T.O. LOOKS TO UPSTAGE STEVE SMITH AND KEYSHAWN AS DALLAS VISITS CAROLINA ON 'NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL'
NBC's Collinsworth on Cowboys QB Change: "This is one of those era-changing moments for the Dallas Cowboys."
NBC's Costas: "They could decide it on the field or just let T.O. and Keyshawn have a debate."
NEW YORK � October 26, 2006 � "NBC Sunday Night Football" travels to Charlotte for a matchup between the Carolina Panthers (4-3) and the Dallas Cowboys (3-3), Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET, presented in high definition. NBC's coverage kicks off at 7 p.m. ET with the "Football Night in America" studio show, a complete recap of the top stories in the NFL, with highlights, analysis and reports from around the league.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) will call all the action. Bob Costas (host) and Cris Collinsworth (co-host), analysts Sterling Sharpe and Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated, comprise the "Football Night in America" studio team.
The Cowboys have been surrounded by controversy the entire season on and off the field, mostly involving Terrell Owens. They enter this game off a loss to the New York Giants and a fresh quarterback controversy. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells replaced starting QB Drew Bledsoe with backup Tony Romo for the second half of last week's game and has announced that Romo will start Sunday night against Carolina. Romo was 14-25 for 227 yards and two touchdown passes but also threw three interceptions in relief of Bledsoe.
"This is one of those era-changing moments for the Dallas Cowboys," said Collinsworth. "If Tony Romo can show some signs of life, he has the chance to become the new starting quarterback for the Cowboys. If he doesn't, the Cowboys are in an awful situation with not being comfortable with either quarterback, and Parcells daring move backfires on a team that's still in the thick of the playoff hunt. This is a make or break moment for the Cowboys, and Romo has to do it against the best defensive line in the league, on the road. It's a tall order for an inexperienced quarterback."
Madden said: "I know what Bill's [Parcells] going through because it's similar to what I went through with [Ken] Stabler and [Darryl] Lamonica. It worked out for me but you never know what's going to happen or how it's going to work out."
The Panthers reached the NFC Championship Game last season led by DE Julius Peppers (who leads the NFL in sacks with eight) and one of the best defenses in the league, along with QB Jake Delhomme and standout WR Steve Smith. How valuable is Smith to the Panthers? With the wideout in the lineup, the Panthers are 4-1 this season; without Smith, 0-2. The Panthers also have added another receiving threat in WR Keyshawn Johnson, who became available when the Cowboys signed T.O.
"They could decide it on the field or just let T.O. and Keyshawn have a debate," said Costas.
"NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" PACING 6% AHEAD OF 2005 MNF
Through seven games, "NBC Sunday Night Football" is averaging 17.2 million viewers, up six percent from ABC's "MNF" average through seven games in 2005, according to Nielsen Media Research.
"FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA" STUDIO
The "Football Night in America" studio, just down the hall from the famed Studio 8H, home of "Saturday Night Live," was built in the former studio home of first the Philco Television Playhouse (1948-1955) and later for game shows Concentration (1958-1973) and Jeopardy (1964-1975), and talk shows Donahue (1984-1996) and The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1996-2002), and shares the "SNL" control room for the football season. The "Football Night" set was designed and built by Jeremy Conway, the former set designer for "Sex in the City." Two 103" high definition Panasonic plasma screen televisions � roughly the size of a queen-size mattress � are two of the set innovations.
"NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL"
"NBC Sunday Night Football," the premier primetime game of the week, is preceded by the "Football Night in America" studio show, which kicks off NBC's regular season coverage each Sunday at 7 p.m. The unprecedented six-year NFL deal includes innovative flexible scheduling and continues through the 2011 season with Super Bowls in 2009 and 2012. NBC has assembled the most honored broadcast team ever: Joining Al Michaels, the commentator called "TV's best play-by-play announcer" by the Associated Press, and John Madden, the most honored NFL broadcaster of all time with 15 Emmy Awards, are Bob Costas, the most honored studio host of all time with 19 Emmy Awards, who will host NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history with six Emmy Awards; and analysts Sterling Sharpe, a five-time Pro Bowler and Jerome Bettis, one of the most popular players in recent NFL history. "NBC Sunday Night Football" coverage also includes sideline and feature reporter Andrea Kremer, whom the Los Angeles Times has called "the best TV interviewer in the business of covering the NFL." Peter King, who covers the NFL for Sports Illustrated and is considered one of the country's foremost NFL reporters, serves as a reporter for the "Football Night in America" studio show.
NBC'S REMAINING 2006 NFL SCHEDULE
(Sunday coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with "Football Night in America" studio show)
Sunday, Oct. 29 � Dallas at Carolina
Sunday, Nov. 5 � Indianapolis at New England
Sunday, Nov. 12 � Chicago at New York Giants*
*Flexible Scheduling Weeks 10-15
Monday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) � Philadelphia at Dallas
Flexible Scheduling Week 17