JETS CAN CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH WITH WIN AGAINST BENGALS ON “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL”
“Whoever stops the run most effectively is going to win the game.” – Football Night’s Dungy
“These are really two defensively dominant football teams.” – SNF’s Collinsworth
NEW YORK – Dec. 30, 2009 – The host New York Jets can clinch an AFC Wild Card playoff berth with a win against the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals in the final game of the NFL’s regular season on “NBC Sunday Night Football.”
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 Giants 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. Tiki Barber will report from Cowboys Stadium on the Cowboys-Eagles game.
COLLINSWORTH: “These are really two defensively dominant football teams.”
DUNGY ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RUNNING GAME: “The game is going to hinge on run offense and run defense. Cedric Benson is having a great year. The Jets lead the league in rushing. Both teams will say they have to take away the run game and whoever stops the run most effectively is going to win the game.”
COLLINSWORTH ON THE BENGALS DEFENSE: “Mike Zimmer and the job he’s done in Cincinnati has been remarkable. You often think of Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco but that really has not been the “M.O.” of the Bengals this year. It’s defense, running the ball and winning close games.”
DUNGY ON THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE TEAMS MAY MEET IN THE WILD CARD ROUND: “It’s a very interesting situation. I had one of those in 2001. We (Tampa Bay) were playing Philadelphia and we knew we were going to play them again the next week in the playoffs. So how much do you show?”
JETS VS. BENGALS: The Jets lead the all-time series, 14-7, including a 44-17 victory over the Bengals in the 1982 playoffs. New York has won six of the last seven overall in the series plus the last seven at home. The Bengals last victory at New York came in 1981 when the Jets played at Shea Stadium.
JETS-BENGALS IN PRIMETIME: Since NBC acquired the NFL’s premier primetime package in 2006, the Cincinnati Bengals have played only once and lost to Pittsburgh, 24-10, in 2007. The New York Jets are making their first-ever appearance on “NBC Sunday Night Football.”
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: The NFL utilizes 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.
“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” DOMINATES SUNDAY NIGHT: With two weeks remaining in the NFL season, “Sunday Night Football” has won 14 of 15 Sunday nights, already passing its total of Sunday night wins from 2008. Last season, SNF won 13 of 16 Sunday nights after winning 11 of 16 in 2007 and nine of 16 in 2006. 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 16 weeks:
2009: 19.6 million
2008: 16.7 million, up 17%
2007: 16.0 million, up 23%
2006: 17.7 million, up 11%
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.