MANNING LEADS FIRST PLACE COLTS AGAINST RAVENS ON 'NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL'
"Colts are the equal of, if not better than, the Pats defensively."- Football Night's Collinsworth
"Change any one of about a half dozen plays�and the Pats would be coming to Indy in late January." � Football Night's Costas
NEW YORK � December 5, 2007 � The Indianapolis Colts (10-2) led by Peyton Manning, coming off a huge divisional win last week against the Jaguars, can clinch a playoff spot with a win as they battle Ray Lewis and the Ravens (4-8) on "NBC Sunday Night Football." Coverage begins Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET with the "Football Night in America" studio show.
Peyton Manning was named the AFC Player of the Week following his four-touchdown performance in the Colts 28-25 win over the Jaguars last weekend. The Colts can secure a playoff berth with a win on Sunday night and some help and could potentially wrap up their fifth straight AFC South title. The Ravens are coming off a 27-24 loss to the undefeated Patriots in a game they led until Tom Brady threw a TD pass to Jabar Gaffeny with 44 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) will call all the action from M&T Bank Stadium in Owings Mills, Md. 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.
CRIS COLLINSWORTH ON COLTS DEFENSE: "Indy's defense is vastly underrated. They are the equal of if not better than the Pats defensively."
BOB COSTAS ON COLTS: "Change any one of about a half dozen plays in the Pats-Colts game, then the next week have Vinatieri make a field goal he almost never misses and the Colts would now be 12-0. They would have the No. 1 seed and the Pats, in all likelihood, would be coming to Indy in late January."
COLLINSWORTH ON HOW COLTS STACK UP IN AFC: "I'd be shocked if anyone other than the Colts and the Patriots are in the AFC Championship Game. When the Colts are playing at full speed, particularly if and when they get Marvin Harrison back, they are as good or better than any team in the league and that includes the Patriots."
COLTS CONTINUE DOMINANCE:
The Colts have the NFL's best regular season record since the start of the 1999 season (99-41) and are the only team to make the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. They are 44-9 in their last 53 regular-season games. Last week's win over the Jaguars gave the Colts its sixth consecutive 10-plus victory season and are two wins shy of becoming the only team in NFL history with five consecutive 12-plus win seasons.
COLTS-RAVENS IN PRIMETIME:
This is the Colts third appearance on NBC this season. The defeated the Saints 41-10 on the opening Thursday night game of the season and lost to the Chargers 23-21 on "Sunday Night Football" in Week 10. The Colts appeared on SNF three times last season winning all three and hold a 21-11 all-time record on the NFL's premiere primetime network package (ABC's MNF 1970-2005, NBC's SNF 2006-Present).
This is the Ravens first ever appearance on NBC "Sunday Night Football."
COLTS VS. RAVENS:
The Colts hold a 4-2 series lead in the regular season and a 1-0 advantage in the playoffs. In last year's Divisional Playoffs, the Colts, behind five Adam Vinatieri field goals defeated the Ravens 15-6 to advance to the AFC Championship Game. The last regular season meeting of these two teams was Week 1 of the 2005 season with the Colts winning 24-7.
MADDEN VISITS CAPITOL HILL:
SNF analyst John Madden will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with members of Congress to discuss the critical need for an increase in federal funding for diabetes research. Madden will ask the House and Senate to renew the Special Diabetes Program (HR 2762 and S. 1494) this year. If the program is not renewed, federal support for type 1 diabetes research will be cut by 35 percent. Madden will hold a press conference with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Senate Finance Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and other Members of Congress who have been leading the effort to renew the Special Diabetes Program this year. He will be joined by his son Joseph, and six year-old grandson Sam, who was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
In addition to raising diabetes awareness at Capitol Hill, Madden also recently launched a fundraising campaign called Madden Miles. The Madden Cruiser, a 45-foot luxury bus that has become a familiar site along the nation's highways and country roads, carries Madden to SNF games throughout the season. The Outback Steakhouse Madden Miles campaign, which seeks to raise $1 million, will directly benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the world's largest charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. For more information please visit: www.outback.com/maddenmiles.
The 2007 NFL schedule will utilize flexible scheduling in Weeks 11-17. In those weeks, the schedule will list the games tentatively scheduled for Sunday night on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move will be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the move may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
As an indication of the success of the inaugural year of flex scheduling, three of the final four games on NBC achieved ratings more than 20 percent higher than the comparable games in 2005.
"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. 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 SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" REMAINING 2007 NFL SCHEDULE:
Sunday, Dec. 9 � Indianapolis at Baltimore (Flex Week, No Change)
Sunday, Dec. 16 � Washington at NY Giants (Flex Week, No 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)
CREDITS: Fred Gaudelli is the producer of "NBC Sunday Night Football" and Drew Esocoff is the director. This is Gaudelli and Esocoff's second season at the helm of "Sunday Night Football." The Emmy Award-winning duo came from ABC where they worked together for five seasons on "Monday Night Football.