Gruden’s QB Camp Returns for Sixth Season on ESPN

espn-logoClass of 2015 Features Five QBs, including Heisman Winners Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota
Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series has become as much a part of annual pre-NFL Draft coverage as the Scouting Combine and Pro Days since its debut on ESPN in 2010. In all, 38 players have participated in the series the past five years, including Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson and Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Andrew Luck.
Gruden’s QB Camp is back for its sixth year this spring, beginning Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Shows will air across multiple ESPN networks and ABC leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. (Note: The entire Gruden’s QB Camp TV schedule will be released later this month and available on ESPN Media Zone.) In addition, all past QB Camp shows will be available via ESPN Classic Video on Demand, beginning the first week of April.
This month, Gruden will welcome five quarterbacks to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando where he’ll spend time with each prospect in the film room and on the field. Excerpts of the visits will be featured the same day on SportsCenter.
The 2015 QB Camp class features the past two Heisman Trophy winners – Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, potentially the top two overall picks in this year’s NFL Draft. Other participants include 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic MVP Bryce Petty (Baylor), 2nd Team All-Pac 12 selection Brett Hundley (UCLA) and 2014 MWC Offensive Player of the Year Garrett Grayson (Colorado State).
The Super Bowl-winning coach and Monday Night Football analyst discusses each of the quarterbacks who will be part of his sixth Gruden’s QB Camp:
On Garrett Grayson: “There’s a lot of parts of Colorado State’s system that I recognize, unlike a lot of college football that’s running up-tempo, no-huddle, spread-option football. There’s some principles at Colorado State that will serve Grayson well. He can run it. He can audible. He can get you out of trouble with his legs. He’s a dark horse in this class.”
On Brett Hundley: “Hundley helped put UCLA football back on the map. They were in trouble before he arrived. Really what he did running and passing, taking over the city of Los Angeles the last three years, is a great accomplishment. And, for the Bruins to finish as a top-10 team, that puts an exclamation point on his career. A talented guy.”
On Marcus Mariota: “Mariota is special in a lot of ways. He’s a dynamic dual-threat on the field and he is humble – no-nonsense, full of character off the field.4.52 is what he ran (at the Combine). He competes like crazy. I just think he has a lot of ‘can’t miss’ qualities.”
On Bryce Petty: “Petty might have the best arm talent in this draft. Last year Derek Carr came to town and put on an aerial display. I would be surprised if Petty isn’t that guy this year. Stereotyped in the Baylor offense, but he’s different. He’s a great passer. He’s a finisher. I love finishers. Gray shirt, red shirt, waited his time. He’s physically and mentally ready to go. I like Petty.”
On Jameis Winston: “Not many people do what Jameis Winston did: first year as a starter winning a National Championship, only one loss in his two years as a starter. He’s got great charisma. He’s polarizing for some people but he’s a rare talent. I can’t wait to spend some time with him. I coached the Bucs with a Florida State quarterback named Brad Johnson. Things worked out alright.”

ESPN’s 20th Season of Major League Soccer

espn-logoNew Weekly Match Window: “MLS Soccer Sunday” at 5 p.m. ET on Sundays
Season-Opening Match: MLS Expansion Franchises Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC on Sunday, March 8
ESPN’s 20th season of Major League Soccer – which kicks off with expansion franchises Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC Sunday, March 8 – will feature a new consistent “MLS Soccer Sunday” match window: Sundays at 5 p.m. ET. Twenty-eight of ESPN’s 34 regular-season matches will air at this time (primarily on ESPN2), marking the most consistent appointment viewing for the league since its debut season in 1996.
ESPN, which reached a new eight-year agreement with MLS last year that extends through 2022, is the league’s lone national television partner through each of its first 20 seasons.
ESPN will provide both English and Spanish-language coverage of the 2015 Major League Soccer season across its media platforms – ESPN2, ESPN, ESPNEWS, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio,, as well as news, analysis and highlights programming on ESPN FC on TV, SportsCenter and other programs. Television highlights:
  • Matches: 34 live regular-season matches
  • Commentators: Adrian Healey (pxp), analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Monica Gonzalez (select matches); ESPN Deportes: Richard Méndez and Giovanni Savarese;
  • ESPN FC on TV: will preview MLS matches and feature extensive highlights, news and analysis (weekdays at 6 p.m., ESPNEWS; Sundays at 12 a.m. overnight, ESPN2). Highlights: weekend match previews every Friday beginning March 6; Sunday shows will feature highlights and analysis, segments with Healey and Twellman from the day’s ESPN MLS match of the week, and guest appearances by MLS stars and newsmakers.
  • SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news and information program, will cover key league storylines, interviews with stars, and feature MLS highlights.
2015 MLS Season on, a leading global soccer news and information hub, will offer extensive coverage of Major League Soccer’s 20th season. Primary writers covering the league include Jeff Carlisle, Doug McIntyre, Graham Parker and Jason Davis, along with special contributor David Hirshey. ESPNFC will launch a series of features and other content to kick off the season. Highlights:
  • 20 Clubs, 20 Burning Questions – Infographic;
  • Conference previews: McIntyre (East), Carlisle (West);
  • What You Need to Know about the new MLS clubs, NYC FC and Orlando City SC;
  • 20 years of MLS: An oral history of the league and 20 key moments in MLS history;
  • Weekly Coverage: Power Rankings (Sundays); What We Learned (Mondays); and midweek features;
  • Match Coverage: MLS writers at key games throughout the season; live “Boot Room” blog of ESPN games; and post-game “Boot Room Extra” with fan interaction.
ESPN2 Presents Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC Season-Opener:
ESPN will kick off its 2015 Major League Soccer season on Sunday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m., with a 30-minute pre-match show leading into Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC, the highly-anticipated first match for the league’s newest expansion franchises. The match will air on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, as well as WatchESPN, from Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.
Healey and Twellman will call the match for ESPN2, while Mendez and Savarese will commentate for ESPN Deportes. Multilingual reporter Gonzalez will report for both ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Additionally, commentator Roberto Abramowitz will be in Orlando for news and information coverage leading up to and after the match.
The match features two FIFA World Cup champions – Orlando City SC’s Kaká (2002 with Brazil) and New York City FC’s David Villa (Spain in 2010). Pre-match highlights:
  • Interviews with Orlando’s Kaka, 2007 FIFA World Footballer of the Year and 2002 World Cup winner, U.S. Men’s National Team player Mix Diskerud (NYC FC), and more;
  • “Talking Points with Taylor Twellman” – commentary and analysis from ESPN’s lead soccer analyst;
  • ESPN FC on TV will preview the match on Friday, March 6, at 6 p.m. (ESPNEWS), with Twellman from Orlando, and offer extensive post-game analysis from him Sunday at 12 a.m. overnight (ESPN2). Healey will also have “person-in-the-street” interviews with Orlando City SC fans ahead of their team’s first MLS match;
  • Sunday morning SportsCenter (ESPN, 9 a.m.) will include a preview of the Kaká vs. David Villa matchup;
  • will have reporters Carlisle (LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire) and McIntyre (Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC) at season-opening weekend matches.
  • Additional content around the season-opener: Fernando Duarte profiles Kaka; Parker profiles NYC FC’s Jason Kreis after interviewing the coach in Manchester City during the team’s pre-season trip to their affiliate club in England; David Hirshey on how NYC FC is evolving the relationship with its fans.
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ESPN 2015 Sunday Night Baseball Schedule Update: Cardinals at Pirates, Red Sox at Angels

ESPN-MLBSt. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates 7/12; Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 7/19

Trout, Ortiz, McCutchen, Heyward on Baseball’s Biggest Stage

ESPN announced today its game selections for the July 12 and July 19 editions of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell. On July 12, the St. Louis Cardinals and new addition Jason Heyward will visit the Pittsburgh Pirates and perennial All-Star Andrew McCutchen. On July 19, two of Major League Baseball’s biggest superstars square off as the Boston Red Sox and slugger David Ortiz will visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the dynamic Mike Trout.

The 8 p.m. ET telecasts will air on ESPN with Dan Shulman, analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney providing commentary. Sunday Night Baseball – in its 26th season – is the exclusive, national Major League Baseball game of the week.

Sunday Night Baseball is also available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and WatchESPN. Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet previews Sunday Night Baseball at 7 p.m.

Current 2015 Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
Apr. 5 St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Opening Night presented by Scotts (ESPN2)
Apr. 12 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell
Apr. 19 Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals presented by Taco Bell
Apr. 26 New York Mets at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell
May 3 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox presented by Taco Bell
May 10 Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers presented by Taco Bell
May 17 Detroit Tigers at St. Louis Cardinals presented by Taco Bell
May 24 Texas Rangers at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell
May 31 Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim presented by Taco Bell (ESPN2)
*July 12 St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates presented by Taco Bell
*July 19 Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim presented by Taco Bell

*New selections


SportsCenter To Visit All 30 MLB Clubs During Spring Training Tour


  • SportsCenter Anchors Join Baseball Tonight Commentators On Site: Jay Crawford, Bram Weinstein, Sarah Walsh, Britt McHenry, Curt Schilling, John Kruk, Aaron Boone, Mark Mulder, Karl Ravech, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Pedro Gomez and More
  • Full Slate of Spring Training Games Highlighted By Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, Tigers, Angels, Phillies
  • Sunday Night Baseball’s Dan Shulman, Schilling, Kruk, Olney to Call Spring Training Game

ESPN will swing into spring with comprehensive coverage of 2015 Major League Baseball Spring Training from Florida’s Grapefruit League and Arizona’s Cactus League, starting the week of Feb. 23. Coverage will include the SportsCenter Spring Training Tour, which will visit all 30 MLB Clubs. SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight commentators will provide insights and analysis on each MLB Club, plus interviews with key stars and managers.

Additionally, ESPN reporters Pedro Gomez and  Britt McHenry will visit several Spring Training sites each in Florida and Arizona, respectively, for on-site reports. All SportsCenter Spring Training Tour updates will begin each day during the 9 a.m. ET SportsCenter.

SportsCenter Spring Training Tour schedule

Date Team Location Commentators
Mon, Feb. 23 New York Yankees Tampa, Fla. Karl Ravech, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney
San Francisco Giants Scottsdale, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian
Tue, Feb. 24 Baltimore Orioles Sarasota, Fla. Karl Ravech, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney
Chicago White Sox Glendale, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian
Minnesota Twins Fort Myers, Fla. Britt McHenry
Wed, Feb. 25 Boston Red Sox Fort Myers, Fla. Karl Ravech, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney
Chicago Cubs Mesa, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian
Milwaukee Brewers Maryvale, Ariz. Pedro Gomez
Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin, Fla. Britt McHenry
Thu, Feb. 26 New York Mets Port St. Lucie, Fla. Karl Ravech, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Tempe, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian
Colorado Rockies Scottsdale, Ariz. Pedro Gomez
Houston Astros Kissimmee, Fla. Britt McHenry
Fri, Feb. 27 Florida Marlins Jupiter, Fla. Karl Ravech, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney
Seattle Mariners Peoria, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian
Cincinnati Reds Goodyear, Ariz. Pedro Gomez
Atlanta Braves Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Britt McHenry
Sat, Feb. 28 St. Louis Cardinals Jupiter, Fla. Bram Weinstein, John Kruk, Buster Olney
San Diego Padres Peoria, Ariz. Sarah Walsh, Mark Mulder, Tim Kurkjian
Sun, Mar. 1 Washington Nationals Viera, Fla. Bram Weinstein, John Kruk, Buster Olney
Los Angeles Dodgers Glendale, Ariz. Sarah Walsh, Mark Mulder, Tim Kurkjian
Mon, Mar. 2 Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton, Fla. Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Buster Olney
Cleveland Indians Goodyear, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Mark Mulder, Tim Kurkjian
Arizona Diamondbacks Scottsdale, Ariz. Pedro Gomez
Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte, Fla. Britt McHenry
Tue, Mar. 3 Detroit Tigers Lakeland, Fla. Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Buster Olney
Texas Rangers Surprise, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Mark Mulder, Tim Kurkjian
Oakland Athletics Phoenix, Ariz. Pedro Gomez
Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater, Fla. Britt McHenry
Wed, Mar. 4 New York Yankees Tampa, Fla. Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Buster Olney
Kansas City Royals Surprise, Ariz. Jay Crawford, Mark Mulder, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN’s Spring Training coverage will also include a full slate of games, featuring two prime-time telecasts, beginning with the Philadelphia Phillies visiting the New York Yankees on Thursday, Mar. 19, at 7 p.m. Additionally, appearances by the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Detroit Tigers round out the schedule. Sunday Night Baseball’s Dan Shulman, along with analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney, will call the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Chicago Cubs game on Thursday, Mar. 26 at 7 p.m.

ESPN Spring Training game schedule

Date Time (ET) Telecast Spring Training Site Commentators
Thu, Mar. 19 7 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Fla. Jon Sciambi, Rick Sutcliffe, Doug Glanville
Tue, Mar. 24 1 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Karl Ravech, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian
Thu, Mar. 26 7 p.m. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Chicago Cubs Hohokam Park Mesa, Ariz. Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney
Fri, Mar. 27 1 p.m. Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Karl Ravech, Aaron Boone, Tim Kurkjian
Thu, Apr. 2 1 p.m. New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, Fla. Dave O’Brien, Aaron Boone, Mark Mulder

*ESPN Spring Training games are available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Apple TV, Xbox and Roku players via WatchESPN.



ESPN Names New Site on Sports, Race and Culture: The Undefeated


Key Profiles on Charles Barkley and John Wall Preview New Site Ahead of 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend in New York will be the name of ESPN’s new site focused on sports, race and culture. Set to launch later this year, the site will provide in-depth commentary, long-form storytelling and insight on race and urban culture through the prism of sports. National sports columnist Jason Whitlock will headline and serve as editor-in-chief.

The name, The Undefeated, is inspired by a passage from American poet, author and civil rights leader Maya Angelou: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

“Maya’s quote perfectly captures the African-American journey and the spirit athletes and all Americans try to embrace,” said Whitlock. “It’s wonderful to see our collective vision coming together.”

Under Whitlock’s leadership,’s senior editorial team consists of award-winning sports editor Leon Carter, who was named vice president and editorial director last month, and former Ebony magazine editor-in-chief Amy DuBois Barnett, who joined in August 2014 as executive editor.

The site is part of ESPN’s Exit 31, the umbrella content unit responsible for ESPN Films, Grantland and FiveThirtyEight, and is being overseen by Marie Donoghue, ESPN Executive Vice President for Global Strategy and Original Content. editorial team (to-date):

  • Jerry Bembry (senior writer) – former NBA reporter for The Baltimore Sun and ESPN The Magazine NBA editor.
  • Danielle Cadet (senior editor) – former editor at “The Huffington Post Back Voices” who led the outlet’s coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder trial and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
  • Ryan Cortes (writer) – contributor to several media outlets including “Broward New Times” in South Florida, Lifestyle Magazine group, Life Publications and others.
  • Brando Simeo Starkey (associate editor) – legal scholar and writer who’s been published by a number of respected law journals, and author of books on racial equality.
  • Justin Tinsley (writer) – former urban culture and music writer whose work has been featured in Rolling Stone,, among other outlets.
  • Jesse Washington (senior writer) – former Associated Press race and culture writer, editor in chief of Blaze magazine, and managing editor of Vibe magazine.
  • Mike Wise (columnist and feature writer) – former national sports columnist and feature writer for The Washington Post. Profiles Charles Barkley:

Today, published an in-depth profile of NBA Hall of Famer and Turner Sports analyst Charles Barkley. Commissioned by the, senior writer Jesse Washington, with additional reporting by Justin Tinsley, wrote an expansive, 9,000-word piece titled, “Up from Leeds: The People, the Place and the Privilege that Made Charles Barkley a Role Model.” The feature is a foretaste of the opinion-forming storytelling that will be a calling card for the new site. Highlights:

  • Who is Charles Barkley?
  • How did this Hall of Fame basketball player, with a personality more Allen Iverson than Bill Russell, emerge as a respected commentator on important social issues?
  • Is Barkley the modern day Muhammad Ali, a voice for the ages on race. Or Jack Johnson, a provocateur with no real agenda?

Additionally, the story explores whether the self-responsibility doctrine espoused by Barkley is the by-product of the values he acquired growing up in Leeds, Ala., or the privilege he has earned with “his ability to dazzle on and off the court.”

Mike Wise Examines the Ascension of Washington Wizards Star Guard John Wall:

In a separate long-form story published this week on, Mike Wise examines the maturation of Washington Wizards’ John Wall and the path the NBA All-Star guard took from an insolent youngster growing up in the Raleigh, N.C. area, to becoming a beloved leader for a resurgent team in a city passionately steeped, by equal measure, in sports and politics. Read “Little John Wall’s unvarnished climb.”

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ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown Super Bowl XLIX Features

Sunday NFL Countdown logo

  • Chris Berman and Analysts Live at Scottsdale Fashion Square for Special Four-Hour Show;
  • Suzy Kolber with Super Bowl Champions Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale
  • Reporters Sal Paolantonio (Patriots) and Ed Werder (Seahawks) with Team Reports
ESPN will present a special four-hour edition of Postseason NFL Countdown on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. MT, previewing Super Bowl XLIX from two primary locations in Arizona – Scottsdale Fashion Square (main set), and University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Host Chris Berman, covering his 33rd Super Bowl, will be joined by analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson on the main set in Scottsdale, along with NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, and segment host Wendi Nix. Suzy Kolber will host coverage from the stadium with a trio of Super Bowl champions: Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young. Reporters Sal Paolantonio (covering the Patriots) and Ed Werder (Seahawks) will also provide live team updates throughout the program.
ESPN’s roster of Countdown analysts – with a combined 10 Super Bowl rings in 15 appearances in the NFL’s biggest game – will preview the New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX game, analyzing the players, teams, key matchups and more.
Planned Countdown features, in order of timing by quarter-hour (all times subject to change):
Opening Tease: The Drive (10 a.m. ET)
Actor Michael Madsen voices Countdown’s opening tease about “The Drive” – a metaphor for the hard-fought journey to Super Bowl XLIX for the teams and the players.
Russell Wilson Visualization (10:30)
On Sunday, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be the youngest quarterback in league history to take a team to back-to-back Super Bowl games, about four months younger than Tom Brady was when he led the Patriots to consecutive Super Bowls a decade ago. Wilson also has the most wins in the first three seasons of any quarterback – regular or postseason. Countdown’s Chris Berman highlights how Wilson’s success on the field is a byproduct of his ability to visualize every situation of a game in his mind before the first snap.
Depression in the NFL (10:30)
Beyond the glitz and glamor of the National Football League are former players who struggle daily to cope with life as the cheering stops and the demands of a regimented professional career slowly turn into a distant memory. Some become depressed. On the 20th anniversary of Junior Seau’s first Super Bowl appearance, ESPN’s Jim Trotter offers in-depth piece on how former pro football players cope with depression and the impact on their family members. Seau’s wife, Gina Seau, former players Boo Williams, Eddie George and George’s wife, Taj, were interviewed for the story.
Bobby Wagner’s Motivation (11:00)
Coming out of Colony High School in Ontario, Calif., in 2008, Bobby Wagner was underrated by recruiters. He was deemed too slight of frame for a linebacker and unrefined in his play to be recruited by any major college football program. Utah State University was the only program willing to grant him a scholarship. Four years later, when Seattle selected Wagner with the 47th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, many draft experts questioned the team’s choice. Countdown’s Michelle Beisner reports how the young Pro Bowl linebacker uses the doubts about his ability to play in the NFL as a motivation to excel.
Frank Caliendo on Bill Belichick’s Legacy (11:30)
In a faux SC Featured, ESPN’s long-form feature segment that airs on SportsCenter, Countdown comedian and impersonator Frank Caliendo delves into the legacy of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. In the piece, Caliendo plays several characters including quarterback Andrew Luck, ESPN’s Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells and ESPN’s Chris Berman, while comedian Aries Spears plays the role of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.
The Kansas City Turning Point (11:30)
The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks lost 20-24 to the Chiefs in Kansas City in week 11 on November 16, 2014, falling to a 6-4 record. The team called a players-only meeting where an impassioned Kam Chancellor addressed the team. Since that meeting, Seattle has yet to lose another game and is now playing in its second straight Super Bowl. Countdown’s Chris Berman travelled to Seattle ahead of the team’s NFC Championship Game to hear more about Chancellor’s speech, which became the turning point for the ’Hawks season.
Julian Edelman (12:00)
SportsCenter anchor Jade McCarthy travelled to Woodside, Calif., Julian Edelman’s hometown, to tell the story of how Edelman developed from an undersized high school quarterback to a diminutive, go-to NFL wide receiver on the cusp of becoming a Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. McCarthy interviewed Edelman’s former coaches and parents who offered insight on the upbringing that helped shape the receivers career in the NFL after the Patriots selected him with the 232nd overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. 
Gronk’s Spikes (12:00) senior writer Greg Garber takes a closer look at the ground-shaking, on-field celebrations that occur every time Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski scores a touchdown.
Marysville-Pilchuck (12:30)
A shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in October 2014 that killed two students and severely wounded four others rocked a small, close-knit community an hour outside Seattle. After the tragic event, the Seahawks organization offered the school’s football team a momentary respite from its grief. Head coach Pete Carroll invited them to practice at the Seahawks facility and several Seattle players – running back Marshawn Lynch, linebacker Bobby Wagner and tight end Luke Wilson – attended the school’s pep rallies. At the Seahawks’ home game on Nov. 2, the Seahawks wore “MP” decals on their helmets in support of the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Countdown’s Beisner story focuses on the special bond forged between the Seahawks and Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the aftermath of this tragedy.
The Bill Belichick-Tom Brady Marriage (12:30)
In their 15th season together as the New England Patriots coach and quarterback, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have won 160 regular-season and 20 postseason games – the most wins in each category by a coach-quarterback team in the NFL. As the head coach and quarterback prepare to play in a record sixth Super Bowl together, Patriots owner Robert Kraft narrates the story of the relationship between the tutor and his pupil, and highlights reasons for their success.
I am Confetti (1:00)
A first-person narrative of what it feels like to be a piece of confetti in the postgame Super Bowl celebration, written by Countdown producer Johann Castillo.
Additional Content on ESPN’s Super Bowl XLIX Sunday Shows:
NFL Matchup – Super Bowl XLIX Edition
In a special Super Bowl XLIX edition, ESPN’s NFL Matchup (ESPN2, 7 a.m. ET) with host Trey Wingo and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the Patriots-Seahawks game. Highlights:
  • Factor Back – Marshawn Lynch Read Option Run: Hoge breaks down the Seahawks running game, which goes through running back Marshawn Lynch in a zone-read.
  • X and O Files – Russell Wilson Read Option: Hoge continues the breakdown of the Seahawks run game, describing the option Russell Wilson has as a runner when the defense overcommits to stopping Lynch.
  • Hoge Breakdown – Seahawks Foundational ‘Cover 3’: Hoge takes a deep dive at the Seahawks defense, and shows how and why their simple “Cover 3” scheme is so effective against opposing offenses.
  • Passing Thought – Antonio Gates’ Success vs. Seattle: Jaworski shows how the Chargers used tight end Antonio Gates for some successful plays in week 2 against the Seahawks, and says the offensive scheme from that matchup bodes well for a big day from Patriots Rob Gronkowski.
  • Let’s See it Hoge – Eddie Royal Beats Richard Sherman: Staying with the week 2 game vs. the Chargers, Hoge walks the viewer through a play where Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was exploited by a great play design and argues the Patriots will look to replicate the play same offensive scheme in Super Bowl XLIX.
  • Money Down – Doug Baldwin’s Third Down Efficiency: Hoge explains why wide receiver Doug Baldwin is quarterback Russell Wilson’s favorite target in the most critical down and distance situations for the Seahawks offense.
  • Jaworski Covers the Field – The Gronkowski Threat: Jaworski describes a staple play from the Patriots offense that puts opposing defenses in a bind as they attempt to account for tight end Rob Gronkowski.
  • Game Within the Game – Attacking the Seahawks ‘Cover 3’: Jaworski explains a play the Eagles offense used against the Seahawks base coverage that resulted in a touchdown and argues it is one example of a successful scheme against the tough Seattle defense.
  • Eye in the Sky – Patriots Spy Defense: Hoge details how the Patriots defense will try to account for quarterback Russell Wilson’s threat as a scrambling quarterback by assigning a player to spy him on all passing downs.
ESPN’s Super Bowl Sunday coverage:
Sun, Feb 1 1-1:30 a.m. NFL Matchup ESPN2
7-7:30 a.m. NFL Matchup ESPN2
8-10 a.m. SportsCenter (from Arizona) ESPN
8-8:30 a.m. Outside the Lines ESPN2
8:30-9 a.m. The Sports Reporters (Arizona) ESPN2
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Postseason NFL Countdown (Arizona) ESPN
10:30-11:30 p.m. NFL PrimeTime (Arizona) ESPN
11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. SportsCenter (Arizona) ESPN
11:30 p.m.-12 a.m. NFL Countdown: Best of Countdown ESPN2
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ESPN’s Super Bowl XLIX Coverage for Friday

espn-nfl-liveHouston Texans’ J.J. Watt Joins Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic as Co-Host of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike; Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and Musician Lenny Kravitz on Early SportsCenter

ESPN’s coverage of Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona continues Friday, Jan. 30, from set locations at Scottsdale Fashion Square (7014-590 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale) and The McCormick Hotel in Scottsdale, site of the two-hour First Take (ESPN2, 8-10 a.m. MT) and His & Hers (ESPN2, 10-11 a.m.) programs.

Texans Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt will join Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic as guest host at Scottsdale Fashion Square in the 6 a.m. MT hour of tomorrow’s Mike & Mike morning show (ESPN Radio and ESPN2).

The early SportsCenter will welcome Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (8:40 a.m.) and musician Lenny Kravitz (10:40), who will perform with Katy Perry during this weekend’s Super Bowl halftime, and ESPN’s Ron Jaworski will join Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on Pardon the Interruption’s (3:30 p.m. MT, ESPN) Five Good Minutes segment for a Xs and Os preview of Super Bowl XLIX.

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

Time (MT) Show Network(s)
4-8 a.m. Mike & Mike

Hosts: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic

Guests: Texans DE J.J. Watt (6:00) and Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck (7:00)

8-11 a.m. SportsCenter

Hosts: Hannah Storm and Jay Crawford

ESPN Analysts: Herm Edwards; Ryan Clark (Redskins S); Merril Hoge; Ron Jaworski and NFL Insider Adam Schefter

Guests: Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (8:40); Saints TE Jimmy Graham (9:20); Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (9:40) and Musician Lenny Kravitz (10:40)

8-10 a.m. First Take (The McCormick Hotel in Scottsdale)

Host: Cari Champion; Lead Commentators: Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith

Guests: Bears TE Martellus Bennett (8:15); McCoy (8:30) and Hall of Fame NFL RB Eric Dickerson (9:00)

10-11 a.m. His & Hers (The McCormick Hotel in Scottsdale)

Hosts: Michael Smith and Jemele Hill

Guest: Graham (10:20)

8-11 a.m. The Herd with Colin Cowherd

Host: Colin Cowherd

Guests: Buffalo Bills new HC Rex Ryan (8:30); Palmer (9:15); ESPN’s Trent Dilfer (9:45); NFL Live’s Trey Wingo and Mark Schlereth (10:15)

11 a.m.-2 p.m. SVP & Russillo

Hosts: Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo

Guests: ESPN’s Tedy Bruschi (12:30) and Fox Sports NFL Analyst John Lynch (1:00)

1-2 p.m. NFL Insiders

Host: Suzy Kolber. Insiders: Adam Schefter, Mortensen and Bill Polian.

2-3 p.m. NFL Live presented by Golden Corral

Host: Trey Wingo. Analysts: Mark Schlereth and Tedy Bruschi.

3-3:30 p.m. Around the Horn

Panelist (from Scottsdale):’s Jackie MacMullan

3:30-4 p.m. PTI

Hosts: Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

“Five Good Minutes” Guest: ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski

4-5 p.m. SportsCenter

Hosts: John Anderson and Lindsay Czarniak.

Analysts: Steve Young and Trent Dilfer

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 & Stink

Hosts: Jorge Sedano and Schlereth.

ESPN Radio

Note: Commentator and guest schedules subject to change

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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.)

8-11 a.m. SportsCenter Hosts: Hannah Storm and Jay Crawford

Guest: Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brad Kiesel

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)

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

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

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

Guest: Kiesel (11:30)

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)

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

Analysts: Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, and Insider Mortensen

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.
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