MICHAELS, COLLINSWORTH & NBC SPORTS
KICK OFF 2009 NFL SEASON WITH
HALL OF FAME GAME, SUNDAY 8 PM ET
“I asked Cris to work on his ‘booms’ and he’s getting there.” – NBC’s Michaels
“Whatever shape the broadcast is going to take, it’s just going to come out naturally.” – Gaudelli on new booth
“I hope that just because we’re living in the moment here, that we don’t let this moment pass without a full understanding of what his significance was to American culture and the personal relationship that he built with the American people.” – NBC’s Collinsworth on Madden’s legacy
NEW YORK – Aug. 5, 2009 – “NBC Sunday Night Football” kicks off the 2009 NFL preseason with the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio at 8 p.m. ET Sunday as Terrell Owens makes his Buffalo Bills debut against the Tennessee Titans, who had an NFL-best 13-3 record last season.
Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, making their debut as the new “Sunday Night Football” announce duo, will have the call from Canton, with Andrea Kremer handling the reporting duties. For Michaels and Collinsworth, this will be their third game together in the booth, having previously called last year’s Pro Bowl and the Seahawks-Bucs game in Week 5.
NBC Sports conducted a conference call today to discuss the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL season and the new pairing in the booth. Michaels and Collinsworth along with producer Fred Gaudelli participated in the call. Highlights of the call follow:
GAUDELLI ON TRANSITION FROM MADDEN TO COLLINSWORTH: “Its not like we are going from a veteran star to a rookie. We are going from a veteran star to another veteran star, and we are all excited about it.”
MICHAELS ON HIS YEARS WITH MADDEN: “I had a wonderful seven years with John Madden, four on Monday night and three on Sunday Night, and I’ve said it many many times, the only regret I have in regard to that partnership is that we didn’t get to do it for 27 years instead of seven.”
MICHAELS ON WORKING WITH COLLINSWORTH: “Years ago when I first heard Cris on the air and he was doing college football I said, ‘there’s a guy I’d like to work with someday because he’s got it.’ He has the goods. As great as Cris has been in the studio in his career, people forget he was also on the number one team at Fox. This is about as seamless a transition as you can have. For me, it couldn’t work out any better. If John was going to retire, to bring Cris in and have him as my partner is just great. For me, this is just a case of one fabulous period of time is over and now we’re going to start another. So CC, ‘away we go kid.'”
COLLINSWORTH ON REPLACING MADDEN: “I keep thinking and hoping probably in the back of my mind, that I was going to get one of those calls from John that he was just joking. We would all love to see John Madden sitting right next to Al but unfortunately he was ready to retire. I have talked to John a couple of times this off-season and he’s happy, I think he is a little anxious. I think his motor is running a little bit right now. He’s so used to getting going with football, he’s done it his whole life. He still loves the game and is still following it very closely and it’s exciting for him to see football season come around. I certainly plan on staying in touch with him.
“I’m really excited about this. This is an incredible opportunity for me; it’s a chance to work with the very best in the business across the board. The people we have assembled – and the broadcast that they put on in the Super Bowl – is absolutely second to none.”
MICHAELS ON WHAT HE WILL MISS ABOUT MADDEN: “The one thing that a lot of people don’t realize about John, because John is thought of as a Hall of Fame coach and he is clearly the most renowned analyst of all time – and that would encompass any and every sport – is that John is really a brilliant man; I’m not overstating it. He is extremely well read. He is a renaissance man. Some people think John is just a guy who makes booms and a lot of sound effects and all of that, but those of us who have been around him know that he is a fascinating man with a very curious mind, who is into everything. He’s a great listener too. John wants to absorb information and he was wonderful to everybody on the crew. So those are the things that I’m going to miss about John, just being with him, and those of us who got to know him through the years understand the depth and the breadth of knowledge that he has about a lot of stuff.”
COLLINSWORTH ON MADDEN’S LEGACY: “The treasure that was John Madden’s career will be remembered for a long long time. He’ll be remembered for not only the intelligent coaching conversation that he brought to the air every week, but he’ll be remembered for making it fun. The people I talk with around the country just want me to tell John thanks. They want me to say how much they appreciate what he meant to them and what he meant to their lives and Sunday afternoons and of course Sunday nights and Monday nights. He was part of the family, he really was. He was something that was treasured. We were in the Smithsonian this summer with our kids and my wife said, ‘they should put the John Madden bus in here.’ When it was around people couldn’t wait to touch it and be a part of it. It was something bigger than life. I hope that just because we’re living in the moment here, that we don’t let this moment pass without a full understanding of what his significance was to American culture and the personal relationship that he built with the American people. I certainly want to make sure that during the broadcast this year that at times I bring up John, and what he might say and what he might ‘boom’ and what he might think because I want that legacy to continue with what we’re doing. He meant a lot to me and I know he meant a lot to everybody here on the call.”
ON HOW THE TELECAST WILL BE DIFFERENT WITH COLLINSWORTH:
GAUDELLI: “That’s a question I have gotten quite a bit and I’ve thought a lot about. Al, Cris and I have had conversations and I think a lot of that is TBD. To go into a season and try to contrive what the difference is going to be is really just a recipe for failure. Cris is incredibly well informed. He has his opinions, he sees the game the way he sees it and I think whatever shape the broadcast is going to take, it’s just going to come out naturally. The main thing is that everybody’s got the same goal to produce the best NFL telecast there is and everything else falls second to that. It will be different, there’s no question about it, but the difference will come naturally.”
MICHAELS: “I asked Cris to work on his ‘booms’ and he’s getting there. You can’t go in and try to be somebody that you are not. When Cris was doing the games on Fox, he was great. Well find our level. The two games we did last year were sort of a preview. It’s not going to be tremendously different and you really want to let it flow. Part of the fun we are going to have this year is that we don’t know exactly how it is going to sound. That’s going to be great because you always want to have a little bit of an aura of mystery and a sense of wonderment when you go into a season, and we are going to have that.”
COLLINSWORTH ON FINDING OUT ABOUT MADDEN’S RETIREMENT: “I was in Washington D.C. and was one step away from getting on the plane the next morning to go back to Cincinnati and Dick Ebersol called me. He said that John is about to announce his retirement. I was stunned; I mean I was truly stunned. I don’t know if any other guys on the call had any information leading up to it but I had not a clue. I was truly stunned.”
COLLINSWORTH ON THIS SEASON’S SNF SCHEDULE: “You look at the schedule and you just think, ‘oh my goodness I get a chance to go to all those games, to all those places, and be a part of this incredible season that we have laid out in front of us.’ I can’t wait to get started.”
COLLINSWORTH ON TERRELL OWENS IMPACT ON THE BILLS: “I’ve been following it every day seeing the excitement in Buffalo. I can’t really remember something like this; a guy who has been let go in other places that can create that sort of buzz with a new team. But let’s face it, there’s a lot on the line for the Buffalo Bills this year. There is a lot of pressure on this organization and this coaching staff to win games and it’s an all in feeling, and it starts this weekend. And we get our first look at it. There is a heightened excitement about this football team that could have never been accomplished with any other player. Well maybe a Brett Farve. But even that I don’t think would’ve created this raw emotion among the Buffalo Bills fans that we’ve been seeing and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. This receiving tandem is now, if it’s not the best, it’s pretty close to it in the NFL.”
GAUDELLI ON HALL OF FAME BROADCAST: “We will be talking to Bruce Smith, Randall McDaniel, Rod Woodson and Ralph Wilson and all of the Hall of Fame class. Obviously people are excited to see football and when the game starts, you will see football. But it will be a little bit of weave throughout the night with the inductees, and the stories of the league, and then the game itself.”
GUADELLI ON ‘TWEETING’ DURING THE GAMES: “It is something that internally I’ve bandied about with the production team quite a bit. I do Twitter. I can’t tell you I do it a lot, but I do follow the people in pro football to see what they’re tweeting about. Twitter would probably be an excellent application for a sideline reporter because as long as they stayed within the bounds of what the NFL allows you to report, Andrea could probably provide a constant stream of information that you just can’t get on TV because the game is dictating how it will be covered. We’ve discussed it quite a bit and while we are not sure what we’re going to do at this point, I could see it having some value.”
MICHAELS ON FAVRE’S FUTURE: “When I heard the news I thought that you should bring Regis Philbin in to ask him if this is his final answer. I don’t know. I guess he is retired for the moment but who in the world knows. I think at some point Brett will probably get into the broadcasting area, but it was clear by what happened last year, by what happened this spring, by what may happen, I’m not saying that he’s definitely going to come back, but you know maybe that door will open up again. I think you have to get it out of your craw that you can’t play football anymore. Maybe he’s going to need a little bit of time before he says, ‘okay that’s it, end of story, completely 100% time to move on.’ I think he’d have a great aptitude for broadcasting. He gets it; he understands what the media is all about. He is a guy who understands what it is that we’ve done and he’s been great to deal with for those of us who have to broadcast the games, and has been for years. I think eventually he will get into broadcasting and I think he’ll be pretty good at it too.”
COLLINSWORTH ON FAVRE: “I don’t think its over. I know what happens during an NFL season. You have back-up quarterbacks that certainly aren’t of the quality of the starting quarterbacks and you have a team that gets off to a hot start and something happens to their star quarterback and they’re sitting there at 6-1 looking at the prospect of playing with somebody who loses two or three games. I promise you someone is going to bring up Brett Favre’s name. It may be over for right now, it may be over in Minnesota, but I promise you his name will be back in the headlines before this season is up.”
COLLINSWORTH ON DIVISIONAL RIVALRIES: “These teams are focused on one thing and that is winning their division. The NFC East is entirely different than the NFC West because they know that in the East you better be able to play some defense, run the football and the weather is a factor. Out West they’re going to be a little more wide open and there are some dome stadiums so you can throw the ball better. When you talk to coaches, they only talk about the three other teams in their division. That’s it. If they can win their division, get in the playoffs and have a chance. It’s a little myopic, you just don’t see them thinking outside of those four teams that are within their division.”
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CUTLER RETURNS TO DENVER: “NBC Sunday Night Football” preseason continues on Sunday, Aug. 30 with the Denver Broncos hosting their former quarterback Jay Cutler and his new team the Chicago Bears. Coverage for both games begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
“NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” 2009 SEASON: The “NBC Sunday Night Football” regular season begins Thursday, Sept. 10 with the Super Bowl Champion Steelers hosting the AFC South champion Titans. In the first “NBC Sunday Night Football” contest of the season, on Sept. 13, the Green Bay Packers will host their longtime rival the Bears.
The 2009 “Sunday Night Football” schedule includes three appearances each by marquee NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers; the much-anticipated opening of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Week 2; all 12 of last season’s playoff teams; and storied rivalries including Patriots-Colts, four NFC East games, Chicago-Green Bay at Lambeau, Pittsburgh-Baltimore and New England-Miami highlight the “NBC Sunday Night Football” schedule as the league today announced its 2009 slate of games.
Highlights of “NBC Sunday Night Football” schedule:
- All 12 NFL playoff teams from last season are featured.
- Fourteen of NBC’s 16 scheduled games involve at least one playoff team from last season.
- Giants at Cowboys opens the $1.2 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium, “the 8th Wonder of the World.” It’s a rematch of the most viewed game ever on “Sunday Night Football.”
- Three appearances a piece from six marquee teams: this year’s Super Bowl champion Steelers, last year’s Super Bowl champion Giants plus Dallas, Indianapolis, Chicago and Philadelphia.
- Six games involving one of the Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli.
- Quarterback duels between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Peyton and Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb and Jay Cutler.
- Four matchups among bitter NFC East rivals: Giants-Cowboys, Cowboys-Eagles, Eagles-Giants and Cowboys-Redskins.
- A rematch of last year’s hard-hitting AFC Championship game between Pittsburgh and Baltimore and last year’s AFC divisional playoff game between the Steelers and the Chargers.
2009 “NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” SCHEDULE
Sun. Aug. 9 – Hall of Fame Game: Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans, Canton, Ohio, 8 p.m.
Sun. Aug. 30 – Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos, 8 p.m.
Regular Season – Football Night in America begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET
Thurs. Sept. 10 NFL Kickoff Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun. Sept. 13 Week 1 Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Sun. Sept. 20 Week 2 New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sun. Sept. 27 Week 3 Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals
Sun. Oct. 4 Week 4 San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun. Oct. 11 Week 5 Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Sun. Oct. 18 Week 6 Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons
Sun. Oct. 25 Week 7 Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
Sun. Nov. 1 Week 8 NO SNF GAME (Football Night airs 7-8 p.m.)
Sun. Nov. 8 Week 9 Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Sun. Nov. 15 Week 10 New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
Sun. Nov. 22 *Week 11 Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Sun. Nov. 29 *Week 12 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Sun. Dec. 6 *Week 13 New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
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