PEYTON MANNING AND SUPER BOWL CHAMPION COLTS HOST REGGIE BUSH AND THE SAINTS TOMORROW NIGHT IN 'NFL OPENING KICKOFF' ON NBC
NFC East Rivals Giants and Cowboys Kick Off "NBC Sunday Night Football"
Ebersol on NBC's broadcast team: "The thing that differentiates us from everybody else is the strength and the depth of our on-air talent."
NEW YORK � September 5, 2007 � Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning and the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts host Reggie Bush and the New Orleans Saints in "NFL Opening Kickoff," Thursday night, 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage begins with a special half hour pregame show featuring John Mellencamp, Faith Hill and Kelly Clarkson.
The second season of "NBC Sunday Night Football" launches Sunday Night with a classic NFC clash between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, 8:15 p.m. ET from Texas Stadium. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with the "Football Night in America" studio show.
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), Keith Olbermann (co-host), analysts Tiki Barber and Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated, comprise the "Football Night in America" studio team.
NBC Sports today conducted a media conference call with Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports, Michaels, Madden and Collinsworth to preview the 2007 NFL season and NBC's coverage. For a complete replay, dial 719-457-0820 and enter passcode 6570748. Highlights of the call follow:
MICHAELS ON HOW MADDEN VIEWS START OF FOOTBALL SEASON:
"For John this is like New Year's Eve today."
MADDEN ON GETTING STARTED WITH SEASON:
"I think its time to not only celebrate the start of the opening of the season, but to celebrate, I hope, good news. This off-season has just been filled with crap. Everything has been negative and it's time to for some positive stuff. Ninety-nine percent of what happens in the NFL is good, and then that one percent isn't so good, but we hear more about that one percent than we do about the 99 percent. And now, I think the celebration is: we're starting the 99 percent and hearing about that, and getting away from that other stuff. I'll tell you, I'm excited as hell to get this thing started."
MICHAELS ON FIRST TWO NBC GAMES:
"When you look at the matchups that we got from the NFL it really can't get much better than the way we start out, New Orleans at Indianapolis. This is the first time the Colts have opened at home in a number of years and, as the Super Bowl champions, against a team that was probably the best story in the league last year. The Giants are the team of mystery this year. Who knows what they will be? We're going to see them right off the bat at Dallas. Just Giants-Dallas alone at any time is a great attraction."
EBERSOL ON MADDEN:
"To walk into any team's training camp with John Madden is like arriving there with, well if there was a King of England�I mean, the level of respect that people feel for him in this league and what he has done for this league as a coach, as a commentator, as a co-game inventor is a site to behold."
COLLINSWORTH ON BARBER:
"Let's face it, the first thing everybody wants to do when they bring you out of uniform and sit you down with a coat and tie and they put the camera on you is debrief you on your old team. It's just a fact of life. Jerome Bettis had to do it last year. He made some comments about Bill Cowher and a bunch of people were screaming about that and he ended up being exactly right. Tiki Barber now has made some comments about his former team, and I guess my question back to you is, would you prefer that he says, "You know, Tom Coughlin did an unbelievable job with us and helped me with my fumbling and my teammates are the greatest guys in the world and I've never been around a greater group of guys?" Then collectively around the universe all you would hear was remotes going click, click, click. So, I think for all the criticism and all the attention that Tiki has gotten, what he's done is to prove that he is willing to say anything about anybody if it's what he truly believes, including his former teammates."
EBERSOL ON WHAT DIFFERENTIATES NBC'S COVERAGE:
"I would have to start with having Al and John do the games. You have without a doubt the best play by play team for NFL football over the past 20 or 25 years.
Then when you get to our studio operation and Cris who, I hate to go on like this, but he is the most honored studio analyst of all time. He's working with Bob Costas who is the most honored studio host of all time and now working with Keith Olbermann who, years ago along with Dan Patrick, just about invented the way that studio highlight shows were done on cable and we're lucky enough to debut him this year.
We have Jerome Bettis, one of the more beloved figures in the league, not without a little controversy of his own. And then on top of everything, this year we debut Tiki Barber, who I think has already shown that he's one of those rare athletes that, when it comes to the game, really wants to share with the viewer what he knows about the game. He's not looking to just play up to his old friends that he played with. Then when you add to that, among the three or four best television reporters in the history of the game, we have two of them.
We have Andrea Kremer out here at the games and we have Peter King in the studio from Sports Illustrated. So I think the thing that differentiates us from everybody else is the strength and the depth of our on-air talent who are sharing with the viewer their insights into the game and telling the stories of the National Football League."
COLLINSWORTH ON NOT WRITING A BOOK OF HIS OWN:
"Nobody would read anything I had to say anyway. I just couldn't do it. I don't know why I couldn't. Maybe because I can't remember anything that happened, when you get hit in the head for a living you tend to forget some things."
EBERSOL ON FLEX SCHEDULING:
"There are few things in life that work absolutely perfectly, but flex comes damn close. Almost every game [on NBC's schedule] will have significant bearing on the season. And we can only be happy about that."
NO. 6 TV SHOW OF SEASON:
"NBC Sunday Night Football" wrapped up its inaugural season as the No. 6 television show of the season, averaging 17.5 million viewers, the best viewership number for the network primetime NFL package in six years (18.5 million on ABC in 2000) and 1.2 million viewers better than ABC Monday Night Football in 2005.
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. ET. 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 hosts NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history with eight Emmy Awards; co-host Keith Olbermann, named one of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in TV News for 2007 by Television Week; and analysts Tiki Barber, a three-time NFL Pro Bowler for the New York Giants, 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 2007 NFL SCHEDULE:
("NBC Sunday Night Football" kickoff, 8:15 p.m. ET preceded by "Football Night in America, 7 p.m. ET)
Thursday, Sept 6 � New Orleans at Indianapolis
Sunday, Sept. 9 � New York Giants at Dallas
Sunday, Sept. 16 � San Diego at New England
Sunday, Sept. 23 � Dallas at Chicago
Sunday, Sept. 30 � Philadelphia at New York Giants
Sunday, Oct. 7 � Chicago at Green Bay
Sunday, Oct. 14 � New Orleans at Seattle
Sunday, Oct. 21 � Pittsburgh at Denver
Sunday, Oct. 28 � No game scheduled due to World Series Game 5 (FNIA airs 7-8 p.m.)
Sunday, Nov. 4 � Dallas at Philadelphia
Sunday, Nov. 11 � Indianapolis at San Diego
Sunday, Nov. 18 � Chicago at Seattle (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Nov. 25 � Philadelphia at New England (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 2 � Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 9 � Indianapolis at Baltimore (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 16 � Washington at NY Giants (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 23 � Tampa Bay at San Francisco (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 30 � Kansas City at New York Jets (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)