Wednesday, December 31, 2008

TNT's "Trust Me" - must see TV

Now trust me when I say this, you're definitely going to want to watch this new offering from TNT this January. Trust me, it's funny. And yes, trust me, it will make you laugh out loud!



It's "Trust Me" with former Will & Grace star Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanaugh, most recently from "Eli Stone" and "Love Monkey" fame. The series, which is built around an advertising firm in Chicago, will begin Monday, January 26th at 10pm.

It's quick, quirky and quite deliberate in its attempt to suck you in with the Grace-type banter that made that show a hit on NBC for years. Or, if you're a Gilmore Girls fan, you'll notice the dialogue a bit like that as well. Yes, Lauren Graham would be a great add to this one as well since she'd fit right in.



In the first two episodes, McCormack (Mason) and Cavanaugh (Connor) play partners vying for an ad campaign when their boss suddenly dies. When McCormack gets the promotion, you can only imagine the tension and fun that arises. While McCormack is the "adult" in the partnership, Cavanaugh shines as the catch-as-catch-can ad writer that thrills in the moment and can sweep people off their feet at a moment's notice.



Throw in some twists and turns of hilarious tag lines from the ad world, a sexy yet forceful new writer in Sarah Krajicek-Hunter (Potter), plus Griffin Dunne (Tony) as the boss to everyone as my wife calls him and you have the makings of a hit TV show.

Trust me, you'll thank me later for the tip!

MLB Network - Day 2



We are almost there! Just about 24 hours to the launch of the MLB Network. Here's your penultimate preview from MLB with news about Bob Costas on the network -

With the debut of MLB Network on January 1 fast approaching, we have been counting down the final 10 days, New Year's Eve-style, until the Network's Opening Day. The MLB Network launch is just over 24 hours away, so after this we will reveal one final piece of news tomorrow about the largest launch in the history of cable television, then we can all sit back and tune in.

Let the countdown continue......

2 …… BOB COSTAS TO HOST Q&A WITH DON LARSEN AND YOGI BERRA ON JAN. 1

Bob Costas, one of the most decorated sports broadcasters in history, will host a conversation with Don Larsen and Yogi Berra that will air on January 1 on MLB Network. Excerpts from the conversation will be interspersed throughout the airing of Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, where Larsen threw the only no-hitter and perfect game in Postseason history, at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Costas has been honored as Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association a record eight times. He also won the Sports Emmy for "Outstanding Studio Host" every year from 2002-2006, and has won nearly two dozen Sports Emmys over a 30-year career.

Costas is one of three legendary baseball television personalities that will air on MLB Network on January 1. Hall of Fame broadcasters Mel Allen and Vin Scully called the game, which will air on television for the first time since its original broadcast.

Here’s a link to a video preview of Costas’ interview with Berra and Larsen.

We’ll be back tomorrow with item #1. To recap, here’s our list of news items to date:

10. Barry Larkin Joins MLB Network
9. MLB Network to Install “Ballpark Cams” in Every MLB Stadium
8. PRIME 9 Debuts on MLB Network
7. Mitch Williams, Greg Amsinger and Jon Heyman Join MLB Network
6. MLB Network Uses the Latest Technology to Capture the Action
5. MLBNetwork.com Launches “Channel Locator” to Help Fans Find Channel
4. MLB Network Announces Hot Stove Studio Teams for Week One, Including New Baseball Insider Tom Verducci
3. MLB Network to Air Award-Winning Documentary “Baseball”
2. Bob Costas to Host Q&A with Don Larsen and Yogi Berra on Jan. 1

Inside the NFL notes

If you're looking forward to tonight's "Inside the NFL" on Showtime, here's a sneak peek -

NEWS, NOTES AND QUOTES FROM “INSIDE THE NFL” ON SHOWTIME

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008 – at 9 p.m. ET/PT Only On SHOWTIME


NEW YORK (Dec. 31, 2008)–-This week’s INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME – Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. ET/PT – will feature a look back at the life and contributions of the NFL luminaries that passed away in 2008.Included in the piece, produced by NFL Films and narrated by co-executive producer Steve Sabol, are longtime NFL Players Association president Gene Upshaw, Hall of Famers Sammy Baugh and Gene Hickerson, the first female NFL franchise owner Georgia Frontiere (Rams), Ernie Holmes and Dwight White of the Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Steel Curtain’ defenses, former New York Giants cornerback and broadcaster Dick Lynch and Pittsburgh Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope among others.

This week’s INSIDE THE NFL also includes a special Sounds of the Game feature. With nearly 100 players and coaches mic’d up throughout the season, NFL Films has compiled the best of this exclusive content.

Plus INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME Insider Mike Lombardi gives his insight on the NFL coaching carousel.

Host James Brown anchors INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME with All Pro NFL greats Cris Collinsworth, Phil Simms and Warren Sapp serving as expert analysts. INSIDE THE NFL is being produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films with new shows airing on SHOWTIME every Wednesday during the NFL season through February 11, 2009. The executive producers are Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports, and NFL Films President Sabol.

Excerpts from this week’s show are below:

(On Tampa Bay Collapse):

SAPP: You look at the Bucs, and the Bucs were built off defense and that is the one thing that collapsed on them. But even more than that I think the whole team is going through an identity crisis. They don’t know what they want to do on offense. And on defense they are not a cover-2 team anymore. The defensive line does not produce the sacks or put pressure on the quarterback to sit back there and play that cover-2.

(On Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo wanting to go for it on 4th and inches while Wade Phillips was calling for a punt):
SIMMS:
It doesn’t look good for Wade Phillips because you are undermining the coach…I did that once in a game with the Giants with Bill Parcells, and I’ll never forget it. You always have to know who you are as a player. Don’t cross the line because you are the player and he is the coach…never think you are part of the process, when you do that as a player you get big troubles.

COLLINSWORTH: For Wade Phillips this was so indicative from the outside looking in to what the perception was of this organization. That is really Jerry Jones’ team. If he wants Roy Williams he goes out and gets him, if he wants “Pacman” Jones he goes and gets him. The player’s as they sit there and watch Wade Phillips mouth the words, whatever it is that he is saying, they are really thinking, ‘well what does Jerry think. It doesn’t matter what Wade Phillips thinks.’ And you can not win, you can not win. Think about when the Cowboys were good, they had Bill Parcells, they had Jerry Jones, they had Jimmy Johnson, and that combination of things, it worked. Because those two strong head coaches where strong enough to push Jerry to where he should be, in the owners box and not under control.

(On whether Eric Mangini should have been the fall guy for the Jets):
COLLINSWORTH:
I think it was more on Brett (Favre). I think he got discovered. When he was good in Green Bay it was short, quick throws that he got out of his hand quickly. But if he had to, he could go down the field with deep threats at wide receivers. The Jets didn’t have those same deep threats and Brett didn’t have the same arm he had when he was in Green Bay. That combination finally got exposed and it cost them.

(On Baltimore-Miami):
SAPP:
I have a message for you for the Miami Dolphins. Ray Lewis said ‘raise the hurricane warning flag, there are two hurricanes coming back and they are a full five category coming to town.’ Category five. They are ready to go to work.

SIMMS: In Miami’s favor, they will be ready for the hurricane as it comes down, Warren. And they did play them not long ago, so they have that experience and that knowledge of what to do and what not to do. I think that is going to be very important against a defense that is unique and very talented.

(On Philadelphia being Cinderella):
COLLINSWORTH:
They are more like Hercules right now, if you are going to go to fairytale time. I think Philadelphia is dangerous, because what they have proven this year is that they can stop the run on first down. They are No. 1 in the NFL stopping the run on first down and if you can do that, that means Jim Johnson can start dialing up those blitzes.

(On Coaching Carousel):
COLLINSWORTH:
Mike Shanahan on the open market, how many jobs is he going to be the man for? If you had an interview, brought them all in and you are Pat Bowlen, you would probably hire Mike Shanahan.

LOMBARDI: Even teams that have coaches have to worry. If I were Jim Zorn in Washington, I would be a little bit nervous and make sure my parking spot was still there when I get there. Mike Shanahan would be a great coach for them...I think John Gruden is going to have to prove to the management, the front office, the Glazer family, that he can find a young quarterback to develop and bring along, or certainly Mike Shanahan can return to your old roots (to Sapp) in Florida and be a candidate there.

LOMBARDI: The Jets quarterback of the future is no where to be found. And that is what makes the Jets job not very attractive for potential coaches. Remember with all these jobs opening, the teams have to recruit the coaches as much as the coaches have to recruit the teams.

(Could Matt Cassel play for the Jets):
LOMBARDI:
The Patriots are way to smart, and I’ve talked to people in the organization. They are going to franchise Matt Cassel. He’s an asset and they can control their ability to trade him if they franchise him.

Emrick has laryngitis, will miss NHL's Winter Classic



From NBC Sports -

EMRICK TO MISS WINTER CLASSIC


CHICAGO -- Dec. 31, 2008 -- Hall of Fame broadcaster "Doc" Emrick will be unable to call tomorrow's NHL Winter Classic due to laryngitis. Dave Strader, who is the play-by-play voice of the Phoenix Coyotes and has also worked for NBC Sports, will fill in for Emrick.

"Last year's game was a lifetime memory and I couldn't wait to call this year's game at Wrigely," said Emrick. "I'm extremely disappointed but I know Dave will do a wonderful job."

NBC's coverage of the Winter Classic begins at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow, New Year's Day. Last season's inaugural U.S. outdoor NHL event was the highest rated regular season NHL game in the United States in more than a decade.

Shefter: Browns want Pioli's answer today

According to the NFL Network's Adam Schefter, the Cleveland Browns want an answer from Scott Pioli today on whether he wants to join the organization as its new GM. Reportedly, the two sides are meeting today in New England.

Stay tuned!

New Year's Eve: Cowher didn't want Favre; Barkley arrested, Daly suspended

As the clock ticks down to the final moments of 2009, we get another round of snow here in the Northeast. We're looking at 6-8" in Rhode Island so it looks like I'll spend some of my New Year's Eve shoveling. Oh, happy me!

Anyway, the news continues on the coaching carousel. So, here we go -

* - Bill Cowher says no to the Jets, according to the NY Post. The reason? Brett Favre! Hmmm.

* - If not Bill Cowher, how about Mike Shanahan to NY? Well, Pro Football Talk.com says Shanny wants to go to San Diego.

* - Eric Mangini will get a look-see in Cleveland. If the Browns are seriously interested in Scott Pioli as VP/GM, then Mangini has NO shot there since Pioli wants Kirk Ferentz, according to Ron Borges in the Boston Herald.

* - Can you believe that all four home teams are underdogs in this weekend's NFL Wild Card Games?

* - Congrats to the Pats Jerod Mayo as he's the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

* - The NFL's Comeback Player of the Year goes to Chad Pennington for getting the Dolphins into the playoffs and going from one win to 11 along with the AFC East Title.

* - In other news, John Daly gets suspended six months by the PGA.

* - Charles Barkley gets a DUI in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here's the mug shot, courtesy of The Smoking Gun.



A few reminders on this New Year's Eve. Providence College opens Big East basketball battles against St.John's at 4pm (it's on SNY if you have DirecTV). Boston College takes on Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl (ESPN, 3:30pm). Thursday brings us the Winter Classic from the NHL. They don't expect snow like last year's tilt in Buffalo, but it should still be fun to see the Black Hawks vs. the Red Wings in Wrigley Field.

Last night, I watched the first two episodes of TNT's new series "Trust Me." It's very funny, trust me, and I'll post a full review a little later.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NBC previews Falcons/Cardinals & Colts/Chargers



Even more NFL pregame hype today. This time, it's from NBC Sports with their double-dip preview of Saturday's games and the rest of Wild Card Week-end:

These two teams that we're doing, San Diego and the Colts, I could see them
going to the Super Bowl.”NBC's Madden

Peyton Manning Should Be the MVP of the NFL.” NBC's Madden


NEW YORK – Dec. 30, 2008 – NBC Sports will broadcast live coverage of NFL Wild Card Saturday Doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. ET with a special edition of the "Football Night in America" studio show followed by the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals (9-7) hosting the Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at 4:30 p.m. ET. At 8 p.m. ET, the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers (8-8) will host Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (12-4), winners of nine games in a row.

The "NBC Sunday Night Football" team of Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) will call the Colts-Chargers game from San Diego. Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Tiki Barber (sideline reporter) will call the Falcons-Cardinals game from Arizona.

Bob Costas (host), Keith Olbermann (co-host), Dan Patrick (co-host), analyst Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated will analyze the playoffs from the "Football Night in America" studio at 30 Rock.

NBC Sports today held a media conference call with Madden and Collinsworth to preview the playoffs.

MADDEN ON THE COLTS AND CHARGERS: "These two teams that we're doing, San Diego and the Colts, I could see them going to the Super Bowl, I really could. Both of them are peaking at the right time. For some reason, the Colts have been under the radar, and the Chargers have been too.

"When the Colts started out slowly, people kind of gave up on them and then maybe forgot about them. And then boom -- Peyton Manning gets healthy, because he didn't start out healthy, and they win nine in a row. It's important that you're peaking at the end of the season. The Colts right now are probably the definition of a team that is peaking coming into the playoffs."

COLLINSWORTH ON PEYTON MANNING: "If you gave me a vote for the MVP, which nobody ever has, but I would love to do it someday, Peyton Manning would get my vote. With the injuries they've faced, with the struggles on defense that they've had at times, with the injuries on the offensive line, overcoming his own injuries and not going through training camp and all the preparation that he's had to, I'm not sure that you could take any one player off of their team and have a bigger impact than if you took Peyton Manning off of this team."

"I look at the Colts as really a four to five win team despite a lot of good players out there if you took Peyton Manning off and to me that sort of is the very definition of the MVP."

MADDEN ON MANNING: "Peyton Manning should be the MVP in the NFL."

COLLINSWORTH ON PHILIP RIVERS: "It's interesting that Philip Rivers didn't even make the Pro Bowl, and now that brings us to another point: that we vote for the Pro Bowl too soon. I mean when you voted for the Pro Bowl, Philip Rivers was four and eight or the San Diego Chargers were, and he was coming off a bad game."

COLLINSWORTH ON THE NBC GAMES: "We have two tremendous matchups. Interestingly, two of the last three years we've seen teams come out of this Wild Card round
and go on and win the Super Bowl. It wouldn't surprise me at all if it happened again this time around because there certainly are some great teams at the bottom."

MADDEN ON WILD CARD WEEKEND: "It used to be that Wild Card weekend didn't mean
much. The top four teams get byes and they're not playing and the big games will be the next week and the week after when those guys play because they'll probably be the Super Bowl teams. The last two out of three Super Bowl teams came out of the Wild Card and the blueprint is so fresh with the New York Giants. Just a year ago the Giants did this. They were not only in the Wild Card but they had to play every game on the road."

COLLINSWORTH ON WILD CARD TEAMS: "On a neutral site, these are easy games to
pick. I would take all four road teams, but you're not talking about a neutral site. You're talking about the playoffs and you're talking about fans that are going to be a little fired up for the playoffs and you're talking about some pretty good quarterbacks in there that have been down this road before with Chad Pennington and Kurt Warner and Philip Rivers playing so tough in the championship game a season ago. This is about as interesting as I can remember the Wild Card round being and the two games we have on Saturday are going to be fantastic."

COLLINSWORTH ON ATLANTA-ARIZONA: "You're going to see Atlanta try and pound the football at Arizona and Arizona of course with Kurt Warner and their great wide receivers throwing it all over the park in perfect weather."

COLLINSWORTH ON INDIANAPOLIS-SAN DIEGO: "Indy-San Diego to me has become one of the real classic matchups in the NFL. Indy is always sort of the favorite. San Diego finds a way to make Peyton Manning look bad, except for this year they finally got over the hump with this team and went on a last second field goal. I think we're going to see four great games but I especially like the two that we have."

MADDEN ON WILD CARD TEAMS: "Sometimes the team that's in the tougher division
can be a wild card team and be the better team than a team that is in a weaker division and wins the division. I think that's what we're seeing here, that some of the wild card teams from some of the divisions are really stronger than the division winners in the weak division. All four road teams can be favorites in these games."

MADDEN ON NORV TURNER: "Any coach has to be who they are and that's the biggest
thing. You can't be a phony. If you're a quiet, reserved type of guy you can't be running around yelling and screaming, and if you're one of those yellers and screamers you can't be a reserved guy. You have to be yourself, especially if you're going to be in it for a long time. If you're not yourself then you're a hony and players catch a phony right off the bat. Norv isn't a phony.

"There's 32 jobs and there's not 32 Vince Lombardi's. I'm not saying he's one of the great head coaches of all time, but name me half of them in the league that are better than him."

COLLINSWORTH ON TURNER: "The minute Norv Turner decides that he's going to be
Vince Lombardi and start screaming and yelling, those players are going to roll their eyes and go 'are you kidding me?' It's over with at that point because now they know he's trying too hard. It's actually one of the strengths of Norv Turner that he's maintained who he is. I think Norv Turner has earned the trust of this football team."

COLLINSWORTH ON ATLANTA'S TURNAROUND: "I don't want to sound like a therapist or anything but sometimes you have to hit rock bottom. I think this organization
with the coach going out, the Michael Vick thing, the fans were starting to turn on them and then you sort of hit bottom. Then you have to do everything our high school football coach taught us about the game of football. We have to be in this together, we have to spend the extra time in the off-season. We have to work out more than the playoff teams did a season ago and find a way to make the whole thing work. You also can't do that with out players. There's no question
that this season we have seen a transformation in some guys that have been given an opportunity with Atlanta.

COLLINSWORTH ON MATT RYAN AND THE FALCONS: "Everyone knows the story with Matt Ryan and what a remarkable one it is, but I can remember at the beginning of the
season and the story was there's no way this offensive line can protect Matt Ryan. Matt Ryan is going to die in his rookie year. I can remember hearing the stories about how bad they were, and yet when I put on the tape and watch them block for Michael Turner and for Jerious Norwood and for Matt Ryan, they're not the greatest players in the world, they're not all going to the Pro Bowl but as a team they're pretty good. This is a team that has collectively found a way to turn it around. It's what makes the NFL exciting."

MADDEN ON JOE FLACCO: "Here's the guy that is the most unlikely quarterback personality that I've ever met in my life. You know in high school and college he never owned a car. He never owned a car and he still doesn't. When he finally got to Baltimore, someone gave him a car. He's just a gym rat, and this is the first time that I remember a Baltimore Ravens defense ever liking their quarterback."

MADDEN ON ANDY REID: "Isn't funny how a coach in the NFL can go from losing his mind a month ago to being a genius a month later?"

COLLINSWORTH: "I only wish it could happen to me every once in a while."

COLLINSWORTH ON DALLAS NOT MAKING THE PLAYOFFS: "I don't want to turn this into a therapy session but I think there are a lot of reasons that it didn't work. From an outsider's standpoint, maybe the fact that it didn't work is good for all of us who love sports. Look at this as a way of legitimizing the team concept and the idea that if you don't put your team first and you're putting yourself above the team, it's never going to work. I think that's what happened to the Cowboys this year."

NFC - NO. 5 FALCONS (11-5) AT NO. 4 CARDINALS (9-7):
The Arizona Cardinals will be hosting their first home playoff game since moving to the southwest and first since 1947 when they were the Chicago Cardinals; the franchise's last playoff appearance came in 1998. Arizona, which scored a franchise record 424 points, boasts a high-flying attack led by QB Kurt Warner and wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

The Atlanta Falcons are in the postseason for the first time since 2004, led by rookie QB Matt Ryan and RB Michael Turner who ran for nearly 1,700 yards. The Falcons ended the season winning five of their last six, and eight of their last 10.

AFC - NO. 5 COLTS (12-4) AT NO. 4 CHARGERS (8-8):
The Indianapolis Colts, after starting the season 3-4, ran off nine straight victories to end the season as the NFL's hottest team. It marked the sixth straight season the Colts have won at least 12 games. Peyton Manning finished with 4,000 yards for a record ninth straight season.

The Chargers also rode a winning streak to the postseason, coming from 4-8 to win their last four games and capture the AFC West title, including a 52-21 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in the season finale. For San Diego, it is their third straight division title.

The teams met last season in an AFC Divisional Round playoff game with the Chargers coming from behind to win 28-24. Billy Volek, subbing for the injured Philip Rivers, scored the game-winner on a quarterback sneak.

CBS & Phil Simms previews Ravens/Dolphins



As we go through many press releases today by the networks, we give a preview of the CBS game on Sunday between the Ravens and Dolphins (12pm pregame and 1pm, EST kick-off). Phil Simms gives us the knowledge followed by the broadcast assignments for the playoffs for CBS -

PHIL SIMMS

(On Baltimore-Miami)


I give the Dolphins a little bit of an advantage in this respect, they played the Baltimore Ravens. They experienced it. And so, they realized how strong they were, how hard they play and how unique their defense is when you see it live. Knowing they have that experience, the Dolphins can use that information and design, prepare and practice…(On Baltimore): They did so many things well in the first game that they are just going to try and do it again. They physically dominated the game. They did not let the so called “wildcat” disrupt much. They will draw upon that and tell themselves, ‘Hey, it’s playoffs. We just have to ratchet it up another notch.’ Also in Baltimore’s favor, they are so versatile on defense that even though you saw something the first time you played them, they may decide to give you something completely different. It is truly a guessing game. Can you have success against them? Yes you can. You can make plays against their defense. Most importantly, you must be well in tune and accept the fact that there will be a lot of bad plays. Sometimes just getting sacked or throwing it away and punting the football are all good options versus this Ravens defense…(On Chad Pennington): The big thing for him this year is that he did not have to rehab from injury this off-season. That gave him a chance to get stronger physically, and to rest mentally. He didn’t have to worry about whether he would be healthy. That is a tremendous mental strain on athletes, especially quarterbacks when you are talking about their throwing arm. He then got the fresh start in Miami where people appreciate, marvel and believe in what he is doing. He doesn’t get second-guessed. That is not a knock against New York and the fans. But if he had duplicated the season he has had in Miami and did it in New York, I don’t think people would be that excited about it. They would say, ‘Oh well, can he win the playoffs? Can he do it all?’ And if he can’t then, ‘We should have gotten someone who could have gotten us over the hump.’

AFC WILD CARD GAME #2 – Jan. 4, 2009 - 1pm
Baltimore @ Miami

Jim Nantz/Phil Simms

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAME #1 – Saturday, Jan. 10 - 4:30pm
TBD @ Tennessee

Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAME #2 – Sunday, Jan. 11 - 4:30pm
TBD @ Pittsburgh

Jim Nantz/Phil Simms

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – Sunday, Jan. 18 - 6:30
TBD

Jim Nantz/Phil Simms

NFL on FOX claims #1 spot

More from the folks at FOX Sports as they claim the #1 spot for this year's NFL regular season ratings. Take a look -

NFL ON FOX IS NO. 1 FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR

FOX Posts Third Most-Watched NFL Season Ever; National Doubleheader Game is TV’s Top Fall Program

FOX NFL SUNDAY, Nation’s No. 1 Pre-Game Show 15 Years Running, Scores Highest Rating in Three Years

New York – The NFL ON FOX is No. 1 – again


FOX’s fifteenth NFL regular season coverage came to a close last Sunday (12/28), and based on fast national ratings released today by Nielsen Media Research, it is the highest-rated NFL network for the second consecutive year. The NFL on FOX averaged a 10.5/22 household rating/share for all games, beating NBC’s 10.2/16 in prime time, CBS’ 10.0/21 and ESPN’s 7.6/12 on Monday nights. Prior to last season, no Sunday afternoon NFL broadcaster had ever beaten the prime-time broadcast package since its inception in 1970, and now FOX can make the claim two years running.

FOX was also the season’s most-watched NFL carrier, with an average audience of 17.0 million, followed by NBC (16.7 million) and CBS (16.2 million). This season’s 17.0 million average audience makes this the third most-watched NFL on FOX season ever, only bested in 1995 (18.2 million) and 2007 (17.1 million).

FOX NFL SUNDAY continued its dominance as America’s most-watched NFL pre-game show. The show notched a 3.3/8 household rating/share, its best average rating in three seasons, and a +6% improvement over last year (3.1/8). FOX NFL SUNDAY also extended its lead over CBS’s The NFL Today (2.7/7) to 22% after winning by +19% in each of the last two seasons. This marks the fifteenth straight year that FOX has out-rated its head-to-head NFL pre-game show competition.

Additional Highlights:

FOX’s NATIONAL GAMES on doubleheader Sundays rank as television’s highest-rated and most-watched fall program in any day-part. FOX’s nine National Games averaged a 13.7/26 (22.3 million viewers), beating ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (12.6/18) in rating and CBS’s CSI (20.4 million) for most-watched honors.

FOX’s National Games are also the season’s highest-rated show among Adults 18-49 with an 8.2 rating, followed by ABC’s Desperate Housewives (6.7/15).

This season’s ratings leave absolutely no doubt that 4:15 PM ET is the NFL’s premier time period. All of the season’s ten highest-rated games were 4:15pm games on FOX or CBS, and the 4:15 on either network beat the same day’s prime time game on NBC 15 of 16 dates.

FOX’s 10.5/22 HH rating is virtually flat with the network’s 10.4 average from 2000 to 2007, and last year’s 10.7/23. The slight year-to year decline in households and average audience were driven mostly by two of the NFC’s most popular teams – the Cowboys and Packers – combining to go 15-17 this year after going 26-6 a year ago.

Excluding the record low on Thanksgiving (-20% from ’07), Sunday ratings on FOX were off just 1% from a year ago (10.5 vs. 10.6), and flat on viewership (16.8 million).

FOX Sports: BCS and NFL Wild Card Week-end

We get a two-fer from the fine folks at FOX Sports today as we get the rundown on their BCS coverage as well as this week-end's NFL Wild-Card Week-end to boot -

NFC Wild Card Battle: Sunday on FOX

Eagles Swoop into Minneapolis to Take on Vikings

Billick: Tough NFC Teams Make Road to Super Bowl Repeat Bumpy for Giants

FOX’s Bowl Bash Kicks Off Jan. 1 with FedEx Orange Bowl; Week includes AT&T Cotton Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl


NFL ON FOX: WILDCARD WEEKEND – FOX Sports’ coverage of its 15th NFL postseason begins Sunday, Jan. 4 (4:00 PM ET) when Donovan McNabb and the surging Philadelphia Eagles take on NFL rushing champ, Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. NFL on FOX’s lead broadcast team of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver are joined by Chris Myers to call this matchup from Minneapolis. The winner moves on to the divisional round to face either the Giants or the Panthers next week on FOX.

Coverage begins at 4:00 PM ET with America’s most-watched pregame show, FOX NFL SUNDAY. Co-hosts Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee join analysts Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Strahan to provide insightful opinions on the NFL. The NFL’s best insider, Jay Glazer, breaks the latest information from the FOXSports.com newsroom with updates on coaching and front office moves from around the league. Critically acclaimed comedic impressionist Frank Caliendo makes his entertaining playoff picks. This week, Johnson evaluates two of the league’s premier running backs as they prepare to meet in Minneapolis: Brian Westbrook and Adrian Peterson.

BILLICK: GIANTS’ ROAD TO SUPER BOWL REPEAT HAS MANY OBSTACLES – With the defending Super Bowl champions watching to see who emerges to face them at the Meadowlands next Sunday, NFL on FOX analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick looks at the NFC playoff teams and sees a few that could end the Giants’ hopes to repeat as champions: “The Panthers have the physicality on defense and the one-two punch at running back. In the Minnesota Vikings, you’re talking about the No. 1 rush defense in the league. Obviously they didn’t face the Giants with Brandon Jacobs and as we’ve seen that makes a big difference. But if Tarvaris Jackson can continue to play well, they too have a good one-two punch in the running game with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. The Eagles have gone into the Meadowlands and won and could again. The Eagles are used to playing the Giants. There’s no intimidation, which can be a factor when you face a defending champion.”

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings - Sunday 4pm
Announcer Joe Buck
Analyst Troy Aikman
Sideline Reporter Pam Oliver

FOX’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL BASH KICKS OFF NEW YEAR’S DAY – FOX Sports’ third Bowl Bash kicks off the New Year with a total of five major bowl games over an exciting week. On Thursday, Jan. 1 coverage gets started with the FedEx Orange Bowl (8:00 PM ET) between Big East Champion Cincinnati and ACC Champion Virginia Tech. Friday, Jan. 2 features two exciting matchups with Texas Tech taking on the Ole Miss Rebels in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic (2:00 PM ET) and Alabama taking on Utah in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at 7:30 PM ET. On Monday, Jan. 5, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl pits Texas against Ohio State and next Thursday, Jan 8, the FedEx BCS National Championship will be decided when Florida and Oklahoma square off for the title.

BCS on FOX analysts Charles Davis, Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson today previewed this Bowl season’s most exciting games and storylines on the 2009 BCS on FOX Preview Press Call.

CS on FOX pregame analyst Barry Switzer on whether Bob Stoops’ lack of success in BCS Bowl games will motivate Oklahoma: “Anything that has happened in the past doesn’t have anything to do with this football team. This is a better team than the ones Bob has taken to bowl games in the past. Anytime you go to a BCS game, especially the Championship Game, you’re playing a team as good or better than you. The last two times Oklahoma has been in this situation they’ve played teams that I believe were better than them.”

BCS on FOX pregame analyst Jimmy Johnson on how he thinks Florida quarterback Tim Tebow would do in the NFL: “The more I watch Tim Tebow, the more I think he might be an NFL quarterback. A lot of people are projecting him to be in another position and if he is a quarterback, probably not being a first round pick. We all know he’s a tremendous competitor, has a great passion for the game and is obviously a physical presence. The more you watch him, the more you believe that he can be an NFL quarterback. If I was a GM, I would like to have him on my team.”

BCS on FOX lead game analyst Charles Davis added: “If a coaching staff didn’t think they could use Tim Tebow on their team, whether he can play quarterback or not, I would question them on how hard they want to coach. I can’t look at him and say, “well, I don’t know.” If you can’t get him to that level then that’s fine, but I think you’d be remised by not taking him and giving that an opportunity.”

Jan. 1 -FedEx Orange Bowl - 8pm
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Announcer Thom Brennaman
Analyst Charles Davis
Sideline Reporter Chris Myers

Jan. 2 - AT&T Cotton Bowl - 2pm
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Announcer Pat Summerall
Analyst Brian Baldinger
Sideline Reporter/Host Jeanne Zelasko
Sideline Reporter/Host Krista Voda

Jan. 2 - Allstate Sugar Bowl - 7:30pm
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Utah Utes
Announcer Kenny Albert
Analyst Daryl Johnston
Sideline Reporter Chris Myers
Sideline Reporter Charissa Thompson

Jan. 5 - Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - 7:30pm
Texas Longhorns vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Announcer Matt Vasgersian
Analyst Tim Ryan
Sideline Reporter Chris Myers
Sideline Reporter Laura Okmin

Jan. 8 - FedEx BCS National Championship - 7:30pm
Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Announcer Thom Brennaman
Analyst Charles Davis
Sideline Reporter Chris Myers

MLB Network - Day 3

The countdown continues -

With the debut of MLB Network on January 1 fast approaching, we will be counting down the final 10 days, New Year's Eve-style, until the Network's Opening Day. Each day through January 1, we will reveal a new piece of news about the largest launch in the history of cable television.

Let the countdown continue......

3 …… MLB NETWORK TO AIR AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY “BASEBALL”

MLB Network today announced that the acclaimed documentary, Baseball, directed by award-winning documentarian Ken Burns, will be part of its programming schedule during its opening months. Beginning on January 6, episodes (or “innings” as they are referred throughout the film series) will air every Tuesday night in January at 8:00 p.m. ET, and Tuesday and Thursday nights in February, also at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Baseball is the most comprehensive visual exploration of America’s national pastime ever produced, and has won an Emmy Award. The “Innings” explore the rich history of the game while also venturing into societal and cultural topics including race, business and labor relations.

Here are the air dates and times for Baseball:

· 1st Inning - Our Game – Tuesday, January 6 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 2nd Inning - Something Like A War – Tuesday, January 13 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 3rd Inning - The Faith of Fifty Million People – Tuesday, January 20 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 4th Inning - A National Heirloom – Tuesday, January 27 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 5th Inning - Shadow Ball – Tuesday, February 10 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 6th Inning - The National Pastime – Thursday, February 12 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 7th Inning - The Capital of Baseball – Tuesday, February 17 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 8th Inning - A Whole New Ballgame – Thursday, February 19 – 8:00 p.m. ET

· 9th Inning - Home – Tuesday, February 24 – 8:00 p.m. ET

The attached press release has more information. We’ll be back tomorrow with item #2. To recap, here’s our list of news items to date:

10. Barry Larkin Joins MLB Network
9. MLB Network to Install “Ballpark Cams” in Every MLB Stadium
8. PRIME 9 Debuts on MLB Network
7. Mitch Williams, Greg Amsinger and Jon Heyman Join MLB Network
6. MLB Network Uses the Latest Technology to Capture the Action
5. MLBNetwork.com Launches “Channel Locator” to Help Fans Find Channel
4. MLB Network Announces Hot Stove Studio Teams for Week One, Including New Baseball Insider Tom Verducci
3. MLB Network to Air Award-Winning Documentary “Baseball”

A few things to do...

Here's a few things to do while we're on the final days of 2008 -

* - Make sure you check out my daugher's top 10 lists of the year. Abbie has her top 10 movies, songs, places to visit and photos. So, stop by her website right here! Thanks!

* - Make the appointment starting Monday to check out Andy Gresh's new show on Sirius channnel 123 on Mad Dog Radio. Gresh, formerly with me at the Score in Providence and most recently on ESPN Radio and Sirius NFL Channel, will do the 8pm-1am, EST shift, but will be doing 7pm-midnight next week for the launch.

* - My good friend Ken Fang over at "Fang's Bites" is hitting the merchandise. He's got t-shirts and mugs, so stop by and buy something, will ya!

* - Make it a point to watch "Friday Night Lights" on NBC when it starts next month. I've watched the full season to date on DirecTV and it's been great. I don't want to give any of it away but there has been some twist and turns that will make you feel good about sticking it out to watch it. It's a great show. BTW: the season finale on DirecTV is on January 14th.

* - Finally, make it a point to become a daily reader to "The Crowe's Nest" by subscribing to the blog by email or on Facebook. Your links are on the right hand side of the page if you miss them here! Thanks to everyone for making it a great year so far and we look forward to growing in the upcoming year as well!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yes, this would get us excited! Cowher to Jets?

If this were to come to fruition, this would make it all worthwhile. Andrew Marchand of 1050 ESPN NY reports tonight that Bill Cowher could be intestested in coaching the NY Jets.

Let's get it done people!

We get a full write-up as well from Mike Florio and the always up on everything Pro Football Talk.com website.

Disney on Ice

BTW: want to know what I did on my Monday?

Well, my wife Laura and I took our daughter Abbie out for a special treat. We went to see Disney on Ice at the Dunk where she got to see her friend Brianna and everyone from Disney too! Take a look -

"I'm so excited for the show!"



Mickey!



OMG, it's Minnie on the ice!



STITCH rockin' da house!



Yeah for all my friends!



Boy, do I need a nap now!



Abbie thought that was soooooo much fun! She can't wait to go back again soon.

Monday night update: Tri-firings in the NFL, Pro Bowl to Miami? WWE RAW tonight

After a busy day that included a Disney on Ice performance at the Dunk, we give you a few tidbits as we near the Monday evening -

* - "Black Monday" for the NFL sees three firings in Cleveland, New York and Detroit. The only real surprise is that Eric Mangini goes so quickly with the Jets. Going from four wins to nine shouldn't lead to a dismissal, but when you're 8-3 after road wins at New England and Tennessee and you end the year at 9-7, you're in the discussion for a firing. It's a good move to move on for the NY'ers. Meanwhile, no brainers in Cleveland and Detroit. Romeo Crennel's crew hadn't scored an offensive td in six games and the Lions didn't win a game all season for Rod Marinelli. Enough said! I'd love to see Bill Cowher in NY, but I don't see it happening. Meanwhile, Pats OC Josh McDaniels will get a look-see in Cleveland according to owner Randy Lerner, who's already requested permission from New England to talk to Scott Pioli about his vacant GM gig.

* - The Pro Bowl in 2010 will take place in Miami just one week before the Super Bowl in the same Pro Player Stadium. That's a serious change from what the norm is now with the game the Sunday after the Super Bowl in Hawaii. Looks like we're getting ready for some serious labor wrangling, huh!

* - If you're going to watch WWE RAW tonight on the USA Network, here's what you'll get according to WWE.com -

* - Winner Faces John Cena at the Royal Rumble for the World Title: Shawn Michaels vs. JBL vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho



* Race to the Rumble Diva's Battle Royal - Winner faces Beth Phoenix for the WWE Women's Title at the Royal Rumble: Candice Michelle vs. Jillian Hall vs. Mickie James vs. Katie Lea Burchill vs. Kelly Kelly vs. Melina

That's all for now.

NBC Press Releases: NHL Winter Classic plus NFL Wild Card Weekend

A pair of press releases from the good people at NBC Sports. It's a big week for the Peacock as on Thursday, they'll do the NHL's Winter Classic from Wrigley Field with the Black Hawks hosting the Red Wings. Then on Saturday, it's an NFL Wild Card double-dip with Atlanta vs. Arizona and Indianapolis vs. San Diego and we have news on who will be the broadcast team for the Falcons/Cardinals. Here's the news -



NBC SPORTS TO BROADCAST NHL WINTER CLASSIC FROM WRIGLEY FIELD ON NEW YEAR'S DAY

Wrigley Field gives us a setting and a chance to do some historical stuff.” NBC's Costas

“It's a baseball field of dreams and now the hockey guys get to take it over.”NBC's Flood

"I'm so envious and jealous of the guys that get that opportunity to play in that game in arguably the greatest sports venue there has ever been." Chicago native, NBC's Olczyk


NEW YORK – Dec. 29, 2008 – NBC Sports will present broadcast coverage of NHL Winter Classic 2009 between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, New Year's Day beginning at 1 p.m. ET from historic Wrigley Field in Chicago. This marks the second outdoor NHL game played in the United States; last year's inaugural event was the most-viewed NHL regular season game in more than a decade.

Bob Costas will host NBC's coverage from Buffalo, joined by Mike "Doc" Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst), Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter), Darren Pang (inside-the glass-reporter) and Mike Milbury (studio analyst). NBC's NHL coverage is produced by Sam Flood, the former captain of the Williams College hockey team.

COSTAS ON LAST YEAR'S CLASSIC: "It really was fun last year no question about it. It would have been fun just because of the atmosphere with that whole snow globe look on television and then the game goes to overtime and Sidney Crosby ends up winning it. You couldn't ask for anything more perfect than that."

COSTAS ON THE BUZZ FACTOR: "The rating is one thing and that is measurable and a
very, very good number for hockey, but buzz is a different thing. And for the week after that, everywhere I went it seemed people were remarking about the game -- how different it seemed and how it kind of jumped out from the sports landscape. Wrigley Field gives us a setting and a chance to do some historical stuff there, which is pretty much my job -- not to be a hockey expert but to set the scene."

MILBURY ON THE BUILDING EXCITEMENT: "People are starting to talk about the
outdoor game: 'Are you going to be at Wrigley, are you going to do the outdoor game?'"

MILBURY ON THE ORIGINAL SIX MATCH-UP: "The Chicago Blackhawks have a great group of young players and have created the kind of buzz about hockey in Chicago that hasn't been there for more than a decade, against the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are always entertaining and always fun to watch. Not only is the setting great but the two teams couldn't be better. It's two Original Six franchises that have a long tradition of a fierce rivalry and it should be a tremendous hockey game as well as a tremendous event."

CHICAGO NATIVE OLCZYK ON BEING PART OF THE EVENT: "Being a Chicago native my whole life and growing up a diehard Cubs fan, to be a part of this on New Year's Day is going to be one of those moments in my lifetime that will be very special. The buzz has been at a fever pitch since the announcement. With the way the team has played and transformed over the last year, going up against the template in any sports franchise in the Detroit Red Wings.

"To be able to be at the game at Wrigley Field...I'm so envious and jealous of the guys that get that opportunity to play in that game in arguably the greatest sports venue there has ever been."

OLCZYK ON THE EXCITEMENT IN CHICAGO: "The people of Chicago are really, really
excited. It's such a small venue and people are going to be right on top of the rink. If you can't get there you better be watching on television. This event could be the toughest ticket ever for a regular season event when it comes to sports in the city of Chicago. That's saying a whole heck of a lot when it comes to some of the teams and games that they've had in that city."

MCGUIRE ON BROADCASTING THE OUTDOOR GAME FOR THE FIRST TIME:
"While I didn't have the privilege of working on the crew last year I'm unbelievably excited to have a chance and the opportunity to work with the crew this year especially in Eddie Olczyk's hometown in Chicago in Wrigley field which is an unbelievable place."

OLCZYK ON WHAT THIS GAME MEANS FOR THE BLACKHAWKS FRANCHISE: "I think it helps reestablish and reconnect with the strong fan base that has been there, and then
reaching out to hundreds of thousands of people who maybe have never seen a game before to let them know the team has moved up the sports totem pole in the city of Chicago."

COSTAS & HOCKEY: Costas, who hosted the inaugural Winter Classic in Buffalo, has a history broadcasting hockey, serving as the play-by-play commentator for minor league hockey's Syracuse Blazers in 1973-74 and also occasionally filling in for the late, great Dan Kelly on KMOX's St. Louis Blues radiocasts in the last 70s and early 80s.

MOST VIEWED GAME IN MORE THAN A DECADE: Last year's Winter Classic, broadcast, New Year's Day on NBC, drew 3.7 million viewers making the it the most viewed NHL regular season game in more than a decade (Jan. 27, 1996 on Fox, regional broadcast, 3.8 million). The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in the first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history with Sidney Crosby scoring the game-winning goal in a shootout.

NBC NHL GAME OF THE WEEK TO FEATURE CONSISTENT START TIME/FLEX SCHEDULING: Following the outdoor game, the NBC NHL "Game of the Week" drops the puck on its fourth season, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009 with the New York Rangers at Pittsburgh
Penguins. For the first time, "Game of the Week" broadcasts have a consistent start time – 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for April 12, 2 p.m. start time). For the second season, the NHL and NBC will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select from up to three games on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen days prior to the scheduled games (on Mondays), NBC, in conjunction with the NHL, will select one of those games as the "Game of the Week" to be broadcast during the NBC window. The other games will remain available to the teams' regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC's broadcast window.



NBC Sports will broadcast live coverage of NFL Wild Card Saturday Doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. ET with a special edition of the "Football Night in America" studio show followed by the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals (9-7) hosting the Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at 4:30 p.m. ET. At 8 p.m. ET, the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers (8-8) will host Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (12-4), winners of nine games in a row.

The "NBC Sunday Night Football" team of Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) will call the Colts-Chargers game from San Diego. Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Tiki Barber (sideline reporter) will call the Falcons-Cardinals game from Arizona.

Bob Costas (host), Keith Olbermann (co-host), analyst Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated will analyze the playoffs from the "Football Night in America" studio.

NFC - NO. 5 FALCONS (11-5) AT NO. 4 CARDINALS (9-7):
The Arizona Cardinals will be hosting their first home playoff game since moving to the southwest and first since 1947 when they were the Chicago Cardinals; the franchise's last playoff appearance came in 1998. Arizona, which scored a franchise record 424 points, boasts a high-flying attack led by QB Kurt Warner and wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

The Atlanta Falcons are in the postseason for the first time since 2004, led by rookie QB Matt Ryan and RB Michael Turner who ran for nearly 1,700 yards. The Falcons ended the season winning five of their last six, and eight of their last 10.

AFC - NO. 5 COLTS (12-4) AT NO. 4 CHARGERS (8-8):
The Indianapolis Colts, after starting the season 2-4, ran off nine straight victories to end the season as the NFL's hottest team. It marked the sixth straight season the Colts have won at least 12 games. Peyton Manning finished with 4,000 yards for a record ninth straight season.

The Chargers also rode a winning streak to the postseason, coming from 4-8 to win their last four games and capture the AFC West title, including a 52-21 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in the season finale. For San Diego, it is their third straight division title.

The teams met last season in an AFC Divisional Round playoff game with the Chargers coming from behind to win 28-24. Billy Volek, subbing for the injured Philip Rivers, scored the game-winner on a quarterback sneak.

MLB Network - Day 4

Now, just a scant 72 hours until the launch of the MLB Network this Thursday. So, with that, we get day 4 in the countdown from the MLB Network and news on Tom Verducci's role in the station -

With the debut of MLB Network on January 1 fast approaching, we will be counting down the final 10 days, New Year's Eve-style, until the Network's Opening Day. Each day through January 1, we will reveal a new piece of news about the largest launch in the history of cable television.

Let the countdown continue......

4…… MLB NETWORK ANNOUNCES HOT STOVE STUDIO TEAMS FOR WEEK ONE, INCLUDING NEW BASEBALL INSIDER TOM VERDUCCI

It’s been known for weeks now that MLB Network will launch at 6:00pm ET on January 1 with the debut of Hot Stove, but who will viewers see on day one? And, for that matter, on day two? Now the secret is out. Thursday’s episode of Hot Stove will be hosted by Victor Rojas and will feature analysts Barry Larkin, Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds, along with reporters Trenni Kusnierek and Hazel Mae, baseball insiders Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci and special guest Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies. Friday’s Hot Stove, which begins at its regular time of 7:00pm ET, will feature the same studio team, plus special guest Michael Cuddyer of the Minnesota Twins.

In addition, MLB Network has added new episodes of Hot Stove for this weekend, at 7:00pm ET on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s show will be hosted by Rojas with analysts Joe Magrane, Mitch Williams and Reynolds, along with Heyman as baseball insider and Greg Amsinger on the update desk, and featuring former Major League pitcher Mike Flanagan as special guest. Sunday’s show will mark Amsinger’s debut as host, and he’ll be joined by Magrane, Reynolds, Williams and Heyman.

To recap, here are the dates, times and studio teams for the first four episodes of Hot Stove on MLB Network:

Thursday, January 1, 6:00pm ET
Victor Rojas (host), Barry Larkin, Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds (analysts), Trenni Kusnierek and Hazel Mae (reporters), Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci (baseball insiders), Jimmy Rollins (guest)

Friday, January 2, 7:00pm ET
Victor Rojas (host), Barry Larkin, Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds (analysts), Trenni Kusnierek and Hazel Mae (reporters), Jon Heyman (baseball insider), Michael Cuddyer (guest)

Saturday, January 3, 7:00pm ET
Victor Rojas (host), Joe Magrane, Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams (analysts), Greg Amsinger (reporter), Jon Heyman (baseball insider), Mike Flanagan (guest)

Sunday, January 4, 7:00pm ET
Greg Amsinger (host), Joe Magrane, Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams (analysts), Jon Heyman (baseball insider)

We’ll be back tomorrow with item #3. To recap, here’s our list of news items to date:

10. Barry Larkin Joins MLB Network

9. MLB Network to Install “Ballpark Cams” in Every MLB Stadium

8. PRIME 9 Debuts on MLB Network

7. Mitch Williams, Greg Amsinger and Jon Heyman Join MLB Network

6. MLB Network Uses the Latest Technology to Capture the Action

5. MLBNetwork.com Launches “Channel Locator” to Help Fans Find Channel

4. MLB Network Announces Hot Stove Studio Teams for Week One, Including New Baseball Insider Tom Verducci

Sunday, December 28, 2008

NBC Pregame notes

As we sign off for the night, here are the NBC NFL Pregame notes for the day. Enjoy!

HIGHLIGHTS FROM WEEK 17 OF NBC's FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA”

“Dallas is one of the great choke artists of all time.” Football Night's
Collinsworth

“The Baltimore Ravens are one of the most frightening teams in the NFL right
now.” Football Night's Collinsworth

NBC to Broadcast Wild Card Doubleheader Next Saturday (Atlanta at Arizona &
Indianapolis at San Diego or Denver)


NEW YORK – Dec. 28, 2008 – Following are highlights from NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show, as host Bob Costas, co-host Cris Collinsworth, co-host Keith Olbermann, co-host Dan Patrick, analysts Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated take a look at the day's top storylines in the NFL:

NBC SPORTS TO BROADCAST WILD CARD DOUBLEHEADER:
NBC Sports will broadcast an NFL Wild Card doubleheader next Saturday beginning with a special edition of Football Night in America Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. At 4:30 p.m. ET, the Arizona Cardinals will host the Atlanta Falcons. At 8 p.m. ET, the Indianapolis Colts will be on the road against the winner of tonight's Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers game.

COLLINSWORTH ON THE COWBOYS: "Dallas is one of the great choke artists of all time. All those special players, Roy Williams, 'Pacman' Jones, completely collapsed on them today."

COLLINSWORTH ON T.O. HURTING THE COWBOYS: "You just have to wonder if all this would have happened if Bill Parcells was around or a coach of that ilk to take a stand and to not allow it."

COLLINSWORTH ON FEUD BETWEEN PHILIP RIVERS & JAY CUTLER: "A catfight that will never make pay-per-view."

PATRICK ON THE LIONS: "0 and 16 -- they earned it."

PATRICK ON ROETHLISBERGER PLAYING TODAY: "You'd get more out of practice than you do playing against Cleveland."

BETTIS ON DEANGELO WILLIAMS: "The last part of the season, he's arguably been the best player in the NFL, not just the best running back."

COLLINSWORTH ON CAROLINA: "I think Carolina's going to the Super Bowl, I really do. I've been watching the New York Giants and looking at these two teams, right now Carolina's the better team."

COLLINSWORTH ON THE BUCS: "I always like to say something on television that's never been said before: it is the Buccaneers defense that blew it. They look old. It's over, it's time for a change."

BETTIS ON THE BUCS DEFENSE: "They're living by their name, not the talent."

COLLINSWORTH ON THE RAVENS: "To me the Baltimore Ravens are one of the most
frightening teams in the NFL right now. With the way they can play defense and now Joe Flacco getting hot, watch out, we may have another team coming off the bottom of the seedings and winning a Super Bowl."

COLLINSWORTH PREDICTING BRETT FAVRE WILL RETIRE: "He's been such a great player and I don't want to demean what he's done but this has been just a horrible end
of the year between he and Kris Jenkins."

COSTAS ON THE FAVRE SIGNING: "They did the right thing. You can't guarantee outcomes."

NFL Wild Card Schedule announced and more!



Not that we want to knock our horn, but we will! As we first surmised earlier on Sunday, this is what your NFL Wild Card weekend will look like as the NFL officially announces its times for the games next Saturday and Sunday. That's right, we were dead on with our projections! Take a look - ]

NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND

Saturday, January 3

NFC: 4:30 PM (ET)
Atlanta (11-5) at Arizona (9-7) (NBC-TV)

AFC: 8:00 PM (ET)
Indianapolis (12-4) at Denver (8-7) or San Diego (7-8) (NBC-TV)

Sunday, January 4
AFC: 1:00 PM (ET)
Baltimore (11-5) at Miami (11-5) (CBS-TV)

NFC: 4:30 PM (ET)
Philadelphia (9-6-1) at Minnesota (10-6) (FOX-TV)

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Saturday, January 10

AFC: 4:30 PM (ET)
Baltimore (11-5) or Denver (8-7)/San Diego (7-8) or Indianapolis (12-4) at Tennessee (13-3) (CBS-TV)

NFC: 8:15 PM (ET)
Arizona (9-7) or Atlanta (11-5) or Minnesota (10-6) at Carolina (12-4) (FOX-TV)

Sunday, January 11
NFC: 1:00 PM (ET)
Arizona (9-7) or Atlanta (11-5) or Philadelphia (9-6-1) at New York Giants (12-4) (FOX-TV)

AFC: 4:45 PM (ET)
Miami (11-5) or Denver (8-7) or Indianapolis (12-4) or San Diego (7-8) at Pittsburgh (12-4) (CBS-TV)

In the Divisional Playoffs, the division champion with the best record in each conference is host to the surviving Wild Card Weekend team with the lowest playoff ranking. The division champion with the second-best record in each conference is host to the surviving Wild Card Weekend team with the highest playoff ranking. There are no restrictions on intradivision games.

The AFC (CBS, 6:30 PM ET) and NFC (FOX, 3:00 PM ET) Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 18, and Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida on Sunday, February 1 (NBC).

The annual AFC-NFC Pro Bowl will be played in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday, February 8 (NBC).

Red Sox look to land Penny

According to Fox Sports MLB guru, Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox are close to signing former Dodgers righty Brad Penny.

Penny is 94-75 with a 4.06 ERA after a 6-9 season with LA that left him with a 6.09 ERA for the Dodgers. It would be a one-year deal with the Sox.

NFL Notes on Sunday night

A few NFL notes to pass along on this Sunday night as we await the Broncos/Chargers AFC West Title game for the right to face the Colts next week in the playoffs -

* - NBC Sports.com's Tom Curran says Tom Brady may miss the 2009 season. His NBC Sports co-hort, Peter King contradicts the rumor, according to Pro Football Talk.com.

* - The Browns have fired GM Phil Savage and head coach Romeo Crennel. No surprise there. Scott Pioli could move in there as GM to right the ship in Cleveland. (Pro Football Talk.com and ESPN on the reports)

* - The Lions went 0-16. The fact that any NFL team can go entire season in this day and age and not win a single game is a joke.

* - Speaking of jokes, is Jon Gruden in trouble in Tampa Bay? It sure would seem so after a second straight December collapse.

* - If you're asking me, the Jets will have a new QB and new head coach in 2009!

* - For the first time in a very long time, I'm happy to see the Jets lose a game. The Dolphins going to the playoffs after a 1-15 season is a great story and testament to the great job Bill Parcells, Tony Sparano and the entire Dolphins organization has done in just one year.

* - Equal props go out to the Falcons for their turnaround after the Michael Vick fiasco. Matty Ballgame (i.e. Matt Ryan) is the 2nd best story in the league this year.

MLB Network - Day 5

It's almost here, just five more days left to the launch of the MLB Network on January 1st. Today, we get #5 in the countdown of news from the MLB Network with news on how you can find the new network on Thursday -

With the debut of MLB Network on January 1 fast approaching, we will be counting down the final 10 days, New Year's Eve-style, until the Network's Opening Day. Each day through January 1, we will reveal a new piece of news about the largest launch in the history of cable television.

Let the countdown continue......

5…… MLBNETWORK.COM LAUNCHES “CHANNEL LOCATOR” TO HELP FANS FIND CHANNEL


With the MLB Network debut around the corner, many fans have been wondering where they will be able to find the channel. MLBNetwork.com – the website recently launched to support the largest launch in cable history – today announces a new feature to help viewers find MLB Network in their neighborhoods. The “Channel Locator,” found on the homepage, allows fans to type in their zip code and find a full listing of cable, satellite and telco providers that carry MLB Network in their area, along with channel listing details in standard and high definition where applicable. In addition, if there are video providers in that zip code that do not carry MLB Network, the “Channel Locator” provides a link to send a message to that provider requesting that they add the channel.

When MLB Network launches on January 1 in over 50 million homes, it will be carried by most major cable and telco systems as well as on DirecTV on expanded basic or digital basic. Consumers will not have to pay extra for MLB Network. DirecTV and many of the cable and telco systems will also offer MLB Network in HD at launch. If after consulting the “Channel Locator” on MLBNetwork.com you still have questions, please contact your cable, satellite or telco provider.

The “Channel Locator” feature is just one part of what MLBNetwork.com offers fans. MLBNetwork.com will provide exclusive insights as reported on air, as well as program schedules, video highlights, bios of on-air talent and a rich-media tour of the studios. During the season, MLBNetwork.com will showcase video analysis of games and other baseball developments as well as interviews and human interest segments. The website also will benefit from an integrated partnership with MLB.com, complete with interactive community involvement and contributions from on-air personalities as well as live/on-demand content features that visitors have grown accustomed to count on from the league and individual team sites.

We’ll be back tomorrow with item #4. To recap, here’s our list of news items to date:

10. Barry Larkin Joins MLB Network
9. MLB Network to Install “Ballpark Cams” in Every MLB Stadium
8. PRIME 9 Debuts on MLB Network
7. Mitch Williams, Greg Amsinger and Jon Heyman Join MLB Network
6. MLB Network Uses the Latest Technology to Capture the Action
5. MLBNetwork.com Launches “Channel Locator” to Help Fans Find Channel

NFL Pregame Notes - CBS and FOX + Favre not happy with Mangini!

Here are you week 17 pregame notes for the NFL from CBS and FOX -



Glazer Reports Favre Not Happy Playing For Mangini

Plus What Coaches Are In/Out For Next Season

Strahan: McNabb & Eagles Will Not Lay Down Against the Cowboys

Jimmy Johnson: You Can’t Imagine How Miserable It Is to Lose Like the Lions


FOX NFL INSIDER Jay Glazer reports that Brett Favre is unhappy playing in New York for Eric Mangini: “With Favre, who knows? Do I think he’s done? Yes. Everybody I’ve talked to thinks he’s done. There are a couple of reasons. He talked about his shoulder. It has gotten worse over the last couple of weeks. The other issue is his happiness. Is he happy playing for Eric Mangini? The answer I keep getting is no. In Green Bay, Favre earned the right to be treated differently. With the Jets he’s treated like everyone else. He gets called to the ‘Principal’s Office’ and is grilled by Mangini for the decisions he’s making in games. On Wednesdays and Thursdays the players are quizzed about their upcoming opponent and Favre feels it’s homework they don’t need. I don’t think he enjoys it that much. I don’t think he’s happy playing for Mangini.”

Glazer also reports which NFL coaches will be in or out after this season: “Michael Singletary is in, I know that the 49ers are working on a long-term extension with him and it could be done as early as tonight, a 5-year extension. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz is out, though I’m hearing that Singletary wanted him back but the front office wanted Martz out.

I’ve learned that Clark Hunt, the Chiefs owner, met with Marty Schottenheimer about a Bill Parcells-type of position, a VP position.

Romeo Crennel in Cleveland is out as is GM Phil Savage. They are going to start looking at guys like Scott Pioli immediately, Josh McDaniels, and Steve Spagnuolo.
In Houston Gary Kubiak's is in, but I am hearing the defensive staff is out.
Rod Marinelli in Detroit, they are going to meet tomorrow morning and it looks like Rod will not be safe there. They are also going to do a strong search. I’m hearing so many different names there, you hear of guys like Steve Spagnuolo, Rex Ryan, Michael Mularkey and even Mike Heimerdinger with the Tennessee Titans.

Jets head coach Eric Mangini, obviously if he wins today will be back and if he doesn’t win, I still think he is back. It’s 50/50 right now, but again with the players there, I think something has to change.

In St. Louis, the fact that Billy Devaney was named GM this week certainly looks good for Jim Haslett. The players have put a petition to the owners that they want Haslett back. They still are going to do an extensive search, Rex Ryan and Steve Spagnuolo could be in the mix."

Co-host Terry Bradshaw on wanting the Lions to lose today to finish the season 0-16: “I don’t normally pull for teams to lose but I wanted the Giants last season to lose to New England so we could see history. Today would be epic. 1-15, big deal. 0-16, to me that’s cool.”

Analyst Jimmy Johnson recalls his similar 1-15 season with the Cowboys: “I can’t describe how miserable you feel to be a part of that. I was mentally and physically drained and when you are that low, you can’t get any lower.”

Analyst Howie Long added: “It’s mind boggling, the way the NFL is set up right now, that any team could go 0-16.”

Analyst Jimmy Johnson on QB Chad Pennington’s opportunity to beat his former team and go to the playoffs with Miami: “New York kicked Chad out. It would be justice for him to go back, win and show them that he’s an outstanding quarterback.”

Analyst Michael Strahan on how hard of an obstacle Philadelphia will be for the Cowboys who need to only win to make the playoffs: “They’re playing against a Philadelphia Eagles team that everyone thinks is out of it. But the Eagles have a quarterback who is playing for his future. McNabb is going to play well. Brian Dawkins plays with a lot of pride. They’re not going to lie down. It’s hard to win in Philly.”

Analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Jimmy Johnson has some advice for NFL coaches going in to playoffs: “First, you must understand the playoffs are not the regular season. The intensity and the excitement will be higher. The opponent is as talented and will be as prepared and as good as you are, if not better. Keep your preparation as close to what you can as the regular season. Give the players a reason you’re going to win and always have a little something, what I call a momentum changer, ready on game day. It can be a trick play on offense, a certain blitz on defense or even a fake on special teams. The players will be excited about surprising your opponent. Now don’t get me wrong, sound fundamentals and protecting the ball will still win the game, but one or two surprises can be the difference. All season long, the computers have been studying your tendencies, so now is the time to break some of those tendencies. Believe me, your opponent will know them as well as you do. As far as resting players a week before the playoffs, each team is different. Do you need a confidence builder as the Giants did last year when they played New England or is it more important to get your team healthy? Last thing, be confident, be aggressive and take some chances. It might just get you a ring.”

Today’s edition of FOX NFL SUNDAY included the latest chapter of The Terry Awards, Bradshaw’s unique take on this season’s distinguished players and coaches. This year’s Terry Awards go to:

Young Terry Award (AFC)
Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens

Old Terry Award (AFC)
Kerry Collins - Tennessee Titans

NFL MVP
Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons

Still My Guy
Brett Favre - New York Jets

Great Guy/Great Coach
Mike Holmgren - Seattle Seahawks

Old Terry Award (NFC)
Kurt Warner - Arizona Cardinals

Coach of the Year
Jeff Fisher - Tennessee Titans

Assistant Coach of the Year
David Lee - Miami Dolphins

Next Jimmy Johnson Award
Mike Smith - Atlanta Falcons

Comeback Player of the Year
Jake Delhomme - Carolina Panthers

Next Michael Strahan Award
Justin Tuck - New York Giants

Next Howie Long Award
DeMarcus Ware - Dallas Cowboys

Great Player/Great Hair
Troy Polamalu - Pittsburgh Steelers

Mr. Tough Guy
James Harrison - Pittsburgh Steelers

Coach Who Does Not Panic
Tony Dungy - Indianapolis Colts

Best at Filling the Gap
Shaun Rogers - Cleveland Browns
Albert Haynesworth - Tennessee Titans

Analyst Michael Strahan on the outlook for the Carolina Panthers: “After last week’s loss, I have more respect for Carolina. This team is better and more consistent than they were earlier in the year. They completed against the Giants, the best team in the league, in their house. Carolina’s confidence should be at an all-time high.”


NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES FROM CBS SPORTS’ “THE NFL TODAY” WITH JAMES BROWN, DAN MARINO, SHANNON SHARPE, BILL COWHER AND BOOMER ESIASON FOR WEEK 17 ON DECEMBER 28

More People Watch THE NFL ON CBS Than Any Other Network Through 15 Weeks of 2008 NFL Season

Through 15 weeks of the 2008 NFL regular-season, more people watch NFL games on CBS than any other network, based on a cumulative analysis of Nielsen data.

Through 15 weeks of the 2008 season (September 4-December 15, 2008), THE NFL ON CBS regular-season games were seen by an estimated 145.9 million viewers, +16% higher than NBC’s 126.1 million viewers, +4% higher than FOX’s 140.8 million viewers and +53% higher than ESPN’s 95.4 million.

The cumulative audience is based on Total Viewers (Persons 2+) who have watched at least six minutes of NFL game coverage since the start of the 2008 regular-season.

QUICK HITS
(On New York Jets)
SHANNON SHARPE:
I think the Jets were overvalued…They had two huge road wins; go to New England and Tennessee and win, then come home and lose to Denver, then go on the road and lose to San Francisco and Seattle. They are not playing like a playoff-caliber football team for one simple reason – their quarterback puts the ball in harm's way. When you turn the football over at that position, you don't win football games no matter how good you are defensively.

(On Miami-New York Jets)
BOOMER ESIASON:
I like the Jets to win the game, if they don’t it's going to be Armageddon around here tomorrow.

►FOOTBALL FACE-OFF
(On what player might not be back with his team next year)
BILL COWHER:
This is nothing against the Dallas Cowboys but I’m going to say T.O. (Terrell Owens)…T.O. was unhappy with his role in an offense when they had Witten and Barber, but all of a sudden now you acquire Roy Williams. All of a sudden you bring back a healthy Felix Jones. Where does he fit in? This offense is about developing the offense, not trying to keep the players happy. I say they have to get rid of T.O. They have enough playmakers.

BOOMER: Brett Favre…I think he’s going to retire at the end of the year. Plaxico Burress is not coming back with the New York Giants. He may think he is rehabbing his image around here in New York, but that is not going to be the case. The other person is maybe Chad Johnson. Chad may not like to hear it but I don't think the Cincinnati Bengals are going to put up with this nonsense anymore, especially when they’re going to have to give T.J. Houshmandzadeh a big contract. And of course we all know that Matt Cassel is not coming back to the New England Patriots. He is going to be a very rich man at this time next year.

► “INSIDE THE GAME” WITH CHARLEY CASSERLY
(On Donovan McNabb returning to Philadelphia next year)
CASSERLY:
Despite all the reports, he’s not going to be traded. He'll be back with the Eagles next year. He has two years to go on his contract – 2009 will be $9 million and 2010 will be $10 million. What I can picture the Eagles doing is this – extending him on a year-to-year basis with some form of roster bonuses that he would get paid in March. What I do not see happening is a long-term contract with a big upfront money guarantee. He’s definitely staying in Philly.

(On Tampa Bay’s tailspin)
CASSERLY:
I think it all stems from Monte Kiffin announcing that he's going to the University of Tennessee. [There’s] a lot of resentment in that building. [There’s] a lot of hard feelings in that building. Why couldn't you wait until the end of the season? In my opinion Monte Kiffin is the heart and soul of that defense. In the last three weeks that heart has been ripped out and it’s been reflected by their poor play on the field.

Thinking out loud...NFL playoffs

Just thinking out loud at the NFL Wild Card Playoff weekend if things should stand as they are at 6:35pm, EST -

If I'm the NFL, here's how I do it for TV:

Saturday on NBC -
4:30pm Atlanta at Arizona
8:15pm Indianapolis at Denver/San Diego

Sunday:
CBS - 12:30pm Baltimore at Miami
FOX - 4:30pm Philadelphia at Minnesota

But, like I said, there's still some football to be played yet.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Seymour out for Pats Sunday

According to the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe, the Patriots have announced that Richard Seymour is out for the regular season finale against the Bills Sunday. Seymour is still suffering from a back injury sustained in last week's rout of Arizona.

Remember, the Pats have to win and have either the Jets or Jaguars beat the Dolphins or Ravens respectively to make it to the playoffs.

Weather for the Buffalo area calls for winds gusting from 25-35 MPH with temps falling from the mid-50's to the 40's by late afternoon. There could be a little rain as well.

Should be fun!

MLB Network - Day 6

The Countdown to Opening Day of the MLB Network moves on and on and on and on and on, the beat don't stop until the break of 6pm on Thursday. Sorry, couldn't help myself with the Rapper's Delight rant. So, here's number 6 in the top 10 things counting down to the launch of the MLB Network (channel 213 on DirecTV in case you were wondering) on Thursday -

With the debut of MLB Network on January 1 fast approaching, we will be counting down the final 10 days, New Year's Eve-style, until the Network's Opening Day. Each day through January 1, we will reveal a new piece of news about the largest launch in the history of cable television.

Let the countdown continue……

6…… MLB NETWORK USES THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO CAPTURE THE ACTION

With the creation of brand new headquarters in Secaucus, MLB Network will use state-of-the-art technology to reformat classic film to near HD quality, store all footage digitally, and utilize the latest in HD video displays on the set.

Video displays will be prominent on the set of Studio 3, where a touch screen monitor will allow the on-air personalities to interact with graphics and footage to make a point. Between light boxes, screens, projectors, and monitors, there are over 50 displays in the studios including a Sharp 108-inch high definition screen that will prominently show the latest highlights.

With more than 300 miles of cable – the length of circling the bases at all 30 MLB parks 147 times – running throughout the studios, MLB Network will capture and transmit Major League Baseball action more thoroughly and clearly than its ever been done before.

Both the Commissioner's Office and MLB Productions, in conjunction with MLB Network, developed new software that will allow for digital logging of games in a completely tapeless environment. This system routes data throughout the entire facility – allowing producers and editors to have simultaneous access to all files immediately. If Harold Reynolds is on-air describing Manny Ramirez as a great 0-2 hitter, within seconds the Network can locate and air Ramirez at-bats in which he faced an 0-2 count.

MLB Productions has searched the MLB footage archive and found the original film negatives to nearly 30 classic World Series films. These films have all been retransferring to high definition for the first time ever to take advantage of MLB Network's HD transmission format. When these upgraded films debut on MLB Network, these airings will represent the highest quality these films have ever been presented in.

We’ll be back tomorrow with item #5. To recap, here’s our list of news items to date:

10. Barry Larkin Joins MLB Network

9. MLB Network to Install “Ballpark Cams” in Every MLB Stadium

8. PRIME 9 Debuts on MLB Network

7. Mitch Williams, Greg Amsinger and Jon Heyman Join MLB Network

6. MLB Network Uses the Latest Technology to Capture the Action

BTW: here's Rapper's Delight for you as well -



Enjoy!

NFL picks for Week 17

Yes, we've made it all the way to the final week of the regular season. So, in an attempt to climb my way back to .500 somehow, we're picking a 9-pack of games with my daughter Abbie, Laura's friend Miss Jen and myself taking the reigns.

Abbie's Week 17 picks:
Bills over Patriots
Dolphins over Jets
Ravens over Jaguars
Bucs over Raiders
Giants over Vikings
Texans over Bears
Falcons over Rams
Broncos over Chargers
Cowboys over Eagles

Week 16: 1-4
Season: 51-33


Miss Jen's Week 17 picks:
Bills over Patriots
Jets over Dolphins
Ravens over Jaguars
Chargers over Broncos
Cowboys over Eagles
Bucs over Raiders
Giants over Vikings
Bears over Texans
Rams over Falcons

Grandpa Barker's Week 16 picks: 4-1
Nana's Week 15 picks: 5-1

Luke's Week 14 picks: 3-2
Grandpa Crowe's Week 13 picks: 6-2
Auntie Joy's Week 12 picks: 3-2
Mark JR's Week 11 picks: 4-1-1
Uncle Joe's Week 10 picks: 3-2
Uncle Chris' Week 9 picks: 2-3
Mama's Week 8 picks: 1-4

Papa's Week 17 picks:
Bills +6 over Patriots
Dolphins +2.5 over Jets
Ravens -12 over Jaguars
Bucs -13 over Raiders
Falcons -14.5 over Rams
Giants +6.5 over Vikings
Eagles -1 over Cowboys
Texans -2.5 over Bears
Broncos +8 over Chargers

Papa's Week 16 picks: 1-4
Season: 38-44-2


Good luck!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Feel-Good

It may be a holiday week, but there's no rest for the "Friday Feel-Good!" No, we don't even take a break as we give something to brighten you're start to the weekend. First up, we give you the very poppy Katy Perry's "Hot and Cold" to get you up of your couch -



Next up, several scenes from a great holiday flix, "Love Actually." Here's the wedding scene with Keira Knightley (and band!) -



Then, there's Hugh Grant prancing around as the Prime Minister of England to "Jump" from the Pointer Sisters. It's a tune that Grant picked out himself for the scene that cracks me up everytime!



Finally, it's Colin "God of sex" and his trip to America with special cameos by Elisha Cuthbert and Denise Richards! Click here to watch it.

Hope you feel better! Enjoy!

Why Tex didn't come to Boston, Mangini's mindset and the top 10 political scoops of the year

A few notes as we wind down on a Friday night -

* - Murray Chass opens his blog with some good stuff and takes us into the mindset of Mark Teixeira and his wife and why they chose NY over Boston. Pretty good reading.

* - Peter King from SI.com has his weekend NFL predictions. If you're a Dolphins fan, you're not going to like it. That's all I'll say.

* - Speaking of picks, here are ESPN's week 17 NFL picks.

* - Eric Mangini's not worried about the fans reaction Sunday, even after the NY tabloids are asking the fans to root against the Jets. Read more on ESPN.com

* - One of the best political sites on the web, Politico, has the top 10 scoops of the year in politics.

* - How about this for a Christmas present? An 18-year old carpenter from Little Compton has won $1 million on a $20 scratch ticket from the Mass Lottery. Now, that's a happy holiday!

Back with more later!