ESPN’s Super Bowl XLIX Coverage for Monday

espn-logo130 Hours of TV/Radio Planned from Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona

ESPN’s coverage of Super Bowl XLIX kicks off Monday, Jan. 26, at 6 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. MT and continues throughout the week with more than 130 hours of television and radio programming originating from set locations at Scottsdale Fashion Square (7014-590 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale) in Arizona.

Multiple editions of SportsCenter, NFL Live, NFL Insiders, Sunday NFL Countdown, Mike & Mike, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, SVP & Russillo and First Take and are some of the popular ESPN television and radio programs that will be based in Scottsdale throughout the week. Full release on ESPN Super Bowl plans.

Chris Berman, covering his 33rd Super Bowl, John Andersen, Jay Crawford, Lindsay Czarniak, Greenberg, Golic, Suzy Kolber, Steve Levy, Ryen Russillo, Hannah Storm, Scott Van Pelt and Trey Wingo will be among the show hosts. ESPN NFL analysts and experts will include the likes of Tedy Bruschi, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Trent Dilfer, Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworski, Keyshawn Johnson, Ray Lewis, Chris Mortensen, Bill Polian, Adam Schefter, Mark Schlereth and Steve Young, as well as active NFL player Ryan Clark. They will appear on various programs throughout the week to offer their analysis and perspective on the Patriots-Seahawks matchup in Super Bowl XLIX.

ESPN television and radio shows at Scottsdale Fashion Square will be open for public viewing all week. Monday’s schedule:

Time (MT) Show Network(s)
4-8 a.m. Mike & Mike Hosts: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic

Guests: Comedian and Impressionist Frank Caliendo (5:30 a.m.); and New York Jet Nick Mangold (7:30 a.m.)

ESPN Radio, ESPN2
8-11 a.m. SportsCenter Hosts: Hannah Storm and Jay Crawford

Guest: Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brad Kiesel

ESPN
8-10 a.m. First Take (The McCormick Hotel in Scottsdale)Host: Cari Champion; Lead Commentators: Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith

Guest: Chicago Bears K Jay Feely (8:15)

ESPN2
8-11 a.m. The Herd with Colin CowherdHost: Colin Cowherd

Guest: NBC Super Bowl XLIX play-by-play commentator Al Michaels (10:00)

ESPN Radio, ESPNU
11 a.m.-2 p.m. SVP & RussilloHosts: Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo

Guest: Kiesel (11:30)

ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS
1-2 p.m. NFL Insiders Host: Suzy Kolber. Insiders: Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Bill Polian ESPN
2-3 p.m. NFL Live presented by Golden CorralHost: Trey Wingo. Analysts: Ryan Clark (Redskins S), Mark Schlereth, Ron Jaworski, and Insider Schefter ESPN
3:30-4 p.m. PTIHosts: Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

Five Good Minutes Guest: (TBD)

ESPN
4-5 p.m. SportsCenter Hosts: John Anderson and Lindsay Czarniak.

Analysts: Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, and Insider Mortensen

ESPN
4-5 p.m. NFL Semanal Hosts: Ciro Procuna. Analysts: Alvaro Martin, Raul Allegre, John Sutcliffe, Mauricio Pedroza and Pablo Viruega ESPN in Latin America
5-8 p.m. Sedano & StinkHosts: Jorge Sedano and Schlereth. ESPN

Note: Commentator and guest schedules subject to change

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ESPN Super Bowl XLIX Preview Conference Call Transcript: NFL Analyst Tedy Bruschi

espn-nfl-liveESPN conducted a media conference call on Thursday with NFL analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion Tedy Bruschi. In his 13 seasons – all w/ the Patriots – Bruschi played in five Super Bowls, including the last Super Bowl in Arizona (XLII in 2008). Bruschi, who also played for Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll early in his career, will be part of ESPN’s week-long Super Bowl XLIX coverage from Arizona, beginning Monday, Jan. 26. (Full audio replay.) Transcript:
 
Opening remarks on the Seahawks-Patriots matchup:
BRUSCHI:  The first time I realized it was going to be Seattle and New England, I think, to my former coaches both Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick, I think that I’m most closely connected to Bill Belichick and the Patriots. I think sometimes people forget that Pete Carroll spent three years in New England, and they were three very influential years of my career.
 
My second and third, fourth year, rookie year being with Parcells, we lost to the Packers in the Super Bowl that year. But Carroll came in ‑‑ I believe our records were 10-6 and 9-7 and 8-8, but there were so many young players like myself that learned a lot from Pete.  And so I’m excited to see my two former head coaches square off in the Super Bowl.  A lot of interest I have on very different levels with both organizations.
 
Q. Tedy, I just wanted to ask you about your media career after you retired. And so many of your Patriot teammates have done the same thing. … I’m curious, your thoughts on why so many of your teammates have ended up having successful careers on television?
BRUSCHI:  It’s really simple to me.  There have been some players that, even since I’ve been at ESPN, have come and gone for a year or two. I mean, it’s been, my sixth year, I’m pretty sure, at ESPN.  And I’ve already seen analysts come and go but a lot of my teammates have stuck on and have been doing it for over five years, I think because of their intelligence and the players they were.
 
We were always pushed intellectually in that locker room.  And I think that using our brains and our minds to look at football a different way, the way that we were coached by Bill Belichick, it really helps us looking at the game now in terms of some of the things that I like doing is breaking down film and watching it and explaining to the public and the viewer in a way that I feel that they can digest it, because it was sometimes football can be complex.
 
And I think one of the greatest tools that Coach Belichick had was making it so black and white for us in terms of here are all the complexities, but then you break it down to three simple goals and what you need to do to win the game.
 
So I take that in terms of when I need to present something to the viewer in terms of what I feel needs to happen for the Carolina Panthers, to play the Seattle Seahawks, just by watching them play.  It’s like, well, this is one certain thing that they should focus on and now I’ll try to give that the best way I can to the viewer with the use of video or any type of way I can explain it vocally or verbally.
So a lot of smart players were on our team.  A lot of smart players that had to adapt from week to week.  And I try to just use that as an analyst.
Q. I was interested in just probing a little bit more on your memories of playing for Pete Carroll.  What was it like to play for Pete?  Do you see now the seeds of the coach that he’s become since he’s gone to Seattle, and in your mind has he changed at all?
BRUSCHI:  Well, I don’t think he’s changed much.  Maybe he’s grown as a coach in his own mind.  I think you always try to improve. But I mean, I see that energy.  I see the exuberance, the enthusiasm, the way that he speaks at the podium when I watch his press conferences is very similar to the way he handles things with us in the locker room.
 
Turnover Thursday, No Repeat Friday, things like that. The naming of the days. And the way that he’s able to relate to the new modern athlete, I think that’s new, on how he’s done that.
 
But with us, I always thought that Pete was a great coach. Very influential in my career. I mean, I was just learning to play linebacker when Pete came in. I mean, I was a defensive end at the University of Arizona. That’s all I did was rush the passer. So there was a lot I had to learn.  And after my rookie year, which I was primarily a special teams player and a situational pass rusher, developing into the linebacker that I eventually became with Coach Belichick, Pete Carroll, Bo Pelini, Steve Sidwell, those type of coaches, really helped me develop as a player.
Q. Why do you think it didn’t work out? You just had three years there and some fairly successful years? 
BRUSCHI:  I really thought that in that third year I know we only went 8-8. But I thought I saw Coach Pete Carroll, saw him harden a little bit. It’s a different deal out here in New England. And his mentality is, the way he handles things was so different than Coach Parcells.  And I thought we had some players that were much older and a lot of players that were very young that only knew one way and that was the Parcells way. Old school Jersey, if you will.  And then coming in, new school California. I’m from California, like Pete. I was born and raised in San Francisco. So I immediately related. And Pete taught me a lot of things about becoming a leader, becoming that leader on the team. It’s just unfortunate, I wasn’t even ready to take that step yet, because I was still learning how to survive to stay on a team.
 
But I think that just that team was in a place where they weren’t ready to accept what Pete was trying to give and whether that’s them being in the wrong place in their career, not at the right time, maybe, with me, or maybe just being stubborn and too set in their ways. But those combination of things could be a factor in terms of it not working out. But never did I doubt that I knew ‑‑ did I know that we had a good coach with us there. I’m very happy to see him have the success that he had at USC and Seattle.
Q. You mentioned before that Coach Belichick would always kind of narrow things down to three or four things you have to do to win.  When you look at the Patriots defense versus Russell Wilson, what’s the key to controlling him and not letting him go off and beat you?
BRUSCHI:  Beyond the obvious answers, let me just say this: I think the Patriots secondary is more than enough to handle the Seattle receivers within the structure of a down. And now I say that last part of it because when you’re going up against Russell Wilson the structure of a down is always broken, because what I mean by structure of a down, I mean within the – under four seconds.  Under four seconds, a play should be over on the defensive side of the ball. The ball is snapped. You drop back in coverage. Or it’s a run play and you read your keys, you drop back in coverage, you attack the run, whatever it may be, and, boom, the play should be over.
 
But with Russell Wilson, you’re going to venture into those areas of time where you don’t practice every day, or you’re not used to defending these types of plays, because it’s so organic. The fifth second, the sixth second, the seventh second, sometimes longer than that. And the routes – so say you’ve got a slant route. That slant route then becomes a zig and then a zag and then up field. You don’t go over these things in practice, you see.
 
So that’s what makes it so difficult for this secondary who I feel matches their receivers, that, okay, once you’ve overmatched them and the play goes longer, now you’re sort of playing street ball and how do you react to that.  And that equals the playing field. So that’s where an advantage sometimes can be a disadvantage based on the relationships those receivers have with Russell Wilson.
Q. Looking at the franchises over the last few decades that have made the playoff year after year Packers, Steelers, Cowboys, Niners, the Patriots, but they weren’t doing it in an era of free agency, salary caps and CBA that limits practice things. How have the Patriots been able to do this in that era?
BRUSCHI:  This modern era right now? Yes, I mean, that’s a good question. Because even as Coach Belichick anticipated these type of changes coming to training camps and during the season, if you look back to when he started to in training camps and he started on a regular basis having practices with other teams.
 
So you’re increasing the quality of competition on the limited amount of reps that you may get. So scrimmaging against other coaches and teams that you trust, like the New Orleans Saints and (Sean) Payton, like the Philadelphia Eagles with Chip (Kelly) and his squad, those little advantages in terms of we’re not going to be able to practice much, how do I maximize the practice?  How do I maximize the reps that my players get?  How do I make it more difficult for them?  Well, let’s bring in another team and let’s scrimmage against another team, because that’s more reps that you’re going to get that you can watch on film that are meaningful.  Because in preseason, I mean you don’t even have the preseason games.
 
There’s only a limited number of reps that you’ll see on film from your starters. So probably a majority of it you can see on practice. So little things like that in terms of those practice limitations that he has now, how to practice, really challenge the players mentally than physically, which he’s done for such a long time anyway in terms of meeting rooms and questions and quizzes and things like that. It’s those little things that keep the players on their toes mentally physically on the practice field and meeting room that keeps those players engaged.
Q. Also about the roster composition. You look back at the Packers and Steelers, they had the same guys in the same position five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years. Clearly that hasn’t happened with New England. How are you able to keep winning while you’re seeing new faces sometimes even in the same season?
BRUSCHI:  I can only say that you point back to coaching, and I say that because I mean the game plans of the Patriots are constantly changing with the opponent. And so the player that they look for is one that can be a chameleon, the more you can do, the multiple positions you can play. So getting players that, getting the right players that come in that are, one, smart, that are, two, durable, hopefully.  And three can play multiple positions because you’ll do it no matter who you are.
 
The quarterbacks not going to change very much. Maybe something like a running back, but still you have running backs that have split out as receivers that they have to know the route tree and things like that. The linebackers playing inside or outside and safeties playing both sides. Quarterbacks playing on the outside of a defense and inside of a slot.  It’s mandatory. It’s mandatory in this system. And so the ability to be able to have players that can accept that and also coach them in a certain way, it’s a tough thing to do. And that’s why you can see sometimes when they struggle watching them on film, it’s because the time to get the New England Patriots is in September. September, maybe early October, because that’s not only a time where the players are still learning their roles, the coaches are still figuring out what they want these players to do and have them in the right position.
Q. Since the Patriots have now lost two Super Bowls in a row, how important do you think it is for Brady and Belichick to get another one under their belt or does what they did earlier in their career sort of give them that lifetime pass, so to speak, for anything that happened after?
BRUSCHI:  If you just look at the success I don’t know what type of validation is really necessary, of course that would be great ‑‑ it accentuates everything that’s already been done.  But there are two consecutive Super Bowl losses. I was part of one of those teams. But the success of this team is undeniable, if you ask me. It’s just hard for people to recognize that without another Super Bowl championship. It has been 10 years.
Q. I know it’s a different part of the state, but just returning to Arizona where you had so much success in college and maybe some of the memories that will maybe come back to you as you head out west for the Super Bowl?
BRUSCHI:  Yeah, I really split that state in half in terms of memory. (Chuckling). The good memories I had down at the University of Arizona and then you drive up two hours, I don’t know how much it’s splitting it in half, but that drive, you know, up north to Glendale where we lost that Super Bowl, it’s something ‑‑ it’s THE loss in Super Bowl history. To me it is THE loss. We had a chance to complete a perfect season, 19-0. The Super Bowl that would trump all Super Bowls I would like to say at the time. And losing that game was a very difficult experience that I revisit very often, especially these type of times.
 
Especially when the New England Patriots play the Giants again I believe it was in Indianapolis. But those are all sort of offset by everything at the University of Arizona, the excitement they had this year with that football team, the great memories that I had down there playing for Dick Tomey. So it’s conflicting thinking about the entire state. When I think of Tucson, I’m coming home, whenever I go back. That’s a place that I still consider home and love the University of Arizona.
Q. Did you have fun watching Scooby Wright this year in particular?
BRUSCHI:  I had a great time watching Scooby play. To do all the things that he did off the line of scrimmage and also on, very difficult to do in terms of rushing the passer and then playing an off‑the‑line linebacker and reading and diagnosing plays.
 
Totally opposite from me. I only had my hand down in the dirt, read the hip of the offensive tackle. Much more complex player than I was coming out. And the production, it’s just startling to me the production that he had and to see him win all those awards was something that ‑‑ every time I see his name called I smile. Just watching a TV screen and seeing him go up there and be humbled the way that he’s been, accepting all those awards, which is very proud that he was a Wildcat.
Q. Just how would you compare the coaching styles and personalities of Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick?
BRUSCHI:  Well, let me put this in a way ‑‑ I think that I would say Pete demands a lot from you.  He expects a lot from his players and puts a lot on his players in terms of ownership of the team, taking their assignment, taking it to the next level, things like that.
 
Belichick puts the demands in front of you. This is what you must complete. I don’t know if I’m saying that well. But that’s the difference a little bit. Pete would want ‑‑ he put it on us in terms of taking control of the leadership, taking control of the team, taking it to the next level, things like that. He’s really a player’s coach, really relates to his players. That’s the way I talk about him. But Belichick, I wouldn’t call him a player’s coach. He’s a coach that knows – he knows what he wants and then expects his players to get it done.
Q. I’ll be the one to ask you what is your take on the Patriots deflating the football and what do you think should be done if they’re found guilty?
BRUSCHI:  I’d like to wait for the league and see what they come up with, see if they dole out any punishment. If they do, I just think that when it comes to my former team and when it comes to Coach Belichick, there’s going to be a lot of scrutiny no matter what it is. I think we all saw the press conference today. We’re waiting for Tom Brady to speak at 4:00.  But I just know how hard they work. I know what they put in, those players in that locker room.
 
I can’t control what people feel about the New England Patriots, because it’s easy for this to bring out ill will, to point fingers and call for jobs and things like that and fines and draft picks because of the success that they’ve had. And of course the history of Spygate in the past.
 
This team, I know how hard they work and I know the motivation that probably is mustered because of this. I mean, this is something I just see them getting through and moving on to the Super Bowl.
Q. Two‑prong question:  First, do you think what they’re doing to the Pro Bowl is enough to keep sustaining the level of excitement in it?  And, I wanted to ask you about the ‘Patriot Way’ and what the core of that really means and why it works for that franchise. 
BRUSCHI:  I think they’re trying as best they can to tweak that Pro Bowl to keep it interesting. Watched a little bit of the Pro Bowl draft last night with my kids, and they enjoyed it. They enjoyed the whole ‑‑ because I think it’s looking more fantasy football‑based, with the draft and you get to pick your player and things like that, and that’s a big element of fantasy football.  So putting a little bit of different spin on it. So long as the current players are still participating, this thing is always going to be successful. And you see them there last night and how they come out and they partake in the festivities. I think the fans appreciate that. So the game last year was a little better. Hopefully it’s good again this year. But I like how they’ve tried to tweak it to interest the modern audience, the modern, young audience. So I have no problems with that.
 
The ‘Patriot Way’, you know, it’s a hard way to live, if you ask me. There’s always pressure. I think what Bill said about the ball today is he tries to make it as hard as he possibly can for the team in terms of the ball, of making them muddy, sticky, wet, all that stuff. Imagine that type of approach to every single thing you do basically is what it is.
 
And I mean, that even comes to meetings when you’re anticipating questions out of the blue of who the third tight end is, or if you’re on the punt team who is the rusher on the wing. Which I was the rusher on the punt team, so I used to get that question all the time.
 
Always under constant pressure. And I could give you an easy answer of, oh, all for one and one for all, things like that, a little bit hunky‑dory, but it’s not really. It’s hard, it’s a hard way to live, with your coach that’s always putting pressure on you, a fan base that constantly puts pressure on you. You’ve got to love the pressure and live for the pressure to play in New England. That’s the way it is. You also have to know you’re getting pressure from outside sources. And they feel inside that locker room sometimes that everybody out there doesn’t want them to win. That’s the way we felt.
Q. I wanted to ask you about if the Patriots win, do you think Belichick deserves to be regarded as the best coach of all time?
BRUSCHI:  A lot of good coaches out there.  I can only speak to my knowledge.  And I played for three Super Bowl winning coaches in Parcells, Carroll and Belichick. And they were all great in their own right. Ten years in between Super Bowls for him to come back again and win it, it would send a great message in terms of the job he’s done, but just focusing on the job he’s done this year and where everyone thought they were after that Kansas City game, he just has a way of only focusing on what the next step is. Whatever step you took five minutes ago didn’t matter. I mean, it’s about moving forward, and that’s a hard message to send and for a team to buy into in this day and age.
 
So I think he would be in the conversation. I don’t want to say he definitely is, because obviously I’m going to sound biased. But I mean he definitely would be up there, yes.
Q. Just the way he gets so much out of ‑‑ I mean, everyone, just like (Mike) Vrabel catching touchdowns back in the day and the year all the DBs were hurt, how does he ‑‑ does he think outside the box when he evaluates?
BRUSCHI:  I think in the coaching profession, it is hard to think outside the box, because everyone knows each other in the NFL as coaches and as assistant coaches. And you go from team to team and from organization to organization. And it’s a stubborn profession sometimes. Even when you see offensive coordinators come in and they get a quarterback that’s entirely different than what they’ve had before but he’s got the height, weight, all the measurables and they bring him in and try to change them to their way because their way is the only way they knew it, because they’re stubborn.
 
And then the quarterback ends up failing because it’s not what he used to do. So that’s just a small example. I mean, thinking outside the box is here’s a player, this is what he can do best, why would I try to force him in to a role that’s not made for him? So he finds what that player does best and finds a role for him on the team in terms of a responsibility and he uses the best of the players. He really is organic in his thinking, if you ask me. I don’t think he’s old school at all, because he’s always changing from week‑to‑week, his game plan, in terms of what does best for the team. And I think that’s hard for some coaches in the NFL to grasp.
 
There’s so many ‘we do what we do’ type of teams and we’re just going to enforce our will on you. Now, there have been times when we’ve had a plan like that, but the majority of the time is what does that team do that we can exploit.  And a lot of coaches don’t think that way.
 
Q. No Mistake, No Repeat Friday, what does that mean, no mistakes?
BRUSCHI: That was Pete’s philosophy, when it comes to Friday and you’ve had Wednesday and Thursday, sort of theme days but you should have everything down by Friday because you’re just summing up everything. So the goal is to practice perfect on Friday so you shouldn’t have any repeat plays.
Q. I hate to belabor this, but you talked about Belichick making things feel hard in practice and all. Why is it that there’s so many controversies seem to follow him?  Is it just that pushing the envelope so much?
BRUSCHI: Well, I guess for a lot of people he’s a hard person to like. I don’t know what it is. You don’t get Rex Ryan up there. You don’t get a coach up there that’s going to give you what you want all the time, because I think he knows ‑‑ he knows the message that his players ‑‑ he knows the way he wants his players to conduct themselves in the locker room.  And he can’t expect that unless he’s that way in front of you. So I think there’s a lot of people that have maybe skewed opinions of him based on the past, based on the way he’s handled certain things publicly. So maybe that affects their judgment. I mean, this is a guy that all he does is want to win football games and is a great coach to all of his players, his players love him. So if people have a problem with him in terms of perception, I think that’s their problem, not his.
Q. Is there anything different that we should expect from ESPN’s coverage and broadcast of the Super Bowl this year?  And is it harder for you to be unbiased and step back from it when you know all the teams and the coaches so well and your past experiences, or is that a benefit?
BRUSCHI:  Different, I think we’re always different when we’re on. For me, I don’t know what I’m going to say every time I get up on air. It’s not like I’m scripted totally. But in terms of different, in terms of how their coverage is, I think that’s a question best for some of the higher‑ups. I know some of the shows that are planned are still the same. I think the quality of the people that work there, that’s what makes us different than a lot of other organizations or the networks.
 
But your second question … Is it hard for me to be unbiased? Sure. It is sometimes. It is sometimes hard for me to be unbiased. For goodness gracious, I presented them with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after they won the AFC Championship.
So it is hard. There are moments where I’ve been critical of them. I think right out the gate, I don’t think it took me long to criticize fourth and two with Bill Belichick, things like that that I’ve disagreed upon. I’m not shy to disagree with him because I had a lot of disagreements with my coaches when I was there. The same way, as hard as they coached me, I try to give them my input back, too. That’s what I try to do as best I can. It makes me lucky that they win a lot, I guess, they make my job easy sometimes. But I was just as hard on the offensive line this year after the Kansas City game, just as everyone else was. And I knew they had problems that had to be fixed. So I’m not shy to recognize that. I guess that’s my answer.
Q. You’ve seen the game from both sides. You were in there as a player. Now you’re on the media side. When you started doing that what were the biggest changes for you or what sort of mental adjustments you had to make and maybe a sort of a follow‑up to what you were just saying, like how you approach the game now as opposed to when you did as a player?
BRUSCHI: Well, right now I watch the game the same in terms of seeing two plays ahead, three plays ahead. I mean, I was watching the NFC Championship game with Willie McGinest on the TV before the game started. And I mean we’re talking about situational football, before overtime even happened, if this happens do you go for two, what play to you run, does it have a run pass option. If it goes to overtime, do you want the ball, things like that. So there’s a big part of me still that’s a player that watches it, and what intrigues me is coaching decisions that they make and plays that they run and things like that, yes, but the change that I had to make is when I watch a game, I try to see it now as a viewer that doesn’t have the football education that I have. So I see a play. I know what happened. There was a big play in the game. Or maybe it wasn’t a big play of the game, because it’s easy to just show the big play and how it happened, how the play was run and the result was a touchdown.
 
Well, if it was a drive, where is the play that really set that up? So what can I give the viewer that possibly they didn’t get just by watching it themselves? Certain things that I see. And sometimes it relates to drives earlier in the game. I mean, even breaking down the Green Bay Packers NFC Championship game versus the Seahawks in week one when they ran a route on one drive and then three drives later they ran a route that was where they tried to give the illusion of it being one route but actually they tried to check the Seahawks and run a counter off it. You’re not going to see it. Just watching it. You have to remember a play from three drives ago. And I get that stuff by rewatching it the next day and I say to myself, this, the viewer probably didn’t catch, so why don’t I try to deliver it to them.
Q. Plus you can’t go out there and tackle anybody now if you see something you don’t like. 
BRUSCHI:  No, that’s a good thing, though, actually. Because I’d miss a lot, actually. I would.
Q. Can you break down the main defensive philosophies that you see between the Patriots and the Seahawks?
BRUSCHI: Sure. I think the main defensive philosophy of the New England Patriots is that there isn’t one. And that’s what makes them so hard to prepare for against sometimes is because the complexities of the different coverages that you can get and the different front variations you can get in terms of a week‑to‑week basis. So I would say their philosophy is to be a game-plan defense, to do whatever they feel does best to take away what you do well.
 
So then the general philosophy is basically take away the middle of the field, because I know Coach Belichick believes those are high percentage throws. And if you want to make it tough on a quarterback in the passing game, make him throw low percentage passes, which usually those are deep and outside the numbers.
 
Okay. Then going to Seattle, I think they’re very consistent in terms of what they do. They want to get after the pass or they want to control gaps on the line of scrimmage with quickness, with penetration and with speed, all over the place on the field. Cover three base team. Probably the best safety in the middle of the field in the NFL is Earl Thomas. And then a defense that is very intelligent in terms of reading route combinations. So they combine those philosophies with outstanding talent and you have one of the better defenses in recent memory.
 
Q. Without asking for a prediction, but what do you see on both sides of the ball as the key matchups for this game?
BRUSCHI: For the Seahawks, offensively, let’s see, Marshawn Lynch – I think Marshawn Lynch – I guess I can say this ‑‑ for them to win Marshawn Lynch needs to be the MVP.  Him running the ball the way he’s done. So for them offensively it’s to establish him. And then to do a good job after the structure of a passing play is broken down, because that’s a lot of production for this team in terms of Russell Wilson, the fifth, sixth, seventh second of the play which I’ve talked about, that’s important for them to have success, the way he improvises.
 
New England Patriots defensively on the other side of that stop the run and really play well as the longer a play goes. So that’s simple. And offensively, for the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski to be the most valuable player, the value that he has for them, just a matchup with Kam Chancellor is something that I’m really looking forward to, so that’s the focus on, and the Seahawks defense is probably – they do what they do. I mean, if they prevent big plays and make the Patriots earn it up and down field, I think that’s probably one of their goals too.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
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ESPN’s Super Bowl XLIX Coverage

espn-logoESPN’s blanket coverage of Super Bowl week kicks off Monday, Jan. 26, at 6 a.m. ET/4 a.m. MT from Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona, the network’s studio home leading up to Super Bowl XLIX. 130 hours of TV and radio shows will originate from this space – 7014-590 E. Camelback Road, concluding on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, with a four-hour special edition of Postseason NFL Countdown (10 a.m.), and NFL Primetime (10:30 p.m.) and SportsCenter (11:30 p.m.) after the game.
 
Preceding Super Bowl week, ESPN will televise the 2015 Pro Bowl Presented by McDonald’s on Sunday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. ET.
 
Postseason NFL Countdown on Super Bowl Sunday (10 a.m.-2 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Chris Berman will preview the New England Patriots-Seattle Seahawks matchup with NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Suzy Kolber and NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young will contribute analysis from University of Phoenix Stadium, and bureau reporters Ed Werder (Seahawks), Sal Paolantonio (Patriots) and Josina Anderson will have the latest team news.
ESPN’s Super Bowl production setup will be part of Fan Fest Scottsdale and includes three outdoor stages and a 24-by-48 demo field. Fans are invited to view all programming throughout the week, free of charge.
 
Scottsdale Spotlights

 

 

ESPN Audio
Four of ESPN Audio’s top shows will broadcast 65 hours of live, onsite coverage from Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona beginning Monday, Jan. 26, through Friday, Jan. 30.
 

 

  • Mike & Mike: (M-F, 6-10 a.m. ET, simulcast on ESPN2): Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, hosts of ESPN Radio’s popular national morning show, will kick off ESPN’s Super Bowl week. The show will welcome special guest co-hosts Brian Urlacher (Tuesday), Charles Woodson (Thursday) and J.J. Watt (Friday).
  • The Herd with Colin Cowherd: Cowherd will also be live with his daily radio show from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The Herd is simulcast daily on ESPNU.
  • SVP & Russillo: Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo will host the daily SVP & Russillo from 1-4 p.m. (simulcast on ESPNEWS until 2:30 p.m.) all week.
  • Sedano & Stink: Hosts Jorge Sedano and ESPN NFL analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion Mark Schlereth will broadcast live from 7-10 p.m.

 

In addition, ESPN NY 98.7 will air 30 hours live from Scottsdale Fashion Square, Monday through Friday, with Lupica (1-3 p.m.) and The Michael Kay Show (3-7 p.m.).
 
ESPN Digital
ESPN.com’s coverage of Super Bowl XLIX will be featured on Page 1, the main NFL page, NFL Nation, ESPN Insider and on Super Bowl Central. The site will provide analysis, commentary, breaking news and more throughout the week leading up to the game and in-depth game coverage. ESPN.com’s roster of journalists includes NFL senior writer John Clayton, senior writers Elizabeth Merrill, Jeffri Chadiha and Greg Garber, NFL Nation reporters Jeff Legwold, Mike Reiss, Terry Blount, Kevin Seifert, Josh Weinfuss and more. They will provide insight, commentary, breaking news and analysis of all facets of the Super Bowl XLIX matchup. Coverage highlights include:

 

  • Quarterback Survey: Takeaways from a survey of current and former quarterbacks and an interactive map showing where current NFL QBs come from.
  • The Missing Pieces: An interactive look at what stands between your team and contending for a Super Bowl.
  • Mike Sando on how the Super Bowl teams were built.
  • Elizabeth Merrill feature on Dean Blandino, the NFL’s Vice President of Officiating.
  • Major Super Bowl prediction presentation that includes ESPN personalities, writers, celebrities and more.
  • In-depth previews of the game from NFL Nation reporters.
  • Instant postgame analysis, including Rapid Reactions, grades for each team and best-worsts for the game.

 

ESPN Digital Video coverage will include a NFL Nation TV Live Spreecast and three other Spreecasts during the week that will feature NFL Nation reporters and NFL Insiders. The Spreecasts allow fans the opportunity to have their questions answered by those covering the game. ESPN Digital Video will also produce major segments from Arizona and will deliver NFL Inside Edge, a stats-based feature by NFL Insider Mike Sando.
 
espnW will have behind-the-scenes coverage of Super Bowl XLIX, including stories from espnW writers D’Arcy Maine, Jane McManus and Sarah Spain. McManus will focus on assessing the NFL’s domestic violence responses since the Ray Rice incident. What has worked? What hasn’t? Contributor Sarah Spain will dig into the second-toughest game in Phoenix that weekend—Getting Mom, Dad and everybody else to the game with tickets in hand!—and also provide coverage from the red carpet at ESPN The Party. D’Arcy Maine will provide social wrap-ups, as well as the Voice of the Fan, a photo-driven piece showcasing the female fans that traveled from all over to see their favorite teams play in the big game.
ESPN Insider coverage includes a ranking of every player on the two Super Bowl rosters from Mike Sando and Matt Williamson as well as on-location analysis from Sando; expertise from front-office Insiders Bill Polian and Louis Riddick; and advanced metrics from Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus leading up to and coming out of the game.
 
ESPN’s Social Media Team will provide behind-the-scenes coverage of Super Bowl week via its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and Vine videos.

 

  • Twitter vote: on Friday, Jan. 30, fans are asked to respond to the Verizon-sponsored question, #WhosGonnaWin. The fans’ choice will be revealed on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter and posted on ESPN.com.
  • The 2014 NFL Season in Pictures: ESPN’s social media team takes fans on a trip down memory lane, encapsulating the 2014 NFL season in 160 seconds. The video will air on NFL Live and other ESPN TV programs throughout Super Bowl week. It will also be posted on ESPN.com. 2013 version.
  • Super Bowl Sunday’s Postseason NFL Countdown: ESPN’s social media team will tweet throughout the four-hour pregame show (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), leading up to the game. Follow @ESPNNFL.

 

ESPN The Magazine
ESPN The Magazine’s Music issue, on newsstands Friday, features Houston Texans All-Pro J.J. Watt on the cover with pop star Katy Perry, who will perform at halftime of Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. Also, columnist Mina Kimes writes about why the mayor of Glendale is questioning whether hosting the Super Bowl is such a great prize in Thanks for nothing. In addition, The Mag’s Seth Wickersham provides readers with a Super Bowl Preview, focusing on why red zone efficiency is so crucial for teams—on offense and defense.
 
ESPN The Party
ESPN is hosting its 11th annual Super Bowl event, ESPN The Party, on Friday, Jan. 30, in Scottsdale. In conjunction with the release of ESPN The Magazine’s MUSIC issue, the event will celebrate the love affair between sports and music. ESPN The Party will feature live special performances by platinum-selling hip-hop artist, J.Cole and 2015 Grammy Award Nominee Charli XCX along with music by DJ Questlove and SOSUPERSAM. ESPN will take over WestWorld of Scottsdale’s newest venue, the North Hall, to create its signature annual Super Bowl experience. The 117,000 square foot space will be transformed to resemble a mid-century modern home with life-sized rock walls and formations. It will also include 700 linear feet of projection, mapping sunsets and sunrises in a desert setting. Guests can follow the action all night at ESPN’s Microsite www.espntheparty.com and use #ESPNTHEPARTY to chat with fans as well as athletes, celebs, brands, and VIPs in the house.
 
ESPN Images
Downloadable Super Bowl week photos are available in the ESPN Images library.
ESPN International
ESPN International will present Super Bowl XLIX live to more than 67 million households in 59 countries and territories throughout Spanish-Speaking Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Canada. Commentary and analysis will be provided in four languages — English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Highlights:
 

 

  • The game will be seen in HD in Australia, New Zealand, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean and Canada.
  • Spanish language coverage features a team of seven reporters/analysts in Arizona: Alvaro Martin (play-by-play), Super Bowl-winning kicker Raul Allegre (analyst) and John Sutcliffe (sideline reporter) will call the Super Bowl, while Ciro Procuna, Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega and Mauricio Pedroza will host reports throughout daily NFL Semanal-Camino al Super Bowl specials, SportsCenter, Radio Formula, Nación ESPN, #Redes and Los Capitanes.
  • Live coverage on Super Bowl Sunday in Latin America will begin at 1 p.m. ET with special SportsCenter and Toque Inicial shows followed by an extended pre-game NFL Esta Noche-Camino al Super Bowl leading into the live telecast of the Super Bowl at 5 p.m.
  • Spanish digital coverage will feature ESPN commentator live chats, video and complete coverage from Arizona on ESPN.com and via social media on Facebook and Twitter, using #SB49xESPN.  
  • For the first time ever, the live broadcast of the Super Bowl will be available digitally throughout Spanish-Speaking Latin America on ESPN’s broadband player, ESPN Play.
  • ESPN Brasil will feature Portuguese coverage with Everaldo Marques, Paulo Antunes and Andre Kfouri on the live Super Bowl XLIX broadcast and reporting for The Book is On the Table (daily Monday-Sunday), Abre and Pos Jogo (pre- and post-game show) and SportsCenter Brasil.
  • Live coverage of the Super Bowl will begin in Australia and New Zealand at 10 a.m. local with extended pregame coverage including Postseason NFL Countdown live from Arizona.
  • English-speaking ESPN networks in the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands will feature ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown and U.S. network coverage of Super Bowl XLIX.
  • RDS Canada will provide French coverage beginning at 5 p.m.
  • ESPN will distribute the Super Bowl to over 150 movie theaters located throughout Mexico and Brazil.

 

ESPN Deportes
ESPN Deportes Television will offer comprehensive coverage of Super Bowl XLIX via its renowned team of experts including Alvaro Martin, Raul Allegre, John Sutcliffe, Ciro Procuna, Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega, Mauricio Pedroza and Kary Correa, who will be reporting from Arizona, all week. Coverage includes live segments on SportsCenter, Los CapitanesNación ESPN, NFL Semanal and #Redes.
ESPN Deportes Radio will present week-long news and information with onsite reporting and analysis from Sebastian Martinez Christensen, Kenneth Garay and Carlos Arratia.
ESPNDeportes.com will provide complete reporting and highlights throughout the week, including daily live streaming segments, press conferences, and news, updates and analysis on both teams. Reporters Carlos Nava and Sebastian Martinez Christensen will be onsite to cover both teams.
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2015 NFL Pro Bowl on ESPN

ESPN_MNF_2011Monday Night Football Team Will Call Pro Bowl from University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona on Sunday

ESPN’s Monday Night Football team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and reporter Lisa Salters will call the 2015 Pro Bowl Presented by McDonald’s from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday, January 25 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), kicking off the start of Super Bowl XLIX week. The telecast will also be available via WatchESPN and in Spanish on both ESPN Deportes (commentators: Alvaro Martin, Raul Allegre and reporter John Sutcliffe) and ESPN Deportes Radio (Kenneth Garay and Sebastian Martinez Christensen).

ESPN analyst Cris Carter will join fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin as an alumni team captain, while the staffs of the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys will coach the respective teams, which will be determined through a draft process on Wednesday. Active NFL player captains include Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, Browns cornerback Joe Haden, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.

ESPN’s planned production elements for Pro Bowl include:

  • Players wearing microphones;
  • In-game coaches audio and from coach-quarterback communication;
  • Live talk-backs with Carter and Irvin;
  • Aerial coverage via Spidercam;
  • Next-gen NFL stats applications;
  • Inside the locker room access;
  • Sideline interviews with Salters;
  • Special booth appearance by comedian/impersonator Frank Caliendo;

ESPN will be home to the annual Pro Bowl game through 2022, as part of the company’s new eight-year rights agreement with the NFL. ESPN last televised the Pro Bowl in South Florida in 2010. The game also aired on ESPN from 1988-94 and 2004-06, and on ABC from 1975-87 and 1995-03.

Pro Bowl Pregame: Chris Berman to Anchor Two-Hour Postseason NFL Countdown from University of Phoenix Stadium

Chris Berman will host a special two-hour Postseason NFL Countdown Presented by Snickers (6 p.m., ESPN) from University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona leading into Pro Bowl. He will be joined by analysts Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis, as well as NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen providing headlines and league news.

ESPN will also have a one-hour Countdown from its Bristol, Conn. studios earlier in the day (12 p.m.), hosted by Wendi Nix with analysts Brian Dawkins and Jeff Saturday that previews Pro Bowl and the Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots matchup in Super Bowl XLIX.

Live ESPN Coverage of Pro Bowl Practices on SportsCenter on Friday, Jan. 23

ESPN’s Monday Night Football team of Tirico, Gruden and Salters will offer live coverage on SportsCenter from the Pro Bowl team practices at Scottsdale Community College on Friday, Jan. 23, from 12-3:30 p.m. ET. Team Irvin is schedule to be on the field from 12:40-1:40 p.m., while Team Carter will practice from 2:15-3:15 p.m.

ESPN NFL-themed programming on Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 25:

Time (ET) Show Network
8-9 a.m. Colin’s Football Show ESPN2
10 a.m.-12 p.m. SportsCenter ESPN
12-1 p.m. Postseason NFL Countdown Presented by Snickers ESPN
6-8 p.m. Postseason NFL Countdown Presented by Snickers ESPN
8-11 p.m. 2015 Pro Bowl Presented by McDonald’s ESPN
11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. SportsCenter ESPN

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ESPN NFL Content – Conference Championship Weekend

Sunday NFL Countdown logoChris Berman Conversations with Seahawks and Patriots’ Tom Brady on Postseason NFL Countdown (Sunday, 12 p.m. ET)

Chris Berman traveled to the Pacific Northwest this week for interviews with the Seattle Seahawks “Legion of Boom” defensive unit, quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks conversations – along with Part 2 of Berman’s sit-down with Patriots three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady – will anchor ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown (Sunday, Jan. 18, 12 p.m. ET) previewing the NFC and AFC Conference Championships.

Berman will host with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis. Wendi Nix, Merril Hoge and Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen will also contribute to the three-hour pregame show from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

Reporters at Championship games:

  • NFC: Bob Holtzman (covering Packers) and Ed Werder (Seahawks)
  • AFC: Josina Anderson (Colts) and Sal Paolantonio (Patriots)

Features:

  • Bam Bam Kam: Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor opened eyes last week vs. the Panthers with his interception return for a touchdown and amazing leaps on special teams. Berman sits with the vaunted Seahawks “Legion of Boom” defensive secondary and head coach Pete Carroll to relive some of “Bam Bam” Kam’s hardest hits.
  • Tom Brady Convo – Part II: Last weekend, Countdown aired a one-on-one interview between Berman and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Sunday’s program will feature part two of their conversation.
  • Reggie Wayne Convo – Part II: The second part of the sit-down conversation between Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne and Countdown’s Ray Lewis.
  • Caliendo – Coaches Drinking Coffee: Borrowing a page from Jerry Seinfeld’s popular “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Countdown impersonator Frank Caliendo finds the diner where Rex Ryan explored TV jobs before taking the head coaching position this week with the Buffalo Bills. The skit will also feature Rob Ryan and Bill Belichick at the same diner.
  • Inspired by Ric Flair: Countdown examines postgame celebrations in the Colts locker room where safety Sergio Brown has become an inspiration to his teammates with his firebrand speeches reminiscent of famed wrestler “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
  • Receivers Gloves: Reporter Jim Trotter examines the evolution in quality of the gloves used by wide receivers over the years and how it has rendered the impact of the elements – freezing cold or soaking rain – irrelevant in the passing game.

NFL Matchup Previews Conference Championship Games

Sal Paolantonio, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski kick off ESPN’s NFL Conference Championship coverage with a 30-minute NFL Matchup on Saturday, January 17, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2. Features:

Green Bay at Seattle

  • Let’s See it Hoge – Seahawks Spy Aaron Rodgers: Despite limited mobility last week, Aaron Rodgers still remains dangerous when he extends the play, something Hoge says the Seahawks will defend by using a spying defender.
  • Inside the Matchup – Rodgers to Cobb Third Down Connection: Jaworski describes the nuances of the chemistry between Aaron Rodgers and receiver Randall Cobb, especially on critical situations when the Packers offense needs a big play to move the chains.
  • Jaws Playbook – Russell Wilson’s Play Action Pass: Jaworski highlights the difficulties of defending the Seahawks’ play action pass and says the Packers defense must combine eye discipline and zone discipline to be successful.
  • Factor Back – Marshawn Lynch Run: Hoge shows a run the Seahawks used in their season-opening game and explains why the Packers will defend it better on Sunday.

Indianapolis at New England

  • Game Within the Game – Coby Fleener vs. Brandon Browner: In their week 11 matchup, Fleener outplayed Browner – catching five passes for 118 yards. Hoge previews the rematch and offers the adjustments the Patriots must make.
  • Between the Lines – Patriots Pass Game versus Man Coverage: According to Jaworski, the Colts will play a lot of man coverage on defense to challenge Patriots receivers in an attempt to take quarterback Tom Brady out of his rhythm in the passing game.
  • X and O Files – Hightower Spies Luck: Hoge explains how the Patriots can account for the mobility of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck by assigning a defender to shadow his movements in the pocket and to be a deterrent against a scrambling Luck.
  • Run to Daylight – LeGarrette Blount: Hoge shows a long run by bruising running back LeGarrette Blount last year and contends the Colts must play more physical on defense to slow down the Patriots running game.
  • The Red Zone – Andrew Luck: Jaworski shows how hard it is for opposing defenses to account for all the play makers on the Colts offense, exemplified by Luck’s ability to extend plays.

Weekend NFL Programming Schedule:

Day Time (ET) Show Network
Sat, Jan 17 8:30-9 a.m. NFL Matchup ESPN2
Sun, Jan 18 3-3:30 a.m. NFL Matchup (re-air) ESPN
6:30-7 a.m. NFL Matchup (re-air) ESPN
9-10 a.m. Colin’s Football Show ESPN2
12-3 p.m. Postseason NFL Countdown ESPN
10-11 p.m. SportsCenter ESPN
11 p.m.-12 a.m. NFL Primetime ESPN

ESPN.com Coverage of NFL Conference Championships

ESPN.com and ESPN Boston will dispatch multiple columnists and team reporters to the conference championship games on Sunday:

  • ESPN.com NFL Nation reporters Rob Demovsky (Packers) and Terry Blount (Seahawks), senior writers John Clayton and Elizabeth Merrill, and Insider writer Mike Sando will cover Packers at Seahawks.
  • NFL Nation reporters Mike Wells (Colts) and Mike Reiss (Patriots), senior writer Jeffri Chadiha, and columnists Jackie MacMullan and Ian O’Connor will cover Colts at Patriots.

ESPN.com senior NFL columnist Jeffri Chadiha writes that in light of rules that tilt favorably toward offense, the Seahawks might have the NFL’s last great defense.

Brett Favre to Appear on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike on Friday Morning

Longtime Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre will be a guest on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike on Friday morning at 8 a.m. ET (simulcast on ESPN2). The future Pro Football Hall of Famer will preview the championship games this weekend and discuss other NFL topics.

Draft-Eligible College Football Players Compete in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday

ESPN2 will spotlight college football players who are eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 4 p.m. Anish Shroff will call the game with analysts Greg McElroy and Todd McShay, reporter Quint Kessenich and college football and NFL Draft analyst Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc.

Additionally, ESPNU will televise two practices this afternoon (Thursday) at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Offering fans an up-close look at what it takes to prepare for the National Football League, former NFL head coaches Mike Holmgren and Mike Martz will wear microphones during these two-hour sessions while they instruct the American and National team, respectively. Shroff, McElroy, Kessenich and Weidl provide analysis throughout the practices along with analyst Dan Hawkins and ESPN Front Office Insider and Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Bill Polian.

Live from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., the events are also available on WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

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ESPN’s 2015 Early-Season Sunday Night Baseball Schedule

ESPN-MLB

  • Rivalry Games: Cubs-Cardinals, Yankees-Red Sox, Reds-Cardinals, Mets-Yankees
  • Big Stars on New Teams: Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Jason Heyward
  • Dan Shulman, in Fifth Season as Voice of Sunday Night Baseball, joined by Curt Schilling, John Kruk & Buster Olney
  • ESPN’s 2015 Opening Day Quadruple Header to Include Defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants

ESPN will open its 26th season of Sunday Night Baseball – the exclusive, national Major League Baseball game of the week – with MLB Opening Night presented by Scotts – the St. Louis Cardinals at the Chicago Cubs – on ESPN2, Sunday, Apr. 5, at 8 p.m. ET. Every Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell telecast begins at 8 p.m. ET and is also available on ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and via WatchESPN.

The early-season Sunday Night Baseball schedule is highlighted by several of the sport’s most documented rivalries, starting with Opening Night, and including New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox (Apr. 12, May 3), St. Louis Cardinals-Cincinnati Reds (Apr. 19) and New York Yankees-New York Mets (Apr. 26).

The Sunday Night Baseball schedule includes several of MLB’s biggest stars appearing on “baseball’s biggest stage” with new teams. On Opening Night, manager Joe Maddon and ace Jon Lester are expected to make their respective debuts with the Chicago Cubs. Additionally, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez have joined the Boston Red Sox and Jason Heyward is now a St. Louis Cardinal.

Dan Shulman will return for his fifth season as the voice of Sunday Night Baseball. He’ll be joined by returning analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney, who is also entering his fifth season.

Early-season Sunday Night Baseball schedule

Date Time (ET) Telecast Network (s)
Sun, Apr. 5 8 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Opening Night presented by Scotts ESPN2, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN
Sun, Apr. 12 8 p.m. Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN
Sun, Apr. 19 8 p.m. Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals presented by Taco Bell ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN
Sun, Apr. 26 8 p.m. New York Mets at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN
Sun, May 3 8 p.m. New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox presented by Taco Bell ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN

ESPN will also televise a 2015 MLB Opening Day quadruple header on Monday, Apr. 6, with more than 13 continuous hours of Major League Baseball. Opening Day begins with the New York Yankees hosting the Toronto Blue Jays in an American League East showdown at 1 p.m., followed by a National League East showdown as the Washington Nationals host the New York Mets. Afternoon action will be followed by a prime-time doubleheader as the Cleveland Indians visit the Houston Astros at 7 p.m. and the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants visit the Arizona Diamondbacks at 10 p.m. on ESPN2.

ESPN MLB Opening Day schedule

Date Time (ET) Telecast Network (s)
Mon, Apr. 6 1 p.m. Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees ESPN, WatchESPN
Mon, Apr. 6 4 p.m. New York Mets at Washington Nationals ESPN, WatchESPN
Mon, Apr. 6 7 p.m. Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros ESPN, WatchESPN
Mon, Apr. 6 10 p.m. San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks ESPN2, WatchESPN

ESPN Radio – in its 18th MLB season – will continue its coverage as the exclusive, national radio home of Sunday Night Baseball. Play-by-play commentator Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton will return for their fifth season together calling Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN Radio. ESPN Radio’s weekly coverage starts at 7 p.m. and is also available on ESPNRadio.com and via the ESPNRadio app.

 

ESPN Deportes will enter its 12th season as the Spanish-language home to Sunday Night BaseballCommentators Ernesto Jerez and Luis Alfredo Alvarez will provide commentary throughout the season.

ESPN International: Sunday Night Baseball is available across Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim and on cruise ships.

 

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ESPN Films to Launch New Shorts Series, Versus, Executive Produced by Eva Longoria

ESPN_FilmsSeries set to launch this Spring on SportsCenter

ESPN Films today announced a new documentary short series, Versus, that will explore moments of inspiration, when the world of sports transcended the action on the field. The series will be executive produced by Eva Longoria who is also the director of the first short, “Go, Sebastian, Go!” that will kick off the series in May. Other directors will include: Retta (Parks and Recreations), Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives) and Melissa Johnson (director, Nine for IX Shorts’ “Brittney Griner: Lifesize”).

“There are so many moments from the world of sports that represent a broad cultural theme while at the same time, focus on a uniquely human story,” said Longoria. “I’m excited to be working with ESPN Films, along with a variety of talented filmmakers, to tell these stories of courage and perseverance.”

Versus will consist of five films that will premiere monthly from May through September. Each film will premiere on a Friday episode of SportsCenter followed by a tiered rollout to the SportsCenter app and additional digital platforms, including ESPN.com, Twitter, Facebook and others. There will be a second season of Versus in 2016.

“As sports fans continue to consume more than just scores and game updates via digital platforms, we’re continuing to expand our focus on creating high-quality, entertaining programming, such a Versus, for them to access whether they are watching ESPN on television or browsing on any device,” said Dan Silver, senior director of development, ESPN Films. “Over the years, Eva has proven how multifaceted she is, from acting to producing to directing, and we’re inspired by her commitment to tell stories with weight and significance.”

Longoria’s Unbelievable Entertainment is producing the series for ESPN Films. Longoria is currently executive producing the third season of Devious Maids for Lifetime, and Unbelievable currently has nine projects in development under its first-look producing deal with Universal Television. Unbelievable’s Ben Spector will executive produce Versus alongside Longoria.

Film Summaries (additional films to be announced):

Go, Sebastian, Go! (May 2015)

Directed by Eva Longoria

On June 11, 2013 Sebastian de la Cruz stepped onto center court, dressed in his traditional mariachi charro suit, to sing the national anthem before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. Sebastian’s performance ignited racial tweets and hate filled comments – thrusting the young singer into the national immigration reform debate. But as the son of a Navy Veteran, Sebastian didn’t let the negativity diminish his accomplishment or tarnish his love and respect for his country. He returned for Game 4 to once again sing the National Anthem. He stood tall in the spotlight, proud of his culture and his heritage, and as his beautiful voice echoed throughout the arena the cheers in the stands turned from “Go Spurs Go” to “Go Sebastian Go!” 

Queen Vee (Spring 2015)

Directed by Melissa Johnson

Night after night, she grabs her uniform and laces up just like the big boys of the NBA she runs with. She’s been in the league longer than most of them. Seventeen years. She’s Violet ‘Vee’ Palmer, the first female referee in the NBA. Queen Vee is a story about this intrepid pioneer with gigantic ambition who beat all odds to make it to the NBA. The film chronicles Violet’s singular journey as an African-American woman who grew up Southern Baptist in Compton and managed to reach the elite club of refs at the highest level. “I didn’t just put my little foot through the door,” she says, “I kicked the damn thing over.”

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-winning 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 30 for 30 Shorts.

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Marvel & ESPN Films Announce First Collaboration with Feature Documentary “1 of 1 – Genesis” and Short Film Series “1 of 1 – Origins”

espn-logoRussell Wilson, Dwight Howard and Danica Patrick among those featured in “1 of 1 Genesis” Available Now on Digital HD

Marvel Entertainment and ESPN Films are proud to announce the feature-length documentary “1 of 1 – Genesis” and short film series “1 of 1 – Origins, two all-new projects combining the powerful storytelling sensibilities of these two entertainment leaders for the very first time. Both the documentary and the short film series will provide viewers a unique look at some of the world’s most successful athletes by mixing the award-winning non-fiction style of ESPN Films with classic Marvel comic book art, design and creative animation to truly bring a unique perspective to the journeys of these key figures.

The documentary film, “1 of 1 Genesis,” is currently available on Digital HD through select digital retailers. It explores the connections between Marvel’s mightiest Super Heroes and the world’s greatest athletes while attempting to answer the age-old question of nature vs. nurture: are top athletes born or created?

The “1 of 1 Origins” short film series will launch this summer on SportsCenter and across ESPN’s digital platforms simultaneously. Each short film focuses on a single athlete, all of whom have, like all Marvel Super Heroes, a defining story of the origin of their powers in their ascent to greatness in their sport.

Directed by Emmy-winning director/producer Eric Drath (30 for 30 “No Mas,” Cornered: A Life Caught in the Ring), produced by Emmy-winner Dan Silver, and executive produced by Tracy McAndrew and John Cerilli, both “1 of 1 Genesis” and “1 of 1 Origins” contain all-new interviews with some of the top athletes in the world, including Russell Wilson, Alex Morgan, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Henrik Lundqvist, Tim Howard, Colin Kaepernick, Brandi Chastain, Danica Patrick, Cal Ripken, Jr., Albert Pujols, Tony Hawk, and Manny Pacquiao. These powerhouses are joined by notable experts, including New York Times best-selling author David Epstein (“The Sports Gene”), Professor & Psychologist Ellen Winner, and Marvel luminaries, including Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, ESPN2’s His & Hers co-hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, among others.

“We at Marvel have captivated audiences with our Super Heroes for over 75 years, yet we continue to be astounded by the uncanny abilities of the world’s top athletes,” said John Cerilli, Vice President, Content & Programming, Marvel Digital Media Group. “Combining ESPN Films’ unparalleled approach to sports filmmaking with the resonant themes and aesthetics of Marvel has allowed us to assemble a film that will astonish and amaze fans of both worlds.”

“In many ways, athletes are blessed in their chosen fields with super-human ‘powers’ much like those of some of the great Marvel Super Heroes,” said Connor Schell, VP and Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content, ESPN. “Like those characters, every great athlete has the moment where they learn to harness, develop and use their unique abilities to achieve. Eric Drath and his team have done a fantastic job at capturing and bringing to life those origin stories.”

 

For more information on the projects stay tuned to Marvel.com.

About Marvel:

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy-five years.  Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.  For more information, visit marvel.com.  © 2014 MARVEL

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 its signature 30 for 30 film series, which has since won a Peabody Award, Producer’s Guild Award and an Emmy Award. 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- and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 Shorts.

ESPN’s 2015 Major League Soccer Regular-Season Schedule

 
espn-logoESPN’s 20th season of televising Major League Soccer will begin Sunday, March 8, at 5 p.m. ET, with the live presentation of Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC, two highly-anticipated expansion teams playing their first league match on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN from Orlando’s Citrus Bowl. The season-opening match will feature two FIFA World Cup champions – Orlando City SC’s Kaká (2002 with Brazil) vs. New York City FC’s David Villa (Spain in 2010). It will mark the beginning of the network’s new eight-year rights agreement with the league (through 2022).
 
2015 MLS on ESPN highlights:
  • Appointment viewing: For the first time in the history of Major League Soccer on ESPN, 29 of the 33 matches will be aired on Sunday at 5 p.m. – all but two matches on ESPN2;
  • All 33 regular-season matches will be carried on ESPN2, ESPN, ESPNEWS as well as ESPN Deportes and available via WatchESPN;
  • 24 of the 33 matches involve at least one 2014 MLS Cup playoff team, including five showcasing the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy;
  • An ESPN network will air one additional match during the season – bringing the total number of regular-season “MLS on ESPN” telecasts to 34;
  • New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy and on Sunday, April 26 – the only match this season between the two powerhouse teams;
  • Portland Timbers leads the league with six ESPN appearances each. Six teams have five games each on ESPN networks: 2014 MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC and Seattle Sounders;
  • Four key matches in August: Los Angeles vs. Seattle (Aug. 9), Seattle vs. Orlando City SC (Aug. 16), Los Angeles vs. New York City FC (Aug. 23), and Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers (Aug. 30);
  • In the last two weekends of the season, ESPN will televise matches with MLS Cup Playoff implications as part of the new Major League Soccer flex scheduling (Oct. 18) and “Decision Day” (Oct. 25) initiatives.
 
ESPN’s 2015 MLS Schedule
(Schedule Subject to Change)
Date Time (ET) Match Networks
Sun, March 8 5 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 15 5 p.m. New York City FC vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 22 5 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. DC United ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, March 29 5 p.m. Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 5 5 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 12 5 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. Orlando City SC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 19 5 p.m. Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, April 26 5 p.m. New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 3 5 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 10 5 p.m. Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Wed, May 13 8 p.m. DC United vs. Orlando City SC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 17 5 p.m. Orlando City SC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Wed, May 20 8 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, May 31 5 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, June 7 5 p.m. Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids ESPNEWS/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  June 21 5 p.m. DC United vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Wed,  June 24 11 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  June 28 5 p.m. New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 5 5 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 12 5 p.m. New York City FC vs. Toronto FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 19 5 p.m. Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  July 26 5 p.m. DC United vs. Philadelphia Union ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 2 5 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 9 4 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 16 5 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. Orlando City SC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 23 5 p.m. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York City FC ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Aug 30 5 p.m. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Sept 13 5 p.m. Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Sept 20 5 p.m. Portland Timbers vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Sept 27 5 p.m. Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, Oct 4 5 p.m. FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun,  Oct 18 5 p.m. TBD – MLS Flex Schedule ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sun, Oct 25 7 p.m. TBD – MLS Decision Day ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
 
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Cardinals-Panthers Wild Card Game is ESPN’s Third Highest-Rated NFL Game Ever

espn-nfl-liveEighth Most-Watched Telecast among Viewers, and Ninth Highest-Rated, in Cable TV History

The Saturday afternoon NFL Wild Card game on ESPN – a Carolina Panthers’ 27-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals – ranks as the network’s third highest-rated NFL game ever. It is also the eighth most-viewed telecast among viewers (see chart below), and ninth highest-rated, in cable television history.

The Cardinals-Panthers game – the first NFL Playoff game in ESPN’s 35-year history – averaged a 12.5 household US rating; 14,551,000 households; and 21,678,000 viewers (P2+), according to Nielsen fast nationals. The rating peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with a 13.9 rating and at 24,300,000 viewers from 7-7:15 p.m.

The only NFL games on ESPN to rate higher were Monday Night Football contests – Minnesota-Green Bay (13.2 household rating, 10/5/09) and New Orleans-New England (12.9 rating, 11/30/09).

The Wild Card continued one of ESPN’s most successful weeks in history following record-setting audiences on New Year’s Day for the two inaugural College Football Playoff Semifinal games. In the week ahead, ESPN will continue its presentation of marquee football telecasts with the much-anticipated Oregon-Ohio State College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, January 12.

In Phoenix, the game delivered a 21.6 rating on ESPN and a 7.3 on KASW-CW, for a combined 28.9 rating in the market. In Charlotte, the game delivered a 20.4 rating on ESPN and a 16.3 on WJZY-FOX, for a combined 36.6 rating in the market.

The top 10 metered markets (in addition to those of the competing teams) included: Greensboro (25.8), Las Vegas (19.6), Raleigh-Durham (19.5), Greenville (19.5), Denver (18.5), Seattle (18.3), Richmond (16.9), Baltimore (16.8), Norfolk (16.5) and New Orleans (16.5). Five markets recorded the highest-rated NFL game rating ever on ESPN: Charlotte, Detroit (13.8), Greensboro, Raleigh, and Salt Lake City (11.3).

ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2014 averaged an 8.3 US household rating; 9,636,000 households; and 13,349,000 viewers. Release.

Top 10 Most-Viewed Programs in Cable Television History (Viewers):

Rank Date Program Network Viewers (000s)
1. 01/01/2015 CFB/Sugar Bowl: Alabama-Ohio St. ^ ESPN 28,271
2. 01/01/2015 CFB/Rose Bowl: Oregon-Florida St. ^ ESPN 28,164
3. 01/10/2011 CFB/BCS Champ: Oregon-Auburn ESPN 27,316
4. 01/07/2013 CFB/BCS Champ: Alabama-Notre Dame ESPN 26,380
5. 01/06/2014 CFB/BCS Champ: Florida St.-Auburn ESPN 25,572
6. 01/09/2012 CFB/BCS Champ: Alabama-LSU ESPN 24,214
7. 10/05/2009 NFL MNF: Green Bay-Minnesota ESPN 21,839
8. 01/03/2015 NFL Wild Card: Arizona-Carolina ESPN 21,678
9. 11/30/2009 NFL MNF: New England-New Orleans ESPN 21,402
10. 01/01/2011 CFB/Rose Bowl: TCU-Wisconsin ESPN 20,558

Note: excluding breaking news; live + same day

^ Inaugural College Football Playoff semifinal games

2015 games in bold

ESPN Digital: WatchESPN Posts Second-Highest Audience Ever for an NFL Game

The Arizona-Carolina Wild Card game had a WatchESPN average minute audience of 144,000, the second highest audience ever for an NFL game, behind only the Washington-Dallas game on Oct. 27 (145,000), The game also logged 378,000 unique viewers and 30.8 million total minutes viewed.

The average MNF game this season had a WatchESPN average minute audience of 106,000, 331,000 unique viewers and 21.6 million total minutes viewed – up 64 percent, 81 percent and 68 percent, respectively, compared to the previous season.

ESPN’s MNF Crew to Call NFL Pro Bowl in Arizona to Kickoff Super Bowl XLIX, Jan. 25

ESPN’s Monday Night Football team will conclude its 2014 NFL season on Sunday, January 25 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) with the NFL Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, to kickoff Super Bowl XLIX week.

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