Sunday NFL Countdown: Mike Ditka and Bears’ Brandon Marshall; Rashad Johnson’s Fingertip; and more
Sunday NFL Countdown will preview week four’s NFL games on September 29 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, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis. Senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry will provide up-to-minute advice for fantasy team rosters, and NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news.
Additionally, Sunday NFL Countdown will feature updates and insight from reporters at the games, including:
- Ed Werder (Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans)
- Lindsay Czarniak (Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions)
- Colleen Dominguez (New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs)
- Sal Paolantonio (Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos)
- Mike Ditka Interviews Brandon Marshall: Legendary Chicago Bears’ Super Bowl winning coach and Countdown analyst Mike Ditka sits for a fireside-type chat in his famed Ditka’s restaurant in Chicago with Bears All Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
- Rashad Johnson’s Finger: Greg Garber reports on the surprise felt by Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson when he took off his glove in a game at the New Orleans Saints to find that one of his fingertips was gone.
Monday Night Football: Drew Brees and Saints Host Ryan Tannehill and Dolphins in Matchup of 3-0 Teams
On Monday Night Football, Drew Brees and the 3-0 Saints host Ryan Tannehill and the 3-0 Miami Dolphins at home in New Orleans on September 30 at 8:25 p.m. ET. The MNF booth team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the game with sideline reporter Lisa Salters. The game will be televised on ESPN, ESPN’s Spanish-language network, ESPN Deportes, and via WatchESPN.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this game is the first time teams with records of 3-0 or better have met on MNF since the October 5, 1998, clash between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, both of whom had 4-0 records at the time.
Prior to MNF, ESPN’s two-hour Monday Night Countdown will preview the Dolphins-Saints game beginning at 6:30 p.m. Suzy Kolber, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer and Lewis will be in New Orleans. Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson and Johnson will be in ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studio with NFL Insiders Mortensen and Schefter reporting league news and updates. MNF’s Tirico and Gruden will join the show from the booth and sideline reporter Salters will report from the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Highlights:
- “Gruden’s Extra”: Head coach Sean Payton, who has led the Saints to an unbeaten record through three games, visits with MNF’s Jon Gruden.
- Ryan Tannehill Conversation with Lisa Salters: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is coming off a comeback win against the Falcons to move Miami to 3-0. This week, the second-year starter sits with MNF’s Lisa Salters for a conversation.
- Rick Reilly Features Ricky Williams: Ricky Williams, the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner who retired from professional football in 2011 after playing for both the Saints and Dolphins, is back in the sport he reluctantly embraced as a player. But this time, he is serving as the running backs coach the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, reports Rick Reilly.
ESPN.com NFL Hot Read: Greg Garber Examines Potential NFL Franchise in London
The NFL is likely to have a franchise based in London — perhaps as soon as 2020. With the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers set to play at famed Wembley Stadium this weekend in the first of two NFL regular season games overseas this fall, ESPN.com senior writer Greg Garber explores the possibility of a London-based NFL team in this week’s ESPN.com NFL Hot Read. He tackles many of the looming questions such a move would raise: What are the logistics? Would free agents be willing to sign there? What about travel, fatigue, taxes, lifestyle, cost of living, etc. And, will it work? Garber’s Story.
Also, ESPN.com NFL Nation reporter Ben Goessling, who covers the Vikings, is in London to cover the game and bring fans all the sights and sounds from the UK.
ESPN Radio continues its first season of Sunday afternoon NFL games with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 1 p.m. from Wembley Stadium in London. Bill Rosinski will provide play-by-play with Bill Polian as analyst.
NFL Matchup – Tom Brady’s Problem; Matt Stafford’s Arm Strength; Dolphins’ Issues with Blitz pickup; and more
NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge will preview the weekend’s key matchups by taking viewers inside the film room with X’s and O’s analysis on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 6:30 a.m.). Highlights:
- ‘Between the Lines’ – Tom Brady’s Misses: Jaworski says it is not only the Patriots wide receivers who are at fault in the passing game. Using the telestrator, he shows quarterback Tom Brady missing a deep and wide-open pass on a post route against the Buccaneers defense.
- ‘The RED ZONE’ – Matt Stafford’s Arm Strength: Hoge shows how Matthew Stafford’s arm strength allows him to make efficient plays in the Red Zone; exemplified by the 11-yard touchdown throw Stafford made to receiver Calvin Johnson Sunday vs. the Redskins.
- ‘Blitz Breakdown’ – Ryan Tannehill sacked vs Atlanta: Though 3-0, the Dolphins running backs struggle with blitz pickup, as Hoge explains from a play vs. the Falcons defense.
- ‘Coaches Clicker’ – DeMarco Murray 41-yard Run vs. the Rams: Using the ‘Coaches Clicker,’ Hoge shows how Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray broke free on a 41-yard run against the Rams on Sunday
- ‘Game Changer’ – Darryl Smith’s Interception Return for Touchdown: Last Sunday, the Texans played one of their sloppiest games, contends Jaworski, as he breaks-down Darryl Smith’s (Ravens) crucial interception that changed the game.
- ‘Quick Hits’ – Chandler Jones “Bullseye” Hit on Doug Martin: The “Bullseye’ approach is a staple of a Bill Belichick defense, posits Hoge, as he shows how the Patriots’ linebackers used this successfully against Bucs last Sunday, as well as against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
- Jaworski’s ‘Eye in the Sky’ and Hoge’s ‘X and O Files’: Jaworski breaks down the Philadelphia Eagles offense, which is built on numbers before the snap and leads to options after the snap. Hoge uses a similar Eagles play to show the Chiefs personnel on defense and great coverage led to a sack.
- ‘Jaws Playbook’ – Peyton Manning to Julius Thomas 13-yard Touchdown: Jaworski goes to the playbook and demonstrates the effectiveness of Manning’s football IQ via the ability to manipulate the opposing team’s defense and defensive coordinators before snapping the ball.
espnW: Robin Roberts Goes In the Game with Former NFL Star Michael Strahan
The second season of espnW’s In the Game with Robin Roberts continues Thursday, Sept 26, online at espnW.com and abcnews.com, as well as on ESPN’s SportsCenter. In the Game, produced by espnW in partnership with ABC News, is a series of interviews with top athletes in sports today. Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts – formerly a longtime ESPN anchor – sits down for a one-on-one with former NFL star Michael Strahan. Full length interviews and complementary content including additional clips, a video archive and photos are available at espnW.com/inthegame and abcnews.com/inthegame. Click here for a sneak peak of the Strahan interview.
ESPN.com Finalizes NFL Nation Network Editorial Team
ESPN.com launched its expanded NFL Nation network last month with a dedicated digital home for each of the 32 NFL teams, each staffed by an industry leading reporter based in that city, who contributes multiple daily reports – including news, commentary, analysis, audio and video. ESPN has finalized the NFL Nation editorial team with the addition of its final four team reporters: Vaughn McClure (formerly of the Chicago Tribune) will cover the Atlanta Falcons); Pat McManamon (FoxSportsOhio.com, Browns); Mike Triplett (New Orleans Times-Picayune and NOLA.com, Saints); and Eric Williams (Tacoma News Tribune, Chargers). All NFL Nation team sites are accessible via ESPN.com’s NFL home page.