EAGLES AND COWBOYS BATTLE FOR FIRST PLACE IN CHRISTMAS DAY BLOCKBUSTER, 5PM ET ON NBC
NBC's Madden on T.O.: "At the end it's about who is going to win, get in the playoffs, get home field. It's about those things, not some guy spitting."
"NBC's Bettis: "It's a jailhouse brawl."
NEW YORK � December 20, 2006 � NBC Sports presents an NFL Christmas Day blockbuster between fierce rivals the Dallas Cowboys (9-5) and Philadelphia Eagles (8-6), with the winner claiming first place in the NFC East. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. ET, preceded by a half hour edition of "Football Night in America."
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.
MADDEN ON T.O. SPITTING INCIDENT:
"At the end it's about who is going to win, who is going to get in the playoffs, who is going to get home field. That is what this league is about. It's about those things and not some guy spitting on someone."
BETTIS ON DALLAS VS. PHILLY:
"It's a jailhouse brawl."
COSTAS ON THEATER THAT IS T.O.:
"Sometimes a fan will sit with a remote and say, 'As long as I get back for the snap, I'm okay.' But anytime Terrell Owens is on the field, wearing the opponent's uniform � in this case Dallas - given all the history, I don't think you're going to want to miss a minute of it. You're not going to want to miss the introductions. You're not going to want to miss what might possibly happen on the sideline, what byplay there might be. Whether you approve of it, disapprove of it, love it, hate it, it's still going to be theater."
MADDEN ON EAGLES QB JEFF GARCIA:
"Is it the Jeff Garcia who was in Cleveland, in Detroit, or the Jeff Garcia we remember from the 49ers that went to three Pro Bowls? It's definitely the latter."
Garcia took over as the starting quarterback on Nov. 26, a 45-21 loss to Indianapolis on "NBC Sunday Night Football," after Donovan McNabb suffered a season-ending injury, Since that defeat, Philly has won three straight to not only play their way back into playoff contention but now control their own destiny in the NFC East. With victories over the Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons in their final game, the Eagles would win the division title.
The Cowboys have benefited from a quarterback change of their own. Tony Romo has posted a 6-2 record since claiming the starting job from Drew Bledsoe. Yesterday, Romo was named a reserve on the NFC Pro Bowl team.
In their earlier meeting this season, the Eagles spoiled Terrell Owens much-anticipated return to Philadelphia, beating the Cowboys 38-24 as T.O. was held to three catches for 45 yards. McNabb tossed three touchdown passes to upstage Owens.
ANDREA KREMER VISITS WITH ROY WILLIAMS:
In a feature that will air during "Football Night in America," Kremer visited with Cowboys star safety Roy Williams, who was named the most recent recipient of Pro Football Weekly's Humanitarian of the Year award. His most notable charity is the Roy Willams Safety Net Foundation, which helps ensure that low-income single mothers raising children in the Dallas area are provided with support, guidance and assistance in an effort to enhance their quality of life. Since joining the Cowboys, Williams has been involved in virtually all of the team's community outreach programs, assisting children with cancer, the homeless and the elderly. Last year, he "adopted" 50 kids in the Salvation Army Christmas Holiday Tree Program. Every year, Cowboy players remove "angel tags" from designated trees and buy gifts for the children designated on the tag.
ABOUT FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING:
The NFL this season is implementing for the first time in its history a primetime "flexible scheduling" element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17 to ensure quality matchups with playoff implications in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto Sunday Night. The NFL will announce the flex game no later than 12 days prior, except for Week 17, which will be announced no later than six days before, to ensure that the final regular season Sunday Night game has playoff implications.
"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
Monday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) � Philadelphia at Dallas
Flexible Scheduling Week 17 (game will be announced next week)