ESPN and the 2016 NFL Season


ESPN and the 2016 NFL Season

Sean McDonough, Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss and Charles Woodson Join ESPN’s NFL Team
Monday Night Football
’s 47th Season – 11th on ESPN – Debuts with Doubleheader on Sept. 12

ESPN’s Weekly NFL Programming Schedule
Photos of ESPN’s MNF and NFL Studio Commentators
MNF Media Conference Call Transcript and Audio Replay

The 2016 NFL season on ESPN is highlighted by new commentator teams on Monday Night Football, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. The fifth play-by-play voice in the history of the MNF series, Sean McDonough makes his debut on September 12 in the first game of a doubleheader – Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins (6:55 p.m. ET, ESPN) – with analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden and reporter Lisa Salters. Chris Berman calls the late game – Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (10:15 p.m., ESPN) – with Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN NFL analyst Steve Young and sideline reporter Lindsay Czarniak. The 47th season in the MNF series (11th on ESPN) debuts with a new show open created by ESPN Creative Services and features the NFL’s return to Mexico City for the first time since 2005 when Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders host J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans on November 21.

Sunday NFL Countdown
The new Sunday NFL Countdown crew makes its debut on September 11 (11 a.m., ESPN). In his 32nd season quarterbacking ESPN’s signature NFL pregame show, Berman hosts with new ESPN analysts Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss and Charles Woodson and NFL analyst and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer. Additionally, Wendi Nix will host segments, senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen and NFL Insider Adam Schefter will have all the latest league news and senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry will share his insights on the day’s matchups. Feature reporters include Annie Apple, Frank Caliendo, Greg Garber, Jade McCarthy and Jim Trotter. Game-site reporters include Josina Anderson, Jeff Darlington, Britt McHenrySal Paolantonio and Ed Werder.

Monday Night Countdown
Suzy Kolber will host Monday Night Countdown (6 p.m., ESPN) from the site of each week’s MNF game with a new crew – Dilfer, M. Hasselbeck, Moss, C. Woodson and Young. Michelle Beisner will contribute features exclusively for Monday Countdown this season, McDonough and Gruden will be part of the show from the booth and Salters will provide reports from the sideline. Additionally, Berman, Mortensen and Schefter will join Countdown from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

NFL Studio Shows
In addition to hosting the daily NFL news and information show NFL Live (3 p.m., ESPN), Trey Wingo kicks off ESPN’s NFL studio lineup each week with NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition (10 a.m., ESPN) and Monday editions of NFL PrimeTime (1 p.m., ESPN). NFL Insiders (2 p.m., ESPN) – hosted by Kolber or Nix – also airs weekdays, and NFL Matchup returns on Saturday and Sunday mornings with Paolantonio and film room experts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge. Complete schedule.

The NFL on SportsCenter
Each Sunday morning during the NFL season, past and present NFL players will join SportsCenter as in-studio guests, beginning with former NFL wide receiver Greg Jennings in week 1. Additionally, NFL analysts Herm Edwards and Ryan Clark will join Berman on SportsCenter’s Sunday night highlight segments (7 p.m., ESPN).

NFL Fantasy
Michael Smith joins Fantasy Football Now (Sundays at 11 a.m., ESPN2 or ESPNEWS) and Fantasy Football Kickoff (Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m., ESPN) as the new host of both shows. He will be joined by Berry, injury analyst Stephania Bell, NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck, NFL reporter Field Yates (FFN only) and anchor Sara Walsh (FFN only).

ESPN International
This season ESPN will bring the NFL to more than 75 million homes in 61 countries/territories in Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Canada and Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands. ESPN will showcase more NFL programming in 2016 than ever before. There will also be extensive ESPN International coverage of the NFL’s return to Mexico City in week 11. Details via ESPN MediaZone.

ESPN Deportes
ESPN Deportes, the U.S. Spanish-language network, will present live coverage of 17 regular season Monday Night Football games, a Wild Card playoff game and the Pro Bowl. Super Bowl XXI and XXV champion Raul Allegre returns as in-game analyst along with play-by-play voice Alvaro Martin. ESPN Deportes’ coverage will feature a Monday night pregame show, NFL Esta Noche, with hosts Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega and John Sutcliffe as onsite commentator and reporter. In addition, ESPN Deportes’ weekly show NFL Live desde México returns every Saturday morning with commentators Ciro Procuna, Allegre, Sutcliffe and Eitan Benezra providing analysis and highlights.

ESPN Radio

  • For the fourth year, ESPN Radio broadcasts out-of-market NFL games, beginning September 11, with the New York Jets hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. Commentators include play-by-play announcers Marc Kestecher and Adam Amin and analysts Shaun O’Hara and Bill Polian.
  • Mike & Mike will have a daily lineup of veteran football voices including appearances by Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., plus Ryan Clark, Herm Edwards, Jon Gruden and more. Release.
  • A new fall football-themed weekend lineup kicked off September 3, highlighted by a new show co-hosted by former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb: McNabb & Custer. Release.
  • ESPN Audio podcast ESPN Fantasy Focus Football, hosted by Matthew Berry and Field Yates with injury analyst Stephania Bell, offers fans dedicated fantasy football coverage. Release.
  • ESPN Radio shows will welcome weekly guests to discuss the NFL.

ESPN Digital’s NFL coverage starts with an industry-leading group of 32 NFL Nation team reporters, which provides a 365-day stream of news, analysis, game coverage, predictions, interviews, fantasy insight, as well as photos, videos and social elements surrounding each NFL club. Their work is featured daily on shows like SportsCenterNFL Live and NFL Insiders. Other NFL coverage staples:

  • 32 for 32: A daily feature with quick, must-read info on every NFL team. It’s a daily cheat sheet for anyone who wants to be in the know about the entire league.
  • Schefter & Mort add company: The premier newsbreakers in the football industry return with a tag-team column and many, many news bylines. National NFL Insider Dan Graziano – a fixture of the NFL Insiders show and noted newsbreaker – will also offer regular news and opinions.
  • The Bill Barnwell Show: With an outsized reputation as an analytics-minded analyst with a keen eye for film, Barnwell will be featured multiple times a week and has a signature podcast by that name.
  • Front Office experts return: Hall of Famer Bill Polian, Louis Riddick and Mark Dominik discuss and debate key personnel issues during the season.
  • Insider grows: ‘Professor’ John Clayton and NFL player and X’s and O’s guru Matt Bowen join longtime Insiders Mike Sando, Field Yates, Adam Caplan and others for predictive content that takes fans inside the minds and playbooks of decision-makers throughout the league. Sando’s QB Tiers Rankings are popular and read league-wide as well.
  • Power Rankings: Nothing is clicked on or argued over more. This drops every Tuesday in conjunction withSportsCenter. #ESPNRANK – a preseason countdown of the top 100 players in the NFL – is also a popular feature this season.
  • Football Power Index goes deeper: Last year ESPN debuted this predictive measure of power, and now the FPI goes a step further, not only ranking NFL teams with the brains behind ESPN’s new Analytics vertical, it will also provide a weekly NFL Game Ranker to highlight the most important matchups each week.
  • Gruden’s Grinders and MNF Previews: ‘This guy’ returns for another season and will have a signature ESPN column with his “grinders” and an X’s and O’s breakdown of Monday Night Football each week for ESPN Insiders.
  • Live Win Probability: users now can see exactly what chance their team has to win in every second of every game via NFL Gamecast.
  • Weekly longform features: Elizabeth Merrill, Jim Trotter, Kevin Van Valkenberg, Seth Wickersham, Dave Fleming, Don Van Natta and others offer weekly enterprise reporting throughout the season both for digital and in conjunction with ESPN The Magazine.
  • Kiper & McShay, the premier NFL draft tandem: Mel Kiper’s Big Board and Todd McShay’s Top 32 run throughout the season, and their mock drafts start in December and continue through April. Kiper’s Grades and Todd’s Best Picks won’t only live online, but feed days of post-draft TV programming, including a signature show.
  • Football Outsiders & Pro Football Focus: the top two destinations for advanced NFL statistics outside of ESPN are on Both return this season to provide signature content exclusive to ESPN Insiders.
  • espnW: NFL coverage on espnW includes features from Kate Fagan, Jane McManus, Sarah Spain and others.

ESPN Fantasy Football
The most popular fantasy football game in the industry begins its 21st pro football season with a mix of new and highly popular content and features across ESPN platforms. The game is accompanied by the fantasy sports industry’s most comprehensive collection of expert analysis, news, tools and statistical information. Exclusive content available to ESPN Insiders includes Insider Recommends, Roster Advisor, Custom Value Generator, and expert analysis from Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Field Yates, Stephania Bell, Mike Clay, Tristan Cockcroft, KC Joyner, and Tim Hasselbeck.

The new ESPN Fantasy app updates the No. 1 ESPN Fantasy Football app on iPhone, iPad, Android phone, and Android 7-inch tablets and allows users to play Fantasy Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey in the same application for the first time ever. Major enhancements this year include a brand new design and visuals that feature new game logos, player headshots, sticker packs, and animations; award-winning fantasy analysis and video accessible right from the app’s home screen; improved draft and live scoring features; and personalized notifications tailored to users’ rosters. Full release.

NFL Nation on Fantasy: each Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, NFL Nation will provide signature fantasy insight on every team – direct from the locker room. Reporters will also share insights on ESPN’s Sunday morning NFL shows.

ESPN NFL events and programming such as Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, Monday Night Football, NFL Insiders, NFL Live and more will be streamed live on WatchESPN. Fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from affiliated providers can access content on computers, tablets, and – with the exception of MNF – on smartphones.

ESPN The Magazine
For 2016, ESPN The Magazine commemorates the start of the NFL season with back-to-back preview issues:

Part I – Revenge of the Defense, on newsstands now, features Bill Barnwell’s take on the shift – defensive coordinators mostly ditching standard sets for highly situational schemes built around highly versatile players, Matt Bowen’s breakdown of the so-called “monsterback,” profiles of Von Miller and Josh Norman and a Q&A with quarterback Matt Ryan on what he sees across the line of scrimmage.

Part II – The Offense Strikes Back (on newsstands Friday, September 9) includes Barnwell’s breakdown of the offensive shift, Bowen’s examination of the rising generation of receivers who stretch defenses with speed, and profiles of the NFL’s new highest-paid player, Andrew Luck, and QB-legend-turned-franchise-architect John Elway. Also: Previews and season projections for all 32 teams by NFL Insider John Clayton and ESPN’s NFL Nation team.

ESPN Social
Media members and fans are invited to follow and engage with ESPN’s NFL team on Facebook (NFL on ESPN), Instagram (@espnnfl), Snapchat (ESPNNFL) and Twitter (@ESPNNFL). These accounts provide in-game updates, statistics, photos, videos, custom art, animated GIFs, commentator insights, links to Sunday NFL Countdown features, and more.ESPN Images
Downloadable photos of ESPN NFL commentators, Monday Night Football games and network studio shows are available via the ESPN Images library. ESPN Images is on Instagram (@espn_images) and Twitter (@ESPNImages).ESPN MediaZone and ESPN Front Row
ESPN’s NFL media kit on ESPN MediaZone is the online hub for ESPN’s NFL and MNF announcements, programming schedules, ratings releases and bios. ESPN’s corporate blog ESPN Front Row features additional content such as commentator videos and Q&As.






Allie Stoneberg

I advance ESPN’s communications and publicity efforts for NFL studio programming, Monday Night Football, the NFL Draft and our coverage of the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League. I enjoy meeting journalists in person at games and events and delight in showing them around our Bristol, Conn., campus.
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