Two Sunday NFL Countdown Editions Highlight NFL Week 16 Content on ESPN

Sunday NFL Countdown logoTwo Sunday NFL Countdown Editions Highlight NFL Week 16 Content on ESPN
Sunday NFL Countdown: Leah Still’s Christmas Wish, Dez Bryant, The Fake Andy Reid, Coaching Fashion and More

ESPN will present two editions of Sunday NFL Countdown this weekend – a one-hour special on Saturday, Dec. 20 (10 a.m. ET) and  the regular three-hour show on Sunday, Dec. 21 (10 a.m.). Chris Berman will host both shows with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson previewing the weekend’s NFL games. Anchor/host Wendi Nix will handle select segments, while NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the headlines and news each day.

Reporters at game sites:


Eagles at Redskins (Britt McHenry)

Chargers at 49ers (Michele Steele)


Falcons at Saints (Josina Anderson)

Chiefs at Steelers (Sal Paolantonio)

Browns at Panthers (ESPN NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler)

Colts at Cowboys (Ed Werder)

Seahawks at Cardinals (Bob Holtzman)

Sunday Features:

  • Leah Still’s Christmas Wish: As four-year-old Leah Still, the daughter of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, continues her battle with cancer, Countdown’s Michelle Beisner and crew follow Leah as she writes a letter to Santa and sees her Christmas wish of meeting a Disney Princess come true. In September, Beisner told the story of a father’s bond and love for his ailing daughter. Sunday’s piece will feature Devon and young Leah reflecting on the difficulties of the last four months.
  • Dez Bryant Goes and Gets It: Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant has a penchant for making catches with defenders hanging on to and trying to separate him from the ball. How does Bryant make nearly impossible catches look easy? Countdown’s Keyshawn Johnson, a former Cowboys receiver, visits the team’s training facilities for an interview and demo on how Bryant just “goes and gets the football” thrown his way.
  • The Fake Andy Reid: At many Kansas City games, the TV cameras seem to find the Chiefs head coach’s doppelgänger Chris Wilhelm, of Leola, Pa., in the crowd. Wilhelm, a die-hard Chiefs fan, began showing up at games dressed as Andy Reid when Reid was the Eagles head coach. This week, as he prepares to show up in Pittsburgh, Countdown documents the transformation of the Chiefs “Fake Coach.”
  • Coaching Fashion: Whenever Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan face off in the Patriots-Jets AFC East rivalry, both coaches are often wearing their signature sideline apparel. Belichick in his sweatshirt vs. Ryan in his sweater vest. Reporter Greg Garber examines the evolution of NFL coaches and their not-so chic sideline attire.
  • Josh Vietti Live: Critically-acclaimed hip-hop violinist Josh Vietti, whose riff of the classic “In Da Club” is featured on Countdown’s weekly “The Journey” tease, will join the crew live in studio.
  • EA Virtual Tabletop: Hall of Famer Cris Carter will debut Countdown’s new EA Virtual Tabletop technology in an Xs and Os segment previewing Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch vs. the Arizona Cardinals defense.

Monday Night Football Regular-Season Finale: Battle of AFC Division Leaders – Peyton Manning and Broncos vs. Andy Dalton and Bengals

Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals, atop the AFC North, play host to Peyton Manning and the AFC West division champion Denver Broncos on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, December 22 at 8:15 p.m. The MNF booth team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden (who recently agreed to an extension with ESPN through 2021) will call the game from Paul Brown Stadium with sideline reporter Lisa SaltersMNF is available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes and via WatchESPN (for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers).

For Denver, this week’s MNF game extends the NFL’s longest current streak of consecutive seasons playing at least one game on MNF. The Broncos have played 23 straight seasons (1992-present) on Monday night.

Suzy Kolber will anchor MNF’s pregame show Monday Night Countdown at 6 p.m. on ESPN. She will be joined by on-site NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young and the Bristol, Conn.,-based studio crew of host Chris Berman, NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Monday Night Countdown features:

  • Peyton Manning Conversation with Mike Tirico: Quarterback Peyton Manning sits for a one-on-one conversation with Mike Tirico as he leads the 11-3 Broncos, who have already qualified for the playoffs – Manning’s 14th playoff appearance.
  • Andy Dalton Conversation with Lisa Salters: A win Monday night would clinch the Bengals’ fourth straight playoff appearance since quarterback Andy Dalton arrived in Cincinnati four years ago. MNF sideline reporter Lisa Salters sits with Dalton to discuss his years with the team.
  • Gruden’s Grill Session with Aqib Talib: Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden sits with Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.
  • Rick Reilly’s Feature – Rich Goins: During a Broncos losing streak in 1990, the team’s radio broadcaster Rich Goins pledged to live atop a billboard until Denver won another game.  Goins worked, ate and slept on the billboard for 33 days until the Broncos won a game.  Rick Reilly tells the story of Goins’ stunt.

NFL Matchup: Calvin Johnson’s Touchdown, Johnny Manziel, Ravens Blitz Concepts and More

NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s key matchups via a film-room Xs and Os analysis on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-airs on ESPN, Sunday at 5:30 a.m.).  Highlights:

  • Hoge Breakdown – Calvin Johnson’s Touchdown: In a rematch against the Bears, Hoge shows how the Lions will design route combinations that will beat the coverage in the Chicago secondary.
  • QB Corner – Johnny Manziel: Jaworski describes the two interceptions thrown by Johnny Manziel in his first NFL start last Sunday and explains how the Browns quarterback must improve his decision making.
  • Blitz Breakdown – Ravens Blitz Concepts: Against inexperienced quarterbacks, Jaworski predicts the Ravens will bring blitzes to confuse the Texans’ offense and force poor decisions from either Case Keenum or Thad Lewis.
  • Coach’s Clicker- Le’Veon Bell Touchdowns: Hoge shows a staple play in the Steelers run game, which has produced two touchdowns by running back Le’Veon Bell in the past two weeks.
  • Factor Back – Joseph Randle Runs against the Seahawks: With DeMarco Murray’s status uncertain, Hoge points out that backup Cowboys running back Joseph Randle is a capable replacement, evidenced by his performance against the Seahawks in week 6.
  • Inside the Matchup – Seahawks Pass Rush: In their previous meeting against the Cardinals, the Seahawks utilized Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril on the same side as speed rushers, a matchup Hoge cautions could spell trouble for the Cardinals.
  • Between the Lines – Peyton Manning Connects with Emmanuel Sanders: Jaworski explains that the Bengals must have an answer for Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders when they blitz and play man coverage, a situation Manning exploited against the Chargers.
  • Jaws Playbook – Saints Passing Game Adjustments: Jaworski examines the brilliance of the Saints no-huddle passing attack on display in a game against the Lions in week 7, when a subtle route adjustment led to a touchdown by receiver Kenny Stills.

NFL on ESPN Radio: Crucial AFC Battle on Sunday

ESPN Radio will broadcast a crucial AFC matchup as Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) visit Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) on Sunday, Dec. 21. Coverage starts at noon with Marc Kestecher, analyst Bill Polian and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons from Heinz Field.  Both Kansas City and Pittsburgh are in playoff contention, with Pittsburgh contending for the top spot in the AFC North. “Hot Read” on Quarterbacking in a Pass-Happy Era

In this week’s “Hot Read,” NFL Nation’s Kevin Seifert features a statistical analysis of how quarterbacks like Saints Drew Brees and his contemporaries are obliterating the numerical feats of past signal-callers such as Johnny Unitas and his peers. Other highlight:

  • Who Deserves the MVP Award?: A roundtable of NFL Nation experts debate.
  • New England’s Unique Offense: ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss gets experts and former Patriots players to discuss what makes head coach Bill Belichick’s offense effective at changing his game plan weekly to take advantage of its opponent’s defensive flaws.


FOX Sports Programming Highlights: NFL, CBB, UFC & More

fox-sports-logoNFL: Interviews with Red-Hot Giants Rookie WR Beckham Jr.

and Lions QB Stafford on FOX NFL SUNDAY

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Syracuse at No. 7 Villanova on FOX

Headlines Big Week of College Hoops

UFC: UFC FIGHT NIGHT on FOX Sports 1: Machida vs. Dolloway

Features Top-Ranked Middleweights

#ICYMI: Fight Motion: UFC Fight Night – Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic




  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, nightly (11:00 PM ET)
  • Talent:  Jay Onrait, Dan O’Toole, Charissa Thompson, Reid Forgrave, Jay Glazer, Casey Jacobsen, Joel Klatt, Donovan McNabb, Randy Moss, Petros Papadakis, Gary Payton, Bill Reiter, Ephraim Salaam.
  • This Week: The National Football League is in the home stretch of its regular-season schedule and with just two games remaining for each of the teams, FOX SPORTS LIVE continues its nightly focus on all things gridiron related. Nightly wraps from various team facilities, updated injury information and closer looks at the divisional and wild card playoff races are featured throughout the show. Nightly NHL and NBA highlights and analysis also remain an emphasis as both leagues are in the midst of their respective regular seasons. The end of the week brings the airing of two distinctly unique original features, beginning Friday night with the story of Rico Harris, a former college basketball player and Harlem Globetrotter who mysteriously disappeared in northern California on Oct. 10. Harris was driving north to move in with his girlfriend and start a new job in Seattle, but authorities found his car and personal effects in a park north of San Francisco and he has since vanished without a trace. On Sunday night’s show, analyst and FOX SPORTS LIVE panelist Andy Roddick sits down with New York Knicks forward and seven-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony for an exclusive 1-on-1 interview. The franchise player for the struggling Knicks, Anthony discusses a range of topics from the team’s rebuilding effort and his learning of the triangle offense under new club president Phil Jackson to his life off the court and his recent venture as the CEO of a technology start-up.


  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, weekdays (6:00 PM ET)
  • Talent:  Mike Hill, Molly McGrath, Jill Arrington, Kirk Morrison, Mike Garafolo, Casey Jacobsen, Corey Maggette, Ephraim Salaam, Brian Scalabrine
  • This Week: With both the NBA and NHL regular seasons in full swing, APG uses live satellite interviews from various sites with local correspondents and insiders who provide up-to-the-minute information in previewing all of the nightly action. Additionally, former Stanford All-American Casey Jacobsen is in studio to break down the biggest college basketball games each evening as the Top 25 programs approach their conference schedules. As is the custom, the NFL headlines remain a significant part of the show as the divisional races come clearer into view and the playoff seeds are decided. Nightly reports are filed from various team headquarters in advance of this weekend’s games.



NFL ON FOX WEEK 16 – With time slipping away in the 2014 NFL regular season, teams on the postseason bubble battle on FOX Sunday, Dec. 21 (1:00 PM ET & 4:05 PM ET) for their right to continue playing in January. The Detroit Lions remain in the hunt for a playoff berth as they visit the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field (1:00 PM ET). The Lions can claim the NFC North with a victory Sunday, coupled with a Packers loss against the Buccaneers.  NFL announcer Joe Buck is joined in the Soldier Field broadcast booth by analyst Troy Aikman with sideline reporter Erin Andrews.  Meanwhile in New Orleans, the Saints host the Falcons (1:00 PM ET).  A win on Sunday for the Saints, coupled with a Panthers loss, would give New Orleans the NFC South division. Play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt, analyst John Lynch and sideline reporter Pam Oliver are on the call from the Mercedes Superdome.

FOX Sports’ NFL coverage begins each Sunday on FOX Sports 1 at 11:00 AM ET with host Joel Klatt and analysts Donovan McNabb, Dave Wannstedt and Randy Moss. On the FOX broadcast network, FOX NFL SUNDAY immediately follows FOX NFL KICKOFF at 12:00 PM ET with co-hosts Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee alongside analysts Howie Long, Michael Strahan, Jimmy Johnson, insider Jay Glazer and rules analyst Mike Pereira.  In Sunday’s pregame show, Strahan sits down with New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Bradshaw conducts a one-on-one interview with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.



GAME                                                                    PLAY-BY-PLAY/ANALYST/SIDELINE            COV.             TIME (ET) 

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints                Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch                38%               1:00PM         

         & Pam Oliver    

Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, La.

MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham, Denver, Greensboro, Greenville, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Tulsa, Washington


Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears                                 Joe Buck, Troy Aikman                          28%                1:00PM

                                                                                           & Erin Andrews

Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.

MARKETS INCLUDE: Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Dayton, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle


Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers    Chris Myers, Ronde Barber                  6%                 1:00PM

                                                                                           & Jennifer Hale

Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Fla.

MARKETS INCLUDE: Fort Myers, Milwaukee, Orlando, Tampa


Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins                     Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston                 5%                1:00PM

          & On-field analyst Tony Siragusa

Sun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, Fla.

MARKETS INCLUDE: Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis, West Palm Beach

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams                        Thom Brennaman, David Diehl            22%                4:05PM          

          & Laura Okmin

Edward Jones Dome – St. Louis, Mo.

MARKETS INCLUDE: Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Hartford, Houston, Kansas City, New York, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. Louis




  • Network/When/Talent:
    • St. Mary’s at No. 20 St. John’s, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Dec. 19 (7:00 PM ET), Rich Ackerman and Jim Spanarkel
    • Alabama A&M at Marquette, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Dec. 19 (9:00 PM ET), Eric Collins and Dickey Simpkins
    • Texas-Pan Am at Creighton, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Dec. 19 (9:00 PM ET), Kevin Kugler and Nick Bahe
    • Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Texas Tech, FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Dec. 19 (9:00 PM ET), Robert Giovannetti and John Harris
    • No. 3 Arizona at UTEP, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Dec. 19 (11:00 PM ET), Wes Durham and Dan Bonner
    • No. 4 Louisville at Western Kentucky, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (12:00 PM ET), Ron Thulin and Mike Jarvis
    • Charlotte at Georgetown, FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (12:00 PM ET), Custer and Tarik Turner
    • Syracuse at No. 7 Villanova, FOX & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (1:00 PM ET), Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson
    • USF vs. Florida State (Orange Bowl Classic), FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (2:00 PM ET), Justin Kutcher and Bob Wenzel
    • No. 23 Butler vs. Indiana (Crossroads Classic), FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (2:30 PM ET), Joe Davis and Stephen Bardo
    • Wake Forest vs. Florida (Orange Bowl Classic), FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (5:00 PM ET), Justin Kutcher and Bob Wenzel
    • Creighton at North Texas, FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, Dec. 21 (2:00 PM ET), Ron Thulin and Dan Bonner
    • UT Martin at No. 23 Butler, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, Dec. 22 (7:00 PM ET), Cory Provus and Greg Kelser
    • Weber State at No. 15 Oklahoma, FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO, Monday, Dec. 22 (8:00 PM ET), Bob Carpenter and Billy Tubbs
    • Providence vs. No. 18 Miami (Fla.) (Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational), FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, Dec. 22 (9:00 PM ET), Tim Brando and Bill Raftery
    • North Dakota at Marquette, FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO, Monday, Dec. 22 (9:00 PM ET), Kevin Kugler and Dickey Simpkins
    • NJIT at No. 7 Villanova, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Tuesday, Dec. 23 (7:00 PM ET), Justin Kutcher and Ron Thompson
    • TBA vs. TBA (Las Vegas Classic), FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Tuesday, Dec. 23 (9:00 PM ET), Joe Davis and Donny Marshall
    • TBA vs. TBA (Las Vegas Classic), FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Tuesday, Dec. 23 (11:30 PM ET), Joe Davis and Donny Marshall
  • This Week: Some of the most iconic college basketball programs in the country hit the court on the FOX Sports family of networks this week, highlighted by Syracuse at No. 7 Villanova Saturday afternoon on the FOX broadcast network. The former BIG EAST rivals face off at 1:00 PM ET with Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson on the call. Over on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, No. 4 Louisville takes on in-state rival Western Kentucky (12:00 PM ET), followed by another clash of in-state foes as No. 23 Butler meets Indiana at 2:30 PM ET at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. Earlier in the week, No. 2 Arizona goes up against UTEP on Friday, Dec. 19 (11:00 PM ET) on FOX Sports 1.



  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, Dec. 17 (7:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, Renan Barao, Eddie Wineland
  • This Week: UFC Unleashed presents the two title fights featured in the main and co-main events of UFC 165. Watch light heavyweight champion Jon Jones take on Alexander Gustafsson, then see bantamweight beast Renan Barao face Eddie Wineland.


  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, Dec. 17 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Kenny Florian, Karyn Bryant, Ariel Helwani
  • This Week: This week on UFC TONIGHT, host Florian and guest host Michael Bisping preview UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MACHIDA vs. DOLLAWAY. Florian interviews light heavyweight title contender Daniel Cormier before his UFC 182 title fight and they also catch up with rising strawweight Paige VanZant.


  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Thursday, Dec. 18 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Renan Barao, T.J. Dillashaw
  • This Week: Owner of a remarkable 35-fight unbeaten streak, Renan Barao puts his UFC bantamweight title on the line when he faces talented contender T.J. Dillashaw in the main event of UFC 173. 


  • Network/When: FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Dec. 19 (1:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Karyn Bryant, Kenny Florian, Gilbert Melendez and Heidi Androl
  • This Week: The UFC WEIGH-IN features host Karyn Bryant, with Kenny Florian and Gilbert Melendez as analysts, as the fighters on the card attempt to make weight. Heidi Androl interviews fighters during the show.


  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (7:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jay Glazer, Kenny Florian, Gilbert Melendez, Heidi Androl
  • This Week: Host Glazer and analysts Melendez and Florian break down the night. The three also analyze several exciting match-ups on the PRELIMS.



  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jon Anik, Brian Stann, Jay Glazer, Kenny Florian, Gilbert Melendez, Heidi Androl
  • This Week: The two-hour UFC FIGHT NIGHT PRELIMS feature four bouts including Marcos Rogerio de Lima (12-3-1) against Igor Pokrajac (25-11, 1NC) in a light heavyweight scrap. A pair of featherweight fights anchors the PRELIMS with Tom Niinimaki (21-7-1) vs. Renato Moicano (8-0-1) and No. 12 featherweight Darren Elkins (19-4-0) vs. Hacran Dias (21-3-1). Leandro Issa (12-4) and Ulka Sasake (18-1-2) open the PRELIMS with a bantamweight bout.


  • Network/When: FOX, FOX Deportes & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (10:00 PM ET)


  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Dec. 20 (1:00 AM ET)
  • Talent: Jay Glazer, Kenny Florian, Gilbert Melendez, Heidi Androl
  • This Week: Watch the recap of UFC FIGHT NIGHT, with host Glazer and analysts Melendez and Florian breaking down all the action. The group interviews winners and highlights the most exciting action of the evening.




While NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES teams look forward to some downtime during the holidays, FOX takes a sneak peek at what’s to come next season in a one-hour special entitled NASCAR 2015:  A NEW ERA, premiering Sunday, Dec. 21 adjacent to NFL on FOX coverage (check local listings for airtimes).Hosted by Danielle Trotta from Daytona International Speedway, the program previews the upcoming NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES season, outlining everything fans need to know heading into one of the most anticipated seasons in years. NASCAR 2015:  A NEW ERA offers in-depth interviews with the series’ top drivers, including sit-downs with 2014 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. with FOX NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip; six-time NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion Jimmie Johnson with FOX NASCAR host Chris Myers; and a Carl Edwards feature interview with NFL on FOX insider Jay Glazer, in addition to numerous other drivers.

  • Network/When: FOX & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, Dec. 21 adjacent to NFL on FOX coverage (check local listings for airtimes)
  • Talent:  Danielle Trotta, Darrell Waltrip, Chris Myers, Jay Glazer, Adam Alexander, Jeff Hammond, Larry McReynolds, Michael Waltrip and Matt Yocum  
  • Next Week: Encore presentation Wednesday, Dec. 24 at 9:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 1.

In addition, new “Best of 2014” NASCAR RACE HUB episodes air weekdays through Monday, Dec. 22 on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports GO.  Following a brief hiatus for the holidays, NASCAR RACE HUB resumes in January.




  • What: FOX Sports’ exclusive coverage of the FIFA Club World Cup tournament continues this week, culminating with the final on Dec. 20.  After winning the all-Spanish UEFA Champions League Final this year, Real Madrid now looks to add the title of world’s best club to its accomplishments in 2014.
  • Matchup/Network/When:

o   Third-Place Match: Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Auckland City (NZL), FOX Sports 2, Saturday., Dec. 20 (11:20 AM ET)

o   Final: Real Madrid vs. San Lorenzo (ARG), FOX Sports 2, Saturday, Dec. 20 (2:20 PM ET)

  • Talent: John Strong calls the third-place match alongside Cobi Jones. JP Dellacamera calls the final alongside Brian Dunseth.

Preview of Week 16 Editions of NFL Network’s ‘NFL GameDay First’ & ‘NFL GameDay Morning’

NFL-Gameday-LogoRavens RB Justin Forsett with NFL Media’s Michael Silver on ‘NFL GameDay Morning’ at 9:00 AM ET

Feature on the Kemoeatu Brothers on ‘NFL GameDay Morning’

‘NFL GameDay First’ Kicks Off Sunday Coverage at 7:00 PM ET

Sunday is ‘GameDay’ and every week NFL Network provides more than 15 hours of live coverage, beginning at 7:00 AM ET with NFL GameDay First. NFL Network’s coverage continues at 9:00 AM ET with NFL GameDay Morning leading viewers into the early games. At 1:00 PM ET, NFL GameDay Live provides in-progress highlights and analysis of the day’s games, and at 7:30 PM ET, NFL GameDay Highlights recaps the entire afternoon. At 11:30 PM ET, NFL GameDay Final provides complete analysis on the entire football Sunday.

This Week on NFL GameDay First

Host: Melissa Stark

Co-host/Analyst: Sterling Sharpe

Analysts: Shaun O’Hara & Michael Robinson

Featured this week on NFL GameDay First:

  • Players Only Sterling Sharpe, Shaun O’Hara and Michael Robinson examine the race for first place in the NFC West between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, and discuss what Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is doing better this year than he did during their Super Bowl championship run last season
  • First Tailgate – What is the key ingredient for a Dallas Cowboys win at home over the NFC South-champion Indianapolis Colts?
  • Are Bill Belichick and Tom Brady the greatest coach-quarterback combination in NFL history?
  • Has Jay Cutler started his last game as Chicago Bears quarterback?
  • What will we be calling “Johnny Football” after his second NFL start?
  • Which playoff contender needs the biggest “Christmas Miracle” to reach the postseason?
  • Full highlights, analysis and reaction from Saturday’s doubleheader of Eagles-Redskins and Chargers-49ers
  • Live reports from Kim Jones for Patriots-Jets, Aditi Kinkhabwala for Chiefs-Steelers, Alex Flanagan for Ravens-Texans, Jeff Darlington for Browns-Panthers and Albert Breer for Falcons-Saints
  • NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport provides the latest news from around the league
  • Picks for every game on Sunday

This Week on NFL GameDay Morning

Host: Rich Eisen

Analysts: Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp & Michael Irvin

NFL Media Insider: Ian Rapoport

Featured this week on NFL GameDay Morning:

  • NFL Media’s Michael Silver sits down with Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett to discuss his long and winding road in the NFL
  • Feature on the Kemoeatu brothers – Chris and Ma’ake Kemoeatu – which is a holiday story of love and sacrifice from former NFL rivals
  • NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington examines the past two weeks for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton
  • Full highlights and analysis of Saturday’s doubleheader, and what they mean for the playoff picture
  • Players Only – What is it like playing for pride?
  • How will Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray be affected by his broken hand? Marshall Faulk had the same injury and knows the answer
  • Why has quarterback Jay Cutler failed in Chicago?
  • NFL GameDay Morning analyzes what to expect from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton coming off the accident
  • Will Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel bounce back this week?
  • Did the Buffalo Bills provide a blueprint for beating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers?
  • How do the New England Patriots avoid an upset to Rex Ryan and the New York Jets?
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers can clinch a playoff spot with a win. How do they get it done against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday?
  • Santa Mooch makes his annual appearance to give presents to the NFL GameDay Morning crew
  • NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport has the latest news from around the NFL
  • Week 16 Bold Predictions & picks for every game on Sunday
  • Live reports
    • Albert Breer from New Orleans for Falcons-Saints
    • Jeff Darlington from Charlotte for Browns-Panthers
    • Alex Flanagan from Houston for Ravens-Texans
    • Kim Jones from New York for Patriots-Jets
    • Aditi Kinkhabwala from Pittsburgh for Chiefs-Steelers
    • Desmond Purnell from Dallas for Colts-Cowboys

NFL GameDay Live, NFL GameDay Highlights and NFL GameDay Final Conclude Sunday Coverage

At 1:00 PM ET, NFL GameDay Live provides in-progress highlights and analysis, as well as live fantasy football updates for all of the 1:00 and 4:00 PM ET games. Hosts Kevin Frazier and Dan Hellie are joined by analysts Heath Evans, Brian Billick, LaDainian Tomlinson and Daniel Jeremiah providing 6.5 hours of coverage.

At 7:30 PM ET, Chris Rose hosts NFL GameDay Highlights, along with Tomlinson, Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and Steve Mariucci.

At 11:30 PM ET, Rose and analysts Sanders, Michael Irvin and Marshall Faulk recap all of the day’s action on NFL GameDay Final with game highlights, player and coach press conferences, post-game interviews and analysis of every game.


Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.

Currently in more than 72 million homes, NFL Network has carriage agreements with each of the country’s largest television providers including Comcast, DirecTV, DISH Network, Cablevision, Cox, Charter, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse.

For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming can also be streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (, the NFL app delivered on XBOX from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network (, with participating cable and satellite providers. For more information, log on to is the exclusive internet home of NFL Network.


New 30 for 30 Will Explore 1980 US Olympic Hockey Game Through the Soviet Lens

espn-logoESPN Films today announced a new 30 for 30 documentary, “Of Miracles and Men,” that will premiere on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film, directed by Jonathan Hock (“The Best That Never Was” and “Survive and Advance”), will take a different look at the “Miracle on Ice.”

The story of one of the greatest upsets in sports history has been told. Or has it? On a Friday evening in Lake Placid, a plucky band of American collegians stunned the vaunted Soviet national team, 4-3 in the medal round of the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey competition. Americans couldn’t help but believe in miracles that night, and when the members of Team USA won the gold medal two days later, they became one for the ages.

But there was another, unchronicled side to the “Miracle On Ice.” The so-called bad guys from America’s ideological adversary were in reality good men and outstanding players, forged into the Big Red Machine by the genius and passion of Anatoli Tarasov. There was a reason they seemed unbeatable, especially after routing the Americans in an exhibition the week before the Winter Games began. And there was a certain shame in them having to live the rest of their lives with the results of February 22, 1980.

“Of Miracles and Men” will explore the scope of the “Miracle on Ice” through the Soviet lens with an intense focus on the game itself, giving it renewed suspense and a fresh perspective. But the journey of the stunned Soviet team didn’t begin – or end – in Lake Placid. In the wake of that famous loss, head coach Viktor Tikhonov and captain Slava Fetisov waged a personal battle that determined the future of Russian hockey.

“Somewhat similar to how our 30 for 30 film ‘The Two Escobars’ gave viewers a chance to look at the stunning defeat of Colombia in the 1994 World Cup from a different point of view, ‘Of Miracles and Men’ provides an opportunity to experience America’s shocking victory 35 years ago from the other side,” says ESPN Films Executive Producer John Dahl. “For example, we all know the famous Al Michaels call of the ‘Miracle on Ice’ but this time people will also hear how legendary Soviet broadcaster Nikolai Ozerov described the action. ‘Of Miracles and Men’ will give the audience a deeper understanding of what the Soviet hockey experience was like before, during and after that monumental event.”

Says director Jonathan Hock: “Of all the 30 For 30 films I’ve directed, ‘Of Miracles and Men’ is the most ambitious. I was raised in the 1970’s on the notion that Soviet hockey players were robots, part of a machine that played a heartless style of hockey. But given the beauty and creativity of their game, that never made sense to me. So I wanted to discover the truth about the men on the other side of the ‘Miracle on Ice’ game. It took us two years to dig up all the archival footage and find all the players, filming across seven time zones in Russia from Moscow to Siberia to Vladivostok. What we discovered was that, both before and after Lake Placid, something miraculous happened on their side as well. This is their story, about their ‘Miracle.’”

“Of Miracles and Men” is produced by Hock Films, with executive producer Maura Mandt and producer Don Kempf. Additional information including film clips and director statements and bios will be available on the 30 for 30 website; Follow 30 for 30 on Facebook ( and Twitter (@30for30).

About ESPN Films

Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports.  In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning, Producer’s Guild Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. The strong reaction from both critics and fans led to the launch of 30 for 30 Volume II, which is currently underway. Additional projects from ESPN Films include the critically acclaimed Nine for IX series, SEC Storied and the Webby Award-winning 30 for 30 Shorts.


Larry Fitzgerald & Arizona Cardinals Host Russell Wilson & Seattle Seahawks On NBC’s Sunday Night Football

FNIA-nfl-nbcCoverage Begins with Football Night In America at 7 p.m. ET on NBC

NBC Sports Live Extra to Live Stream Seahawks-Cardinals

Football Night in America Averaging 8.3 Million Viewers This Season, up 4%

NBC Sports Sends Two Lucky Fans to Super Bowl XLIX with the NBC Sports Super Bowl Fan Challenge

FBU Eighth Grade National Championship Game Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 17, 2014 – Larry Fitzgerald and the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals (11-3) host Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (10-4) this Sunday, Dec. 21, on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.  The game will take place at University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of Super Bowl XLIX, which will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, Feb. 1. Sunday night’s coverage begins with Football Night In America at 7 p.m. ET.

After a 12-6 win last Thursday against the Rams, the Cardinals are the first team in the NFC to clinch a playoff berth. Arizona can retain their spot atop the NFC West this week by defeating the Seahawks on Sunday, giving them first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Seahawks can clinch their division for the second season in a row with victories on Sunday and in Week 17.

Last Sunday, Wilson led the Seahawks to a 17-7 win over the 49ers at home, during which RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown. Wilson’s career 34 regular-season wins are the most by any quarterback in their first three seasons since 1966.

The two teams last met in Week 12, when the Seahawks broke the Cardinals’ six-game winning streak, beating the team 19-3.

Calling Seahawks-Cardinals is seven-time Emmy Award-winner Al Michaels (play-by-play), in his 29th season as the voice of the NFL’s premier primetime package; 15-time Emmy Award-winner Cris Collinsworth, who has won the Emmy for Outstanding Event Analyst in each of his five seasons in the Sunday Night Football booth; and two-time Emmy Award-winning sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.

NBC’s coverage of Sunday Night Football is led by Emmy Award-winning producer Fred Gaudelli and Emmy Award-winning director Drew EsocoffSunday Night Football has won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Series for a record six consecutive years.

Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports, is hosted by 26-time Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas, who will report from University of Phoenix Stadium in in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday. Costas will be joined on site by Collinsworth, Tafoya, two-time Super Bowl winner Hines Ward, and NBC Sports commentator Josh Elliott.

Dan Patrick co-hosts Football Night from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 and will be joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN and, and Peter King of Sports Illustrated. Kathryn Tappen will report from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on the Colts-Cowboys game.

Through the first 15 weeks of the season, Football Night in America is averaging 8.3 million viewers – up 4% from last year leading into Week 16 (8 million).


Harrison: “We know they have a lot of star players, but the thing I’m excited about is the contributions they’re getting from their role players. DT Jordan Hill…CB Byron Maxwell are playing extremely well. They’re starting to blitz more because of all of that great man-to-man coverage, and they’re going against a third-string quarterback on Sunday.”

Michaels: “[Cardinals coach] Bruce Arians has done a magnificent job no matter what’s happened down there. Arizona has a great defense, but they’re faced with their No. 3 and 4 quarterbacks facing Seattle’s defense…and the Seahawks are rolling.”


NBC Sports will send two lucky fans to Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., with the NBC Sports Super Bowl Fan Challenge, as part of its multi-platform promotion leading up to the game on Sunday, Feb. 1, on NBC.

Beginning now through Jan. 6, 2015, fans visit the NBC Sports Super Bowl Fan Challenge and complete weekly challenges for a chance to win the grand prize – VIP access and two (2) tickets to Super Bowl XLIX, as well as hotel and airfare accommodations.

Click here for more info:


NBCSN presents live coverage of the FBU Eighth Grade National Championship game this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET. 121 teams of eighth graders across 16 different regions competed in the FBU National Championship tournament, with four teams advancing to this weekend’s FBU Championship in Naples, Fla.  After the semifinal round this Saturday, two teams will advance to this Sunday’s FBU Eighth Grade National Championship game.

Paul Burmeister will serve as the play-by-play announcer, joined in the booth by Anthony Herron at Naples High School in Naples, Fla. 


For the seventh consecutive season, Sunday Night Football will be streamed live online. NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product, will stream all SNF games to desktops and tablets. The full HD-quality video stream will come directly from NBC’s broadcast of SNF. For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available at the App Store for iPad and iPod touch, and on select tablet devices within Google Play.


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ALL-ACCESS SNF All-Access includes exclusive photos and videos of the Sunday Night Football production team, look-ins on SNF production meetings, Michele Tafoya’s “Ten With Tafoya” interviews with NFL players, and conversations with SNF and FNIA talent.


NBC Sports Group’s comprehensive social media coverage includes the Sunday Night Football Facebook page, providing exclusive behind-the-scenes SNF content & digital content from NBCSports.comSNF All, and, @SNFonNBC, using tweets, photos, Vines and videos & real-time tweets from Michele Tafoya, and a look at SNF through the filters of Instagram.


NBC Sports Group’s Sunday Night Football bus returns this season to travel the country visiting the host cities of all 17 Sunday Night Football games and postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIX. The bus arrives in each city two to three days prior to the game and stops at local landmarks and events, where fans have the opportunity to interact with America’s most-watched primetime television show via exclusive memorabilia, and an interactive 55-inch touch screen housing social media elements, photos and video. Fans can digitally follow the Sunday Night Football bus at


For the third consecutive season NBC Sports presents “The Sunday Night Football,” a custom-made football from Wilson, which will travel with the SNF crew all season. Fans of SNF on Facebook and Twitter can keep up with “The Sunday Night Football” on the SNF Facebook page, and at the end of each SNF game, “The Sunday Night Football” will be signed by the player of the game.

For more information on Sunday Night Football’s comprehensive digital coverage, click here:


Tonight’s all new edition of NFL Turning Point, NBCSN’s Emmy Award-nominated weekly NFL show co-produced by NFL Films, will feature in-depth analysis of Sunday’s matchup between Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys vs. Mark Sanchez and the Philadelphia Eagles. Airing tonight at 11 p.m. ETNFL Turning Point will breakdown the back-and-forth battle between the two teams this past Sunday, and review how the Dallas Cowboys rallied to beat the Eagles 38-27 after blowing a 21-point lead.

In addition, this week’s edition will analyze the Denver Broncos new run-first offense, and feature wired-for-sound segments with Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul, and Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin.

Hosted by Football Night In America’s Dan Patrick, the hour-long program will air throughout the entire NFL season, including the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Click here for more info:


Pro Football Talk, NBCSN’s daily NFL studio show co-hosted by Mike Florio and Paul Burmeister, airs at 5:30 p.m. ET every Monday through Friday. Pro Football Talk provides all-encompassing coverage of the NFL, and features a roster of NBC Sports football commentators who share a combined eight Super Bowl titles and 169 seasons of NFL experience, including Cris Collinsworth (Thursdays), Tony Dungy (Tuesdays), Hines Ward (Wednesdays), Doug Flutie (Fridays), Jason Taylor, Takeo Spikes, Brian Westbrook, Ross Tucker, Jon Ritchie, NFL coach Kevin Gilbride, and longtime NFL athletic trainer Mike Ryan.


Fantasy Football Live is a live and on-demand, multi-platform, fantasy football program that airs Tuesday through Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, combining the best fantasy football expertise from Yahoo! Sports and NBC Sports, including unique metrics from Yahoo! Sports’ leading fantasy football platform, and full integration with NBC Sports’ premier fantasy sports information site,

Hosted by NBC Sports’ Dave Briggs,  Fantasy Football Live features a roster of Yahoo Sports, NBC Sports and Rotoworld fantasy analysts, including Rotoworld’s Kay Adams, as well as Yahoo Sports’ Brad EvansBrandon Funston and Andy Behrens.


NBCSN Sunday Sports Report, a new, weekly, one-hour program that showcases the news and highlights of the sports properties that are carried by NBC Sports Group, airs every Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Hosted by Liam McHugh, NBCSN Sunday Sports Report goes in-depth into the high-profile sports properties that primarily air on NBC and NBCSN, including the Olympics, NFL, NASCAR, NHL, Premier League, golf, Triple Crown horse racing, Notre Dame Football, Formula One, IndyCar and more.

Click here for more info:


NBC Sports Radio will surround the 2014 NFL season with daily coverage on 439 radio affiliates, highlighted by McNabb and Malone; an all-sports show that leverages the unique perspective of two former NFL quarterbacks, and Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison; featuring three-time All Pro and two-time Super Bowl-winner Rodney Harrison.

To listen to a live stream of NBC Sports Radio, or find your local affiliate, visit


NBC Sports Regional Networks, which serve top NFL markets such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston and San Francisco, will surround the 2014 NFL season with in-depth news, analysis and original programming on the teams that matter most in more than 43 million U.S. households.


NBC will broadcast 19 primetime NFL games during the 2014 regular season.

*Sun. Dec. 21 Week 16 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
*Sun. Dec. 28 Week 17 TBA

*Flex Week

Follow “Sunday Night Football” on Twitter @SNFonNBC

Become a fan of “Sunday Night Football” on Facebook at:

Follow “Sunday Night Football” on Instagram @snfonnbc

Visit SNF All-Access at:

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit


NFL Network’s ‘NFL Total Access Kickoff’ & ‘NFL Thursday Night Kickoff’ Notes & Quotes – Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Thursday_Night_Football_logo-cbs-nflNFL Total Access Kickoff aired from outside EverBank Field tonight at 6:00 PM ET on NFL Network, with host Rich Eisen and analysts Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk and Steve Mariucci providing pregame analysis leading up to Cowboys-Bears on Thursday Night Football.

At 7:30 PM ET on NFL Network, James Brown, Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher hosted NFL Thursday Night Kickoff from inside the stadium. Eisen, Irvin, Mariucci and Faulk appeared on the show.

Quotes from NFL Total Access Kickoff & NFL Thursday Night Kickoff

“RGIII has nothing to prove in Washington. The reason I say that [is] because it’s over for RGIII in Washington. Here’s the game plan: RGIII needs to go to the Houston Texans.” – Deion Sanders on Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III

“[Robert Griffin III] has to appear to be healthy because that’s the thing that everybody is watching…He’s got to play quick and fast and resemble that quick, fast rookie that we saw a few years ago.” – Steve Mariucci on Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III

“When you define [Jay Cutler’s] career you say that you’re enamored with his talent, disappointed with his performance and bothered by his body language. I think when you look at him, he’s a guy that doesn’t inspire those around him. He kind of deflates them.” – Bill Cowher on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler

“I’ve never seen a guy who just was so lackadaisical when he made mistakes. I rarely see the hand pointing at him when things go wrong to the receivers, or the [running] back, or the offensive line.” – Marshall Faulk on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler

“If Aaron Kromer had to do what he did it’s because he could not go upstairs and tell someone. If you can’t go upstairs and say, ‘Hey coach, GM, owner this is what we have, the problems that we have with our quarterback,’ then it’s above you. You have to do stuff. Sometimes things leak out – and sometimes you want them to leak out because the problem is bigger than you.” – Marshall Faulk on Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer’s comments on Jay Cutler

“If DeMarco Murray plays in this game it’s going to take a miracle and some really good medicine.” – Marshall Faulk on Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray

“[Johnny Manziel] understands now that the speed at this level is different. He’ll play better. He’ll make a statement.” – Michael Irvin on Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel

“Sometimes [Mark Sanchez] truly makes us understand that he’s the backup quarterback. He’s not Nick Foles. It only takes a couple of throws here and there and it’s a whole different outcome in the game they played a week ago.” – Deion Sanders on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez

“You look at the San Diego Chargers and really they are a second level team…They beat the teams they’re supposed to beat but they’re not ready to take the next step.” – Bill Cowher on the San Diego Chargers

“This [Seattle Seahawks’] defense, it’s playing better than it did a year ago.” – Steve Mariucci on the Seattle Seahawks defense

“[The Jacksonville Jaguars] reminds me a lot of our young Cowboy team before we got rolling.” – Michael Irvin on the Jacksonville Jaguars offense

“This is a young football team. I love what they have in terms of a staple moving forward with this kid Blake Bortles.” – Bill Cowher on Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles

“I have to give a lot of credit to Gus Bradley…This team hasn’t given up. They play hard, they fight until the end, and they do what they need to do. They just need to do it more consistently.” – Deion Sanders on Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley

“I really like the Baltimore Ravens going down the stretch for the playoffs.” – Deion Sanders on the Baltimore Ravens

On the following video clips from NFL Total Access Kickoff & NFL Thursday Night Kickoff is available for viewing:

- Which Team Needs Homefield Advantage Most? – The NFL Total Access Kickoff crew debate which team needs homefield advantage most in the playoffs:

- Sink or Swim: Who Will Make the Playoffs? – Host Rich Eisen, and analysts Steve Mariucci, Bill Cowher, Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin analyze which teams are sinking and which teams are swimming heading towards the playoffs:

- What are the Bears Thinking after Benching Cutler? NFL Total Access Kickoff breaks down the latest in Chicago:

With NFL Mobile, stream more live games than ever before. Get Thursday, Sunday & Monday Night primetime NFL games and for the first time, local Sunday afternoon games live on your smartphone. Plus, stream NFL Network 24/7 and NFL RedZone every Sunday live, exclusively from Verizon.

NFL Mobile is available to Verizon Wireless customers with a premium subscription for $5/month. Verizon customers can access live games and NFL Network included with the MORE Everything Plan. NFL RedZone is not included with the More Everything Plan, but can be purchased through NFL Mobile for $1.99/mo. For more information about NFL Mobile from Verizon, visit Data usage applies for app download use & blackout rules apply.




# # #

Dynamic Wide Receiver Tandem Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith Profiled on NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’

NFL_Network_2012_Logo‘Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life’ Premieres Friday, December 19 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network

Advance Premiere Airs Following Titans-Jaguars on ‘Thursday Night Football’

“Those two guys put Jacksonville on the map. I don’t think they’ve had anybody close to that or probably will ever have anyone close to those two wide receivers.” – Steve Smith Sr.

For six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith – nicknamed Thunder and Lightning – combined for more yards and receptions than any other wide receiver tandem in the NFL during that time period. Yet while one of them has been able to transition well to life outside of the NFL, the other is still trying to find his way.

NFL Network’s series A Football Life continues Friday, December 19 at 9:00 PM ET with the story of McCardell and Smith, one of the most dynamic receiving duos in NFL history. The one-hour NFL Films-produced documentary includes McCardell visiting Smith at his home in Mississippi while Smith was on house arrest to reminisce about their playing time together. Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life also addresses Smith’s struggles with drug use, the perception that it was the cause of his sudden retirement, and the recovery process that is still taking place.

An advance premiere of Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life airs on Thursday, December 18 following the conclusion of the Thursday Night Football game between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Following the premiere of Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life on NFL Network, the episode – along with the entire A Football Life series – will be available on NFL Now, the League’s next-generation video service. Providing fans access to the largest digital library of NFL video anywhere, NFL Now dynamically personalizes each fan’s viewing experience, allowing them to follow their favorite NFL teams and players. Visit for more information.

Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on NFL Mobile from Verizon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Among the topics discussed in Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life are:

  • The on-field numbers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell amassed as a receiving tandem in Jacksonville
  • Defeating the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos on the road in 1996 playoffs to make it to the AFC Championship Game
  • Losing to the Tennessee Titans three times in the 1999 season – the team’s only three losses the entire season
  • Smith’s time as a backup wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys
  • McCardell winning a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being cut by the Jaguars
  • Smith’s off-field issues with drug use and his ongoing recovery

Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.

Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people and more:

Jimmy Smith

Keenan McCardell

Etta Smith – Jimmy’s mother

Trey Smith – Jimmy’s son

Mark Brunell – Jaguars teammate

Tony Boselli – Jaguars teammate

Fred Taylor – Jaguars teammate

Tom Coughlin – Former Jaguars head coach

Steve Smith Sr. – Ravens wide receiver

Jerry Jones – Cowboys owner

Troy Aikman – Hall of Fame quarterback

Pete Prisco – Former Florida Times-Union writer

Mark Rypien – Former Redskins quarterback

Samari Rolle – Former Titans defensive back

Brad Johnson – Former Buccaneers quarterback

Provided below are some select quotes from Keenan McCardell & Jimmy Smith: A Football Life:

“Being a professional player, sometimes you think that you’re above the law. You have to have someone to tell you no sometimes, and it’s hard because who’s going to tell you no? You have to have that person that is going to see through all of the stardom and the money and the fame, and say, ‘You have to stop.’ I would have had that if someone would have known about it. I had those people around me but I hid it so well.” Jimmy Smith

“They were inseparable. They were just about like brothers.” – Etta Smith

“Those two guys put Jacksonville on the map. I don’t think they’ve had anybody close to that or probably will ever have anyone close to those two wide receivers.” – Steve Smith Sr.

“For us, it wasn’t a shock that we made these plays. We had so much confidence in each other that we were not going to let each other down.” – Keenan McCardell

“I was shocked. I had never had an occasion to question him and he had never indicated to me anything but straight, truthful answers. So myself and the legal team believed him. We believed him.” – Tom Coughlin

“I never doubted any of his decisions because he never gave me anything to say that I shouldn’t trust him.” – Keenan McCardell

“The unfortunate thing is that they thought I retired because I failed a drug test. I had one year left on my contract and I was tired; I was actually tired the year before. I was just like what else do I have to play for?” – Jimmy Smith

“It was painful. You don’t raise your children to have this happen to them.” – Etta Smith

“People like Keenan in this business today are needed to tell them the work that has to go into succeeding. Players can relate to somebody like Keenan McCardell.” – Tom Coughlin

This season, A Football Life airs Friday at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network. Below is the broadcast schedule for upcoming episodes of A Football Life:

  • January 2 – The 2006 Rose Bowl


Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.

Currently in more than 72 million homes, NFL Network has carriage agreements with each of the country’s largest television providers including Comcast, DirecTV, DISH Network, Cablevision, Cox, Charter, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse.

For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming can also be streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (, the NFL app delivered on XBOX from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network (, with participating cable and satellite providers. For more information, log on to is the exclusive internet home of NFL Network.


Brandon Marshall Calls For Team Kumbaya In The Off-Season, Tonight on INSIDE THE NFL, 9p ET/PT on SHO

sho-nfl“Unfortunately, what has been going on these past couple weeks is a microcosm to our whole season … this is unacceptable…” – Brandon Marshall

“Playing quarterback … it’s no joke … The difference here with Johnny Manziel, there’s a lot of style and very little substance.” – Boomer Esiason

NFL ON CBS Rules Expert Mike Carey Joins As Special Guest

INSIDE THE NFL Premieres Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®

NEW YORK (Dec. 16, 2014) – This week’s installment of INSIDE THE NFL premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  Host Greg Gumbel is joined by expert analysts Boomer Esiason, Ed Reed and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin in-studio to discuss an action-packed Week 15. Injured Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall joins via satellite with a health update on the Bears and himself.

NFL ON CBS Rules Expert Mike Carey joins the INSIDE THE NFL cast to go over several controversial calls, including 49ers Nick Mooney’s hit on Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III‘s no-touchdown dive into the end zone. Also highlighted is discussion of Johnny Manziel’s first NFL career start, as well as the playoff picture heading into the final two weeks of the regular-season.

Plus, Ravens’ Linebacker Terrell Suggs and more are wired for sound.

INSIDE THE NFL is produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films. The executive producers are Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports, Ross Ketover and Pat Kelleher of NFL Films.  Pete Radovich Jr., the Emmy Award-winning Creative Director for CBS Sports, serves as coordinating producer.

#  #  #


On The Chicago Bears…

Brandon Marshall – “Unfortunately, what has been going on these past couple weeks is a microcosm to our whole season. We really have to just gel together and really try to do, I don’t know, some kumbaya in the off-season to really get back where we need to be because this is unacceptable and this is bad.”

On Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer…

Brandon Marshall – “I love [Aaron] Kromer. He’s probably the best teaching coach I’ve ever been around. This is just a part of our season right now … We are all so frustrated. Sometimes, people do things and say things that they regret. I think this is one of those things for Kromer. Unfortunately, it’s at the hand of Jay Cutler, taking a nice little lashing, and our team now… Sometimes, if you get too emotional you say the wrong things, it can unfortunately get back to the wrong person.

On Johnny Manziel’s First NFL Career Start…

Michael Irvin – “Folks, it’s going to take a while before ‘Johnny Be Good’ … There’s one thing to sit and watch. Really, to learn this game you have to be on that football field … This is not college football.”

Boomer Esiason – “Playing quarterback is a beast. It’s no joke … I started four games my rookie year and I was lost. If you asked [Cris] Collinsworth and [Anthony] Muñoz and all my ex-teammates from back then, they would probably tell you that there’s no way this guy is going to be the quarterback of the future. We all go through it. Troy Aikman went through it. John Elway went through it. The difference here with Johnny Manziel, there’s a lot of style and very little substance.”

On Teams Tanking in the NFL…

Michael Irvin –  “The one thing football players will always do, and they will always tell you, whenever you step on that football field if you don’t go as hard as you can go … you get hurt. I’ve always believed you get hurt anytime you don’t play all-out on a football field. I just don’t see it [tanking] happening.”

#  #  #

Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue Thursday, Dec. 25, with a special Christmas Day showcase featuring the Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. ET,

followed by the Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m. 

****    ****    ****    ****

TNT NBA Tip-off presented by

Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Grant Hill



 Smith on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo’s move to Dallas: “The great thing about Rondo is that he has played with [veterans] Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, three other guys who like having the ball and like to score. You look at [Mavericks stars] Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons and you say, ‘Ok…he’s done this before.’ Not only did he do it, he played at a high level with veterans. It’s hard to say it puts the Mavericks over the top, but they will be one or two in terms of regular season. When the playoffs start, you can’t just give it to them, because there are other teams that have done it already, OKC and San Antonio especially.”

O’Neal on Rondo to the Mavs: “It definitely puts the Mavericks in the championship talk. Last time they had weapons of this caliber, they won a championship. He makes it easier for people. Now [Mavs guard] Monta Ellis doesn’t have to handle the ball. He can get up court and Rondo will deliver. I see them making it to the Western Conference Finals.”

Hill: “This is a power move right here. You’ve got to give credit to [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban. He’s going all in. I like this move. Anything could happen in the West.”



Hill on the Thunder’s ability to get to the postseason: “Everybody has been talking about this mountain they have to climb, but if these guys are healthy, they are going to win enough games to get into the postseason. The most important thing is they are playing their best basketball going into the postseason. They are good enough to come out of the Western Conference when they are clicking on all cylinders.”

O’Neal on playing the Thunder in the playoffs: “No one wants to face them in the first round. It’s going to be a lot of teams watching them to see what spot they’re in and they’ll be finagling games so they don’t have to play the Thunder.”

  Hill on the injury to Warriors center Andrew Bogut: “They don’t need Bogut during the regular season, but when the postseason comes and they have to prepare, they are going to need him. They are playing great basketball now. But everything changes in the postseason; they are going to need the big fella back.”

****    ****    ****    ****

New York Knicks (97) @ Chicago Bulls (103)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)



   Barkley on Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.: “Hardaway Jr. has a chance to be a terrific player in this league. He has to be careful to not rely on the jump shot…just taking the ball to the basket will open up his outside game.”

Barkley on the Knicks: “This notion that just because they have a lot of money, everyone is going to want to come to New York and play for [Knicks President] Phil Jackson, I think that’s a flawed theory. Some of these guys will be giving up 20, 30, 40 million dollars. They’re not going to give that up just to say they played for Jackson. The Knicks are a lot of players away from being legitimate.”

Miller on why the triangle offense isn’t working for the Knicks: “When you run the triangle offense, and you have a Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal or Scottie Pippen, all your attention and your eyes are diverted to them. On this Knicks team, other than Carmelo Anthony…their opponents don’t have to double down.”

Barkley on Knicks star Carmelo Anthony: “If I needed one basket in the NBA, I would go to Carmelo. That guy is just a flat out scorer. He gets a lot of the blame, but he is not the reason the Knicks are awful.”

Miller on Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire: “Stoudemire is having the most efficient season of any of the New York Knicks, including Carmelo Anthony…balance wise, shooting wise. It’s been a nice resurgence for Amar’e.”

Miller on the lack of emotion from Knicks head coach Derek Fisher: “Why does everybody have to be [Jets head coach] Rex Ryan, ranting and screaming on the sidelines?  Everyone’s demeanor is different. All coaches coach differently. Phil Jackson wasn’t a screamer, either. This is how Derek Fisher coaches.”

Barkley on the early criticism of Fisher: “First it was [former Knicks head coach] Mike D’Antoni’s fault, then it was [former Knicks head coach] Mike Woodson’s fault…now it’s Derek Fisher’s fault. At some point as a player you have to look in the mirror and think, ‘Maybe I’m part of the problem.’ We can’t just keep firing coaches.”

Miller on why Phil Jackson and the Knicks should stick to the triangle offense instead of adjusting to the strengths of their current players: “It’s a culture and a lifestyle. If they end up getting free agents, this is how they are going to play. You have to market it and get it out there.”

Barkley on the reason this Knicks team is not buying into the triangle: “They’re not trying to buy into the triangle. They’re not worried about creating a culture. They are auditioning and are trying to put up good numbers for their future teams. Most of these players aren’t going to be with the Knicks next year. They’re just trying to get numbers.”

     Barkley on Bulls power forward Pau Gasol: “He’s rejuvenated. I think last year he didn’t feel appreciated in L.A. because he knew they weren’t going to sign him. He’s playing with great energy.”

Barkley on the Bulls: “They have the two best passing big men in the NBA with [power forward] Pau Gasol and [center] Joakim Noah down low. They are going to work well together all season.”

Miller on Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler: “Jimmy Butler should absolutely be an All-Star. It’s what he’s done at the defensive end. I love the mental approach. He learned a lot of this when he was under the tutelage of [Heat forward] Luol Deng. How he approached the game and studied his opponent, Butler is along the same cut of that in his approach on the defensive end.”

Barkley on Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: “They play his way, with maximum energy and effort. You play defense or you don’t get to play. This guy is one of the better coaches in the NBA. We should appreciate him.”

Barkley on the Eastern Conference: “When you look at the Eastern Conference there are four elite teams. The Bulls are the best team. Then you have Toronto, Washington and Cleveland. On paper, if they can ever get healthy, the Bulls are the team to beat.”

Miller on the leaders on the Bulls: “Until [point guard] Derrick Rose is fully healthy, this offense is going to be running through Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol.”

****    ****    ****    ****

Oklahoma City Thunder (109) @ Golden State Warriors (114)
Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Chris Webber (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)



 Webber on the increased leadership of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook this year: “It seems that in years past Westbrook’s role was to push the pace and be aggressive. This year, there has been a switching of roles due to Durant’s early injuries. Westbrook has embraced the responsibility and increased his input. He’s been efficient and improved defensively.”

Webber on the Thunder’s strength on the road: “You have to love the way they come out, especially on the road, with their attention to detail from the start.”

Webber on the Thunder’s ability to rely on Westbrook with Durant out with injury: “It’s so great to have a player like Westbrook on your team that always stays at the same level: aggressive and ready to go. The team can focus on him and not worry about the what-ifs [surrounding Durant’s ankle injury] until after the game, because they still have a great leader like Westbrook.”

Webber on Westbrook: “I don’t know where the term ‘stopping on a dime’ came from, but he is the definition of that. He’s full speed into a jump shot. He makes it look easy.”                                                                                 

   Webber on the atmosphere in Golden State: “These are some of the most underrated fans. Even through the thin years, when their team wasn’t very good, these fans were still loud. This is what they deserve, an exciting brand of basketball with a lot of highlight plays.”

Webber on Warriors forward Draymond Green: “Being an undersized player used to be such a disadvantage, because you could only stay in the post or different areas where the coach would not allow you to play your full game. [Warriors head coach] Steve Kerr has let Green go, and he is efficient from all areas of the floor.”

Webber on the early success of Warriors head coach Steve Kerr: “He had to communicate with guys, let them know his intentions and they had to trust him. Trust is a really big thing in the NBA. Much kudos go to Kerr for having this team trusting him this early.”

 Webber on the flow of the Warriors offense: “We’re seeing shots tonight that you just don’t see all the time. Steph Curry is shooting threes and attacking. When he flows and shares [the ball] with his teammates, everything starts to flow.”

Webber on the difficulty teams have defending the Warriors: “The Warriors are not only great three-point shooters but also great three-point shooters late in the game…a tough assignment for any opponent.”

****    ****    ****    ****

Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith, Hill

  Smith on what the Pelicans need to make it to the next level: “They have all the talent. What do they need? They have a point guard who’s a star in Jrue Holiday, they have a former rookie of the year in Tyreke Evans, an emerging superstar in [center] Anthony Davis, [forward] Ryan Anderson who shoots it lights out and guys who come off the bench and contribute. The only thing they need is experience, but they have everything you need to be a contender.”


 Hill on the new starting five in Dallas: “They have the pieces. I would put that starting five up against anybody. They have to be in the conversation. I’m not 100% sure about their bench, but that starting five is as good as any, and could will a team to The Finals.”

Smith on what Rajon Rondo’s move to Dallas means for visiting teams: “When you come into Dallas, you don’t get a night off. You don’t have an advantage. You have to create an advantage when you play against Rondo.  Now teams going into Dallas will be on their heels. Rondo defends and pushes the ball on you.”

Clips From “Michael Sam” Documentary Airing Saturday, December 27

ownSpecial “Oprah Prime” to Air Immediately After Featuring Oprah’s In-depth Interview with Michael Sam

Michael Sam from the OWN Documentary Special “Michael Sam”

Los Angeles – OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will air the exclusive documentary, “Michael Sam,” on Saturday, December 27 (9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT).  The 90-minute documentary follows the life of Michael Sam, who made history when he became the first openly gay football player drafted into the NFL.

Following the documentary special, Oprah Winfrey speaks exclusively with Michael Sam in his first television interview since being cut from the NFL on a special episode of “Oprah Prime” beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.

“MICHAEL SAM” DOCUMENTARY EXCERPT: With only 23 picks left in the draft Michael Sam contemplates whether he made the right decision to come out

MICHAEL SAM: The draft was the longest three days of my life.  I went upstairs and then I was thinking, should I have came out?  Did I make the right choice of coming out and telling the world I was gay?  And then I’m looking outside, through the window, and I’m thinking that, and then I felt a hand all over my shoulder and that person was Vito.  And in that moment I was like, I don’t care what happens.  I made the right choice to come out.