ESPN Inc. Announces Over 30 Hours of Weekly NFL Programming
ESPN kicks off the 43rd season of Monday Night Football on Sept. 10 with a doubleheader: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (7 p.m. ET), and San Diego Chargers vS. Oakland Raiders (10:15 p.m.) MNF's new two-person booth of Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and Jon Gruden (analyst) will call the opener with new sideline reporter Lisa Salters. Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer will call the second game with Rachel Nichols.
Prior to the first game, Suzy Kolber will anchor Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee's, now a two-hour pre-game show, at the special time of 5 p.m. She'll be joined in studio by NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and KeyShawn Johnson and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Stuart Scott, Jason Taylor and StEve Young will also contribute to the show from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
In addition to MNF game action, ESPN's impressive lineup of NFL studio shows includes: Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM, Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee's, NFL Live, NFL Primetime Presented by Bud Light, NFL32, Snickers NFL Matchup, Fantasy Football Now Delivered by Papa John's, Audibles, NFL Kickoff and Mike and Mike's Best of the NFL.
Experienced Analysts, Reporters:
· New Monday Night Football team: Play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden make up ESPN's new booth team, while Lisa Salters debuts as MNF's sideline reporter.
· New NFL Studio Analysts: Former NFL players Brian Dawkins, Matt Light, and Jason Taylor and six-time National Football League Executive of the Year Bill Polian have joined ESPN as NFL analysts. They will appear on a variety of studio shows throughout the season.
Original, Upgraded NFL Studio Shows, Specials:
· Mike and Mike's Best of the NFL (Tuesdays, 3-3:30 p.m., ESPN): In a new weekly NFL highlights show, hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic of ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning examine the best NFL game highlights from the previous week. The show debuts Sept. 11.
· Fantasy Football Now (Sundays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN2): This fantasy show expands to two hours in 2012. Robert Flores hosts with analysts Matthew Berry and Tim Hasselbeck, injury analyst Stephania Bell and Sara Walsh.
· Monday Night Countdown (Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., ESPN): MNF's pre-game show - now two hours - offers 30 more minutes of information and analysis in 2012. Host Chris Berman and ESPN's cast of NFL analysts and Insiders prepare fans for the weekly MNF matchup.
· SportsCenter Special: Bill Parcells' NFL Mid-Season Review (Wednesday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m., ESPN): ESPN NFL contributor and two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Bill Parcells analyzes the first part of the NFL season.
Monday Night Football Production Advances:
· Spidercam: A next generation aerial camera, spidercam has a wide fly zone and provides better tracking and smoother coverage. It has also been used on US Open tennis.
· Hi-speed cameras: Two high-speed cameras (providing frame rates of 300-400 frames per second).
· Goal post cameras: The addition of a camera on each goal post will help MNF show game action on the goal line from the perspective of the defense.
· "Soundtracks": A new weekly segment during MNF halftime will treat fans to the best in-game audio from all of that weekend's NFL games. The sounds will be heard for the first time on ESPN and will be culled by NFL Films.
· Gruden Grinder: Gruden will nominate an unsung hero as his player of the game each week. A social media element will be incorporated, giving fans the opportunity to cast their votes using the hashtag #GrudenGrinder and the @ESPNMondayNight account.
· Rules Consultant: Former NFL official Gerry Austin, now the Supervisor of Officials for Conference USA, will work with Tirico and Gruden in the booth. As needed, he'll provide an explanation of NFL rules throughout MNF telecasts.
· The Rolling Stones: In honor of The Rolling Stones' 50th Anniversary, ESPN will collaborate with the Universal Music Group to create "Legend to Legend" - a combination of MNF highlights and classic Rolling Stones tracks.
· Monday Night Football sponsors include DIRECTV, GMC, Miller Lite, State Farm, Subway, Toyota, and Verizon.
ESPN's Weekly NFL Programming:
Date Time (ET) Show Network
Gruden's QB Camp Re-airs
Five of the 10 quarterbacks who took part in Gruden's QB Camp in 2012 have been named NFL starters as rookies. ESPN revisits the shows with re-airs of MNF analyst Jon Gruden's one-on-one film sessions with Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins), Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks).
Date Time (ET) Show Network
Fri, Sept. 7 1-3 a.m. Gruden's QB Camp: Luck, Griffin, Weeden, Tannehill ESPNU
Sun, Sept. 9 8-10 a.m. Gruden's QB Camp: Wilson, Weeden, Luck, Griffin ESPNews
NFL weekends on ESPN Radio will begin Fridays with Mike Tirico's Monday Night Preview podcast, an addition to the network's coverage that will take listeners behind the scenes of sports television's longest-running series with the MNF crew and offer a look ahead to next week's matchup. Also on Fridays, Tirico will be joined by Chris Mortensen and KeyShawn Johnson to preview the weekend's NFL action in Mike Tirico's Weekend Blitz, which airs at 8 p.m. ET (re-airs at 11 p.m.). On Sundays, Countdown to Kickoff (10 a.m.) provides whip-around coverage of the day's slate in the NFL. Host Adnan Virk takes fans to the game sites for late-breaking injury, weather and fantasy information. Later on Sunday, The NFL on ESPN Radio (1 p.m.) offers day-long reports from every stadium with hosts Mike Hill and Freddie Coleman and analysts Eric Allen, Antonio Pierce and Tim Hasselbeck.