DEFENDING CHAMPION PITTSBURGH STEELERS INVADE BALTIMORE TO CHALLENGE DIVISION FOE RAVENS ON “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL”
“The AFC North will probably be decided by how Pittsburgh does against Baltimore.” – Collinsworth
NEW YORK – Nov. 25, 2009 – The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) travel to Baltimore to face their AFC North division rival, the Baltimore Ravens (5-5), on “NBC Sunday Night Football” in a game with significant playoff implications for both teams.
Coverage begins with “Football Night in America,” Sunday at 7 p.m. ET with Bob Costas hosting live from inside the stadium. Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) call the action from M&T Bank Stadium.
Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann will co-host “Football Night” from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios joined by Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.
COLLINSWORTH: “The most intense rivalry in the NFL. You have to wear pads just to watch…The AFC North will probably be decided by how Pittsburgh does against Baltimore. It’s really wonderful football regardless of the records but now the records are very significant because of the Cincinnati loss (last week).”
STEELERS VS. RAVENS: The Steelers lead the all-time series, 18-10, including two post-season meetings. The Steelers had lost five straight at Baltimore since 2004 before a 13-9 victory at M&T Bank Stadium last season. The Steelers defeated the Ravens three times in 2008, including a 23-14 victory in the AFC Championship game.
Both Pittsburgh and Baltimore lost in Week 11. Pittsburgh fell, 27-24, in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs. Baltimore lost to the Indianapolis Colts, 17-15. Both teams are in pursuit of the division leading Cincinnati Bengals (7-3).
STEELERS-RAVENS IN PRIMETIME: Since NBC acquired the NFL’s premiere primetime package in 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-2 and the Baltimore Ravens are 1-1 on “Sunday Night Football.” This is the second SNF appearance for the Steelers this season. They defeated the San Diego Chargers, 38-28, at home in Week 4. Pittsburgh also defeated the Tennessee Titans, 13-10, in the NFL’s inaugural Thursday night game on NBC in Week 1. This is the first appearance for the Ravens on SNF since 2008 when they defeated the Washington Redskins, 24-10, at home in Week 14.
“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” DOMINATES SUNDAY NIGHT: “Sunday Night Football” has won nine of 10 Sunday nights so far this season. In 2006, SNF’s inaugural season, it won the night nine of 16 times. In 2007, that figure increased to 11 and increased again in 2008 to 13. Sunday Night had a bye in Week 8 due to game four of the World Series.
“Sunday Night Football” is also experiencing its best start since NBC acquired the NFL’s premier primetime package in 2006 (SNF, 2006-Present, MNF, 1970-2005). Below is SNF viewership through 11 weeks compared to last season:
2009: 19.4 million
2008: 16.7 million, up 16%
SNF FLEXES: The NFL announced a flex change in the “Sunday Night Football” schedule. On December 6, Brett Favre and the NFC Central-leading Minnesota Vikings (9-1) travel to Arizona to take on Kurt Warner and the NFC West-leading Cardinals (7-3).
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: The NFL will utilize flexible scheduling in Weeks 11-17. In those weeks, the schedule will list the games tentatively scheduled for Sunday night on NBC Sports. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move will be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the move may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
ROTOWORLD.COM‘S WEEK 12 FANTASY SLEEPER PICKS: Rotoworld.com managing editor Gregg Rosenthal, who was named Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, picks his fantasy sleepers for Week 12.
1. Vince Young vs. Cardinals: Take a great offensive line, some rushing yards, sprinkle in a few big plays against a shaky secondary, and you have a sleeper. Voila!
2. Matt Cassel @ Chargers: The king of garbage time yards should have plenty of opportunities to throw after his defense gets destroyed by Philip Rivers.
3. Rock Cartwright @ Eagles: There is no Ladell Betts, Clinton Ports, or Rock Cartwright. There is just “Redskins running back that gets the ball 20 times for 85 yards.” Not bad.
4. Felix Jones vs. Raiders: Because Jerry Jones wants to show off his toys on Thanksgiving! (And the Raiders are easier to attack on the ground.)
5. Malcom Floyd @ Chiefs: Kansas City just doesn’t have the size in their secondary to stay with Floyd on jump balls.
2009 “NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” REMAINING SCHEDULE
Football Night in America begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET
Sun. Dec. 6 *Week 13 Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals (Flex game)
Sun. Dec. 13 *Week 14 Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Sun. Dec. 20 *Week 15 Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Sun. Dec. 27 *Week 16 Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Sun. Jan. 3 *Week 17 TBA
NBC & THE NFL: NBC’s long history with the NFL dates back 70 years to 1939 when NBC became the first network to televise an NFL game – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Brooklyn Dodgers from Ebbets Field to the approximately 1,000 sets then in New York. NBC first broadcast the NFL Championship Game in 1955. In 1964, NBC signed a five-year contract to televise the AFL. NBC was awarded the AFC package in 1970, an association that would continue through the 1997-98 season. NBC televised the first Super Bowl in 1967, the historic New York Jets’ upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969, and this past February broadcast Super Bowl XLIII, the most-watched program in television history.