Sunday NFL Countdown: Tom Brady, A.J. Green, Saints Referee and more
Sunday NFL Countdown will preview week three’s NFL games on September 22 beginning at 10 a.m. on ESPN. Chris Berman will host the three-hour pregame show with NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson. Ray Lewis will join the show from Baltimore where he’ll be inducted into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor during halftime of the team’s 1 p.m. game vs. Houston. Senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry will provide up-to-minute advice for fantasy team rosters, while NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news.
In addition to those in studio, Sunday NFL Countdown will feature updates and insight from reporters at the games, including:
- Suzy Kolber and Ron Jaworski (The Big Early Game – Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens)
- Bob Holtzman (Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals)
- Josina Anderson (New York Giants at Carolina Panthers)
- Sal Paolantonio (Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins)
- Ed Werder (Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers)
- Tom Brady Meets a Devoted Fan: Stricken by pulmonary hypertension and right-sided heart failure, 18-year old Eddie Martinez found some inspiration from his favorite NFL player – quarterback Tom Brady. As part of ESPN “Mi Deseo” (“My Wish”), a cross-platform and multi-language initiative to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month, Martinez met Brady and the Patriots during offseason camp, where he joined the team captains for a coin toss in a preseason game. ESPN Deportes’ Jerry Olaya reports.
- Saints Referee: The NFL ended its use of replacement officials after the now infamous call at the end of the Packers-Seahawks week 3 MNF game in 2012. While that faux pas has been well-documented, the story of a different replacement official – Brian Sapolo – continues to live in infamy. Sapolo’s assignment to officiate a New Orleans Saints game was rescinded when pictures on his Facebook page showed him tailgating at Saints games wearing the team’s garb. Greg Garber revisits the Sapolo miscue.
- Andrew Luck Soundtracks: Ahead of his matchup against the 49ers and his former college coach Jim Harbaugh, now with the 49ers, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is wired for sound in a recent game on Sunday’s “Soundtracks.”
- A.J. Green: Countdown looks at A.J. Green’s amazing, one-handed catches dating back to his high school games through the University of Georgia and now with the Bengals.
- Carter & Johnson in One-Handed Catch Contest: Countdown’s former NFL wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Hall of Famer Cris Carter will demonstrate the art of catching the ball with one hand and compete in a one-handed catching contest.
- The Redskins Story: Like any good novel, the Redskins’ season is replete with sub-plots. Countdown enlists one of America’s bestselling authors David Baldacci to pen his version of the Redskins novella.
Monday Night Football: Peyton Manning and the Broncos Host Division Rival Raiders
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos host AFC West foe Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football on September 23 at 8:25 p.m. ET. The MNF team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters will call the game, which will be televised on ESPN and available via WatchESPN.
The Raiders-Broncos game marks a record 17th Monday night meeting all time between the longtime rivals. It also extends the Broncos’ run to 22 consecutive seasons playing on MNF (1992-2013), the longest current streak of any NFL team and the second longest (the Raiders played on MNF for 28 consecutive seasons from 1970-1997).
Additionally, the MNF game coincides with the NFL’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. ESPN’s U.S. Spanish-language network, ESPN Deportes, will televise the game with Alvaro Martin, Raul Allegre and on-site reporter John Sutcliffe providing commentary.
Through the first two weeks of the NFL season, ESPN is seeing ratings and viewership gains for MNF. Release.
Monday Night Countdown Pregame
Prior to MNF, ESPN’s pregame show – the two-hour Monday Night Countdown – will preview the Raiders-Broncos at 6:30 p.m. Stuart Scott, Steve Young, Dilfer and Lewis will be in Denver. Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Cris Carter and Mike Ditka will be in ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studio with NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reporting league news and updates. MNF’s Tirico and Gruden will join the show from the booth and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will report from the Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.
- Conversation with Peyton Manning: MNF play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico sits for a one-on-one conversation with Broncos quarterback Manning.
- “Gruden’s Extra”: Jon Gruden interviews Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, who signed with the team during the off-season after six exceptional seasons with the New England Patriots. Welker will also be featured in a “Hero Cam” segment during the MNF telecast. At a recent workout with the Broncos, Welker wore a “GoPro” camera that shows his perspective catching passes and running routes.
- Rick Reilly Feature: On the one-year anniversary of the “Fail Mary,” Packers-Seahawks game with the replacement referees, Reilly tells the story of the play and call.
- C’Mon Man!: Countdown commentators reveal their picks for NFL Week 3’s head-scratching plays.
E:60 Features Denver Broncos Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday
ESPN’s news magazine E:60 will profile Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. on ESPN, just one day after Thomas and his teammates face the Raiders on Monday Night Football.
In the profile, E:60 correspondent and MNF sideline reporter Lisa Salters tells the story of Thomas, a rising NFL star who eagerly awaits the day when his mother can travel to an NFL stadium to watch him play football for the first time. Arrested when Thomas was 11 years old, Thomas’ mother, Katina Smith, has never seen her son play football in person. For now she watches Thomas’ games on TV in a Florida prison anticipating her release in 2016. Video preview.
ESPN Radio Regular-Season NFL: Giants at Panthers on Sunday
ESPN Radio continues its first season of broadcasting Sunday afternoon NFL games with the matchup between two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning and the New York Giants at Carolina Panthers, led by quarterback Cam Newton, on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 1 p.m. Bill Rosinski will provide play-by-play with Bill Polian as analyst.
ESPN NFL Weekday Programs Post Early Season Gains
For the past month (Aug. 17 – Sept. 17), ESPN’s weekday one-hour news and information program, NFL Live (4 p.m. ET), is up 10 percent from a year ago (688,000 viewers vs. 624,000), while the new weekday NFL Insiders (3 p.m.) – which debuted on Aug. 5 – is posting viewership 27 percent larger than the time slot did in 2012 (516,000 vs. 405,000).
ESPN Films “SEC Storied” Documentary The Book of Manning to Premiere September 24 on ESPN
The third season of ESPN Films’ “SEC Storied” documentary series kicks off with The Book of Manning Presented by Chick-Fil-A on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film will explore the personal and professional life of former NFL and Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning and how the sudden loss of his father impacted his life and the way he and his wife raised their three sons. Actor John Goodman narrates the film. Release. ESPN conducted a media conference call with Manning, director Rory Karpf and ESPN Films executive producer John Dahl to discuss the film. Transcript.