Chris Berman’s 2 Minute Drill, the long-running weekly NFL preview segment that airs on Friday night and Saturday morning editions of SportsCenter, will pay tribute to one of sport’s longtime venues: San Francisco’s Candlestick Park — home to the NFL’s 49ers since 1971 and Major League Baseball’s Giants from 1960-1999. Candlestick will host its final 49ers regular season home game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on December 23. Berman – who will be on-site to cover that final home game for ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pregame show — will highlight historic events that have taken place in the 53-year history of the stadium, several of which he covered for ESPN, including “The Catch” from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the 1982 NFC Championship Game; the earthquake just before Game 3 of the 1989 World Series; and the final Giants home game in 1999. (Berman also hosted the public memorial service for legendary 49ers coach Bill Walsh at Candlestick, on the field that has since been renamed in Walsh’s honor.) The 2 Minute Drill will air on SportsCenter (6 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 13, until 12 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14), and during NFL Kickoff on Friday at 7 p.m. (ESPN).
Sunday NFL Countdown: The Redskins-Robert Griffin III Timeline; 2000-Yard Rushers; and More
Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson, will preview NFL games on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. The program will include ESPN senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry providing fantasy football updates and insight, and NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reporting the day’s news from across the league.
Sunday NFL Countdown will also feature updates from reporters at games, including:
· Bob Holtzman (Bears at Browns)
· Michele Steele (Eagles at Vikings)
· Josina Anderson (Seahawks at Giants)
· Ed Werder (Packers at Cowboys)
· The Redskins-Robert Griffin III Timeline: Countdown relives the recent relationship between the Washington Redskins and their second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III, beginning with Griffin’s injury through the decision, this week by head coach Mike Shanahan, to replace the starting quarterback with Kirk Cousins.
· 2,000-Yard Rushers: Forty years ago this Monday, OJ Simpson became the first running back to run for 2,000 yards in one season. Countdown sits with six current and former players — Eric Dickerson (1974), Barry Sanders (1997), Terrell Davis (1988), Jamal Lewis (2003) Chris Johnson (2009) and Adrian Peterson (2012) — who have achieved the milestone since Simpson did in 1973 to talk about the achievement.
· Frank Caliendo – Kiper Claus: Frank Caliendo, the comedian and impressionist, plays ESPN’s NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper as “Kiper Claus” in a holiday-inspired role evaluating the North Pole talent.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football: Calvin Johnson and the Lions Host Joe Flacco and the Ravens
The Detroit Lions (7-6) and Calvin Johnson host Joe Flacco and the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens (7-6) on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on December 16 at 8:25 p.m. ET. Both playoff contenders, the Lions and the Ravens will meet for the first time on MNF.
Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the game from Detroit’s Ford Field with sideline reporter Lisa Salters. The game will also be televised on ESPN Deportes and is available via WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from an affiliated provider.
ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard will be among 15 former Lions players in attendance and honored at the MNF game as part of the franchise’s homecoming events and “One Detroit. One Pride” campaign to unify the city behind the team.
NFL Matchup – Drew Brees to Marques Colston; Jaws Playbook – Ryan Tannehill; Bengals Factor Back Giovanni Bernard; and More
NFL Matchup host Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Hoge will preview the weekend’s key matchups by taking viewers inside the film room with X’s and O’s analysis on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 6:30 a.m.). Highlights:
· Hoge Breakdown – Shane Vereen vs. Browns: With the Patriots losing tight end Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady will need receivers Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and running back Shane Vereen to step in. Hoge explains how Vereen is able to take advantage of mismatches when guarded by linebackers in the Patriots pass game.
· Jaws Playbook – Ryan Tannehill play action vs. Colts: A key this Sunday for Miami to pull off a division win against the Patriots is for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to play be efficient using play-action passing, contends Jaworski.
· Factor Back – Giovanni Bernard: Hoge breaks down how the Bengals utilize Giovanni Bernard, their “factor back,” to create space and matchup versus linebackers.
· The Film Room – Kris Durham: Hoge goes to the Film Room to show that when Lions running back Reggie Bush is not on the field, wide receiver Calvin Johnson is double covered, causing favorable one-on-one matchups for other receivers such as Kris Durham and tight ends to exploit.
· X and O Files – Jordy Nelson slot vs. Vikings: Jaworski explains how lining up wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the slot is becoming a staple of the Packers offense and could yield a big day against Dallas.
· Passing Thought – Alshon Jeffery’s 46-yard touchdown: Quarterback Josh McCown and the Bears wide receivers combine offensive splits and good routes to great success as shown in an Alshon Jeffery 46-yard touchdown catch, Jaworski explains.
· Between The Lines – Drew Brees to Marques Colston in the red zone: Why have the Saints been playing so well? Jaworski credits their red zone offense and explains what the team is doing differently to execute.
· Coaches Clicker – Panthers run Defense: Hoge uses the clicker to describe how the Panthers run defense, the No. 1 run defense in the NFL, is controlled at the line of scrimmage with a violent rush to the football by the linebackers and great tackling.
· Blitz Breakdown – Demeco Ryans sack versus Cowboys: Jaworski breaks down a ‘Fire-X’ blitz sack by Demeco Ryans against the Cowboys and explains why Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis favors blitz packages.
NFL on ESPN Radio: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants
ESPN Radio’s Sunday afternoon NFL games continue with the Seattle Seahawks at the New York Giants on December 15 at 1 p.m. Ryan Ruocco will provide play-by-play with Shaun O’Hara as analyst and Ian Fitzsimmons reporting from the sidelines.
Football Sunday on ESPN Radio continues December 15 with host Jonathan Coachman. Football Sunday on ESPN Radio can be heard on terrestrial ESPN Radio outlets, Sirius XM Channel ESPN 84, ESPNRadio.com, ESPN Radio app, Tune-in and Slacker. It is simulcast on ESPN2 from 1-3 p.m., ESPN from 3-7 p.m. and ESPN2 from 7-7:30 p.m. For more information on Football Sunday on ESPN Radio, click here.
ESPN.com “Hot Read” on NFL Coaching, a Health Hazard?
ESPN.com senior writer Jeffri Chadiha explores how recent health scares involving Denver’s John Fox and former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak raise questions about how the rigorous workloads and overall lifestyle impact the health of head coaches in the National Football League.