45th Season of Monday Night Football; New NFL Studio Unveiled September 7
ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 National Football League season includes new studios for all its NFL shows and an earlier start time for Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET, starting in week 2). Chris Berman and the Sunday NFL Countdown crew unveil their new home – Studio W, a state-of-the-art, visually stunning 90,000-square foot space inside ESPN’s Digital Center 2 in Bristol, Conn. – on the season’s first NFL Sunday (Sept. 7 – coincidentally, ESPN’s 35th anniversary).
The 45th season of MNF kicks off Sept. 8 with a doubleheader – Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions host Eli Manning and the New York Giants (7 p.m.) and Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers against Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals (10:15 p.m.).
MNF play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico, analyst Jon Gruden, and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the early game from Ford Field, while Berman, analyst Trent Dilfer and reporter Lindsay Czarniak cover the Chargers-Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium, which will host Super Bowl XLIX in February. Both games will be available on ESPN Deportes and on tablets and computers via WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.
To prepare fans for the opening MNF matchups, Trey Wingo will host a two-hour Monday Night Countdown pregame (5 p.m.) with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter from the ESPN studios. Suzy Kolber, Stuart Scott, and NFL analysts Ray Lewis and Steve Young will join from Detroit in addition to reports from both game crews.
New on Sunday NFL Countdown:
- New additions to Countdown this fall include features reporter Michelle Beisner, contributor Jim Trotter, reporter/host Wendi Nix and new Washington, D.C.-based bureau reporter Britt McHenry, who will cover games throughout the season.
- Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge will appear in-studio and from game sites; one of the film room gurus will offer a segment in Bristol, while the other joins Lindsay Czarniak or Sal Paolantonio at one of the Sunday 1 p.m. games.
- Countdown, like all of ESPN’s NFL studio shows, will debut new graphics and theme music this fall. Each show will also have a new logo.
- Countdown also has two new tease opens set to 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”
New on MNF
In addition to its earlier start time (8:15 p.m. telecast with an 8:30 p.m. kickoff, starting in week 2), the weekly game presentation includes the following new initiatives:
- A new marketing campaign in collaboration with NFL Films with the tagline “No Other Night is Monday Night.” Images.
- A revamped version of filmmaker Peter Berg’s MNF open, which debuted last fall.
- ESPN will televise the national anthem preceding every MNF game this fall – a first.
- MNF becomes the only national sports show produced in 1080p. The production also includes:
- Ncam + Spidercam: ESPN will introduce new virtual graphics paired with its unique, on-the-field, overhead camera; and
- Improved hi-speed cameras with robotic 4k cameras on the goal lines, resulting in increased zooming capabilities for critical plays.
- Hosted by Chris Berman, the MNF halftime now includes a SportsCenter update in addition to reports from Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.
- Gruden’s Grill Session sponsored by Burger King: each week Jon Gruden will interview players/coaches in the MNF bus (he’ll speak with Lions running back Reggie Bush in Detroit in week 1). Lisa Salters will also conduct regular interviews for SportsCenter’s Sunday Conversation.
- ESPN’s MNF crew will call the NFL Pro Bowl (Jan. 25) to kick off Super Bowl week in Arizona, and, for the first time, a NFL Wild Card Playoff game this season.
New Studio Initiatives
In addition to the new NFL studios for Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Insiders, NFL Live and Primetime, Fantasy Football Now – featuring host Robert Flores, senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry, NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck, injury expert Stephania Bell and Sara Walsh – will now move to Studio E, previously occupied by Countdown. Other new studio initiatives:
- SportsCenter’s “NFL Blitz” (Sundays: 11 p.m., ESPN): Cris Carter will join Chris Berman and Tom Jackson to recap Sunday’s NFL highlights.
- Monday Night Countdown (Mondays: 6 p.m., ESPN): ESPN’s MNF pregame show now starts at 6 p.m. with more than two hours of coverage leading into the 8:15 p.m. game telecast.
- Mike and Mike: NFL Rank (Tuesdays: 3:30 p.m., ESPN): Replacing Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL, ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will discuss the weekly rankings from ESPN.com’s Power Panel of NFL experts.
- Colin’s Football Show (Sundays: 9 a.m., ESPN2): Previously Colin’s New Football Show, the one-hour program showcases the host’s irreverent and unique take on college and pro football. Release.
- Former NFL GMs Mark Dominik and Marty Hurney joined ESPN’s NFL Insiders this offseason.
ESPN Deportes, the U.S. Spanish-language network, will present live coverage of 17 regular season MNF games, a Wild Card Playoff Game and the Pro Bowl. Super Bowl champion (SB XXI and XXV) Raul Allegre returns as in-game analyst along with play-by-play voice Alvaro Martin. ESPN Deportes’ coverage will feature a Monday night pregame show, NFL Esta Noche, with hosts Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega and John Sutcliffe as onsite commentator and reporter. In addition, ESPN Deportes’ weekly show NFL Semanal returns every Saturday morning with commentators Ciro Procuna, Allegre, Sutcliffe, Mauricio Pedroza and Eitan Benezra providing analysis and highlights. ESPN and the NFL will also present a special Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration surrounding the Chicago Bears vs. New York Jets MNF game on Sept. 22.
This season ESPN will bring the NFL into more than 66 million homes in 64 countries/territories in Spanish-Speaking Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Canada and Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands. Release.
- Mike and Mike, The Herd and SVP & Russillo welcome weekly guests to discuss the NFL including: Cris Carter, Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Ron Jaworski, Steve Young and more. Additionally, all shows will participate in the third annual ESPN Audio Fall Football Tour sponsored by Hanes, Bonefish Grill and Dr. Pepper. Broadcasting live in advance of highly anticipated NFL and college games, Mike & Mike begin the NFL portion of the tour in Detroit on Monday, Sept. 8, in advance of the season-opening Giants-Lions MNF game. Release.
- Sunday Afternoon NFL Games on ESPN Radio: For the second year, ESPN Radio broadcasts out-of-market NFL games at 1 p.m. beginning Sept. 7. Commentators include play-by-play announcers Marc Kestecher, Sean McDonough, Bill Rosinski and Ryan Ruocco and analysts Herm Edwards, Shaun O’Hara and Bill Polian. The 17-game schedule is preceded by a one-hour pregame show from 12-1 p.m. Release.
- Fantasy Focus on ESPN Radio (Sundays, 1 p.m.): The six-hour studio broadcast debuts Sept. 7 and airs every Sunday throughout the NFL regular season with a focus on fantasy, game updates and news of the day. SportsCenter anchor Randy Scott and ESPN Radio’s Dave Rothenberg, both fantasy aficionados, serve as hosts. The show will also be simulcast on ESPN’s live, multi-screen sports network ESPN3. Release.
- Countdown to Kickoff (Sundays, 11 a.m.): Hosted by Jonathan Coachman, the two-hour show leads into Fantasy Focus on ESPN Radio and includes on-site reports previewing the day’s games, an update from MNF’s Mike Tirico, contributions from ESPN NFL analysts and fantasy information.
- Mike Tirico’s Weekend Blitz (Fridays, 10 p.m.): Beginning Sept. 5, NFL Insider Chris Mortensen joins Tirico for the hour-long program to discuss the week’s news and look ahead to weekend matchups. The show re-airs Saturdays at 1 a.m.
- The MNF Preview podcast returns this fall with Tirico and MNF analyst Jon Gruden looking ahead to that week’s game. Additional podcasts include Fantasy Focus Football (daily, August-February with hosts Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz); Fantasy Underground (twice weekly, August-January with hosts Field Yates and Christopher Harris); and Football Today (daily, August-February with hosts Robert Flores and Matthew Williamson).
ESPN.com’s 2014 pro football coverage is highlighted by the second season of the NFL Nation network, which includes 32 team sites on ESPN.com – one-stop shops for everything relevant to each team – maintained by reporters covering every NFL market. The network of reporters provide news, insight, analysis, game coverage, predictions, video, fantasy information and more on ESPN.com and across TV, radio and ESPN The Magazine. ESPN.com’s NFL coverage also includes:
- Unparalleled game coverage and more from senior NFL writer John Clayton, national writers Kevin Seifert, Ashley Fox, Jeffri Chadiha and Jim Trotter;
- Clayton’s First and Five column, which previews the week’s biggest games;
- Adam Schefter’s Friday Blitz of notes and more from around the league;
- The Hot Read – written by Elizabeth Merrill, Jeffri Chadiha, Ashley Fox, Greg Garber, Seth Wickersham and others – a weekly enterprise or profile story about the hottest issues and personalities in the league;
- Insider coverage including a new feature by Mike Sando, who will examine the hottest discussion topics, as well provide news and notes, in a new feature called Insider Daily.
- MNF analyst Jon Gruden will set up the MNF game each week with his take on the biggest issues facing the two teams;
- Insider’s network of former NFL players, coaches and executives, including Bill Polian, Ron Jaworski, Herm Edwards, Mark Dominik, Louis Riddick, Tim Hasselbeck and Gruden, provide analysis on the biggest storylines each week;
- Matthew Berry’s new weekly column, in which he has a football conversation with a rotating group of ESPN NFL analysts, is one of several fantasy football offerings that will help Insiders make their roster decisions each week, alongside the likes of Eric Karabell and KC Joyner; and
- Draft gurus Mel Kiper and Todd McShay will update their prospect rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft throughout the 2014 college football season, weighing in with their expertise and analysis on star players and prospects on the rise.
ESPN Fantasy Football, the industry’s most popular fantasy football game, is kicking off its 19th season in 2014. The game is free for all fans and is accompanied by a full array of content and features across ESPN platforms — online, mobile, television, audio and more — with the most comprehensive collection of expert analysis, news, tools and statistical information in fantasy sports. More details on ESPN’s comprehensive product and content offering for fantasy football can be found here.
ESPN The Magazine
Eagles’ running back LeSean McCoy is the cover story in ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Preview Issue, which includes Mark Dominik’s ultimate 53-man roster, team-by-team analysis with insight from ESPN.com’s NFL Nation writers, results from the NFL Nation Confidential – a private survey of 82 NFL players, Kevin Van Valkenburg’s analysis of Ravens running back Ray Rice, and more. Cover.
NFL coverage on espnW includes features from Kate Fagan, Jane McManus, Sarah Spain and others and weekly pieces from the three sisters who run HerFantasyFootball.com – Courtney Kirby, Brandon Marianne Lee and Ashley Williams – on the latest in the world of fantasy football: best bets and dark horses, who’s hot/who’s not and more.
Live access to ESPN NFL events and programming such as Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Monday Night Football, NFL Insiders, NFL Live and more will be accessible via WatchESPN. Fans who receive their video subscriptions from affiliated providers can tune in on computers, tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and – with the exception of MNF – on smartphones.
The second screen for fans watching Thursday, Sunday and Monday NFL games, the @ESPNNFL Twitter feed will provide updates during games and deliver stats and news reports throughout the week. The account also serves as a platform for fan engagement all season long, including its popular C’Mon Man poll where fans can vote for their favorite Monday Night Countdown highlight using the hashtag #CMonMan. Additional social media destinations for ESPN’s NFL coverage are: @ESPNMondayNight – the home for MNF, the Monday Night Football Facebook page, the NFL on ESPN Facebook page and the nflonespn Instragram page.
To download photos of MNF, ESPN NFL studio shows and network commentators, please visit the ESPN Images library.
|Sundays||3:30-4 or 4-4:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN|
|9-10 a.m.||Colin’s Football Show||ESPN2|
|10 a.m.-1 p.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown Presented By Snickers||ESPN|
|11 a.m.-1 p.m.||Fantasy Football Now Delivered by Papa John’s||ESPN2|
|11 p.m.-12 a.m.||SportsCenter’s “NFL Blitz” highlight segments||ESPN|
|Mondays||2-3 p.m.||NFL Primetime||ESPN|
|3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders Presented by Farmers Insurance||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|6-8:15 p.m.||Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s||ESPN|
|8:15 p.m.||Monday Night Football||ESPN|
|Tuesdays||3-3:30 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|3:30-4 p.m.||Mike and Mike: NFL Rank||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Wednesdays||3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Thursdays||3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Fridays||3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders Presented by Jaguar||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live||ESPN|
|Saturdays||8:30-9 a.m.||NFL Matchup||ESPN2|