SHOWTIME SPORTS® PRESENTS “AGAINST THE TIDE” – An In-depth Look at the Integration of College Football in the South

showtime-sportsAn In-depth Look at the Roles of Legendary Alabama Football Coach

Paul “Bear” Bryant and University of Southern California Coach John McKay

In the Integration of College Football in the South

          Feature Length Documentary Film From 51-Time Sports EMMY® Award Winner Ross Greenburg, Narrated by Tom Selleck Premieres Friday, Nov. 15 On SHOWTIME®

 

VIEW TRAILER:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA5YlCVLLGA

 

NEW YORK (Oct. 28, 2013) – Did University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and University of Southern California coach John McKay purposefully schedule the first game of the 1970 season – the first time a fully integrated team had played in Alabama – as a statement against segregation?  Or was it simply another game between two college football powerhouses whose coaches were close personal friends?  What were Bryant’s and McKay’s motives for the last-minute addition of USC, a fully integrated team ranked by some as the No. 1 team in the country, to the 1970 Alabama schedule?

SHOWTIME Sports® examines these questions in the film “AGAINST THE TIDE,” a feature-length documentary from EMMY Award winning producer Ross Greenburg; premiering Friday, Nov. 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

Narrated by Tom Selleck (EMMY Award winning star of CBS’ Blue Bloods), the documentary paints a vivid picture of Bryant, the state of the turbulent South during the Civil Rights Movement, and the 1960’s era football program at the University of Alabama, one of collegiate athleticsmost dominant programs in any sport.  Across the country, USC was a colorblind, powerhouse program that integrated in the 1920s and revolutionized the game in the 1960s with the innovative McKay at the helm leading them to two national championships.

Through the relationship between Bryant at Alabama and his renowned counterpart at USC, “AGAINST THE TIDE” examines the role college football played in changing deep-seeded sentiments on segregation in the South.  Bryant is offered as one of the only public figures in Alabama with the stature to openly oppose segregation.

“This game, and the integration of college football at Alabama under Coach ‘Bear’ Bryant, has been a fascinating and intriguing story for many years,” said Greenburg.  “It is our intention to focus on the truth, and let the viewer separate fact from fiction and myth from reality.”

“‘AGAINST THE TIDE’ is a powerful commentary on the complex relationship between sports and race in American society,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports.  “We have a strong commitment to producing high-quality sports documentaries, and our first film with accomplished producer Ross Greenburg exemplifies this perfectly.”

The documentary, which features interviews with former Alabama players Joe Namath, John Mitchell and John Hannah, USC’s Sam “Bam” Cunningham, Jimmy Jones and more, investigates Bryant’s surprising decision to bring a dominant, integrated football team in a then racially-divided Alabama.

Faced with the precedent-setting option to add an 11th game to their college football schedule, Bryant and McKay reached an agreement on a two-game, home-and-home series where the Crimson Tide would host the Trojans at Birmingham’s Legion Field to kick off the 1970 season.

“What coach in his right mind would have a totally inexperienced team book Southern Cal for an opener?” asks John Hannah, who played for Alabama in the historic game. “You might do it toward the end of the season, but why would you do it in the beginning?”

The historic showdown on Sept. 12, 1970, marked the first time a fully integrated team played Alabama in the South and was a particularly risky matchup for the struggling Crimson Tide football program.  Alabama was a young, rebuilding team coming off a disappointing 6-5 season; the USC Trojans were three years removed from a national championship and had lost just two games in three years.

Alabama was outmatched on both sides of the ball by a bigger, faster and stronger opponent, losing 42-21.  The all-black backfield of USC, featuring quarterback Jimmy Jones, fullback Sam “Bam” Cunningham and native Alabaman Clarence Davis, dominated the Crimson Tide, with Cunningham and Davis accounting for 3 touchdowns and 211 yards on 25 carries.

The Crimson Tide welcomed their first African-American scholarship varsity player, John Mitchell, one year later to begin the 1971 football season and went 11-1.

“The point of the game was never the score.  The point of the game was reason, democracy and hope. The real winner that night was the South.” – The late Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times Columnist.

About Showtime Networks Inc.

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®, FLIX 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®.

NFL Hall Of Famer Harry Carson Joins “Inside The NFL” Tonight On SHOWTIME

inside-NFL-showtime“Knowing what I know now, if I had to do it all over again, I would not have done it.  I would not have played…”  

– Harry Carson

Episode Premieres Tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME

NEW YORK (October 30, 2013) – Pro Football Hall of Famer Harry Carson joins INSIDE THE NFL tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®.  The legendary former New York Giant joins host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to break down this week’s hot topics from around the league.

In a conversation about the level of play seen by the Detroit Lions this season, Simms calls Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson the “best combination in the NFL.”

Plus, Brown, Simms, Collinsworth and Carson have a very real conversation on the topic of concussions within the league.  Carson, when speaking about his views on concussions from his own personal experience states in tonight’s episode, “Knowing what I know now, if I had to do it all over again, I would not have done it.  I would not have played because I value my brain more than touchdowns or stops or whatever.”

Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week.  New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.

INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.

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.

# # # #

Hopkins Defeats Murat, Retails Title And Breaks Record As Oldest Fighter To Defend A World Championship

showtime-sportsIBF LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION BERNARD“THE ALIEN” HOPKINS DEFEATS KARO MURAT, RETAINS TITLE AND BREAKS HIS RECORD AS THE OLDEST FIGHTER TO DEFEND A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin Retains WBO Middleweight World Championship with Controversial Stoppage Of “King” Gabriel Rosado; Heavyweight Sensation Deontey Wilder Remains Undefeated And Registers Thirtieth Knockout

Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Telecast Will Replay Sunday Morning

At 9 a.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME® and Tuesday, October 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on

SHOWTIME EXTREME®

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PHOTOS

Photo Credit: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

 

ATLANTIC CITY (October 27, 2013) — IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KO’s) became the oldest fighter in history to defend a world title, breaking his own record by defeating European challenger Karo Murat (25-2-1, 15 KO’s).  The 48-year-old “Executioner” turned “Alien” out-worked and out-brawled his 30-year-old challenger and won via clear unanimous decision in front of his hometown crowd at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.   The fight, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Caesars Atlantic City, headlined an entertaining three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event.

Hopkins appeared to start the night slow, but Hopkins’ combinations, speed and power grew each round.  By the seventh, Hopkins and Murat exchanged wild power shots in spurts for the rest of the bout.  Amidst these exchanges, Hopkins used his signature defense, angles and gamesmanship to mentally and physically deflate Murat.  The judges scored the fight 117-110 and 119-108, twice for the champion.

“Richard Schaefer said we needed to be crowd pleasers,” said Hopkins, the oldest champion in sports history.  “The crowd wanted to see skill and blood so I had some blood to give them.  I am an entertainer and this is what people want to see… He was a game number one contender.”

When asked by SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray if Murat brought out the best in him, Hopkins answered, “Not really, but he didn’t bring out the worst either.”

Regarding the slow start, Hopkins said, “That was the plan. That was the bone on the string so that the dog could follow him into a dark alley and then realize someone was waiting on him. And that dog was me.”

Hopkins continued, “He throws pretty good punches and he is no one to sleep on.  He is going to give some light heavyweights a bit of a problem.”

When Gray asked Hopkins how he stays in such phenomenal shape at age 48, Hopkins replied, “I’m a freaking alien.”

Gray then spoke to Murat who said, “Bernard is a good boxer and I lost concentration due to the two cuts which came by head butts. I know that when I am in good shape I can beat him, however, the cuts disturbed me.”

In the co-main event Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (30-0, 21 KO’s) remained undefeated and retained his WBO Middleweight title by defeating “King” Gabriel Rosado via technical knockout.  The fight was stopped at 40 seconds of the tenth round by the referee on the advice of the doctor due to a deep cut on Rosado’s left eyelid.

Quillin came out of the gate as the more confident and powerful of the two, dropping Rosado in the second.  But by the fourth, Rosado found rhythm and confidence of his own.  Rosado pressed forward and took the momentum away for virtually the rest of the fight.

But Quillin was counterpunching and keeping each round close.  In the ninth, with less than a minute left, Quillin landed a snap jab that sliced open Rosado’s eyelid which began to pour blood.

In between rounds, the ringside physician cleared the challenger for the tenth.  But referee Allan Huggins soon called for another look at which point the ringside physician changed course and advised Huggins to halt the fight.

Said Quillin after the fight, “I’m not a judge.  I’m not an elected official.  I did what I had to do as a fighter and I respect the call.  The referees and doctors ringside did what they had to do to make sure the fighters are safe.

“I never expect an easy payday or an easy fight.  I work hard every time for each fight…  When you dedicate to win a title you need to give that person a sense of being able to achieve what they want.  I am a world champion and I work hard.  He has never been a champion and he doesn’t know.

“I’m ready for anybody.  I am a fighter and I worry about fighting.  If it is a rematch, then I don’t care.  I work hard to be in this ring and I work hard to defend my title against anybody.  I don’t care if it is against my own mother.”

Of the stoppage, Rosado told Gray, “I felt like that was B.S.  This is a championship fight.  We were going into the championship rounds.  This was a competitive fight.  I never complained  about a cut.  When the doctor saw my eye, I told him that I could see. It was not giving me any problems up to that point.

“I noticed if I backed him up with a jab that I was hurting him and I was doing that.  But then the doctor called me over and stopped the fight. This is boxing. What about Gatti-Ward? They didn’t stop that fight. Corrales-Castillo. We are warriors.

“I never even complained that I couldn’t see. Of course I want a rematch.  This is the story of my life.  I’m the real Rocky Balboa.”

In the opening bout of the evening, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (30-0, 30 KO’s) remained undefeated with a stunning fourth-round knockout over Nicolai “Stone Man” Firtha (21-11-1, 8 KO’s).  It was only the third time that the promising young heavyweight from Tuscaloosa, Ala., has ever been into the fourth round.  To date, he has a remarkable 17 first-round knockouts and is looking to move into a championship fight.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast, featuring another historic performance by Hopkins, will replay Sunday at 9 a.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME and Tuesday, October 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.  It will be availabe on SHOWTIME On Demand beginning October 27.

Results from tonight’s SHOWTIME EXTREME televised preliminary bouts:

Dominic Wade (13-0, 10 KO’s) defeated Roberto Ventura (15-8, 14 KO’s) via technical knockout at 2:08 of round 1.

Braulio Santos (11-1, 10 KO’s) defeated David Clark (6-3, 4 KO’s) via technical knockout at 1:49 of round 1.

Zachary Ochoa (5-0, 3 KO’s) defeated Michael Doyle (2-6, 1 KO’) via unanimous decision.

The SHOWTIME EXTREME undercard bouts will re-air on Wednesday, October 30 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.

Hopkins vs. Murat was a 12-round bout for Hopkins’ IBF Light Heavyweight World Championship, presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Caesars Atlantic City and sponsored by Corona and AT&T.  In the co-main event WBO Middleweight Champion Peter Quillin put his title on the line against Gabriel Rosado in a 12-round bout.  Plus, opening the tripleheader, WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder faced Nicolai Firtha in a 10-round showdown.  The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast began live at 9 p.m. ET/PT and was available in Spanish on secondary audio programming (SAP).  Preliminary bouts aired live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

# # # #

Dan Marino Joins This Week’s INSIDE THE NFL; Colts’ Irsay Comments on Big Win

inside-NFL-showtimeCOLTS OWNER JIM IRSAY ADDRESSES TEAM AFTER SUNDAY NIGHT WIN

NEW YORK (October 23, 2013) – Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL ON CBS analyst Dan Marino joins INSIDE THE NFL tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®.  The legendary former Dolphins quarterback joins host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to break down this week’s hot topics from around the league.

In tonight’s episode, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is shown addressing his team in the locker room after their, 39-33, win over the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning on Sunday night as part of the exclusive NFL Films footage.

Plus, in a special segment called INFL 64, Simms, Collinsworth and Marino rank the top five and bottom five offensive and defensive squads in football today.

Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week.  New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.

INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.

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.

Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:

From the exclusive NFL Films footage featuring Jim Irsay in the locker room after Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos…

Jim Irsay: That other guy next door (Peyton Manning) is one of the greats and I have nothing but gratitude towards what he’s done for this team.  But today is today.  And we all know that we want to go and get this (holding up his right hand with the Super Bowl ring on it).  Anyone who doesn’t want more than one of these (again holding up his right hand) shouldn’t wear a horseshoe because that’s what it’s about.

On the comments Irsay made in the locker room and if he should have made them…

Dan Marino: My opinion, no. There is no reason for that.  I mean, they won the ballgame.  As an owner you have to feel pretty darn lucky to have Peyton Manning for 14 years and win a ring.  There are a lot of guys who have played in the NFL and have been great players including me, I feel like I was a good player, and I don’t have a ring.  So I don’t think you go there at all.

Cris Collinsworth: You know, why go back?  I mean go back in the locker room when they turn off the cameras and go, ‘Like I said guys, I love Peyton Manning but it’s about the ring!’ You know, and use it to fire them up.  But I wouldn’t do it on camera, no.

PHIL SIMMS: Let it go.  Never say the word.  Don’t talk about Super Bowl rings.  Don’t bring up Peyton’s name, the other quarterback.  Let it go.

 

As part of the INFL 64 segment: Simms, Collinsworth and Marino top five and bottom five squads:

Simms

Top Five                                                       Bottom Five

1. Denver Offense                                       60. Philadelphia Offense

2. Kansas City Defense                              61. Denver Defense

3. Seattle Defense                                       62. Arizona Offense

4. Cincinnati Defense                                 63. Jacksonville Defense

5. New Orleans Offense                             64. Jacksonville Offense

Collinsworth

Top Five                                                       Bottom Five

1. Kansas City Defense                              60. New York Giants Offense

2. Denver Offense                                       61. Tampa Bay Offense

3. Carolina Defense                                                62. Jacksonville Defense

4. Houston Defense                                                63. Jacksonville Offense

5. Indianapolis Defense                             64. Houston Offense

Marino

Top Five                                                       Bottom Five

1. Denver Offense                                       60. Baltimore Offense

2. Seattle Defense                                       61. Cleveland Offense

3. Kansas City Defense                              62. Tampa Bay Offense

4. Seattle Offense                                        63. Jacksonville Defense

5. Green Bay Offense                                 64. Jacksonville Offense

# # # #

Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, Cris Collinsworth on His “Soapbox” – on INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME

inside-NFL-showtimeNEW YORK (October 16, 2013) – Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson joined INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME®.  Woodson joins host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to break down this week’s hot topics from around the league.

Courtesy of NFL Films, this week’s episode features unique footage of Tom Brady as he was wired for sound in last Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.  See and hear his audio from final drive of the game.

And, Collinsworth gets up on his soapbox to talk about rule changes, Thursday Night football and changing the Washington Redskins’ name.

Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week.  New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.

INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.

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.

 

Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:

 

On the Washington Redskins name…

CRIS COLLINSWORTH: I believe in Daniel Snyder.  I believe in his great passion for the Washington Redskins.  I admire the fact that he wants to defend the legacy of this fantastic franchise that has won so many championships over the course of years.  But I have to admit, as I was watching the game Sunday night and I was saying the word Redskins, in my brain it was coming out red skin.  And there was something about that that just didn’t feel right.  I have a feeling if it were the blackskins, the brownskins, the name would have already been changed.  And, I think that despite the fact that they were trying to honor Native Americans. I really do believe that.  You don’t name something after something derogatory.  You wouldn’t name your child something derogatory.  You wouldn’t name your team something derogatory.  So at one time it was meant to honor the great history of Native Americans.  And in this day and age, Redskins just doesn’t work.  And I think Daniel Snyder, the good man that he is, will eventually see what is best for the Washington Redskins is for him to lead a name change.  And I hope he does.

On Thursday night games…

COLLINSWORTH: Thursday night football – a bad concept.  I can remember playing in the National Football League and going to practice on Thursday and still be limping from the game on Sunday.  And now we’re asking these players, these great athletes, to play at less than 100% just a mere four days after they have already played a game in the National Football League.  Does that seem right?  Does that seem fair? It seems insane to me.

On Jim Irsay’s quote to USA TODAY regarding Peyton Manning…

SIMMS: Here is what he is really trying to do.  He is trying to validate the reason why he let Peyton Manning go and they chose Andrew Luck.  And I understand that because a lot of people, there have been a lot of articles, a lot of people on TV are saying you should have never let him go even though those injuries, you knew he’d come back…  So, I think he was reacting to that.

On the New York Giants…

PHIL SIMMS: The Giants, they do not have one more run in them.  I thought this could be one more run, maybe get to the Super Bowl, with their core people.  That’s not going to happen.

# # # #

Hall Of Famer Anthony Muñoz Joins “Inside The NFL” On Showtime®

inside-NFL-showtimeNEW YORK (October 2, 2013) – Pro Football Hall of Famer and Cincinnati Bengals  legend Anthony Muñoz joins INSIDE THE NFL tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  Muñoz joins host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to discuss the Tampa Bay Buccaneers situation and other Week 4 hot topics.

Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week.  New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.

INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.

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.

 

Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:

 

On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…

MUÑOZ:  Never really experienced a coach-player thing like that. But we experienced a player with a drug problem…It was a family thing and we took care of it. People knew about it. But it wasn’t like it is now with the Tampa Bay situation. It seems like they’re being pitted against each other and calling each other out.

COLLISNWORTH:  They couldn’t have messed it up any worse.  And I’m talking about both sides. Because what you’re talking about now is a guy at the end of his rookie contract…They want him gone and they don’t want to pay for the contract.  That’s really what this is about at this point.  So now what you want is Josh Freeman with the greatest value that you can present to the league. I wish he had never been benched. People will disagree with that. But if I were really trying to trade the guy, I would play him; hope he had a good game and see what I could get for him. If somebody just picked up the contract, it was going to be a win for you…All these things, if you’re another team, is there any way in the world you’re going to say, ‘Well let me give you a fourth-round draft pick and pay this guy $6.2 million, with all this baggage and come and here and try and learn my offense.’ And not even have a contract extension that he’s going to play past this year. It’s just not going to happen.

SIMMS: I can’t imagine they put out the drug rumors. Why would you do that? You just drive his bargain price down. I think it’s about the locker room. Usually issues don’t affect the locker room…Like I said about Lawrence Taylor, we never talked about even the locker room. But when you talk about the coach and the quarterback, that can divide a football team. And also, you’re giving players an out. Players are going to go, ‘Well, it’s not me. It’s the quarterback’. The number one crutch players use besides the coach, they’re going to use the quarterback.

BROWN:  It’s despicable to me that the kid is in a drug program.  And when you have the word ‘drugs’ you’re thinking all kinds of things.  And it’s because he was taking prescribed medication for ADHD. And so it gets leaked out that he’s in a drug program and it conjures up the worst kind of notions about what the kid is doing. I understand you guys played the game. You cannot miss the team photo. I get that as well too. But I’m not sitting here hearing them talking about a bad kid.  To the degree that it was leaked out that he’s in a drug program, that’s despicable. It’s illegal.  It’s employer-employee confidential. It’s against the HIPAA rules.

SIMMS: For Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano, try and make it go away because it has a chance to ruin both of their careers. You have to get it out of the headlines. You have to quit talking about it. You have to move forward.

 

On Alex Smith’s Impressive Start…

COLLINSWORTH: He had good numbers. He was right there.  If he had enough   attempts he would have been right there in the race for best quarterback rating a season ago…But really for the first time now, Andy Reid has a true West Coast quarterback. A guy who’s going to do the quick reads, get the ball out, do all those kinds of things and hopefully not turn it over.

SIMMS: He understands this football team. A lot of times you’re going to say that about quarterbacks. They’re worried about themselves and you have to judge what’s going on with your football team and suppress your ego. He has done that. My only criticism of what they’ve done so far, I know they’re 4-0, but you have to get big plays throwing the football down the field. They’re starting to open a little but they’re going to need more if you want to be a serious playoff contender when the time comes.

# # # #

“Fantasy Football Saved My Life!” Says ESPN Fantasy Sports Analyst Matthew Berry – “60 Minutes Sports” On Showtime® Wed. Oct. 2

60-min-showtime“FANTASY FOOTBALL SAVED MY LIFE!” SAYS

ESPN FANTASY SPORTS ANALYST MATTHEW BERRY –

“60 MINUTES SPORTS” ON SHOWTIME® WED. OCT. 2

Fantasy Football’s Pied Piper Takes 60 MINUTES SPORTS Cameras into His World of Elite Fantasy Drafts to Explain Why Almost 30 Million are in Thrall to this NFL Sideshow

PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2 AT 10 P.M. ET/PT

                They gather in home rec rooms, rental halls, bars or the suites of luxury hotels to play. To some, it’s more fun than holidays or birthdays.  Now, with almost 30 million players, Fantasy Football, an NFL-statistics-based betting game, has gripped the country.  And no one knows more about this multi-billion dollar craze than Fantasy Football’s pied piper, Matthew Berry. The ESPN Fantasy Sports Analyst takes 60 MINUTES SPORTS cameras into a world of elite Fantasy drafts, including those held by the Howard Stern Show’s staff and the St. Louis Cardinals, to show why the game he says “saved my life” has become so big.  Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports on the phenomenon of Fantasy Football on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, Wed. Oct. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.

Berry was a Hollywood screenwriter whose marginal success made him frustrated.  Then, he found pleasure in writing about Fantasy Football, a game in which groups of individuals “draft” real NFL players for their fantasy teams and use those players’ on-field statistics to accumulate points in pursuit of a pot of cash.  As the Internet spawned web sites that could tabulate the essential statistics, Fantasy Football grew wildly and Berry created his own site.  It became so successful that ESPN bought it from him and hired him to be their senior director of fantasy sports.

“Fantasy sports saved my life. Without fantasy sports, Sharyn…I’m not at ESPN…I don’t meet my wife. Without fantasy sports I don’t have my daughters. I don’t have my family,” says Berry, the father of twin girls.

Everyone’s getting into Fantasy Football, says Berry, a pastime that a decade ago was played mostly by self-described nerds obsessed with statistics.  “I definitely think it’s cool now…Jay-Z plays fantasy sports…I assure you he’s not a nerd,” says Berry, whose player picks and predictions are sought by Jay-Z and other celebrities like Seth Meyers. He even gets to mingle with such stars — an unlikely scenario for a self-described geek.  “In what universe should I ever be hanging out with Jay-Z?…But I got to do that because of fantasy sports…that should never have happened,” he tells Alfonsi.

Part of Fantasy Football’s popularity stems from the money involved. Players enter a league by anteing up cash that goes into a pot that’s won at the end of the NFL season. Five-figure pots are not uncommon.  Among celebrities and other wealthy people, pots may even be larger. Berry knows of one Wall Street league where the entry is $100,000 and the pot is a million dollars.  There are even professional Fantasy Football players who can earn a generous living playing in high-stakes leagues. Alfonsi goes to La Vegas to meet some of Fantasy Football’s high rollers.

Camaraderie is another factor.  Each season, players meet to “draft” their virtual teams and some drafts can be elaborate parties in places like Las Vegas. “It’s only the best day of the year,” says Berry.  Berry says draft day is better than holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, but concedes it doesn’t compare to the birth of his children. “Alright, not better than the day my twins were born. Nice try Sharyn.”

The NFL has never been more popular and continues to grow. Many believe Fantasy Football is partially responsible, as it has given fans a lot more to root for than just the home team.

Hall Of Famer Jim Brown Joins “Inside The NFL” Tonight On Showtime® And Reveals Mike Holmgren Is Reason He Left Cleveland Browns For Three Years

inside-NFL-showtimeEpisode Premieres Tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME®

NEW YORK (September 25, 2013) – Pro Football Hall of Famer and Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown joins INSIDE THE NFL tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  Brown joins host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to reveal that former Cleveland Brown’s President Mike Holmgren is the reason he left the Browns organization for three years. Brown also shares his thoughts on the Trent Richardson trade and how the NFL Players Union should protect the players for life after football.

Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week.  New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.

INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.

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.

 

Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:

Jim Brown On Why He Took a Three-Year Break From the Cleveland Browns…

JIM BROWN: Mike Holmgren… Well, Mike is not from Cleveland. I’m a Cleveland Brown. So he gave me a choice of taking three dollars and doing a little dancing for him out there. I said, ‘Mr. Holmgren I’m sorry…I don’t dance…become a mascot type of guy’…And I cracked up but I wrote him a letter. And I stated those things and I had a little humor with it because I knew ultimately I would probably be back because Cleveland is my home. I have great roots there and I love the people and the people love me.

Clarification on the Mike Holmgren Situation…

JIM BROWN: They were going to clean house. And he had all his boys that were going to come in and take advantage of the kind of money that he could pay his guys. And never really be there. He took advantage of Randy (Lerner) and it was just a shame.  Randy’s a good guy. Young owner.  Wanted someone to take the pressure off of him.  Mike came in, saw the weakness, and took advantage of it.

On Trent Richardson’s Trade…

JIM BROWN: Well, I was surprised. But then I thought it was a brilliant move….Because first of all, Trent (Richardson) couldn’t have carried the kind of load that Cleveland needed. But with Andrew Luck, Andrew won’t need as much.  And the two of them can really do a lot for their team. And Cleveland with their draft choices, I think they were going to look at a quarterback.  But now with the youngster playing the way he played last week, it might change a little bit.  But I think with the first draft choices they can get in some really good players. And they have a young team and of course we had a great victory utilizing the kind of imagination that made the trade. That imagination is exciting because Cleveland is really popping right now…

I called Trent Richardson because he’s a friend of mine.  As you say, when a player leaves, it can leave a bad smell in the locker room.  But the great thing is that Jim Haslam also called him (Richardson) and Jim is the owner of the Browns, so there’s a touch of class in that organization. They make the moves. They’re going to make the bold moves… You’re never going to be able to rest because Joe Banner is going to like to deal. He dealt in Philadelphia.

On What The NFLPA Should Do For The Players…

JIM BROWN: Two things: health care forever. The owners had it on the table. The union refused it to get ready money. So they could give it to their crony consultants. The second thing is a dignified pension plan. We have the worst pension plan of any major corporation in America. So if you take your body of players and you’re going to do something for them, health care forever and a dignified pension plan.

COLLINSWORTH: Amen. Honestly, let’s say that they said, ‘Forget all the older players. Forget everybody that’s ever played the game. We’re only going to do this for the current players.’  It would still be the right thing to do. Take 25-30% of the total salary cap and put it in pension.  They don’t need the money now.  They need the money down the road because they’re going to be out of work at age 30 and they’re going to need money to go to McDonald’s.  There are guys that are so broke they can’t go to McDonald’s to eat. And that’s not right.

# # # #

Hall Of Famer Lawrence Taylor Joins “Inside The NFL” On Showtime®

inside-NFL-showtime“No one could have been a bigger star in the New York area than I was. And no one, in some ways, could be a bigger let down than I have been”

NEW YORK (September 18, 2013) – Pro Football Hall of Famer and New York Giants legend Lawrence Taylor joins INSIDE THE NFL tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  Taylor joins host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to discuss his life and times.

LT: The Life & Times, premiering Friday, September 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, is the first feature-length documentary on the football legend.  This raw, honest portrayal of one of the most polarizing figures in sports is narrated by Jon Bon Jovi, and features untold stories from Taylor, his family and friends and his former teammates and coaches during his legendary and controversial career with the New York Giants.

Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week.  New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.

INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.

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.

Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:

On LT: The Life & Times Documentary…

TAYLOR: That portrayal of me is probably too honest. No matter how you look at it. I say, well I understand why they would have thought that.  I would understand why they would look at it that way. Because I’m seeing it now through somebody else’s eyes. And it is very, very humbling.

TAYLOR: I cannot say that it’s not a true portrayal of the things I’ve gone through.  I mean it hit both the highs and the lows. No one could have been a bigger star in the New York area than I was. And no one, in some ways, could be a bigger let down than I have been. 

On Whether it’s Time for Teams to Panic…:

SIMMS: Of course it’s time to panic….Let’s be honest, you don’t even have to make it up anymore. There was panic in Week 1…When you’re 0-1 the hardest five days or six days of your life is waiting for that second week to come, that second game.  But when you’re 0-2, you feel like you’ve never won a game and you do start to worry about everything else.

COLLINSWORTH: It is kind of interesting though because these teams look different to me. I mean, let’s face it.  RGIII’s injury, that’s a different looking team now when you watch them play. The New York Giants, David Wilson, was supposed to take over the role at the running back position, couple of injuries up front on that offensive line.  This was a team that was built around their offensive and defensive lines, and won two championships and could pound the ball where all three backs averaged five yards-per- carry.  Now Eli (Manning) is having to carry the whole load and trying to make plays that he probably shouldn’t make.  And the Pittsburgh Steelers, I watched them on tape the other night, and it just doesn’t look like the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’ll start with, they couldn’t stop the run and they couldn’t run the ball. I mean it was like they had switched uniforms when they played the Bengals the other night. So yes, some different looks out there with these teams.

On the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos making the Super Bowl…

COLLINSWORTH:  Well I know this, if you want to go to the Super Bowl from the NFC, somebody better start beating Seattle because if they get home field advantage, and somebody has to go there in the playoffs and win.   You know what’s really interesting about that team, they can get away with something that you rarely see. They just play 8-man at the line of scrimmage and pound your running game and when you try and throw it they get after the quarterback because they can send more than you can block and you go well how come everybody doesn’t do that. Well not everybody else has the secondary that this team has.  I think they’re the best secondary in all the National Football League because they’re so diverse.

On NFL Quarterback Leadership…

SIMMS: There’s Josh Freeman. You’re the quarterback of the football team of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  How can you not show up for the team photo.  First off, being late, red flag, he overslept.  I mean…he slept through the whole thing? Was this picture taken at 6:00 in the morning? That’s what you have to wonder.  But you know, red flags for quarterbacks:  If you’re overweight. If you’re not a hard worker or perception-wise the hardest worker on the football team. And showing up late for meetings or something like that. It says a lot about the quarterback and it has to really concern you.

TAYLOR:  I think the quarterback has to be a person that takes control of the field.  Takes control of the locker room. I mean you (Phil Simms) became a leader. You didn’t start off a leader for the first couple of years…When he became a leader, he took responsibility for his own actions.  He ran that team. He ran that offense.  But it took a while.

# # # #

“INSIDE THE NFL” Season Six Premieres On Showtime® With Special Guest Analysts Joe Namath And Jim Kelly

inside-NFL-showtimeNEW YORK (September 4, 2013) – INSIDE THE NFL kicks off its season six premiere with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Namath and Jim Kelly as special guest analysts tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.  Namath and Kelly join host James Brown and analysts, All-Pro greats Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth to cover the league’s hottest topics going into the season opening game tomorrow night.

Plus, CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco sits down for an in-depth discussion on the NFL concussion settlement and the fall-out from his controversial article on the topic.

Now in its 36th season on television, INSIDE THE NFL will feature a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a guest analyst each week.  New episodes premiere every Wednesday night on SHOWTIME through February 5, 2014.

INSIDE THE NFL covers every game, every week, with trademark highlights from NFL Films, special, in-depth features and spirited debate on the hottest topics in the league.

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.

 

Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:

On the NFL Concussion Settlement…

PRISCO: Here is the thing.  I am glad the guys that need the money are getting it.  I just don’t think you can prove that the NFL was at fault here.  If you look at everything, the big body of work, how many guys had concussions in grade school, high school, all the way up through college?  And how do you prove that the NFL is the reason that they are having the problems that they do?  That was why I wrote the column.

NAMATH: The NFL is responsible, to a major extent, because whenever you get guys hit in the head, especially in the last 10 years… When I was playing we didn’t know from concussions.  We knew smelling salts and that was it.  No one talked concussions.  But in the last 10 years these guys knew the pain to the head was problematic.  And some of these doctors on the sidelines are more concerned, maybe, with pleasing the coach and getting the guy back on the field right away.  I know that.  I believe that.  And I know that. I think that there is a problem in the NFL.  I think that they are getting away with something with this settlement.  I think it should be for much more.  And it’s not actually been agreed on yet by Judge (Anita) Brody.  She has got to approve the thing.

SIMMS: The NFL did the right thing because, yeah, they might not have known 30 years ago.  They didn’t. I think they didn’t know.  But as we learn, you’ve got to do the right thing and, unfortunately, maybe it is not enough money.  Some people think it is not enough.  I don’t know all that yet.  We’ll see how it works out.  But fortunately they were able to financially help people because there are a lot of ex-players, you think about practice.  The hitting in practice was worse than the games.  When I played with the Giants we scrimmaged basically every day.  The linebackers, the linemen, were always hitting.  I’m glad at least they have the money to rectify some of these situations.

COLLINSWORTH: I’ll tell you, the NFL has to be celebrating this settlement because this effectively sort of makes this whole thing go away.  This was the one issue, if anything could have killed the golden goose, it is this issue.  The thing I am concerned about is that we don’t attack this issue the way that we would if this case had gone forward.  If there were a lot of discovery.  If there were witnesses that had to take the stand.  I think we would have gotten a much greater understanding of the concussion issue at the end of this.  Now the NFL can kind of say, ‘Okay, we’re good now.  Let’s move forward.’

PRISCO: You mean the smoking gun.  The smoking gun being, did they know and hide information that these concussions down the road could cause problems?  And if the smoking gun is there, then it is dangerous for the game and the game might go away.

COLLINSWORTH: And there were documents written under the byline of the National Football League and there are doctors, that when you read them in light today, sort of like reading the smoking cases back in the day, you go, ‘This is the dumbest thing I have ever read in my life.’  And yet that was what was sort of the understanding that they were talking to players about.  I think this is a huge win for the NFL.

# # # #