ESPN SUNDAY NFL COUNTDOWN AND NFL MATCHUP FEATURES FOR SUPER BOWL XLIV
Chris Berman and Countdown Analysts from Lummus Park on Miami Beach; Monday Night Football’s Tirico, Gruden and Jaworski at Sun Life Stadium; Special Guests Kenny Chesney, Chef Emeril Lagasse, and Adam Sandler and Stars of “Grown Ups”
ESPN’s four-hour Super Bowl Sunday edition of Sunday NFL Countdown featuring host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will preview the Indianapolis Colts-New Orleans Saints matchup in Super Bowl XLIV beginning at 10 a.m. ET from its main set location at Lummus Park in the heart of Miami Beach. Monday Night Football’s Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will appear from a set inside Sun Life Stadium. Additionally, a triumvirate of Super Bowl-winning ESPN analysts – Tedy Bruschi, Trent Dilfer, and Steve Young – will also appear on the program from Miami Beach, while reporters Suzy Kolber (Colts) and Ed Werder (Saints) will provide updates throughout the program from the team hotels in South Florida. In all, ESPN’s roster of analysts has a combined 20 Super Bowl appearances and 12 Super Bowl championship rings.
Countdown will feature live guest appearances at the Miami Beach set by a number of celebrity NFL fans, including:
11:30 a.m. – Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and Rob Schneider, stars of the upcoming movie Grown Ups (released in June);
12:30 p.m. – Celebrity chef and television personality Emeril Lagasse, who lives in New Orleans, will discuss Cajun Super Bowl cuisine;
1 p.m. – Grammy Award-winning musician Kenny Chesney, a close friend to Saints head coach Sean Payton, will appear on the show.
Planned Countdown features, in order of timing by quarter-hour (all times subject to change):
Opening Tease: Super Bowl Rings (10 a.m. ET)
Every Super Bowl winner receives a cherished ring. Every Super Bowl ring tells a story. Academy Award nominated actor Andy Garcia narrates the dominant stories behind Super Bowl XLIV and the quest for this year’s ring.
Sean Payton/Gregg Williams (10:45 a.m.)
How much is it worth to have a better defense? For Saints head coach Sean Payton, the answer was $250,000 out of his own pocket. Last offseason Gregg Williams was deciding between defensive coordinator job offers from New Orleans and Green Bay. Wanting to get his man, while staying within the team’s budget, Payton offered a quarter of a million dollars of his own salary to secure Williams. Ed Werder reports on the transaction and Williams’ impact on the Saints ball-hawking defense this season, ranked second in the NFL with 39 takeaways.
“Soundtracks” – NFC Conference Championship (10:45)
Countdown will relive the classic 2010 NFC Conference Championship between the Vikings and the Saints in a special Super Bowl XLIV edition of “Soundtracks.”
Colts Tattoo Fan (11 a.m.)
Matt Ellis of Auburn, Ind., is a 38-year-old staffing specialist for a human resources firm. But there’s more to Ellis than meets the eye. He’s a huge Indianapolis Colts fan who set out on an unusual quest, wanting an autograph from each of the 53 players on the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI winning roster. Where the story gets unusual, reports Chris Connelly, is that the autographs are signed on Ellis’ body and turned into tattoos.
Live on Countdown from Miami Beach, Ellis will have his body signed by former Colts Super Bowl players DeDe Dorsey and Darrell Reid. The Colts super fan will then get tattoos of the autographs on his body during the telecast.
Saints Marching Club (12 p.m.)
In 1967, the inception of the New Orleans football franchise coincided with the creation of a more obscure unit, the Saints Marching Club, a group of fans who’d always welcome their football team from road games with a “parade” – win or lose. For much of the Saints’ history, the wins have been hard to come by, but with New Orleans making it to Super Bowl XLIV, the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, the Saints Marching Club is being rewarded for years of dedication. ESPN.com’s Garber talks to members of the Club to find out more about its history and plans for Super Bowl XLIV.
Pierre Garcon: Haiti on His Mind (12:15 p.m.)
Colts wide receiver Pierre Garçon sleeps with the TV on lately. His parents and three older sisters were born in Haiti, and his aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews still live on the small island, which was struck by a major earthquake last month. After the Colts’ AFC Championship win vs. the Jets, Garçon draped the Haitian flag on the trophy stand as a tribute. Nichols reports on Garçon’s connection to Haiti and how the devastation in the country that his family calls home is serving as motivation for him in the Colts’ Super Bowl run.
Mayne Event: Last “Baghead” Standing (12:30 p.m.)
With the Saints in their first Super Bowl, every member of “Who Dat Nation” is enjoying the ride, except for one man – the last of the “(S)‘Aints Bagheads.” This imaginary fan is convinced the Saints will let him/her down come Super Bowl Sunday, much like in the team’s dreaded past. In a special Super Bowl edition of Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne travels to the Big Easy on a mission to find the last of the imaginary and long-suffering Saints’ “Bagheads,” and comes out convinced, the city and its Saints are a couple causes worth cheering. The segment features cameos by famous New Orleaneans Branford Marsalis, James Carville, Ellen DeGeneres, Aaron Neville, and others.
Overcoming Injury for the Super Bowl (12:30 p.m.)
Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney has the ultimate challenge in pro football – play through a torn ligament in his right ankle or sit out Super Bowl XLIV. Other players of the past – Jack Youngblood, Rod Woodson, Terrell Owens and Hines Ward – played with and through extreme injuries in order to avoid missing the Super Bowl. How did they do it and what challenges await Freeney as Super Bowl Sunday approaches?
Micah and Drew (12:45 p.m.)
The impact that Saints quarterback Drew Brees has on the field is evident, as the Saints have advanced to their first Super Bowl thanks to his leadership. His impact away from the field has taken root in many forms – living in post-Katrina New Orleans, through his charitable projects in the community, and the friendships he has fostered in the Crescent City. One the friendships Brees has cultivated is with Micah Roshell, a 12-year-old battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rachel Nichols reports the story of the bond forged between Micah and Drew, highlighting a visit between the two friends prior to Micah’s second bone-marrow transplant.
Tougher Super Bowl Catch: Tyree or Holmes? (1 p.m.)
The last two Super Bowls featured phenomenal catches that led to last-minute victories. Which catch was tougher to make – David Tyree’s in Super Bowl XLII or Santonio Holmes’ in Super Bowl XLIII? The Sport Science crew puts that question to the test.
What Mannings Mean To New Orleans (1:30 p.m.)
The city of New Orleans is a part of the Manning family and the Mannings mean a great deal to New Orleans. Archie Manning was the Saints quarterback for more than 10 seasons. Peyton Manning grew up in New Orleans before heading to stardom in college and the NFL. Greg Garber explores the challenges that Super Bowl XLIV represents to the loyalties between the city and the Manning family.
Plus, the entire Countdown crew will offer their Super Bowl picks, predict the unlikely players and matchups that will make the difference in Super Bowl XLIV “X-Factors,” and select their “Gamebreakers.”
ESPN NFL MATCHUP SUNDAY 3 A.M. AND 6:30 A.M.
NFL Matchup (Sunday at 3 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.) with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge will preview Super Bowl XLIV by bringing viewers inside the film room as they analyze the Xs and Os matchups between the Colts and the Saints. The 30-minute program – taped this week from Miami Beach – will highlight each team’s strategy and game plan. This week’s features:
Saints Defense vs. Colts Offense
You Can’t Fool Peyton Manning
In the AFC Championship the Jets defense tried unsuccessfully to bait quarterback Peyton Manning. Jaworski opens his ‘Playbook’ to illustrate how Manning anticipated everything the Jets did on defense and then attacked their most vulnerable spots.
Peyton Manning vs. Gregg Williams
Peyton Manning and Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams share a long history playing against each other. Going through game films from every one of their matchups for the last 12 years, Hoge uses a Week 3 matchup from 2008 (Williams was with the Jaguars) and Jaworski views a play from 2006 (Williams was with the Redskins) to spotlight the chess match between Manning and Williams that will be a key factor on Super Bowl Sunday.
Saints Offense vs. Colts Defense
The Dwight Freeney Effect
Jaworski shows how the Saints will have to help left tackle Jermon Bushrod in passing situations against the Colts’ Dwight Freeney and how the move will limit the number of receivers quarterback Drew Brees can throw to, severely hindering the effectiveness of the Saints’ passing game.
Saints coach Sean Payton is among the best in the NFL at manufacturing big offensive plays, and he needs to be at the top of his game to keep up with the Colts’ explosive offense. Jaworski unveils how Payton uses formation, alignment, and route concepts to create big openings in opposing defenses.
Picking on the Weak Link
Not only can Sean Payton create openings in defenses to exploit, he can also single out one defender to attack. Hoge reveals how Payton isolates a defender by putting the player in a run-pass conflict.
The Reggie Bush Factor
The Saints have so many weapons on offense that you can’t double-cover them all. In many cases, that leaves Reggie Bush isolated with one defender. Hoge uncovers how the Saints can dictate one-on-one matchups for Bush.
Not Your Father’s Colts Defense
Most fans assume the Colts are still a Tampa 2-based defense without variations, but Hoge, breaking down the game tapes, highlights how Indy’s defense uses multiple looks as well as pre and post-snap movement to create deception and turnovers.
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