Giants Stadium. 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. Tiki Barber will report from Cowboys Stadium on the Cowboys-Eagles game.
COLLINSWORTH: “These are really two defensively dominant football teams.”
DUNGY ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RUNNING GAME: “The game is going to hinge on run offense and run defense. Cedric Benson is having a great year. The Jets lead the league in rushing. Both teams will say they have to take away the run game and whoever stops the run most effectively is going to win the game.”
COLLINSWORTH ON THE BENGALS DEFENSE: “Mike Zimmer and the job he’s done in Cincinnati has been remarkable. You often think of Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco but that really has not been the “M.O.” of the Bengals this year. It’s defense, running the ball and winning close games.”
DUNGY ON THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE TEAMS MAY MEET IN THE WILD CARD ROUND: “It’s a very interesting situation. I had one of those in 2001. We (Tampa Bay) were playing Philadelphia and we knew we were going to play them again the next week in the playoffs. So how much do you show?”
JETS VS. BENGALS: The Jets lead the all-time series, 14-7, including a 44-17 victory over the Bengals in the 1982 playoffs. New York has won six of the last seven overall in the series plus the last seven at home. The Bengals last victory at New York came in 1981 when the Jets played at Shea Stadium.
JETS-BENGALS IN PRIMETIME: Since NBC acquired the NFL’s premier primetime package in 2006, the Cincinnati Bengals have played only once and lost to Pittsburgh, 24-10, in 2007. The New York Jets are making their first-ever appearance on “NBC Sunday Night Football.”
Now this is the last press release post of the year. Have a Happy New Year.