ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM will preview the day’s matchups Sunday at 11 a.m. ET with Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson. ESPN senior analyst Chris Mortensen and NFL insider Adam Schefter will provide headlines and league news.
The two-hour program will include reports from Sal Paolantonio in Philadelphia for the Redskins at Eagles, and Ed Werder covering the Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans. Other highlights:
Anti-Diva Wide Receivers: In the NFL, “diva” has become a term often associated with a loud, attention-demanding wide receiver. Many receivers past and present have fit this bill and almost made it a prerequisite of the position, but recently, there has been an influx of “non-divas.” Humble, attention-shielding wide receivers that just play their game and let their tremendous skills do the talking. Cris Carter visits Texans’ Andre Johnson and the Colts’ Reggie Wayne, to get into the mind of the anti-diva wide receiver.
Space Eaters: Currently, 13 teams in the NFL run the 3-4 defense including one must-have, a “space-eating” nose tackle – who occupies multiple blockers, and allows other defenders to make plays. Greg Garber sits down with some of the league’s top “space eaters” to get their perspective on their role in the 3-4 and notes that because a “space eater” is big, doesn’t mean they don’t show athleticism on the field.
Concussions Roundtable: Quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) and Kurt Warner (Cardinals) left games last week with concussion-type symptoms. Running backs Brian Westbrook (Eagles) and Clinton Portis (Redskins) have missed multiple games due to the effects of a concussion. The NFL recently implemented a new policy instructing teams to seek counsel from independent neurologists after players suffer concussions. Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter, Merril Hoge (who retired due to post-concussion symptoms after playing eight seasons in NFL) and Stephania Bell (ESPN.com injury analyst/licensed physical therapist) will have a roundtable discussion on the seriousness of concussions and how the NFL is addressing the issue.
Mayne Event – Chasing Brady: Tom Brady’s triumphant return from knee surgery in week one against the Buffalo Bills, was marked by a few noteworthy events – rallying the Patriots from an 11-point deficit late in the fourth quarter and doing his best to elude a post-game interview with Monday Night Football’s Suzy Kolber. Brady is back on Monday Night this week against the undefeated Saints, and Suzy has been in training with American 100-meter record holder Tyson Gay. In this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne breaks down the “rematch.”
Soundtracks: Brett Favre: Forty-year-old Brett Favre is having a magical season – 21 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions – while leading the Vikings to a 9-1 start. A few weeks ago against the Lions, Favre made an incredible 300th straight start – including playoffs. Favre was wired for sound during that game - in this week’s edition of Soundtracks.
Start 'Em or Sit 'Em with Matthew Berry and Merril Hoge: ESPN’s fantasy football guru Matthew Berry and NFL analyst Merril Hoge debate which players to start or sit this weekend.
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson and Johnson will pick the biggest games of the day and tell fans which players will make the biggest impact in NFL’s Week 12 action. The list of game picks will be posted on www.espn.com/sundaycountdown after the show.
MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN, 7 P.M. ON ESPN
Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s with Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Mortensen and Schefter (in Bristol) and Stuart Scott, Matt Millen, Steve Young and Tedy Bruschi (at the MNF game in New Orleans) will review Sunday’s games and preview Monday Night Football. The 90-minute, pre-game show will lead into the kickoff of the New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints (8:30 p.m.) game, featuring Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.
Reporters Suzy Kolber (Saints) and Michele Tafoya (Patriots) will cover the teams. Other highlights:
Soundtracks: New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints: Countdown will feature two Soundtracks segments this week, featuring the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints, with “best of” moments of each team.
WEEKLY MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN SEGMENTS
TEAMS AT 20 – Every 20 minutes reporters Tafoya and Kolber will update news from the teams in their preparations for the game, beginning with NFL Live at 3:30 p.m.
FIELD PASS – Countdown offers an all-access look at pre-game preparations as the players get ready for kickoff. Analysts will also breakdown the important storylines and key players before the game.
C'MON MAN – Countdown personalities share their head-scratching plays from Week 12.
In addition, Monday Night Football's Tirico, Jaworski and Gruden will preview the night’s match-up, with Mortensen and Schefter covering breaking news from around the league, and the Countdown analysts offering their “Lead Pipe Lock” predictions for the game.
NFL MATCHUP, SUNDAY 3 A.M. AND 7:30 A.M. ON ESPN
NFL Matchup with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the weekend’s games by bringing viewers inside the film room for the Xs and Os analysis of the matchups. The 30-minute program – taped each week at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey – highlights team strategy and game planning.