ESPN’s Weekend and Monday NFL Studio Features
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM will preview the day’s matchups Sunday at 11 a.m. ET with Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson. ESPN senior analyst Chris Mortensen and NFL insider Adam Schefter will provide headlines and league news.
The two-hour program will include reports from Rachel Nichols covering the Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals, Michael Smith at the Dolphins – Patriots game, and Bob Holtzman in Indianapolis for the Texans at Colts. Other highlights:
The Birth of the ‘Wildcat’: The last time the Miami Dolphins visited New England, they unveiled a new formation dubbed the “Wildcat” with great success – six plays, four touchdowns. Greg Garber looks back at the day the ‘Wildcat’ was born in the NFL.
Marie Tillman: Former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman left the NFL in the aftermath of September 11th and enlisted as a member of the Army Rangers. While deployed in Afghanistan in 2004, Tillman, 27, was killed in action. Marie Tillman, Pat’s widow, in her first television interview since the death of her husband, discusses what led Pat to enlist in the Army and the cover-up of his death from friendly fire. Chris Connelly reports.
Revisiting the Eli Manning-Phillip Rivers Trade: In the 2004 NFL Draft, Eli Manning was selected No. 1 by the San Diego Chargers, a team he said he didn’t want to play for. The Giants selected Phillip Rivers with the fourth pick and executed a trade where the quarterbacks switched teams. Leading into the Chargers at Giants game, Countdown will relive some of the key moments in the hour when Rivers and Manning’s lives and careers crossed paths.
Mayne Event – Ocho Cinco ‘Child Please’ Day Care: In this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne explores the next challenge for Bengals wide receiver Ocho Cinco – running the ‘Child Please Day Care Center.’
EA Sports Virtual Playbook – Tony Romo’s Footwork: Tom Jackson breaks down the adjustments Tony Romo made on his footwork and shows how the tweaks to improve his velocity and accuracy are positively impacting his 2009 season.
Soundtracks – Joe Flacco/Carson Palmer: Quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Carson Palmer (Bengals) were wired for sound in their Week 5 matchup – a 17-14 thriller won late on a Palmer touchdown pass. Countdown relives the sights and sounds of that game in Soundtracks.
Salute to the Troops: In a tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces, Countdown will feature messages of gratitude and support from NFL stars (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, et al) as part of the Veterans Day observance.
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em with Matthew Berry and Merril Hoge: ESPN’s fantasy football guru Matthew Berry and NFL analyst Merril Hoge debate which players to start or sit this weekend.
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson and Johnson will pick the biggest games of the day and tell fans which players will make the biggest impact in NFL’s Week 9 action. The list of game picks will be posted on www.espn.com/sundaycountdown after the show.
MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN, 7 P.M. ON ESPN
On-set Veterans Day Guest – Marie Tillman
Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s with Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Mortensen and Schefter (in Bristol) and Stuart Scott, Matt Millen and Steve Young (at the MNF game in Denver) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.
Reporters Michele Tafoya (Steelers) and Suzy Kolber (Broncos) will cover the teams. As part of ESPN’s Salute to the U.S. Armed Forces, Monday Night Countdown will feature a live, on-site interview in Denver with Marie Tillman, the widow of former NFL player Pat Tillman who was killed in Afghanistan. She will be joined on-set by the Pat Tillman Foundation Scholar, U.S. Army corporal Richard Garcia. Other highlights:
Rocky Bleier: The former Notre Dame captain was drafted twice – first by the Pittsburgh Steelers and then by the U.S. Army following his rookie season. While serving in Vietnam, Bleier’s platoon was ambushed and he sustained injuries to both legs. Though he was initially told by doctors he would never play football again, just one year later Bleier returned to the Steelers, where he won four Super Bowls. Jeremy Schaap reports.
Soundtracks – Ben Roethlisberger: Ben Roethlisberger, wired for sound during the Steelers’ Week 4 win over the Chargers, will be featured in this week’s Soundtracks.
WEEKLY MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN SEGMENTS
TEAMS AT 20 – Every 20 minutes reporters Tafoya and Kolber will update news from the teams in their preparations for the game, beginning with NFL Live at 3:30 p.m.
FIELD PASS – Countdown offers an all-access look at pre-game preparations as the players get ready for kickoff. Analysts will also breakdown the important storylines and key players before the game.
C’MON MAN – Countdown personalities share their head-scratching plays from Week 9.
In addition, Monday Night Football’s Tirico, Jaworski and Gruden will preview the night’s match-up, with Mortensen and Schefter covering breaking news from around the league, and the Countdown analysts offering their “Lead Pipe Lock” predictions for the game.
NFL MATCHUP, SUNDAY 3 A.M. AND 7:30 A.M. ON ESPN
NFL Matchup with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the weekend’s games by bringing viewers inside the film room for the Xs and Os analysis of the matchups. The 30-minute program – taped each week at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey – highlights team strategy and game planning. This week’s features:
Cowboys @ Eagles: Eagles Defense – Hoge displays how the Eagles will blitz Dallas’ Tony Romo early and often to get him out of his game.
Cowboys @ Eagles: DeMarcus Ware – Jaworski goes ‘Beyond The Film Room’ and down to the field to show how Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware can be contained.
Chargers @ Giants – Hoge pulls out his ‘Clicker’ to spotlight how Philip Rivers’ use of the same snap count and body movement in most plays allows defenders to attack the line of scrimmage with perfect timing.
Steelers @ Broncos – Jaworski reveals how Pittsburgh can force the Broncos clearly delineate their defensive alignments to then attack those alignments successfully.
Dolphins @ Patriots – Jaworski breaks out his ‘Xs and Os Files’ and highlights how the Pats have been able to create favorable mismatches with player alignment and motion before the snap.
Panthers @ Saints – Jaworski unveils how wide receiver Steve Smith’s presence gives Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme the option to throw the ball on every single play – even on run plays.
Ravens @ Bengals – Hoge shows how Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer must know where Ravens safety Ed Reed is at all times to be successful.
Texans @ Colts – Hoge shows how the Houston Texans have been creative with their pass concepts and why this is important with tight end Owen Daniels’ season-ending injury.
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