By Ryan Berenz
We already gave you the complete NFL TV schedule for 2010, but we’ve got tons of other football information from the NFL’s TV partners coming your way this week. We’ll start with NBC, who has the first NFL game of the season on Thursday night between the Vikings and Saints and also carries the Sunday Night Football Week 1 matchup between the Cowboys and Redskins. NBC also has the Football Night in America studio show returning. Here’s the complete press release from NBC, including lots of analyst quotage as well as the entire Sunday Night Football schedule:
SUPER BOWL CHAMPION SAINTS HOST BRETT FAVRE AND THE VIKINGS IN THURSDAY NIGHT “NFL OPENING KICKOFF” ON NBC – COVERAGE STARTS AT 7:30 PM ET
COWBOYS-REDKINS RESUME HEATED NFC EAST RIVALRY IN “NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” DEBUT: This is a very very different looking Washington Redskins team.” – SNF’s Collinsworth
NEW YORK – Sept. 8, 2010 – The NFL season kicks off as the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints host Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game. Coverage begins Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC with NFL Kickoff 2010 featuring music from Taylor Swift and the Dave Matthews Band and the “Football Night in America” team. In a tradition that began in 2004, the Super Bowl champions annually host the NFL Thursday night “NFL Kickoff” the following year.
Six-time Emmy Award-winner Al Michaels, who has been on primetime network television more than anyone in the history of the medium, begins his 25th season as the voice of the NFL’s premier primetime package. He is joined by 12-time Emmy Award winner Cris Collinsworth, who last year, in his first in the SNF booth, won the Emmy for outstanding event analyst, and sideline reporter Andrea Kremer about whom TV Guide said is “one of TV’s best sports correspondents.”
In addition to the musical acts, NFL Kickoff 2010 will be anchored by “Football Night in America’s” Bob Costas along with co-host Dan Patrick, Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, who, in his rookie season as an analyst for FNIA, earned an Emmy nomination, and two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison live from New Orleans. The show will include the following segments:
- Michaels talks to Vikings QB Favre about the last time he was in New Orleans, walking off the field after losing the NFC Championship Game.
- Dungy interviews Saints QB Drew Brees.
- NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams story on the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
- Costas has essay on Redskins QB Donovan McNabb at halftime.
COLLINSWORTH ON KICKOFF MATCHUP: “If I could hand pick one game to start the season this would be mine. In many ways this was probably the most memorable and most emotional of all the playoff games last year including the Super Bowl. You had Brett Favre and the New Orleans Saints, with their fans who have endured so much, getting the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.”
COLLINSWORTH ON NFL KICKOFF GAME: “Probably the top four players in the league are (Drew) Brees, (Peyton) Manning, Chris Johnson and Brett Favre. We get two of the four in the opening night game.”
HARRISON ON GETTING THE SEASON STARTED: “There has been a lot of speculation, a lot of trash talking this off-season. I’m tired of the talking; it’s time to hit. I can’t wait for somebody to get smacked in the mouth.”
COLLINSWORTH ON KICKOFF GAME BEING IN NEW ORLEANS: “The setting for this year’s game should be over the top with what this team has meant to the city of New Orleans and the people there.”
ON BRETT FAVRE, THE YEAR HE HAD LAST YEAR AND COMING BACK FROM AN ANKLE INJURY: MICHAELS: “One of the things he said that struck me was the fact that he’s given people a lot of ammunition to shoot arrows at him, because of all the procrastination. I think he’s concerned about some things, but, to me, if he felt the ankle was going to be such an issue that he couldn’t do or didn’t have the potential to do what he’s capable of, I think he would have walked away. I got the feeling that the ankle is good enough. It’s not great. He’s 40-years-old, he’ll be 41 in October, but again that’s one of the key questions this year. What happens when he does take a hit? What happens if he twists the ankle? Brett Favre, here we go again, is going to be at least as compelling a story as any in the NFL this season.”
COLLINSWORTH: “What surprised me most watching him on tape getting ready for this game and watching all of the playoff stuff from last year, is that I was just amazed at age 40 how quick his feet were…he looked like he was 25 years old. That was my concern (with the ankle injury). When I was watching the (preseason) game, and, of course, he only played four plays in the game that we saw, so we didn’t get to see a lot of it, but will his feet be what they were a season ago which were pretty impressive?”
HARRISON: “The one thing that impressed me was not only his feet, but his ability to keep his eyes down the field and keep plays alive. I looked at film on the guy and he looked like he was a 26-27-28-year-old quarterback and it was amazing to me, because I know towards the end of my career how sore it would feel to get out of bed and to recover from games. That’s the thing that really concerns me with Brett Favre because before it could be the ribs, it could be the shoulder, the neck, the lower back, now all of a sudden he has something wrong with his ankle which really causes a whole host of other problems and concerns.”
DUNGY: “I think Brett is going to be fine physically, but 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions, he probably hasn’t had a year like that since ’96 or ’97. To think that he’s going to duplicate that, I just don’t think that is going to happen. I think he’ll come out and play well for them, but I would not expect to see that type of year. Last year was just a magical year.”
COLLINSWORTH ON DUNGY’S COMMENTS: “Tony, I thought that was almost the reason that he didn’t come back this year, more so than the ankle or the age or anything else, it was his own expectations and his own sort of fear. This guy has paranoia almost of letting somebody down and having a down year after his best year, as he called it. It was almost enough to make him stay home. It was a pretty remarkable conversation, almost like listening to Jerry Rice at the Hall of Fame Game talking about what a motivator fear was in his career and fear of failure and fear of letting somebody down. Brett was almost regurgitating the same kind of speech.”
VIKINGS-SAINTS ON “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL”: The Super Bowl champion Saints make two primetime appearances on NBC this season. In Week 8 they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a “Sunday Night Football” game that will, for the first time, go head-to-head against Game 4 of the World Series. Since the NFL’s premier primetime package moved to NBC in 2006, the Saints are 1-1 overall and this is their first appearance since the 2007 season. This is the first of two appearances for the Vikings on NBC in primetime this season. They travel to Green Bay in Week 7 in the always-anticipated NFC North showdown with the Packers. The Vikings are 1-3 all-time on “Sunday Night Football.”
VIKINGS VS. SAINTS: This is a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game that the Saints won 31-28 in overtime on their way to the first Super Bowl championship in the franchise’s history. Overall the Vikings hold a 20-8 advantage including wins in seven of the last eight regular-season matchups dating back to 1994. The lone Saints regular-season win in that time was in 2001 at the Superdome.
“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” OPENER: COWBOYS VS. REDSKINS: The first “Sunday Night Football” contest of the season is a classic NFC East rivalry as the Washington Redskins with their new QB Donovan McNabb and head coach Mike Shanahan host Tony Romo and the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys. Coverage starts this Sunday with “Football Night in America” at 7 p.m. ET hosted by Bob Costas from the game site. Costas will be joined at the game site by the SNF broadcast duo of Michaels and Collinsworth. Patrick will host FNIA from NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios joined by Dungy, Harrison and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.
HARRISON ON MATCHUP: “This is going to be a treat with the new edition of the Washington Redskins with Donovan McNabb going against my Super Bowl team, the Dallas Cowboys.”
COLLINSWORTH ON REDSKINS OFFSEASON: “Without question the story of the off-season was Donovan McNabb going to divisional rival Washington. The Redskins have almost unbelievably rebuilt the team, starting at the top with Mike Shanahan as the coach and Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator and McNabb at QB. It’s been a remarkable quick fix for the Redskins and, the way they played defense last year and with coach and QB now in place, this is a very very different looking Washington Redskins team.”
COWBOYS-REDSKINS ON “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL”: This is the first of three appearances for the Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football” this season. They will travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers in Week 9 and host the Eagles in Week 14. They are now 10-3 overall since the NFL’s premier primetime package moved to NBC in 2006 and 2-0 head-to-head vs. the Redskins on SNF. The Cowboys have appeared on “Sunday Night Football” 13 times, more than any other team. The Redskins are scheduled to make two SNF appearances this season. They will host the Colts in Week 6. They are 2-5 overall on “Sunday Night Football.”
COWBOYS VS. REDSKINS: In one of the NFL’s most storied rivalries, the Cowboys lead the all-time series, 59-39-2, including two postseason wins by the Redskins. The Cowboys swept the series last year defeating the Redskins 7-6 in Week 11 and 17-0 on SNF in Week 16. Prior to last season, the teams had split the season series in each of the previous three years.
SNF DOMINATED SUNDAY NIGHTS: “Sunday Night Football” was the most- watched Sunday night primetime broadcast in a record 15 of 16 (94 percent) weeks in last year’s fall television season. In 2008, SNF won 13 of 16 (81 percent) Sunday nights after winning 11 of 16 in 2007 (69 percent) and nine of 16 in 2006 (56 percent).
SNF NO. 1 PRIMETIME PROGRAM FOR 2009 SEASON IN KEY DEMOS: For the full fall television season, “Sunday Night Football” ranked as the No. 1 program across the key demographics of Adults 18-49 (7.5), Men 25-54 (10.8), Men 18-49 (9.7) and Men 18-34 (8.1). Additionally, SNF ranked No. 2 in viewership (19.6 million) and in household rating (11.7) among all primetime programs during the football season.
“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” 2010 SEASON: Three appearances each by six marquee NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers; a rematch of the NFC Championship Game as the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings in the opening Thursday night game; the “Manning Bowl” rematch in Week 2; and storied rivalries including three NFC East games, Chargers-Colts, Vikings-Packers at Lambeau, Steelers-Ravens and Jets-Dolphins highlight the “Sunday Night Football” schedule. Highlights of “Sunday Night Football” schedule:
- Sixteen of NBC’s 17 scheduled games involve at least one playoff team from last season; eight of 17 include two playoff teams.
- Fourteen of the 17 teams playing on “Sunday Night Football” had .500 or better records.
- Three appearances from six marquee teams: Colts (vs. Giants, Redskins, Chargers), Cowboys (Redskins, Packers, Eagles), Eagles (49ers, Giants, Cowboys), Giants (Colts, Bears, Eagles), Packers (Vikings, Cowboys, Patriots) and Steelers (Saints, Patriots, Ravens).
- A rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game between the Vikings and Saints to kickoff the NFL season on Thursday night, Sept. 9.
- Peyton and Eli meet in the anticipated rematch of the “Manning Bowl” when the Giants and Colts face off in Week 2. They last met in the network debut of “Sunday Night Football” in 2006 in a game that was seen by 22.6 million viewers, the third-most ever in the history of “Sunday Night Football.” Six SNF games involve one of the Manning brothers.
- A matchup of two of the oldest NFL teams when the Bears and Giants meet in Week 4 in the New Meadowlands Stadium. The Bears-Giants rivalry dates back to 1925.
- Three matchups among bitter NFC East rivals: Cowboys-Redskins, Giants-Eagles, and Eagles-Cowboys.
- The first “Sunday Night Football” trips to New Orleans, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Miami.
2010 “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” SCHEDULE
Regular Season – “Football Night in America” begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET
Thurs. Sept. 9 NFL Kickoff Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Sun. Sept. 12 Week 1 Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Sun. Sept. 19 Week 2 New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts
Sun. Sept. 26 Week 3 New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Sun. Oct. 3 Week 4 Chicago Bears at New York Giants
Sun. Oct. 10 Week 5 Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers
Sun. Oct. 17 Week 6 Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins
Sun. Oct. 24 Week 7 Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Sun. Oct. 31 Week 8 Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints
Sun. Nov. 7 Week 9 Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers
Sun. Nov. 14 Week 10 New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun. Nov. 21 *Week 11 New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Sun. Nov. 28 *Week 12 San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
Sun. Dec. 5 *Week 13 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Sun. Dec. 12 *Week 14 Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Sun. Dec. 19 *Week 15 Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
Sun. Dec. 26 *Week 16 San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Sun. Jan. 2 *Week 17 TBA *Flex Week
Photo: Credit: Brian Blanco/Bradenton Herald/MCT