Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Joins Postseason NFL Countdown as Guest Analyst
Postseason NFL Countdown – Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
New Orleans Saints Super Bowl XLIV-winning coach Sean Payton will join host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson and Tom Jackson to preview the AFC and NFC Conference Championships on ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown, Sunday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m. Co-host Wendi Nix and NFL Insider Adam Schefter will also be featured on the two-hour program.
Leading into Countdown, Trey Wingo will host NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition with Schefter and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick at 12 p.m.
Preceding NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry will join SportsCenter anchors Hannah Storm and Cari Champion on the Sunday morning edition of ESPN’s flagship program (8-11 a.m.). Landry will also appear on the late morning edition of the program with Linda Cohn and Matt Barrie (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.).
Reporters at Championship games:
- AFC: Bob Holtzman (Patriots) and Sal Paolantonio (Broncos)
- NFC: Josina Anderson (Cardinals) and Ed Werder (Panthers)
- Spanning the Super Bowls: On Sunday, Arizona assistant coach Tom Pratt will be one game away from advancing to Super Bowl 50. The 77-year-old member of the Cardinals staff was on the sidelines at Super Bowl I when he was an assistant on Hank Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs staff, reports SportsCenter’s Jade McCarthy.
- NFL Battle Scars: Two players on opposite sides of the NFC Championship overcame significant injuries to continue their playing careers – Carolina’s Thomas Davis fought through three anterior cruciate ligament tears and Arizona’s Rashad Johnson lost part of his finger making a tackle in 2013. Davis and Johnson join former NFL players Joe Theismann, Jack Youngblood and Napoleon McCallum to discuss the “scars” that serve as a reminder of playing in the NFL.
- Las Pantera: As the Carolina Panthers led the league with a 15-1 regular-season record, the team’s Spanish-language radio commentators Jamie Moreno and his nephew Luis Moreno Jr. called all the action with zest and passion. Their unique style of broadcasting has earned them fans inside the Panthers locker room and a greater appreciation for the team among its Hispanic fans, reports Tom Friend.
- Don’t Be The Guy: Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells used to tell his team – “Don’t be the guy who sends us home.” As fans prepare to watch the heroes of this NFL Championship Sunday, Countdown’s Jim Trotter takes a closer look at the players who made the plays that live in infamy, such as Earnest Byner’s fumble, Trey Junkin’s bad snap, Kyle Williams dropped pass, Brandon Bostick’s botched on-side kick recovery, and more.
- The Gunner: Matthew Slater, the son of Hall of Famer Jackie Slater, has quietly become a leader on the Patriots special teams unit after being voted to five Pro Bowls, reports Countdown’s Greg Garber.
ESPN’s Championship Sunday Programming Schedule:
|Sun, Jan 24||6:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN|
|8:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN2|
|12 p.m.||NFL Insiders – Sunday Edition||ESPN|
|1 p.m.||Postseason NFL Countdown||ESPN|
|10 p.m.||NFL Primetime||ESPN|
NFL Matchup Previews Conference Championship Games
Sal Paolantonio, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the two NFL Conference Championship games with a 30-minute NFL Matchup on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 6:30 a.m. on ESPN (ESPN2 at 8:30). Features:
- Patriots at Broncos: In “Matchup Extra,” Jaworski identifies critical passing plays that Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense must complete to have success against the Patriots defense in the AFC Championship.
- Cardinals at Panthers: This season, the Buccaneers defense attacked the split with a third-level defender in a seven-man Panthers protection and sacked quarterback Cam Newton. For the “game within the game,” Jaworski identifies this defensive play as one of the keys to the game for the Cardinals against the Panthers in the NFC Championship.
ESPN The Magazine: “Tom Brady’s big reveal”
ESPN The Magazine senior writer Kevin Van Valkenburg pens a profile of Patriots four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady. The piece offers a unique look at football’s most successful and secretive star in a season he tried to stay out of the spotlight.
- Van Valkenburg on Brady: “Even when he is dressed in a lumpy Patriots sweatshirt and stocking cap, standing before a wall of cameras, Tom Brady manages to look regal. He is so guarded, so calm and Kennedy-esque as he listens, nods and then gracefully says nothing. It’s almost easy to forget what a competitive lunatic he becomes on the field.”
ESPN.com Coverage of NFL Conference Championships
ESPN.com will dispatch multiple columnists and team reporters to the conference championship games Sunday:
- NFL Nation reporters Dan Graziano, David Newton (Panthers) and Josh Weinfuss (Cardinals) and senior writers John Clayton and Elizabeth Merrill will cover Cardinals at Panthers.
- NFL Nation reporters Jeff Legwold (Broncos) and Mike Reiss (Patriots), and columnists Jackie MacMullan and Ian O’Connor will cover Patriots at Broncos.
Additionally on ESPN.com
- Thomas Newman presents The Ultimate Brady-Manning Quiz – a five-part series of 50 trivia questions that test the reader’s knowledge of facts related to the two quarterbacks who face each other for the 17th time on Sunday;
- Kevin Seifert on “What you need to know about referees Ed Hochuli and Bill Vinovich” – the NFL’s highly-rated referees assigned to officiate the AFC and NFC Conference Championships, respectively;
- Using a set of informational graphics, Paul Wallen offers an in-depth look at the past four playoff games between the two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks – Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
ESPN2 Televises the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday
ESPN2 televises the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl featuring draft-eligible college football players Saturday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. Anish Shroff will call the game from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., with college football analysts Anthony Becht and Dan Hawkins and reporter Quint Kessenich.
Shroff is also hosting ESPNU’s coverage of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practices Wednesday and Thursday at 1 and 4 p.m. SEC Network’s Greg McElroy, NFL Front Office Insider Bill Polian and ESPN Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl provide analysis alongside Shroff, Becht, Hawkins and Kessenich.
Senior Bowl Practices on ESPNU
ESPNU televises four Senior Bowl practices Wednesday, Jan. 27, and Thursday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. College Football Live’s Chris Cotter leads ESPNU’s coverage from Mobile, Ala. He will be joined by NFL Front Office Insiders Louis Riddick and Bill Polian, ESPN college football and NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay and reporter Quint Kessenich.
— 30 —