The Walt Disney Company Kicks Off the NFL’s Biggest Season Ever

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The Walt Disney Company Kicks Off the NFL’s Biggest Season Ever

2021 NFL Season Preview: ESPN media conference call
2021 TWDC NFL Programming Schedule
Photos via ESPN Images

  • Multi-Platform NFL Content Available Anytime, Anywhere
  • ESPN and its Affiliated Platforms will Distribute the NFL in 132 Countries/Territories

The Walt Disney Company kicks off the NFL’s ‘Biggest Season Ever’ with content featured across all platforms and a Monday Night Football MegaCast of the NFL’s Week 1 finale: Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders. Details.

Play-by-play voice Steve Levy will call the 16th season of MNF on ESPN with analysts Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, officiating analyst John Parry and sideline reporter Lisa Salters. New in 2021, the MNF Operations crew will document game action with an ARRI Trinity camera stabilizer system supporting a Sony FX-9 camera, high-speed SkyCam, new virtual line-to-gain technology, an XD air/ENG camera and an EVS Xeebra in the booth. Xeebra is a multicam review system that provides ESPN commentators with the ability to review several angles of action efficiently and synchronized with each other. Also new this season, award-winning artist Drake will work with ESPN to curate music for MNF, which will run in promotional spots, live telecasts and pre-game shows for 10 games, starting this week. More. Additionally, ABC will simulcast select MNF games throughout the season, beginning with Week 1. Additional ABC simulcasts include Week 14, Week 15, Week 18 (doubleheader), Wild Card and Pro Bowl.

Also new in 2021, Peyton and Eli Manning will headline an additional MNF viewing option on ESPN2 for 10 select weeks, beginning with Ravens-Raiders. The Week 1 telecast will also be simulcast on ESPN+. Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli will be produced with four cameras, wireless mics and IFBs, a DVSport Clicker and an NFL Tablet Server.

As part of the Week 1 MNF MegaCast, a data- and statics-focused game presentation called Between the Lines, which includes live odds, will be available on ESPN+. For the second time this year, NFL Live’s Laura Rutledge, Mina Kimes, Dan Orlovsky and Marcus Spears, based at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., will team up with Daily Wager’s Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum, based in Las Vegas.

The 52nd season of MNF, which includes 19 regular-season games highlighting all 14 playoff teams from last season, will also be available on ESPN Deportes. Play-by-play voice Eduardo Varela will lead commentary with analyst Pablo Viruega and reporter John Sutcliffe.

ESPN and its affiliated platforms distribute the NFL in more than 83 million homes in 132 countries/territories across Spanish-Speaking Latin America, Brazil, Pac Rim, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Netherlands, India (via STAR India), China (via hotels and foreign compounds) and Canada (via TSN and RDS). In addition to ESPN’s TV coverage of the NFL in Spanish-speaking Latin America, the NFL Kickoff game, Sunday and Monday Night Football and NFL RedZone will all be available on Star+ as a simulcast of the ESPN Extra network. In Brazil, the NFL Kickoff, all prime-time games (Sunday, Monday and Thursday Night Football) along with select Sunday afternoon games will also be available on Star+ as a simulcast of ESPN’s linear networks.

NFL MONDAYS

NFL-focused SportsCenters will bookend ESPN’s studio coverage on Mondays throughout the season. Hannah Storm and Jay Harris will host from noon-3 p.m. ET, and Scott Van Pelt will lead post-game coverage with contributions from MNF analysts Brian Griese and Louis Riddick and NFL analyst Ryan Clark. Between editions of SportsCenter, ESPN and its affiliated platforms will present more than five hours of NFL-centric pre-game programming leading into MNF, including:

NFL Rewind (3-4 p.m. ET): Wendi Nix, NFL analysts Sam Acho and Jeff Saturday and Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen share Sunday highlights with former players’ perspectives and insights from a Dick McCann Award winner.

NFL Live (4-5 p.m. ET): Laura Rutledge and NFL analysts Mina Kimes, Dan Orlovsky, Marcus Spears Keyshawn Johnson and Ryan Clark and Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter cover NFL news each weekday with a focus on X’s and O’s, analytics, film and fun.

Monday Night Countdown (6-8 p.m. ET): Suzy Kolber, Pro Football Hall of Famers Randy Moss and Steve Young, two-time Super Bowl champion Booger McFarland and Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter return to MNF sidelines in 2021. The two-hour pregame show will originate from two sets on the field and include new NFL analyst Alex Smith on select weeks as well as features from NFL reporter Michelle Beisner-Buck. Plus, 43-year ESPN veteran Chris Berman will count down the best plays of the week. In addition to the up to 18 shared cameras between game and studio, ESPN’s Studio Operations team will leverage eight cameras, including two virtual jibs, a SteadiCam and an RF Sony A1 mounted on a Ronin rig to provide a shallow depth of field picture with up-close access of all pre-game sights and sounds from inside and outside of the stadium.

NFL Live desde México (7:30-8 p.m. ET): Airing every Monday evening throughout the season on ESPN Deportes, this 30-minute pre-game show features Ciro Procuna, Javier Trejo, Miguel Pasquel and Ramiro Pruneda.

Monday Tailgate (7:30-8:30 p.m. ET): Hosted by Jason Fitz and Shae Peppler Cornette from Bristol, Conn., ESPN’s digital and social pregame show drives tune-in to MNF, mirroring successful livestream shows leading into College GameDay and the NBA on ABC. The show streams to the ESPN App and ESPN’s Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts every Monday during the NFL season.

Additionally, during MNF halftimes, Suzy Kolber, Booger McFarland and Adam Schefter will share NFL news and first-half reactions, while Chris Berman returns with “The Fastest Three Minutes” of NFL highlights.

NFL SUNDAYS

Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m. ET): Sam Ponder – who kicks off her fifth year as Countdown host on Sept. 12, Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss, three-time Super Bowl champion Tedy Bruschi, 18-year NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck – who will be inducted into the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor this season, former NFL head coach Rex Ryan, and Senior NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter all return for their third season together and second year at Seaport District Studio in New York.

New in 2021, NFL analyst Alex Smith will contribute to the pre-game show on select weeks; his interview with former teammate and current Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes airs Week 1.

Countdown will also include live updates from ESPN NFL reporters stationed at stadiums round the League. Week 1 assignments are as follows: Jeff Darlington (covering Green Bay vs. New Orleans in Jacksonville), Dan Graziano (Seattle at Indianapolis), Kimberley A. Martin (Cleveland at Kansas City), Sal Paolantonio (Pittsburgh at Buffalo), Mike Reiss (Miami at New England), Lindsey Thiry (Chicago at Los Angeles Rams) and Ed Werder (Arizona at Tennessee). Additionally, Dianna Russini, who is currently on maternity leave, and recently signed an ESPN extension, will return to Countdown later this season.

Fantasy Football Now (10 a.m. ET): Field Yates, senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry and senior writer and injury analyst Stephania Bell return for their second season together with contributions from writer and analyst Mike Clay. NFL analyst Damien Woody, Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN’s team of NFL reporters will also make weekly appearances. The award-winning pre-game show debuts Sept. 12 on ESPNEWS and will move to ESPN2 at about 10:50 a.m. ET.

ESPN+ NFL PrimeTime (7:30 p.m. ET): Chris Berman – hosting for the 22nd season (third on ESPN+ after 19 seasons on ESPN) – and NFL analyst Booger McFarland team up for the hour-long highlights show that captures an entire day of NFL action.

New in 2021, SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt (11:30 p.m. ET or midnight) expands to 90 minutes. NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck returns to provide a quarterback’s take on the day’s games.

NFL ALL WEEK

NFL Matchup on ESPN (Saturdays and Sundays): Sal Paolantonio – hosting for the 20th year – and analysts Greg Cosell and Matt Bowen delve into game tape to preview key matchups of the week. The first episode of the 2021 NFL season debuts Sept. 11 at 8:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2 with encores following on Sunday morning.

First Take (Weekdays from 10 a.m.-Noon ET): New in 2021, Stephen A. Smith and host Molly Qerim Rose will be joined by Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin for ESPN’s signature morning debate show every Monday throughout the NFL season. More.

ESPN Radio (Weekdays from 6 a.m.-1 a.m. + Sundays): The new national talk lineup offers NFL coverage daily – and NFL-centric programming all day Sunday – with news, analysis, opinion and engaging and interactive fantasy football segments. Featuring three NFL players turned hosts – Keyshawn Johnson, Bart Scott and Chris Canty, the weekday lineup welcomes ESPN’s industry-leading roster of reporters and analysts as well as the game’s top players, coaches and more.

Additionally, ESPN Radio will continue to broadcast Sunday afternoon NFL games throughout the season, starting with:

Date Time (ET) Teams
Sept. 12 12 p.m. Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
4 p.m. Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Sept. 19 12 p.m Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
4 p.m. Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sept. 26 12 p.m. New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
4 p.m. Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Oct. 3 12 p.m. Tennessee Titans at New York Jets

NFL ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

ESPN.com’s NFL coverage starts with an industry-leading group of 32 NFL Nation team reporters providing a 365/24/7 stream of news, analysis, game coverage, predictions, interviews, fantasy insight, as well as live TV reports, photos, videos and social elements surrounding each NFL club, and is backed by the best national news breakers and analysts in the industry. ESPN.com also features Power Rankings (every Tuesday), weekly news bylines from Senior NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, deep-dive features from our storytelling team including Seth Wickersham, plus weekly roundtables and premium ESPN+ pieces with analysts Matt Bowen, Dan Graziano, Jeremy Fowler, Mina Kimes, Kevin Seifert, Dominique Foxworth, Jason Reid, Kimberley A. Martin and Field Yates, officiating insight from Seifert and NFL officiating analyst John Parry; NFL analytics analysis from Brian Burke, Seth Walder, Bill Barnwell and more, as well as NFL Draft Big Boards and Top 32 rankings.

ESPN Fantasy Football, the No. 1 most popular fantasy football game, has made the 2021 season even more fun and enjoyable to play for new players and hardcore veterans alike. The game is available on ESPN.com and the ESPN Fantasy App for iOS and Android devices, with exclusive, premium content for ESPN+ subscribers and the fantasy sports industry’s most comprehensive collection of expert analysis, news, statistical data, and tools across app, web, television, and audio. New for this season, ESPN+ Fantasy Football Leagues will give ESPN+ subscribers the chance to put their fantasy football skills to the test against other subscribers. Fans who join ESPN+ leagues will be automatically entered in a random drawing to win a $250,000 grand prize and one of 18 weekly prizes, which will give winners an opportunity to submit a fantasy football question and have it answered on The Fantasy Show with Matthew Berry.

The Undefeated, the ESPN content platform that covers the intersections of sports, race and culture, will focus its reporting on the 2021 NFL season about the league’s social justice efforts; the ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion issues among top decision-makers at across the National Football League; and the new era of the Black QB.

The latest ESPN Cover Story featuring Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is available across the network’s digital, linear and social platforms. ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham spoke with Stafford about his NFL journey and being ready for prime-time moments in Los Angeles.

ESPN’s social team covers the NFL across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok, supporting commentators and live shows, engaging fans with highlights and news, and covering the intersection of culture and the NFL. Additionally, and new in 2021, Omar Raja will document MNF on site, sharing in-the-moment content on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

NFL Podcasts from ESPN Audio include the newly announced Organized Chaos podcast with Rex Ryan and Bart Scott, Fantasy Focus Football with Matthew Berry, Field Yates, Stephania Bell, Mike Clay and Daniel Dopp, The Adam Schefter Podcast, The Bill Barnwell Show, The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny and Daily Wager with a rotating team of hosts. Additionally, an expanded Daily Wager Extra podcast with NFL content will be available three days per week with Doug Kezirian (Mon, Thu) and Anita Marks (Sat).

NFL content on ESPN+ includes fan-favorite shows NFL PrimeTime, The Fantasy Show with Matthew Berry, Peyton’s Places, and episodes of Detail hosted by NFL greats Joe Montana, Ed Reed and Peyton Manning. ESPN+ also has an NFL Films archive of more than 600 hours of content and 16 pro football-related films from the ESPN 30 for 30 library.

In-app streaming of content on ESPN television networks requires an authenticated MVPD subscription. In-app streaming of ESPN+ content requires an ESPN+ subscription. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ within the ESPN Fantasy App or on ESPN.com, as well as the ESPN App across mobile and TV-connected devices.

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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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