ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown Super Bowl XLIX Features

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ESPN’s Postseason NFL Countdown Super Bowl XLIX Features

• Chris Berman and Analysts Live at Scottsdale Fashion Square for Special Four-Hour Show;
• Suzy Kolber with Super Bowl Champions Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale
• Reporters Sal Paolantonio (Patriots) and Ed Werder (Seahawks) with Team Reports

ESPN will present a special four-hour edition of Postseason NFL Countdown on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. MT, previewing Super Bowl XLIX from two primary locations in Arizona – Scottsdale Fashion Square (main set), and University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Host Chris Berman, covering his 33rd Super Bowl, will be joined by analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson on the main set in Scottsdale, along with NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, and segment host Wendi Nix. Suzy Kolber will host coverage from the stadium with a trio of Super Bowl champions: Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young. Reporters Sal Paolantonio (covering the Patriots) and Ed Werder (Seahawks) will also provide live team updates throughout the program.

ESPN’s roster of Countdown analysts – with a combined 10 Super Bowl rings in 15 appearances in the NFL’s biggest game – will preview the New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX game, analyzing the players, teams, key matchups and more.

Planned Countdown features, in order of timing by quarter-hour (all times subject to change):

Opening Tease: The Drive (10 a.m. ET)

Actor Michael Madsen voices Countdown’s opening tease about “The Drive” – a metaphor for the hard-fought journey to Super Bowl XLIX for the teams and the players.

Russell Wilson Visualization (10:30)

On Sunday, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be the youngest quarterback in league history to take a team to back-to-back Super Bowl games, about four months younger than Tom Brady was when he led the Patriots to consecutive Super Bowls a decade ago. Wilson also has the most wins in the first three seasons of any quarterback – regular or postseason. Countdown’s Chris Berman highlights how Wilson’s success on the field is a byproduct of his ability to visualize every situation of a game in his mind before the first snap.

Depression in the NFL (10:30)

Beyond the glitz and glamor of the National Football League are former players who struggle daily to cope with life as the cheering stops and the demands of a regimented professional career slowly turn into a distant memory. Some become depressed. On the 20th anniversary of Junior Seau’s first Super Bowl appearance, ESPN’s Jim Trotter offers in-depth piece on how former pro football players cope with depression and the impact on their family members. Seau’s wife, Gina Seau, former players Boo Williams, Eddie George and George’s wife, Taj, were interviewed for the story.

Bobby Wagner’s Motivation (11:00)

Coming out of Colony High School in Ontario, Calif., in 2008, Bobby Wagner was underrated by recruiters. He was deemed too slight of frame for a linebacker and unrefined in his play to be recruited by any major college football program. Utah State University was the only program willing to grant him a scholarship. Four years later, when Seattle selected Wagner with the 47th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, many draft experts questioned the team’s choice. Countdown’s Michelle Beisner reports how the young Pro Bowl linebacker uses the doubts about his ability to play in the NFL as a motivation to excel.

Frank Caliendo on Bill Belichick’s Legacy (11:30)

In a faux SC Featured, ESPN’s long-form feature segment that airs on SportsCenter, Countdown comedian and impersonator Frank Caliendo delves into the legacy of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. In the piece, Caliendo plays several characters including quarterback Andrew Luck, ESPN’s Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells and ESPN’s Chris Berman, while comedian Aries Spears plays the role of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.

The Kansas City Turning Point (11:30)

The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks lost 20-24 to the Chiefs in Kansas City in week 11 on November 16, 2014, falling to a 6-4 record. The team called a players-only meeting where an impassioned Kam Chancellor addressed the team. Since that meeting, Seattle has yet to lose another game and is now playing in its second straight Super Bowl. Countdown’s Chris Berman travelled to Seattle ahead of the team’s NFC Championship Game to hear more about Chancellor’s speech, which became the turning point for the ’Hawks season.

Julian Edelman (12:00)

SportsCenter anchor Jade McCarthy travelled to Woodside, Calif., Julian Edelman’s hometown, to tell the story of how Edelman developed from an undersized high school quarterback to a diminutive, go-to NFL wide receiver on the cusp of becoming a Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. McCarthy interviewed Edelman’s former coaches and parents who offered insight on the upbringing that helped shape the receivers career in the NFL after the Patriots selected him with the 232nd overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Gronk’s Spikes (12:00)

ESPN.com senior writer Greg Garber takes a closer look at the ground-shaking, on-field celebrations that occur every time Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski scores a touchdown.

Marysville-Pilchuck (12:30)

A shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in October 2014 that killed two students and severely wounded four others rocked a small, close-knit community an hour outside Seattle. After the tragic event, the Seahawks organization offered the school’s football team a momentary respite from its grief. Head coach Pete Carroll invited them to practice at the Seahawks facility and several Seattle players – running back Marshawn Lynch, linebacker Bobby Wagner and tight end Luke Wilson – attended the school’s pep rallies. At the Seahawks’ home game on Nov. 2, the Seahawks wore “MP” decals on their helmets in support of the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Countdown’s Beisner story focuses on the special bond forged between the Seahawks and Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the aftermath of this tragedy.

The Bill Belichick-Tom Brady Marriage (12:30)

In their 15th season together as the New England Patriots coach and quarterback, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have won 160 regular-season and 20 postseason games – the most wins in each category by a coach-quarterback team in the NFL. As the head coach and quarterback prepare to play in a record sixth Super Bowl together, Patriots owner Robert Kraft narrates the story of the relationship between the tutor and his pupil, and highlights reasons for their success.

I am Confetti (1:00)

A first-person narrative of what it feels like to be a piece of confetti in the postgame Super Bowl celebration, written by Countdown producer Johann Castillo.

Additional Content on ESPN’s Super Bowl XLIX Sunday Shows:

NFL Matchup – Super Bowl XLIX Edition

In a special Super Bowl XLIX edition, ESPN’s NFL Matchup (ESPN2, 7 a.m. ET) with host Trey Wingo and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the Patriots-Seahawks game. Highlights:

  • Factor Back – Marshawn Lynch Read Option Run: Hoge breaks down the Seahawks running game, which goes through running back Marshawn Lynch in a zone-read.
  • X and O Files – Russell Wilson Read Option: Hoge continues the breakdown of the Seahawks run game, describing the option Russell Wilson has as a runner when the defense overcommits to stopping Lynch.
  • Hoge Breakdown – Seahawks Foundational ‘Cover 3’: Hoge takes a deep dive at the Seahawks defense, and shows how and why their simple “Cover 3” scheme is so effective against opposing offenses.
  • Passing Thought – Antonio Gates’ Success vs. Seattle: Jaworski shows how the Chargers used tight end Antonio Gates for some successful plays in week 2 against the Seahawks, and says the offensive scheme from that matchup bodes well for a big day from Patriots Rob Gronkowski.
  • Let’s See it Hoge – Eddie Royal Beats Richard Sherman: Staying with the week 2 game vs. the Chargers, Hoge walks the viewer through a play where Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was exploited by a great play design and argues the Patriots will look to replicate the play same offensive scheme in Super Bowl XLIX.
  • Money Down – Doug Baldwin’s Third Down Efficiency: Hoge explains why wide receiver Doug Baldwin is quarterback Russell Wilson’s favorite target in the most critical down and distance situations for the Seahawks offense.
  • Jaworski Covers the Field – The Gronkowski Threat: Jaworski describes a staple play from the Patriots offense that puts opposing defenses in a bind as they attempt to account for tight end Rob Gronkowski.
  • Game Within the Game – Attacking the Seahawks ‘Cover 3’: Jaworski explains a play the Eagles offense used against the Seahawks base coverage that resulted in a touchdown and argues it is one example of a successful scheme against the tough Seattle defense.
  • Eye in the Sky – Patriots Spy Defense: Hoge details how the Patriots defense will try to account for quarterback Russell Wilson’s threat as a scrambling quarterback by assigning a player to spy him on all passing downs.

ESPN’s Super Bowl Sunday coverage:

Sun, Feb 1 1-1:30 a.m. NFL Matchup ESPN2
7-7:30 a.m. NFL Matchup ESPN2
8-10 a.m. SportsCenter (from Arizona) ESPN
8-8:30 a.m. Outside the Lines ESPN2
8:30-9 a.m. The Sports Reporters (Arizona) ESPN2
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Postseason NFL Countdown (Arizona) ESPN
10:30-11:30 p.m. NFL PrimeTime (Arizona) ESPN
11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. SportsCenter (Arizona) ESPN
11:30 p.m.-12 a.m. NFL Countdown: Best of Countdown ESPN2

– 30 –

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Mac Nwulu

I joined ESPN in 1998 and since then, it's been a great experience managing PR and communications for a range of ESPN initiatives and properties over the years. I am currently focused on soccer and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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