Rob Gronkowski, John McEnroe, Drew Rosenhaus, Kevin Plank And More Tonight On JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME, Premieres At 9p ET/PT On SHO

showtime-sports“If I had to choose between having either a concussion right now or having my knee blown out, I’m going to say a concussion.” – NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski

“I would call him, in a nutshell, a total a**hole.” – John McEnroe on Jimmy Connors

“Danny Ferry should be fired. Racism cannot be tolerated, period.” –Drew Rosenhaus, on the issue of racism in sports

DREW ROSENHAUS, DONTE STALLWORTH AND TODD BOYD DEBATE RACISM IN SPORTS AND ROB GRONKOWSKI GOES FULL GRONK ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME®

The Season Premiere of JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME® Airs Tonight, Wednesday, April 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME; Encores all week long on SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and SHOWTIME ANYTIME®

 Watch Rob Gronkowski Describe His Perfect Wife

LOS ANGELES (March 31, 2015) – NFL uber agent Drew Rosenhaus, NFL receiver Donte Stallworth and USC professor and noted author Dr. Todd Boyd debate Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry’s racist comments, Rosenhaus discusses embattled client Greg Hardy and Rob Gronkowski states he would rather have a concussion over a knee injury on the Season 4 premiere and first of six consecutive weekly episodes of JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME premiering Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

“We’re here talking about a very serious topic,” said Rosenhaus in The Forum, referencing racism in sports and specifically in the NBA. “Danny Ferry should be fired. Racism cannot be tolerated, period. This is a leader [Ferry] in professional sports. It’s not a player, he’s a general manager. There is a different accountability when you are a general manager.”

Stallworth noted that Ferry’s comments would’ve had an impact on him if he were a free agent deciding whether to play for the Atlanta Hawks.

“Whenever you are in free agency you are going to call guys that you know on the team,” Stallworth said. “You’re going to ask them about practice, weights, the coach…because all those things matter as a player. I personally, and could probably speak for a lot of guys, would not play there [after hearing Ferry’s comments].”

Rosenhaus, Stallworth and Boyd also discuss other relevant topics in sports in The Forum, including why John Calipari is such a polarizing figure in college basketball and if the NFL truly cares about the issue of domestic violence or just the wellbeing of their brand.

Additional highlights from the show include New England Patriots tight end and Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski twerking, spiking a piñata and revealing what Tom Brady tells him after a TD, seven-time Grand Slam champion and tennis legend John McEnroe and his choice words for Jimmy Connors and Under Armour CEO and founder Kevin Plank referring to Nike as the “four-letter word.”

Here are additional highlights from Wednesday’s show:

10 Questions with Rob Gronkowski:

JIM ROME: “You said a year ago that you would rather have a concussion than a knee injury, do you still feel that way?”

ROB GRONKOWSKI: “If I had to choose between having either a concussion right now or having my knee blown out, I’m going to say a concussion.

“Why would I want to sit there for eight months and not do anything when with a concussion I’ll just wake up and be ready to go again? Eight months of rehab sounds miserable. Obviously I’d prefer neither, but sitting here right now, I would take the concussion.”

*  *  *

On his rivalry with Jimmy Connors:

JOHN McENROE: “It’s not all good [between us]. As far as us getting together, it’s been a while. One thing I will say is that I respect Jimmy Connors. He was one of the greatest competitors that I have ever seen in any sport. I know that he made me a better player and I hope I made him a better player.

“I would call him, in a nutshell, a total a**hole. At the end of the day I think we had one of the great rivalries in tennis history.”

*  *  *

On Greg Hardy:

JIM ROME: “How many teams were interested in signing Greg Hardy?”

DREW ROSENHAUS: “Three teams.”

JIM ROME: “Had he not done what he did, how many teams would’ve been interested?”

DREW ROSENHAUS: “I would have to assume almost all of them. He was going to be one of the top guys in free agency.”

*  *  *

On competitor Nike:

JIM ROME: “Can you see yourself running down Nike, and if so, how long is that going to take?”

KEVIN PLANK: “It’s a bit of a one horse race with ourselves, where the rest of the market is looking at us and probably trying to keep up to a certain extent.”

JIM ROME: “I noticed that you acknowledged the competition, but you did not mention them by name. Do you never say the word Nike?”

KEVIN PLANK: “Well it’s a four-letter word, Jim. I’m a father of two and we practice what we preach.”

*  *  *

JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME airs Wednesdays with encore airings all week long on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME® and is available on SHOWTIME ON DEMAND and SHOWTIME ANYTIME.

# # #

Montreal Canadiens’ Flashy Superstar PK Subban Profiled On 60 MINUTES SPORTS Wednesday On SHOWTIME

60-Minutes-Sports-showtimeNEW YORK (March 31, 2015) – He’s a dazzling skater and the highest paid defensemen in the league.  When he scores – which is often – you’re more than likely to see a dramatic show.  Sometimes he mimics a hunter pulling back his bow and shooting an imaginary arrow.  P.K. Subban has slain the opposing team once again.  Some call him cocky; he’s the favorite boo bird for opposing fans.  But as the young player’s skills peak on a legendary team that he could help win an overdue Stanley Cup for, he says the Montreal Canadiens come first and his flair for the dramatic is just an expression of confidence.  Armen Keteyian profiles Subban on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, Wednesday. April 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, only on SHOWTIME.

“Anybody that knows me personally knows that I’m not cocky.  I’m a confident individual but I’m not cocky.  I would never put myself ahead of my teammates, never,” says the 25-year-old star, who recently signed an 8-year contract for $72 million.  His play has helped the team to one of the league’s best records and a playoff shot at its first Stanley Cup in 22 years.

He likens his role and confidence to other great sports stars.  “What would Kobe do when they’re down by two points and he gets the ball? What would Michael Jordan do?  What’s Tiger going do when it’s one shot away?  They’re going to put the ball in the hole, in the basket,” he tells Keteyian.  “So for me, when I get the opportunity to be a game changer, I have to do that.”

Pernell Karl Subban’s journey to the NHL is a little different from others.  One of about twenty black NHL players, that journey began when his father Karl left Jamaica as a boy and settled in a snowy town in Northern Ontario, where he fell in love with hockey.  Karl Subban taught his son the game on a small skating rink he built in his backyard and on the public rinks of Toronto, where P.K. grew up with his four siblings.  Karl was serious about getting P.K. enough ice time to become a competitive player.  Father and son skated together every night one winter when P.K. was just 5 years old, sometimes into the wee hours of the night.  The profile includes interviews with Karl and Subban’s mother, Maria, who talk about raising the future star defensemen.  In a touching and humorous moment, Subban shows Keteyian his first pair of skates: white, fur-trimmed hand-me-down figure skates from his big sister.

“It’s ok for parents to want it more than our children early on,” he says.  “But eventually our children must want it more than we want it.  And that’s…what happened with us.”

The desire instilled in the boy by his father has bloomed into a serious self-assurance on the ice.  It’s a confidence that he says fuels the game-changing heroics he has become known for.  Speaking about a winning overtime goal he scored, he tells Keteyian, “The feeling starts in overtime.  Whether I have to put it around somebody, or through somebody, it’s going in.  It’s like, when you smell blood, you got to know when to just end it.”

# # #

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Saturday, May 2 Live on Pay-Per-View

hbo-fight

LAS VEGAS (March 11, 2015) – Sports fans will be treated to the fight that has captured the attention of the entire world when boxing’s pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather steps into the ring to face eight-division world champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao in an epic welterweight world championship unification bout. The much-anticipated mega-fight will take place Saturday, May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank Inc., the pay-per-view telecast will be co-produced and co-distributed by SHOWTIME PPV® and HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.

Superstars Mayweather and Pacquiao, whose crossover appeal transcends the sport and has made them household names, will compete in an event that is expected to eclipse any and all pay-per-view, live gate and closed circuit records. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will rival legendary and memorable prizefights in the sport’s history such as the “Thrilla in Manila,” the “Rumble in the Jungle” and Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns.

“Since the fight was announced, the response from the public has been unbelievable, and it’s even more clear that this is the fight the fans want to see,” said Mayweather. “I’m grateful that Manny Pacquiao and I were able to make it happen. This will be the biggest event in the history of boxing. I can’t thank my team enough for their support from day one. I’m more motivated than ever to put on an unbelievable show, and I’ll be ready for May 2.”

“I will be ready for my date with destiny on May 2,” said Pacquiao.  “I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years. They have waited long enough and they deserve it.  It is their mandate.  It is an honor to be part of this historic event.  I dedicate this fight to all the fans who willed this fight to happen and, as always, to bring glory to the Philippines and my fellow Filipinos around the world.”

The fighters, promoters and network executives worked in close cooperation to ensure that every detail was agreed upon and set in order to deliver this historic fight.

“This fight is what we’ve all been waiting for,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. We always say that we want to give the fans what they want, and on May 2 they will get just that. “Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is the biggest event in the history of boxing, and we’re confident it will break all pay-per-view, live gate, and closed circuit records. Floyd has worked hard his whole career and controlled his own destiny to get to this point. Mayweather Promotions is excited for him and to be part of this extraordinary opportunity for everybody involved.”

“The whole world is eagerly awaiting this exciting battle,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank “With the help of God, we will be triumphant.”

“Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have been the two most prominent fighters in the sport of boxing for the past decade, and fight fans around the world have been clamoring for them to face each other,” said Ken Hershman, President HBO Sports. “And now, on May 2, in what everyone believes will be the biggest boxing event of all-time, fight fans have been granted their wish. May 2 will be a signature moment for the sport of boxing and HBO Sports is thrilled to be a part of this spectacular event. I know the fighters and their teams will be primed to excel and we plan to work closely with everyone involved to deliver the same level of performance from a broadcast perspective.”

“When Showtime Networks signed Floyd Mayweather we began planning for spectacular events throughout the term of our agreement.  For both Floyd and for us, this fight was the top priority,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “The overwhelming anticipation for this fight is driving us to work around the clock on virtually every aspect of the event to deliver a world-class presentation worthy of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.”

“Like boxing fans worldwide, we’re very excited that the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight has come to fruition,” said Richard Sturm, president of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host this championship fight at MGM Grand, home to the sport’s biggest events. This May weekend will prove to be one of the most electric weekends Las Vegas has ever experienced.”

One of the most decorated fighters in the history of the sport, the undefeated Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) is an 11-time world champion in five weight divisions and is universally recognized as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. With his trademark speed, defensive prowess and ability to read his opponents Mayweather has amassed wins over 20 world champions in his already legendary 19-year career.  In addition to his in-ring accomplishments, Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated have named Mayweather the world’s highest-paid athlete multiple times. His events average more than one million pay-per-view buys per fight, which is the highest average of any boxer in history. Mayweather holds the all-time record in gross pay-per-view receipts and has participated in three of the top six highest grossing pay-per-view events of all-time. Thus far, Mayweather is the only fighter to have participated in two events that generated more than 2 million pay-per-view buys each. Mayweather has been decorated with awards for “Best Male Athlete” and “Fighter of the Year” by various organizations including five ESPN ESPY Awards and two Boxing Writers Association of America awards.

Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), the lone congressional representative from the Sarangani province in the Philippines (he was reelected to a second term, running unopposed in 2013), is the only fighter to win eight world titles in as many different weight divisions.  A three-time Fighter of the Year and the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade,” Pacquiao’s resumé features victories over present and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Márquez. From 2008 to 2010, five of his seven victories were world title victories in five different weight classes, from 130 to 154 pounds.  No active boxer has sold more live tickets in the U.S. than Pacquiao, who is also credited with more than 13 million domestic pay-per-view buys.  Pacquiao regained the WBO welterweight title last year, on April 12, via a scintillating unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley Jr., avenging his controversial 2012 split decision loss to the undefeated two-division world champion.

HBO Sports has brought the best in sports to television for four decades -– from world championship boxing events, to intriguing documentaries and specials, to the most honored and compelling reality programming franchise, and the most provocative sports magazine program on TV. HBO has covered the sport of boxing unlike anyone else over the last 40 years. Three series comprise the HBO Boxing franchise, including the flagship World Championship Boxing® series, the HBO Pay-Per-View® service, which is the pay-per-view arm of Home Box Office and a premier supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry, and the late-night HBO Boxing After Dark® series, which was introduced in 1996.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND, and the network’s authentication service SHOWTIME ANYTIME®. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena is home to concerts, championship boxing and premier sporting and special events. The Arena offers comfortable seating for as many as 16,800 with excellent sightlines and state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and sound.  Prominent events to date have included world championship fights between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson as well as Oscar de la Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather and Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez; and concerts by The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bette Midler, George Strait, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, U2, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Jimmy Buffett and the Barbra Streisand Millennium Concert.  The MGM Grand Garden Arena also is home to annual events including Academy of Country Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Festival, Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Championship and the Frozen Fury NHL pre-season game hosted by the Los Angeles Kings.

For more information visit www.mayweatherpromotions.comwww.toprank.comwww.SHO.com/Sports,www.hbo.com/boxing and www.mgmgrand.com and follow on Twitter at @floydmayweather, @MannyPacquiao @mayweatherpromo, @TRBoxing, @SHOSports, @HBOboxing and @Swanson_Comm, and become a fan on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/FloydMayweatherwww.facebook.com/TopRankMannyPacquiao www.facebook.com/MayweatherPromotionswww.facebook.com/TRBoxingwww.facebook.com/SHOsports andwww.facebook.com/HBOBoxing.

Former NHL Enforcers Discuss How Fighting Damaged Their Brains In 60 MINUTES SPORTS Feature This Wednesday On SHOWTIME

showtime-sportsFORMER NHL FIGHTING “ENFORCERS” TALK ABOUT THE UGLY SIDE OF HOCKEY

IN RARE INTERVIEWS – “60 MINUTES SPORTS” PREMIERES

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 AT 9 P.M. ONLY ON SHOWTIME®

Scott Parker & Dan LaCouture Recall Being Expected To Engage In Brutal Fights

They Say Damaged Their Brains And Drove Them To Join

A Concussion Lawsuit Against The NHL

NEW YORK (March 2, 2015) – They were the guys on the ice beating the heck out of an opposing player, or getting the heck beat out of them.  Now they say they are suffering for it.  Two of hockey’s former “enforcers” are speaking out about their violent roles in what was once a hallmark of the sport: fighting on the ice.  Scott Parker and Dan LaCouture tell Armen Keteyian the brawls they say they were expected to take part in have damaged their brains, and have blamed the NHL by joining a class action concussion lawsuit against the league.  Keteyian’s report on living – and some dead – former NHL enforcers is featured on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, Wednesday, March 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.

LaCouture, 37, says his body feels fine. “But not my head…I’m depressed…I don’t feel right.”   Parker, 37, failed a basic agility test that can assess brain damage.  “Some days I wake up and I’m 80…some days I just feel broken,” he says.

Players like the 6-foot-4, 245 pound Parker, who was called “The Sheriff,” were used by teams to intimidate.  He would retaliate if an opposing player roughed up his teammate – especially a star teammate – by starting a fight that often ended up bloody and always got him and the opposing player out of the game for extended penalty periods.  If that player he fought was the opposing team’s star player, all the better.  Parker says he had hundreds of fights; he suffered concussions.

Parker says he actually trained for his role. “I would wrap my hands with chains and I would callous up my hands…and I would hit trees.  I would just smoke trees,” he tells Keteyian.  The former Colorado Avalanche player also reveals a technique he used to win fights.  He says he would grab an opponent’s collar and drive a finger into his throat.  “I’m putting my finger down your esophagus…I can manipulate you and put you where I want.”

Fighting isn’t as big a part of the game as it once was.  The NHL is emphasizing skills over brawn these days as more players join the concussion lawsuit that now numbers dozens of plaintiffs.  Only a few years ago it was a huge part of the game, and you had to fight if that was your role, says the 6-foot-2 LaCouture.  “It’s looked upon me because of my size to do something about it,” he says referring to retaliation for a cheap shot, or a rough check against a teammate.

LaCouture played hockey in college well enough to make it to the pros. He wanted to score goals, not bash heads, he says.  Asked by Keteyian if he ever told coaches or executives he didn’t want to be the enforcer or the “goon,” he replies, “Yeah, [but they would say] ‘That’s your role…on the fourth line.  If you don’t like it there’s the door.’”

Keteyian also interviews Len Boogaard, whose son, Derek, was an NHL enforcer.  Derek died at age 28 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and the prescription drugs he became addicted to after suffering many injuries.  The father is suing the NHL for wrongful death and lists the vast amount of drugs prescribed to his son by NHL doctors in the suit.

The NHL declined requests to appear in the story or answer questions about the issues it raises.

# # #

MLB VP SAYS LEAGUE WILL LAUNCH A COMPREHENSIVE,

FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND STUDY TO LEARN WHY SO MANY

GOOD YOUNG ARMS ARE GOING BAD – “60 MINUTES SPORTS” WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 ONLY ON SHOWTIME®

A “Pitching Doctor” Says MLB is Behind the Times

NEW YORK (March 3, 2015) – Too many top-notch pitchers are having major surgery too soon in their careers and Major League Baseball wants to know why.  Senior VP for League Strategy Chris Marinak tells Jeff Glor that beginning this spring MLB will begin its first extended study to determine what’s happening.  Marinak will be part of a story about pitching that examines a body of science that doesn’t always agree with the conventional wisdom about throwing a baseball on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

Among those to miss whole seasons or significant periods due to Tommy John surgery are Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Ray and Ivan Nova of the Yankees.  All are at the beginning of their careers.  All have had the surgery.

What is MLB doing about this, asks Glor.  “We’re actually about to begin a study this spring that looks at many different factors on pitchers,” says Marinak.  “We’re going to gather MRIs, biomechanical information, medical histories.  We’re going to do a physical exam…range of motion studies on a group of pitchers.  And then we’re going to watch them for five years…who got hurt, who didn’t get hurt,” he says.

The league had been worrying about its valuable arms for some time when last year it decided to try to influence pitchers at the very young, amateur level to prevent those major league injuries.  “The final straw was when our rookie of the year, Jose Fernandez, went down last year…What we did was we brought together the foremost experts in the medical community,” says Marinak.  They told them to focus on youth.

MLB has already started a website called “Pitch Smart” for young pitchers and their parents to give them access to the correct information about when to rest, when to pitch and the many myths surrounding Tommy John surgery.

Glor speaks to former major league pitcher Tom House, a “pitching doctor” and the author of 19 books on the art of pitching.  House uses the latest technology, including 3-D imaging and special cameras, to detect things the eye cannot pick up in a thrower’s motion.  He thinks what MLB is doing is long overdue.   “I think eventually they’re going to realize that if they don’t start keeping the kids healthier at nine, 10, 11, 12 years old, it’s going to ultimately affect the bottom line with major league players,” he says  “I think baseball overall is 10 years behind the other sports – the technology involved in other sports is out there, they’re using it.  Baseball is just now starting to realize that it could help.”

# # #

Go Inside College Basketball Powerhouse Programs with HOOPS U, a SHOWTIME Sports Documentary Special, Premieres Wednesday, March 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHO

showtime-sportsExclusive Behind-The-Scenes Program Features Notre Dame Fighting Irish and University of Maryland Terrapins Current Seasons; Premieres Wednesday, March 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®

NEW YORK (Feb.25) – SHOWTIME Sports® presents HOOPS U, an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary special featuring the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish and University of Maryland Terrapins as the teams vie for a spot in the men’s national college basketball tournament.  HOOPS U, a 90-minute special, is produced by SHOWTIME Sports and IMG and premieres on Wednesday, March 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

From the classroom to the locker room, from film study to tip-off and beyond, HOOPS U gives viewers backstage access into the world of Division I college basketball.  SHOWTIME, along with executive producers Steve Mayer of IMG and 52-time Emmy Award winner Ross Greenburg (Against The Tide; Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals), peel back the curtain on the Fighting Irish and Terrapins’ men’s basketball programs, offering viewers a front-row seat to the final month of conference play and the conference tournaments through Sunday, March 15, when the national tournament bracket and seeding are announced.

HOOPS U is yet another example of our commitment to delivering diverse and dramatic sports programming,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports.  “With the addition of DEAN SMITH premiering on March 25, we are presenting two very different, yet equally compelling looks at college basketball, which has provided some of the most exciting and memorable sports moments of this era.”

“This will give viewers a unique insight into what really goes on behind the scenes at a premier college basketball program,” said Steve Mayer, Executive Producer & Head, IMG. “Our production team is receiving unparalleled access from both universities and the result will be a fascinating look at the preparations, personalities and pressures associated with college basketball at the highest level.”

HOOPS U promises a deep look inside the life of players, coaches and team personnel, revealing the joys and struggles associated with life as a collegiate athlete and the fierce battle to earn a coveted spot in the national tournament.

Led by head coach Mike Brey, the Irish have risen to become a top-10 team in just their second season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, a league many believe to be one of the toughest in college basketball.  Under the senior leadership of Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant, Notre Dame is poised and confident on its journey to the tournament.

In its first season in the Big Ten, Maryland has burst on to the national scene and has been ranked for 14 consecutive weeks in the Associated Press Poll. With a savvy group of veteran leaders and an electrifying freshman class, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon has the Terps poised for a memorable and exciting 2014-15 season.

# # #

KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE set to premiere on SHO, Saturday, Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT

showtime-sports

LOS ANGELES –  February 18, 2015 – KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE is set to premiere on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  The anticipated, feature-length documentary includes intimate and exclusive footage in the aftermath of Bryant’s recent shoulder injury which ended his 2014-2015 season with the Los Angeles Lakers.  Compelling and revelatory, KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE captures Bryant like viewers have never seen him before. For an early look at the documentary, go to:

Bryant, an 18-year veteran and 17-time NBA All-Star, has earned five NBA Championships during his time in the league. At this critical juncture in his career, viewers will watch as Bryant attempts to cement his legacy, opening a window into the mind of an elite athlete still motivated to be the best, but also contemplating life after sports.

The film is directed by Gotham Chopra and is executive produced by Kobe Bryant and Gotham Chopra in association with Mamba Media.

# # #

NFL’s EVP Football Operations Troy Vincent Says He’s Never Seen A Worse Year For The NFL, 60 Minutes Sports Tuesday on SHOWTIME

60-Minutes-Sports-showtimeVincent IDs Colts GM Ryan Grigson as the one who Set Off “Deflategate”

NEW YORK (Feb. 2, 2015) – One of the most exciting Super Bowls in history is over, and the repair work on the NFL’s image is just beginning.  One of the league’s top executives says the recent year of scandals in the league is the worst he has seen in his 22 years as an NFL player and executive.  NFL EVP Football Operations Troy Vincent addresses the NFL’s problems and its responses to them, including the origin of “Deflategate” and the antics of Marshawn Lynch, in an interview with Armen Keteyian on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, premiering Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.

Asked by Keteyian if he has ever seen such a bad year for the NFL, Vincent replies, “To answer your question, no.”  Over the past year the league has been saddled with scandals and criticized for its response to them.  Among the problems faced by the NFL was the class action concussion lawsuit, the Adrian Peterson child-abuse story, the Ray Rice domestic abuse charges and then “Deflategate.”

The NFL was accused of dragging its feet in its investigation and discipline of Rice when the world saw him violently punching his girlfriend.  The harshest criticism came from an independent report from former FBI Director Robert Mueller revealing that the NFL’s own investigator did little more than read newspaper accounts of the Rice affair.  Asked about Mueller’s report, Vincent says he did not read it.

Asked why he didn’t read the report, Vincent replies, “The crime had already been committed…We acknowledge we made a mistake. We didn’t apply the proper discipline.”  Pressed by Keteyian that it was more than inadequately disciplining Rice that the report exposed, but the league’s incompetence, Vincent says, “We failed. From that exercise, and that horrific situation, we got better.  Our processes are better. We have now experts who—true experts and investigators working alongside our staff…We can’t go back in time.”

On “Deflategate,” Vincent confirmed that the Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson told the NFL in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game that the New England Patriots might be tampering with the footballs.

On Marshawn Lynch, whose crotch-grabbing end zone antics and appearances at Super Bowl Media Day have embarrassed the league, Vincent says “Well, we try. We communicate. There’s been discipline.”  But it hasn’t worked Keteyian points out.  “Right,” says Vincent. “But you…can’t stop trying. I take full responsibility that I have to do a better job of educating.”

# # #

 

INSIDE THE NFL Super Bowl XLIX Edition From University Of Phoenix Stadium on SHOWTIME

sho-nfl 

Can the Patriots’ Offense break the Seahawks’ Defense?

Plus, A Timely Feature On How Wilson Footballs Are Made

Click on the link below to watch video tease on The Final Stich: The Making of Super Bowl’s Footballs http://s.sho.com/15QqnjB

INSIDE THE NFL Premieres Tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®

NEW YORK (Jan. 27, 2015) – INSIDE THE NFL Super Bowl Edition premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  Host Greg Gumbel is joined by expert analysts Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason and Ed Reed along with Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., to discuss what lies ahead on Super Bowl Sunday.

Also featured on this week’s installment of INSIDE THE NFL are an analysis of last Saturday’s Bill Belichick press conference, a timely feature on the making of Super Bowl footballs, Seattle’s chances against an offense that averages 29 points per game and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin coaching his team to victory in the Pro Bowl last Sunday.

For limited time only, this week’s episode will also be available on SHOWTIME ANYTIME® and SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® after it airs.

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

BELOW ARE SELECT HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS WEEK’S EDITION

On Deflate-Gate…

Boomer Esiason– “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on Saturday, when Bill Belichick held a press conference and he basically refuted everything that’s been out there in the news. He said … that nobody on the Patriots’ staff was deliberately tampering with the footballs. Now, what I take out of that is that he’s put his legacy on the line.  He’s put Tom Brady’s legacy on the line.  And he’s put the reputation of Robert Kraft on the line. He is “ALL IN” as they say.”

Brandon Marshall – “The reason why [tampering with the balls issue] this is so important is because of the conditions. When it’s wet outside, or if it’s snowing, that’s when you want a lighter ball so you can grip it … I think it’s important to note the process of how the officials come into the locker room, they look at the balls.  They check them out … They mark them and then, it’s the honor system.”

On Rob Gronkowski…

Phil Simms – “When you look at Seattle’s defense, I think they have three-to-four guys that can cover him. It’s not like most teams that can’t find one guy that matches up. You know, we looked at these linebackers, we talked about them. The corners can match up. The safeties can cover him…”

On the Seattle Seahawks…

Boomer Esiason – “They are going to be aggressive. They are not going to be moving all over the place with these formations … They are right in your face … You do not want to accelerate your thinking. I think Tom Brady has been around a long time. He trusts his offense his line…“

On Seattle and its Boot Passes…

Brandon Marshall – “You are not the No. 1 run offense in the League all year and then  get to the Super Bowl and that’s gone. So, when you have that ability to run the ball … that creates one-on-one matchups and that creates big plays …”

On The Patriots’ Strategy…

Brandon Marshall – “We know that Bill Belichick is going to do his best to take away their No. 1 option, and that’s Marshawn Lynch.”

Ed Reed – “New England’s defense is going to have to play disciplined football for 60 minutes, just like everyone else has to play that way against Seattle. If you don’t, Russell Wilson is going to get those plays.”

#  #  #

“That loss … is going to stick with them forever.” – Phil Simms on Green Bay’s Loss, on INSIDE THE NFL, 9p ET/PT on SHO

sho-nfl“That loss … is going to stick with them forever.” – Phil Simms on Green Bay’s Loss

“Ninety-nine percent of America thought that this game was over. Ninety-nine percent of that team knew they were still in it.” – Brandon Marshall on Seattle’s Victory.

INSIDE THE NFL Premieres Tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®

NEW YORK (Jan. 20, 2015) – This week’s installment of INSIDE THE NFL premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  Host Greg Gumbel is joined by expert analysts Phil Simms, Ed Reed and Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall in-studio to discuss an action-packed week Championship Weekend.

Also featured on this week’s installment of INSIDE THE NFL are the Seattle Seahawks’ triumph, the wreckage of Green Bay’s season, and what it all means for history. As well as the role of the owner in NFL franchises, the New England Patriots’ outstanding performance and what the future holds for the Indianapolis Colts. Also, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson and more wired for sound.

Plus, don’t miss videos featuring six degrees of separation between Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick and exclusive reactions of Packers, Seahawks, Patriots and Colts across Manhattan during the most dramatic moments of Championship Weekend.

BELOW ARE SELECT HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS WEEK’S EDITION

On Packers vs. Seahawks…

Phil Simms – “That loss, I think we all would agree, that is going to stick with them forever. And you think about Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy–because we always talk about legacies–how this probably changes what we think of them when all it’s said and done … This thing is going to be part of history. We are going to be talking about it every year.

“Everything you can possibly do wrong, they did wrong … I’m giving Seattle tons of credit for what they did, but Green Bay gave it away.”

Brandon Marshall – “I was a hypocrite, man. I thought the game was over. But, I really believe that what we are seeing in that team is special. Last week I talked about how they loved each other. Now, the second part to this whole philosophy of being great is, you have to love what you do. And you saw [it], it wasn’t just Russell Wilson. It was Kam Chancellor, you have Earl Thomas, you have Richard Sherman, you have so many guys stepping up and saying, ‘You know what? This game isn’t over.’ Ninety-nine percent of America thought that this game was over. Ninety-nine percent of that team knew they were still in it. And that’s why they win the game.”

Phil Simms – “When you go watch them practice and you kind of hang around, you kind of get it. Because it is different … How their chemistry is so important to them. And I think we know that too, just by watching Pete Carroll on the sidelines, don’t we? That’s not fake. That’s Pete Carroll.”

On the Role of NFL Owners…

Phil Simms – “Nowadays, we see these owners that are more out-front than ever, and I really understand why. I really understand it in the National Football League. Because … how they [have] branded the League over the last 15 years has changed everything … All the money being spent, the popularity of the game… I think these owners, they [have] built an unbelievable thing and if they want to be out there in the front, good for them.”

Brandon Marshall – “I think it depends on the role they have outside of being the owner. You don’t want the owner to take ownership in football decisions if he’s not an expert. I think there are guys like Jerry Jones [Owner, President and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys] that we can say he didn’t have that expertise at the beginning, but he may now … and he’s Executive of the Year … I don’t think you have to know football if you are an owner, you have to know people.

Pat Bowlen in Denver, I remember when he used to come out to [the] practice field and he had his cowboys’ boots on and made everybody work harder. I looked at him … [and] I said, I want to win for that guy. And the same for the McCaskey’s, when I see Ms. [Virginia Halas] McCaskey, [when] I see George [McCaskey], I say, you know what? I don’t want to let those people down. When you have that type of relationship, where you shook his hand before, her hand, it makes you work a little harder.”

#  #  #

Showtime Announces Premiere Date For “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”

showtime-sportsHighly-Anticipated Feature-Length Documentary To Premiere Saturday, February 21 at 9 PM ET/PT

NEW TRAILER:

LOS ANGELES (January 12, 2015) – SHOWTIME has announced the premiere date for KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE.  The feature-length documentary is set to premiere on Saturday, February 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.  Compelling and revelatory, this highly-anticipated film captures Kobe Bryant like you’ve never seen before.

KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE will offer viewers a deep character portrait of a professional athlete who has transcended his sport to become a culture-moving personality,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®.  “We are thrilled that Kobe has given us this unprecedented access, which will allow our viewers to witness such a pivotal moment in the life of one of the NBA’s greatest players.”

Bryant, an 18-year veteran and 16-time NBA All-Star, has earned five NBA Championships during his time in the league. At this critical juncture in his career, viewers will watch as Bryant attempts to cement his legacy, opening a window into the mind of an elite athlete still motivated to be the best, but also contemplating life after sports.

The film is directed by Gotham Chopra and is executive produced by Kobe Bryant and Gotham Chopra in association with Mamba Media.

# # #