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[02/19/06 - 12:00 AM]
Bettis Joins NBC's "Football Night in America" as Studio Analyst

[via press release from NBC]

BETTIS JOINS NBC'S "FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA" AS STUDIO ANALYST

"THE BUS" STOPS AT NBC: BETTIS JOINS NBC'S "FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA" AS STUDIO ANALYST

Bettis Joins Costas for Announcement on Sunday's Olympic Primetime Show

TORINO, Italy--Feb. 19, 2006--Super Bowl champion Jerome Bettis, the National Football League's most popular player, fifth-best rusher of all-time and a six-time Pro Bowl selection, joins NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show as an analyst. The announcement was made tonight when Bettis joined NBC's Olympic host Bob Costas during NBC's Torino Winter Olympics primetime broadcast from the NBC Olympics Studio at the International Broadcast Center in Torino.

"America followed 'The Bus' to the Super Bowl just two weeks ago in his hometown of Detroit, and I was awed by how many people were engrossed in seeing his great career culminate in a championship, and seeing the grace and class with which he handled his retirement. He's the kind of guy that people want to invite into their living rooms every week," said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and executive producer of NBC's "Football Night in America."

"Jerome is considered the ultimate team player, he's always been considered a great guy to have in your locker room, something that is so important to me when putting our broadcast team together. He simply blew us away during his audition, which was especially impressive, given that it was less than 12 hours after the Baltimore-Pittsburgh Monday night game in October. I am absolutely thrilled to have the team of Bob, Cris and 'The Bus' in our studio, with more still to come."

Bettis said: "I am looking forward to this new opportunity and to still be involved in the game I love. After retiring I wondered what I was going to do on Sundays, but now I still have a place to go every Sunday night. When the regular season kicks off in Pittsburgh in September it will be the proudest night of my life, I will finally get my ring and I will start my new career in television in front of all the Steelers fans."

NBC's first regular season game, "NFL Kickoff 2006," will launch the 2006 NFL regular season on Thursday Sept. 7 in primetime.

"The Bus" finished his NFL career two weeks ago after 13 seasons, retiring immediately following the Pittsburgh Steelers' 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit.

Costas, a 17-time Emmy Award winner, will host NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history with five Emmy Awards, and Bettis. Al Michaels and John Madden, the most honored NFL broadcast team on television, will call NBC's "Sunday Night NFL Football" games.

Bettis, who turned 34 on Thursday, ranks fifth on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 13,294 yards and is one of six players in NFL history to rush for 13,000 yards. He is one of only eight players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards for eight or more seasons. He ranks third in NFL history with 3,369 rushing attempts. Bettis was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1993 and followed the team in their move to St. Louis in 1995. He signed with the Steelers prior to the 1996 season, where he spent the remaining 10 seasons of his career.

Bettis finished his college career at Notre Dame averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He was the subject of 80 football cards in his rookie year in 1993. He is an avid bowler with a lifetime average of better than 200 and has bowled a perfect game. Bettis was introduced to sports by his parents, John and Gladys, to keep him off the streets and out of trouble. His parents attended all but two of their son's games in his 13 years in the NFL. The only two games they missed were played outside of the country.

He arrived in Torino today with his parents.

NBC'S "FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA"

NBC's "Football Night in America" will encompass more than four hours of NFL coverage, including a primetime pre-game show hosted by Bob Costas, the most honored sportscaster of his generation, and the premier primetime game of the week, "NBC's Sunday Night NFL Football." Both the game and the pre-game will be broadcast in high definition. Ebersol negotiated the unprecedented six-year NFL deal, which includes innovative flexible scheduling, and continues through the 2011 season with Super Bowls in 2009 and 2012.

For each of the six seasons of the deal, NBC kicks off the NFL regular season with a Thursday night primetime game. The first regular season game of the new agreement, NBC's "NFL Kickoff 2006," launches the 2006 NFL regular season on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2006 in primetime.

The agreement calls for 16 regular season Sunday night games, each season's "NFL Kickoff" Thursday night primetime game, two postseason Wild Card games and three preseason games in primetime, in addition to Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 and XLVI in 2012 and Pro Bowls in the same years.

Under the new agreement, the NFL provides flexible game scheduling over the final seven weeks of the regular season. The flexible game selection, offered for the first time by the NFL, ensures marquee match-ups over the final seven weeks of the season when many teams' playoff chances are at stake.





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· FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA (NBC)











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