Friday, December 31, 2010

UConn/Stanford Most Watched Women's Regular Season Hoops EVER

From ESPN -

UConn-Stanford Posts ESPN’s Highest Regular-Season Women’s Basketball Rating Ever


Encore Presentation of Streak-ending Game Today on ESPN Classic

ESPN2’s telecast of Stanford’s win over Connecticut was the highest-rated, women’s basketball rating ever for a regular-season game on the ESPN networks. The game, in which Stanford snapped Connecticut’s record 90-game winning streak, posted a 1.5 metered market overnight rating, according to Nielsen. This surpasses the previous high of Connecticut/Duke from Feb. 1, 2003 (1.4). The last 15 minutes of the telecast earned a 3.1 rating.

2010 was a good year for ESPN

From ESPN -

Most-Viewed Year for ESPN, ESPN2 & ESPN Networks Combined



ESPN Sets Record Every Quarter, Fourth Quarter its Most-Viewed Ever

Monday Night Football Provides Year’s 16 Biggest Cable Audiences

For the second straight year, in 2010 ESPN and ESPN2 each posted their most-viewed year, as did the combination of ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes), according to Nielsen. ESPN capped the year with its most-watched quarter ever and for the year led all cable networks in total-day delivery in key male demos – men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

ESPN averaged 880,000 homes on a 24-hour basis, up six percent from 2009, the previous record. ESPN set a new viewership record in all four quarters and finished strong as the fourth quarter registered as its most-viewed quarter in history. The 24-hour average for the quarter was 1,140,000 homes, up eight percent from the last year’s previous best, and November was ESPN’s most-watched month of all time. It was also ESPN’s most-viewed year in prime time, an average of 1,778,000 homes, up three percent from the record set last year.

ESPN’s fourth quarter and prime-time ratings were boosted once again by Monday Night Football – it posted its highest-rated season since moving to ESPN and cable’s 16 biggest audiences of 2010 to rank eighth among all television shows in primetime (cable or broadcast) – and NFL studio programming. Other strong performers included college football and NBA games, as well as continued growth for the network’s flagship program, SportsCenter.

ESPN2 averaged 276,000 homes on a total-day basis, edging last year’s 275,000 for a new record. For the fourth quarter, the network averaged 307,000 homes, a record for the quarter and up seven percent from 2009, the previous high. September was the network’s most-watched month in history.

ESPN’s six networks combined to average a record 1,282,000 homes on a 24-hour basis in 2010, an increase of five percent over last year.

ESPNU nearly doubled its audience from a year ago once year-to-year comparisons were available in October.

ESPN Deportes was again the most-watched U.S. Spanish-language sports network this year, and ranked second among all Spanish-language cable networks for viewership among Hispanic men.

More ON NHL's Winter Classic Time Change

The official release from NBC -

WINTER CLASSIC PROGRAMMING CHANGE

2011 BRIDGESTONE NHL WINTER CLASSIC MOVING TO PRIMETIME WITH 8 P.M. ET START TIME DUE TO WEATHER

ADDITIONAL WINTER CLASSIC PROGRAMMING TO FILL ORIGINAL 1-4 P.M. ET WINDOW

NEW YORK – December 31, 2010 – Due to expected steady rain throughout tomorrow afternoon, the NHL has announced that the start time of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will change from 1 p.m. ET to 8 p.m. ET. NBC Sports will still fill the original Winter Classic programming window of 1-4 p.m. ET with Winter Classic content such as live interviews and taped coverage of previous Winter Classics.

NBC SPORTS’ UPDATED NEW YEAR’S DAY PROGRAMMING


1-4 p.m. ET Winter Classic Programming


4-6 p.m. ET ADT Skills Challenge (golf)


8 p.m. ET 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

OFFICIAL NHL STATEMENT: The National Hockey League announced today the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will change the original 1 p.m. (ET) start time on New Year's Day to 8 p.m. (ET). The decision was based on the latest meteorological reports, which have advised an approaching front of potentially steady rain expected to fall through the afternoon and taper off by early evening, and after consultation with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals, national broadcast partners (NBC, CBC, RDS), the Pittsburgh Steelers, the National Hockey League Players' Association, and local officials.

We have been further advised that cooler and drier air conditions are expected in the evening with the passing of the front. The NHL feels that it was important to make this announcement at this time so as to minimize the inconvenience to all parties associated with the event, especially our fans.

All 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic tickets will continue to be honored and all ticket holder agreement language remains unchanged.

NHL's Winter Classic moved to 8pm

The NHL and NBC have moved Saturday's Winter Classic between Pittsburgh and Washintgton to 8pm.

There's rain in the forecast in the afternoon so the 1pm start has been pushed back.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why Dan Shaughnessy is unlistenable

Aside from the fact that he is just too boring on the radio, here is a another reason Dan is a hack.

He actually said on the radio Thursday about the Celtics - their defense doesn't hold up this season. It's just not there.

Oh yeah Dan?! The Celtics are ranked number one in scoring defense in the NBA at 91 points a game.

See, I just shouldn't have turned the dial during that commercial break after all.

Nearly 24 million watch Tuesday Night Football

From NBC Sports -

23.7 MILLION WATCH VIKINGS-EAGLES ON TUESDAY EDITION OF “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL”

Up 25% From Last Year’s Week 16 Game

11th SNF Game This Season to Surpass 20 Million Viewers

SNF Defeated Nightly Competition Every Week So Far This Season (16 For 16)

NEW YORK – December 30, 2010
– The special Tuesday edition of “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched show on Tuesday, the 16th straight week that primetime football on NBC defeated its nightly competition. The game, which was originally scheduled to be played on Sunday but was postponed by the NFL due to severe weather in Philadelphia, was up 25 percent over last year’s Week 16 game, according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company.

* The game, in which the Minnesota Vikings upset the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-14, in the first NFL Tuesday game since 1946, was seen by 23.7 million viewers (8:07-11:22 p.m. ET), a gain of 25 percent over last year’s Week 16 game (Cowboys-Redskins, 19.0 million) and is the fifth most-watched SNF game this season and the sixth most-watched ever on “Sunday Night Football.”

* This marks the 11th NBC primetime NFL game this season to surpass 20 million viewers, the most through 16 weeks in NBC’s five-year “Sunday Night Football” history. There is one game remaining.

NBC PRIMETIME GAMES WITH 20 MILLION OR MORE VIEWERS

(Through 16 weeks)

2010 – 11
2009 – 7
2008 – 2
2007 – 1
2006 – 3

MOST WATCHED “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” GAMES:

1. 12/12/10, Eagles-Cowboys, 25.73 million (SNF Week 14)
2. 10/24/10, Vikings-Packers, 25.68 million (Favre Return to Lambeau II)
3. 9/12/10, Cowboys-Redskins, 25.3 million (SNF: Week 1)
4. 9/20/09, Giants-Cowboys, 24.8 million (Dallas Cowboys stadium debut)
5. 12/19/10, Packers-Patriots, 24.2 million (SNF Week 15)
6. 12/28/10, Vikings-Eagles, 23.7 million (Tuesday Night’s Game)
7. 11/21/10, Giants-Eagles, 23.2 million (SNF: Week 11)
T8. 09/19/10, Giants-Colts, 23.1 million (“Manning Bowl II”)
T8. 12/14/08, Giants-Cowboys, 23.1 million
10. 9/10/06, Colts-Giants, 22.6 million (Original “Manning Bowl”)

*The NFL Kickoff Opener on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 between the Vikings and Saints generated an average viewership of 27.5 million people.

The 13.8/23 national rating for Tuesday’s game is 27 percent ahead of last year’s Week 16 SNF game (Cowboys-Redskins, 10.9/18).

DEFEATED ALL TUESDAY NIGHT COMPETITION: The Tuesday edition of “Sunday Night Football” defeated all Tuesday Night competition, the 16th straight week that primetime NFL football on NBC out-rated all rival programming, on a night that included such original competition as CBS's Kennedy Center Honors and encores of CBS's NCIS, ABC's Rudolph's Shiny New Year, No Ordinary Family and Detroit 1-8-7, and Fox's Glee.

SNF IS 16 FOR 16: With 23.7 million viewers, Tuesday’s edition of “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched primetime show on Tuesday, the 16th straight week this season that SNF defeated its competition (100 percent). Last season, SNF was the most-watched Sunday night primetime broadcast in a record 15 of 16 (94 percent) weeks. 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).

Through the first 16 weeks of the NFL season, “Sunday Night Football” is averaging 22.0 million viewers, 2.4 million more than last year through this point of the season (19.6 million).

SNF AVERAGE VIEWERSHIP THROUGH 16 WEEKS:

1. 2010, 21.9 million
2. 2009, 19.6 million
3. 2006, 17.7 million
4. 2008, 16.7 million
5. 2007, 16.0 million

The 16-week average household rating of 13.1/21 is 11-percent higher than last year’s 11.8/19 and 27 percent ahead of 2008 (10.3/16) through the same point in the season.

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR VIKINGS-EAGLES:

1. Minneapolis, 38.4/57
2. Philadelphia, 36.3/53
3. New Orleans, 29.1/39
4. Norfolk, 22.9/35
5. Richmond, 21.8/35
6. Milwaukee, 19.9/31
7. Baltimore, 19.6/31
8. Las Vegas, 19.1/31
9. Atlanta, 18.2/27
10. Ft. Myers, 17.9/28

MLB Network closes out the year with Prime 9 Marathon

From MLB Network -

2010 MLB SEASON-IN-REVIEW SHOW FEATURED DURING MLB NETWORK’S NEW YEAR’S DAY PROGRAMMING

Prime 9 Marathon Begins December 31 at 11:00 p.m. ET

Secaucus, NJ, December 30, 2010
– As 2011 begins, MLB Network will recap the 2010 Major League Baseball season on New Year’s Day, Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. ET. MLB 2010: Year in Review will review the AL and NL regular seasons, the Postseason and World Series, as well as the 2010 MLB award winners and stat leaders. MLB Network’s Bob Costas and Tom Verducci will also provide analysis and commentary on the “Year of the Pitcher,” including the six no-hitters that were thrown and the emergence of Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg; the breakout rookie years of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward; the retirements of 13-time All-Star Ken Griffey Jr. and World Champion managers Bobby Cox, Cito Gaston, Joe Torre and Lou Piniella; and the passing of Hall of Famers and baseball legends, including Bob Feller, Robin Roberts, George M. Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds, Mitch Williams and Matt Vasgersian will also reveal their “all MLB team,” selecting the top player at each position from the 2010 season.

Leading up to MLB 2010: Year in Review, MLB Network will air a marathon of MLB Productions’ Prime 9 beginning on Friday, December 31 at 11:00 p.m. ET through January 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET, ranking the all-time top nine in a variety of categories, including the best managers, bloopers, trades, centerfielders, and rotations.

NFL on Fox Week 17 Preview

From Fox Sports -

FOX SPORTS NOTES, QUOTES & ANECDOTES

Billick: Starters Should Play to Keep Themselves Sharp for Postseason

NFC No. 1 Seed and Final Wild Card on the Line in NFL on FOX Week 17 Doubleheader Action

NFL ON FOX WEEK 17: SEEDING IN NFC PLAYOFFS ON THE LINE
– The ultimate weekend of the 2010-11 NFL on FOX regular commences Sunday, Jan. 2 with doubleheader coverage of seven matchups. The action kicks off in New Orleans as Drew Brees and the Saints host Josh Freeman and the Bucs, who remain in the NFC playoff picture. Despite their loss to the Saints, Matt Ryan and the Falcons can wrap up the No. 1 seed and home field advantage in the playoffs with a victory over the Panthers. Also, the Vikings face the Lions in Detroit. Following their convincing win over the Giants, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers can lock up a playoff spot with victory over the Bears in America’s Game of the Week at 4:00 PM ET. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver call the action from Lambeau Field. Eli Manning and the Giants still have a chance to secure a playoff berth and a win in Washington over the Redskins is a must. In Philadelphia, Michael Vick and the Eagles aim to go into the playoffs with a full head of steam as they face the Cowboys. Out west, the Cardinals visit the 49ers.

Coverage begins at 12:00 PM ET with America’s most-watched pregame show, FOX NFL SUNDAY. Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee co-host the Emmy Award-winning program and are joined by analysts Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson. NFL Insider Jay Glazer presents the latest league news and scoops and comedic prognosticator Frank Caliendo contributes his weekly “Frank’s Picks” segment. NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira is also on hand to go over any impactful officiating issues from the last week. This week, Bradshaw hands out his annual Terry Awards.

Tampa Bay Bucs at New Orleans Saints 1pm (70% of nation)
Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick & Charissa Thompson
New Orleans Superdome – New Orleans, LA
MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Austin, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Dayton, Denver, Fort Myers, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Tulsa, Washington, West Palm Beach

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons 1pm (11%)
Dick Stockton, Charles Davis & Jaime Maggio
Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA
MARKETS INCLUDE: Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Raleigh

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions 1pm (7%)
Ron Pitts, John Lynch & Jennifer Hammond
Ford Field – Detroit, MI
MARKETS INCLUDE: Detroit, Minneapolis

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers 4:15pm (56%)
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman & Pam Oliver
Lambeau Field – Green Bay, WI
MARKETS INCLUDE: Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Detroit, Fort Myers, Greensboro, Greenville, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa

New York Giants at Washington Redskins 4:15pm (18%)
Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan & Laura Okmin
FedEx Field – Landover, MD
MARKETS INCLUDE: Boston, Buffalo, Hartford, Miami, New York, Norfolk, Providence, Richmond, Washington, West Palm Beach


Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles 4:15pm (14%)
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston & Tony Siragusa
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA
MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Tulsa

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers 4:15pm (7%)
Chris Myers, Jim Mora & Nischelle Turner
Candlestick Park – San Francisco, CA
MARKETS INCLUDE: Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco


BILLICK PONDERS - SHOULD PLAYOFF BOUND TEAMS START OR SIT? – Each year as the NFL heads in the final week of the season a familiar debate ensures? Should playoff-bound teams rest their starters to avoid injury or play them to remain sharp? NFL on FOX analyst Brian Billick doesn’t agree with teams who sit their starters in Week 17. “I have two issues with putting a player down,” said Billick. “One, if he knows he’s not going to play that last game and you have a bye week, that means it’s going to be three weeks before he has any substantial snaps. I think that’s too much time off. Secondly, I struggle with the issue of going to one player and saying, ‘you’re so important to this team that we’re going rest you but we’re going to make that guy standing next to you take double the reps and cover for you.’ I don’t know what kind of message that sends to a team. Teams can do it and be successful. Indianapolis did it last year and went on the Super Bowl. But they lost. I like the idea of playing your team through that final phase and not lose that continuity that you have earned going into the playoffs.”

Patriots/Dolphins Practice Report

Here's the first practice report for the week for the Patriots and Dolphins:

Patriots
Did not participate

DL Ron Brace (elbow)
G Dan Connolly (concussion)
DL Mike Wright (concussion)

Limited
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder/foot)
WR Deion Branch (knee)
LB Jermaine Cunningham (calf)
TE Aaron Hernandez (hip)
NT Myron Pryor (back)

Full
CB Kyle Arrington (elbow)
CB Devin McCourty (rib)

Dolphins
Did not participate

CB Nolan Carroll (head)
LB Karlos Dansby (toe)
TE Anthony Fasano (knee)
TE Lydon Murtha (head)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Celtics blog - Boston Globe basketball news - Garnett injures knee

Celtics blog - Boston Globe basketball news

Kevin Garnett injures right knee in Detroit. He is back in lockerroom getting checked out.

Inside the NFL on Showtime Tonight - Sneak Preview

From CBS Sports & Showtime -

NEWS, NOTES AND QUOTES FROM WEEK SEVENTEEN OF INSIDE THE NFL ON SHOWTIME®


NEW YORK (Dec. 29, 2010) - This week’s INSIDE THE NFL – Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT – features a “surprise” sit-down interview with the Kansas City’s Matt Cassel, plus a discussion on the precedent set by re-scheduling the Sunday night Philadelphia-Minnesota game. NFL Insider Michael Lombardi reports on the latest NFL coaching changes.


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 produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films with new episodes airing on SHOWTIME every Wednesday during the NFL season through February 9, 2011. Pete Radovich serves as coordinating producer. The executive producers are Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports, and NFL Films President Steve Sabol.


Following are excerpts from the show:



On Philadelphia-Minnesota game being re-scheduled:


Collinsworth: I think the lawyers are sharpening their pencils as we speak. Let’s create a scenario. We are going to have the playoffs in New England. So now there is a forecast of 10 inches of snow on the day of the playoffs. So now you go to the National Football League, because before you just played the game. Now, you have to go and say, ‘Mr. Commissioner are we playing football today?’ The Commissioner says, ‘Yes we are. This is the Playoffs. We are going to play.’ Now someone drives off the road into a ditch. An unfortunate accident. A lawyer comes down and says, ‘Listen, you cancelled the game in Philadelphia because it wasn’t safe. These conditions are at least as bad as what they were in Philadelphia.’ Bingo, lawsuit against the League. There are just so many things that come up now with this issue. I don’t know where the line is going to be drawn.

Simms: There is a lot that comes into this. In a few years we are going to have the Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in New York. What are you going to do if the forecast is bad that day? Are you going to cancel the Super Bowl? Cris played in arguably the worst game in history with weather. I know they thought about canceling, but they didn’t do it. I think he (Cris) is right. It’s like the NFL fine system. Once you start putting that number out there, everything that happens you have to make those fines accordingly. The same thing for these games. Once you start it, you have to live up to it in the future.


On Tim Tebow:


Simms: A little pet peeve, but nothing against him. But every time he completes a pass when you watch the games, ‘Who said he can’t throw the ball?’ They act like it’s an affront. The other one is, ‘Nobody wants to win more than him.’ Now look, there are a lot of guys in the NFL who really want to win. To me it’s just wrong to say things like that. The good thing about him, you can see he’s big and strong. He is a leader. I think the fact that he works so hard, and his personality at the practice facility, it will help players. I always believe, and most coaches we talk to, they want the quarterback to be the hardest worker. And there is no doubt he is a hard worker.

People ask me, ‘Do you think it can work?’ Let’s give it time. Why does it have to be such a rush? I need to see more.

Collinsworth: For 16 weeks he will have them lined up and fighting. They used to talk about wrestling drills at the University of Florida where they put him on the mat against all-comers. Bring’em on. You against Tim Tebow. They were throwing each other around…When the guy that’s talking in the offensive huddle has that kind of heart and he’s that kind of fighter, you have a chance every Sunday.

More on Favre Fine - NFL Comments

The full release on the NFL's fining of Brett Favre today -

NO VIOLATION OF LEAGUE POLICY ESTABLISHED IN FAVRE INVESTIGATION;

FAVRE FINED $50,000 FOR LACK OF COOPERATION


The NFL issued the following statement today regarding the Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger matter:

The NFL office conducted an investigation to determine whether Brett Favre’s interaction with New York Jets game-day employee Jenn Sterger in 2008 violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

In reviewing the matter, the sole focus was on whether there was a violation of league policies regarding conduct in the workplace. NFL policies do not extend to private conduct or make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships, except where that conduct or those relationships raise issues under the law or league policies.

The investigation included an analysis of publicly available reports; a series of interviews with knowledgeable individuals, including Sterger and Favre; a review of communications between the two furnished to our office; and independent forensic analysis of electronically stored material. The investigation was limited in several respects because the conduct occurred in 2008 but was not brought to our attention until this fall. As a result, certain records and individuals were unavailable to the NFL.

The investigation also reviewed a second media report about allegations involving other women who worked at the Jets’ facility in 2008. Misconduct by Favre regarding that claim was unable to be substantiated because individuals with potentially relevant information declined to be interviewed or otherwise cooperate with the investigation. In addition, our investigation took longer than might ordinarily have been the case due to difficulties in arranging to speak with certain key individuals, the time required to retrieve and review stored electronic records, and Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to meet personally with both Favre and Sterger before making a decision.

On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct. The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger. The review found no evidence to contradict the statements of both Favre and Sterger that they never met in person, nor was there anything to suggest that Sterger engaged in any inappropriate conduct.

However, Commissioner Goodell also determined that Favre was not candid in several respects during the investigation, resulting in a longer review and additional negative public attention for Favre, Sterger, and the NFL. The commissioner notified Favre that he has been fined $50,000 for his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner. Commissioner Goodell stated to Favre that if he had found a violation of the league’s workplace conduct policies, he would have imposed a substantially higher level of discipline.

In a memo to clubs today, Commissioner Goodell reminded them of the serious nature of this matter and stated that NFL policies make no excuses for improper or potentially unlawful conduct in the workplace. “Every member of every club’s staff should be able to work in an environment free of harassment or hostility, and one in which every employee is valued, respected, and given a full opportunity to contribute to the goals of the club and the NFL,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Our new training program on workplace conduct will help all of us to promote the right kind of environment for all employees and I intend to dedicate the fine I have imposed on Favre to help fund that training program.”

NFL Playoff Scenarios - Week 17

Here are the playoff scenarios for week 17 from the NFL:

2010 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 17

AFC

CLINCHED:

New England - AFC East and homefield advantage

Kansas City - AFC West

Baltimore - playoff spot

New York Jets - playoff spot

Pittsburgh - playoff spot
               
PITTSBURGH STEELERS


Pittsburgh clinches AFC North and a first-round bye with:

1)    PIT win OR

2)    PIT tie + BAL loss or tie OR

3)    BAL loss

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North and a first-round bye with:

1)    BAL win + PIT loss or tie OR

2)    BAL tie + PIT loss

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Indianapolis clinches AFC South with:

1)    IND win or tie OR

2)    JAX loss or tie

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Jacksonville clinches AFC South with:

1)    JAX win + IND loss

NFC

CLINCHED:

Chicago - NFC North and a first-round bye

Philadelphia - NFC East

Atlanta - playoff spot

New Orleans - playoff spot
                    
ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta clinches NFC South and a first-round bye with:

1)    ATL win or tie OR

2)    NO loss or tie

Atlanta clinches homefield advantage with:

1)    ATL win or tie OR

2)    NO loss or tie + CHI loss or tie

CHICAGO BEARS

Chicago clinches homefield advantage with:

1)    CHI win + ATL loss + NO loss or tie

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

New Orleans clinches NFC South and homefield advantage with:

1)    NO win + ATL loss

GREEN BAY PACKERS


Green Bay clinches a playoff spot with:

1)    GB win OR

2)    GB tie + NYG loss or tie + TB loss or tie OR

3)    NYG loss + TB loss

NEW YORK GIANTS

New York Giants clinch a playoff spot with:

1)    NYG win + GB loss or tie OR

2)    NYG tie + GB loss + TB loss or tie

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Tampa Bay clinches a playoff spot with:

1)    TB win + NYG loss or tie + GB loss or tie OR

2)    TB tie + NYG loss + GB loss

ST. LOUIS RAMS

St. Louis clinches NFC West with:

1)    STL win or tie

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS


Seattle clinches NFC West with:

1)    SEA win

NFL on CBS Week 17 Preview

From CBS Sports -

THE NFL ON CBS: WEEK 17 (SUNDAY, JAN. 2)

AUDIBLES WITH “NFL ON CBS” ANALYSTS DAN DIERDORF AND DAN FOUTS


The CBS Television Network continues its 51st year broadcasting the NFL with coverage of THE NFL ON CBS on Sunday, Jan. 2 (1:00-7:00 PM, ET) beginning with THE NFL TODAY, the Network’s one-hour studio show (12:00 NOON-1:00 PM, ET), live from THE NFL TODAY studio in New York City.

THE NFL ON CBS lead announce team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms call the action from the Tennessee Titans-Indianapolis Colts game live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Lance Barrow is the coordinating producer and lead game producer and Mike Arnold is the lead game director.


Throughout the 2010 season, THE NFL ON CBS will broadcast all of its games each week in HDTV, the highest definition television format – 1080i lines of picture resolution – along with 5.1 digital audio.


Sean McManus is President, CBS News and Sports, and serves as executive producer of CBS Sports’ coverage of THE NFL ON CBS. Harold Bryant is Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.


* * * * *


DAN DIERDORF


(On Tennessee-Indianapolis): There is not one chance in 10,000 of Tennessee beating Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. Not a chance. It is the NFL, and ‘on any given Sunday,’ but come on. With everything on the line for the Colts, it would be hard to believe.


(On Jacksonville): Jacksonville has squandered their opportunity. They had a chance to seal the deal two weeks ago in Indianapolis and couldn’t do it. They stumbled again last week, and now they have to win and scoreboard-watch at the same time. It’s not an attractive place to be, especially given that the Colts would have to lay one of the major eggs of all-time by losing to Tennessee.


(On Jacksonville-Houston): Both of these teams thought they were going to have bigger years than they’ve had, especially Houston after getting off to a 4-2 start. At least Jacksonville can say, ‘We have a chance to win our division on the final Sunday of the season.’ That’s something. But it has been an unbelievably disappointing season for the Texans who started out 4-2. After seeing them in the opening weekend where they routed the Colts, this is not where I expected to see the Texans on the final weekend of the season.


DAN FOUTS


(On Pittsburgh-Cleveland): This is huge for Pittsburgh because a win not only gives them the AFC North division title, but also the number two seed and a bye. That’s the most important thing as they’ll get a week off to get guys back, one of them being Troy Polamalu, who I think they also would like to hold out this weekend if they can.

(On Pittsburgh-Cleveland rivalry): The rivalry is as strong as it’s ever been. In fact, a Cleveland paper polled the public last week by asking, ‘Which team they’d rather beat, Baltimore or the Pittsburgh Steelers?’ It was 3-1 that they’d rather beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The fans know what this is about. The other thing is being that it’s only about a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, I bet the stadium is half-filled with Steelers fans because the Browns fans didn’t really show up last weekend either.


(Keys to Game): Whenever you are playing in a game where one team is out of it, you want to reinforce that idea early in the game. A quick start for Pittsburgh is imperative. They won’t want Cleveland hanging around thinking they have a chance to win the game. Pittsburgh will want to get them early so they start thinking about where they’re going to spend their next couple of months.


* * * * *


Following are THE NFL ON CBS assignments for Week 17 (subject to change).


WEEK 17 – Jan. 2, 2011
1:00 PM, ET starts: Miami @ New England 
Bill Macatee/Rich Gannon Bob Dekas/Andy Goldberg


Buffalo @ N.Y. Jets 
Gus Johnson/Steve Tasker Victor Frank/Mark Grant


Cincinnati @ Baltimore 
Kevin Harlan/Solomon Wilcots Jim Rikhoff/Bryan Lilley


Pittsburgh @ Cleveland 
Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts Bob Mansbach/Suzanne Smith


Oakland @ Kansas City 
Spero Dedes/Randy Cross Ken Mack/Jim Cornell


4:15 PM, ET starts:
Tennessee @ Indianapolis 
Jim Nantz/Phil Simms Lance Barrow/Mike Arnold


Jacksonville @ Houston 
Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf Mark Wolff/Bob Fishman


San Diego @ Denver 
Don Criqui/Steve Beuerlein Ross Schneiderman/Chris Svendsen


* * * * *


CBS SPORTS AND NFL FILMS LOOK BACK AT 2010 WITH “NFL SOUNDS OF THE SEASON” ON SATURDAY, JAN. 1

This one-hour special, NFL SOUNDS OF THE SEASON, on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 (5:00-6:00 PM; taped) features the best moments from the NFL in 2010 as captured by NFL Films’ microphones and cameras. CBS Sports’ Jason Ross serves as coordinating producer.

NBA on TNT Thursday - Knicks/Magic & Spurs/Mavericks

From TNT Sports -

TNT’s NBA Doubleheader Coverage Continues Thursday with Eastern and Western Conference Match-ups


TNT NBA Thursday continues on December 28 with Eastern and Western Conference match-ups beginning at 7 p.m. (ET). The first game will feature two teams in the East with Amar’e Stoudemire and the New York Knicks facing Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. Play-by-play announcer Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst) and Mike Fratello (analyst) will be courtside with Craig Sager reporting. The second game of the night features a Texas showdown in the West as the San Antonio Spurs visit Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks at 9:30 p.m. (ET). Kevin Harlan will call the game alongside analyst Reggie Miller with David Aldridge reporting. Following the second game, Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai with Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst), Kenny Smith (analyst) and Chris Webber (analyst) will recap the night’s action.


Through 20 games, the NBA on TNT is averaging a 1.6 U.S. rating (+45%, 1.1 U.S. rating), 2,541,000 total viewers (+47%, 1,723,000 total viewers) and 1,873,000 households (+43%, 1,313,000 households) over last year's corresponding coverage.


Exclusive content, analysis from TNT announcers and replays of Inside the NBA are available on TNT OverTime on NBA.com. The broadband channel gives fans the inside scoop on players, coaches and storylines taking place around the league seven days a week. Check out the NBA on TNT pages on Twitter (http://twitter.com/NBAonTNT) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/nbaontnt) to see the latest NBA on TNT schedule, news updates and special features from TNT announcers.


NBA ON TNT NBA SCHEDULE:
Thu., December 30
7 p.m. TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com
Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst), Kenny Smith (analyst) and Chris Webber (analyst)


7:15 p.m. New York Knicks @ Orlando Magic
Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Mike Fratello (analyst), Steve Kerr (analyst) and Craig Sager (reporter)


9:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks
Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst) and Cheryl Miller (reporter)


Post-game Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst), Kenny Smith (analyst) and Chris Webber (analyst)


TNT NBA THURSDAY UPCOMING SCHEDULE:
Thu., January 6
8 p.m. TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com
Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst) and Kenny Smith (analyst)


8:15 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks
Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst) and Craig Sager (reporter)


10:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets @ Sacramento Kings
Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst), Chris Webber (analyst) and David Aldridge (reporter)


Post-game Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst) and Kenny Smith (analyst)


Source: Nielsen Media Research. Based on Live+SD. NBA Regular Season on TNT STD through 20 games. (10/26/2010-12/24/2010) vs. (10/27/2009-12/31/2009)

NHL Winter Classic Preview: Capitals vs. Penguins

From NBC Sports -

CableCam Makes Winter Classic Debut; Game to be Streamed Live on NBCSports.com


“We don’t normally do games that have low-flying aircrafts, meteorologists and the threat of rain or snow that might affect the outcome of the game.” – NBC Sports’ Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick


“Now hockey owns New Year’s Day the way baseball owns the Fourth of July and football owns Thanksgiving.” – Boston Globe, January 2010


“It's hard to find any network right now that covers a sport better than NBC covers hockey.” -- St. Petersburg Times, April 2010


NEW YORK – Dec. 29, 2010 – Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic from Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, on New Year’s Day airing live at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. The game will also be live streamed on NBCSports.com, a first for the Winter Classic.

Bob Costas will host NBC Sports’ coverage from Heinz Field and will be joined on site by Mike Milbury (studio analyst), Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst), Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter), Darren Pang (inside-the glass-reporter), and The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore (meteorologist). Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ executive producer and the former captain of the Williams College hockey team, produces NBC Sports’ NHL coverage.

CableCam, a regular for NBC Sports’ “Sunday Night Football” coverage, will make its Winter Classic debut at Heinz Field. NBC Sports will have six more cameras at this game than it did for the Stanley Cup Final, including iso cameras on Crosby and Ovechkin. An airplane will again be used for aerial shots.

RECORD VIEWERSHIP: The three previous Winter Classics have averaged 4.0 million viewers. The 2009 game at Wrigley Field between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings was the most-watched NHL regular season game in almost 35 years. An average of 4.4 million Americans watched the Red Wings defeat the Blackhawks, 6-4, from Wrigley, the biggest regular-season NHL audience since Feb. 23, 1975 (5.4 million, Philadelphia-New York Rangers on NBC), according to Nielsen Media Research.

STREAMING: This year’s Winter Classic will be streamed live on NBCSports.com, a first for the event. The streaming will employ an HD player with full DVR controls that allows the user to pause, rewind and slow-mo Winter Classic action. The player will also feature four additional live online-only camera angles, including two “Star Cams” that will follow Crosby and Ovechkin wherever they are during the game. Also available for viewers will be CableCam and Goalie Cam, which originates from inside the net. Fans can access highlight clips, stats and a live chat with experts from NBCSports.com’s Pro Hockey Talk.

CONFERENCE CALL: NBC Sports conducted a media conference call on December 21 with Costas, Emrick, Olczyk, Milbury, and Flood. Following are highlights:

Costas on NBC Sports’ coverage approach: “The way we approach this at NBC Sports is that we want it to be a broadcast that appeals to knowledgeable, hard core hockey fans, but at the same time recognizes that this an event which draws in a lot of casual fans, who probably won’t watch much hockey outside of this game, maybe the Stanley Cup Final and Olympic hockey.

“You have to capture the atmospherics of it, some of the back-stories, something that will draw in the person that isn’t necessarily watching the NHL night in and night out, which is not unlike how we cover the Kentucky Derby. Those who know how to read a racing form enjoy our coverage. Those who don’t follow horseracing outside of the Triple Crown events enjoy it as well. That’s how we approach this event.”


Flood on the Winter Classic as an event: “The key word that Bob said right off the bat is ‘event.’ We cover it like an event. It’s much more than a hockey game and we want to celebrate it, celebrate the sport, celebrate the two stars in the game as well as both teams and the city of Pittsburgh.”


Emrick on the buzz around the game: “I can’t run into anybody around our sport that doesn’t tell me what they’re going to be doing on the afternoon of this game. Invariably, it’s watching it. Even players who are going to be playing in other games on New Year’s Day say that they’re going to be watching it, too.”

Olczyk on being a part of the Winter Classic: “It’s a great day for hockey…for the city of Pittsburgh and a great rivalry between Ovechkin and Crosby and the Capitals and the Penguins. To be a part of it is certainly a privilege.”

Milbury on the host cities: “I think they get incredibly excited. Each of the towns where these events have been held gets incredibly buzzed about it. I’ve been to the last three of these things and each one of them had their own qualities, but each one of them a ton of fun for everybody that is involved. There are a lot of games in the NHL season, some of them I don’t get too wired up about, but this one is well marked on my calendar.”

Costas on history of the event: “This has become an anticipated New Year’s Day event. At the first one, in Buffalo with Pittsburgh and the Sabres going at it, we benefited from the snow, that snow globe affect that people found so compelling, and also the overtime goal from Sidney Crosby to win it. Then we took it to the iconic baseball stadiums: first Wrigley and then Fenway. Now, although we are in a new stadium and a football stadium, Heinz Field, we have the matchup of Crosby and Ovechkin. Each of these games has had … something different to make it stand out.”


Emrick on the uniqueness of the Winter Classic: “We don’t normally do games that have low-flying aircrafts, meteorologists and the threat of rain or snow that might affect the outcome of the game.”

Costas on the first Winter Classic setting the stage: “It more than got us off on the right foot, it sent us off flying. Even though we got a surprisingly high rating for a regular-season hockey game, the buzz was beyond the rating. People were talking about it for a long time afterward and that’s hard to measure. You can’t measure precisely, but you can definitely feel it and sense it. Within one year, it wasn’t building towards something that had standing as a yearly event, it became that in the space of one day.”


Emrick on playing outdoors: “It’s also the joy of playing outdoors and any player you run into whether European or North American recounts tales about playing outdoors on frozen ponds. I know that sort of becomes a redundant poetry that we have every time at this time of year, but I think it’s also necessary to convey what this event is like in the lives of players and also those of us who are able to watch them on a regular basis when they play indoors.”


Milbury on playing outdoors: “There is a quote from Bobby Orr about this day being a celebration of hockey and that’s really what it is. For some of those who are old enough to remember skating on the ponds, it is a throwback kind of a game, but for many of the present players, they never played outdoors. This is almost old timers day for young people.”


Costas on competing against bowl games: “The landscape has changed. Because the Winter Classic has worked out so well the first three years, it can more than hold it’s own.”


Emrick on the rivalry: “The one thing that we do have are two teams that really care about winning the game from one another. It’s about winning the contest. It’s about not really caring a lot about each other because there is quite a rivalry that goes back 20-25 years into the Mario Lemieux era between Washington and Pittsburgh.”


Flood on producing this year’s game: “We’re going to line up a lot like a normal football game. Doc and Eddie will be in the stands at the back of the lower section of seats so that they’ll be in the elements and experience the game as the players are, except they’re not going to be hit. Then we’ve got iso cameras, one for Sidney and one for Ovechkin, as well as a high camera in one of the end zone’s up on top of the scoreboard, which gets an incredible shot of downtown Pittsburgh that can then turn into the stadium and show the game.

“The important thing here is to show the game from a much wider perspective. It’s not a hockey game, it’s an event. Our goal is to capture how big it is and how different it is to have a multitude of people sitting in these stands and cheering for these two teams and, I’d imagine, a towel of a certain color waving in the stands. Things like that will make it different. There will be an extra six cameras than what we had for the Stanley Cup Final games. We really go all out to have as many cameras and machines to capture the total day.

“We’ve added a CableCam for the first time ever, which will capture some of the speed and also some of the scene. That’s the important thing, to let people know that there is something about this that is much more than a hockey game.

“CableCam is a camera used in football games that flies over the play so we can move it up and down, along the boards, move it up in the stands. Wherever we want to be to capture the event and capture some of the speed of hockey, which will be one of the fun things we get to do with it. We can follow a rush up ice and see what Ovechkin is doing as he brings the puck into the zone from an angle you haven’t seen before. We’ll do the same thing with Crosby. That should add something in addition to our normal iso cam.

“Once again we’ll have an airplane. That was a thrill in Buffalo doing the first replay in history of a goal from an airplane angle.”

ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown Preview

From ESPN -

Sunday NFL Countdown: NFL Player Contract Incentives; Bears-Packers Rivalry & More


Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Cris Carter, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Chris Mortensen and NFL Insider Adam Schefter will preview the day’s NFL matchups Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.  Highlights:
  • Contract Incentives – Whether in the playoffs or not, Week 17 means a lot to many NFL players as their contracts are loaded with incentive clauses.  Reporter Greg Garber investigates what players and teammates do in Week 17 to earn incentives.
  • The Bears-Packers Rivalry – No two NFL teams have faced each other more than the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.  Their rivalry began in 1921 and in 180 games Chicago leads 92-82-6.  Two Hall of Fame players from each team explain the rivalry.
  • Sport Science: Michael Vick – Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is a top contender for the 2010 NFL MVP, thanks to his agility, speed and arm strength.  John Brenkus puts Vick in the Sports Science lab to show if the Eagles signal caller is faster than Vikings running back Adrian Peterson or has a quicker release than Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
  • Mayne Event – Jared Allen’s Resolutions – The New Year’s is a time to gather with friends, sing “Auld Lang Syne,” and make resolutions.  This week, Kenny Mayne gets together with Mayne Event favorite and Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and the two get sentimental reflecting on the 2010 NFL season.
  • Soundtracks: Sam Bradford – In eight months, St. Louis’ quarterback has gone from No. 1 NFL Draft pick to leading the Rams, a team that went 1-15 last season, to an NFC West title with a win at Seattle on Sunday.  “Soundtracks” features in-game audio by the rookie quarterback.


NFL Matchup’s X’s and O’s: Bucs at Saints, Rams at Seahawks

Host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the X’s and O’s in key games this weekend on Sunday’s NFL Matchup at 3 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., and on ESPN2 at 8:30 a.m.  Highlights:
  • Bucs at Saints – To get preferred matchups, the Saints’ offense employs the “New Orleans 22” package.  Jaworski goes deep inside the Film Room to show how the “22” works.
  • Rams at Seahawks – Jaworski goes “Inside the Matchup” to show how St. Louis rookie quarterback Sam Bradford manipulated the Seattle defense and threw a well-timed throw for a touchdown in Week 4.

Tuesday Night Football Ratings: Vikings vs. Eagles

From NBC Sports -

TUESDAY EDITION OF “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” EARNS 15.2 OVERNIGHT; NO. 1 SHOW ON TUESDAY


Tops Last Year’s Week 16 Cowboys-Redskins Game by 31%


Minneapolis (38.4) and Philadelphia (36.3) Lead All Metered Markets


SNF Powers NBC to Another Nightly Win; 16th Straight Week


Best Tuesday Primetime Rating on Any Network This Television Season


NEW YORK – December 29, 2010 – Last night’s special Tuesday edition of “Sunday Night Football” was the top-rated show on Tuesday, the 16th straight week that primetime football on NBC defeated its nightly competition. The game, which was originally supposed to be played on Sunday but was delayed by the NFL due to the severe weather in Philadelphia, led NBC to a convincing win on Tuesday night and was up 31 percent over last year’s Week 16 game, according to overnight data released today by the Nielsen Company. The game, in which the Minnesota Vikings upset the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-14, in the first NFL Tuesday game since 1946, registered a 15.2 overnight rating and a 24 share (8:15-11:15 p.m. ET).

* The 15.2/24 overnight rating is an increase of 31 percent over last year’s Week 16 game that featured an NFC East matchup between the Cowboys and the Redskins, which delivered an overnight rating of 11.6/19.

* The rating peaked at a 16.5/28 from 11-11:15 p.m. ET.

* The 15.2 overnight ties last week’s Packers-Patriots game and Week 2’s Giants-Colts Manning Bowl II as the fifth-highest overnight for a “Sunday Night Football” game this season and the best Week 16 game in the five-year history of SNF.


“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” WEEK 16 THROUGH THE YEARS:

1. 2010, Vikings-Eagles, 15.2/24 (Tuesday Night Game)
2. 2008, Panthers-Giants, 12.9/21 – up 18 percent
3. 2006, Eagles-Cowboys, 12.5/29 – up 22 percent
4. 2009, Cowboys-Redskins, 11.6/19 – up 31 percent
5. 2007, Redskins-Vikings, 9.9/17 – up 54 percent

DEFEATED ALL TUESDAY NIGHT COMPETITION: Last night’s Tuesday edition of “Sunday Night Football” defeated all Tuesday Night competition, the 16th straight week that primetime NFL football on NBC defeated its competition, on a night that included such original competition as CBS's Kennedy Center Honors and encores of CBS's NCIS, ABC's Rudolph's Shiny New Year, No Ordinary Family and Detroit 1-8-7, and Fox's Glee.

* “Sunday Night Football” powered NBC to a Tuesday night win in primetime, with NBC's 14.7/24 average from 8-11 p.m. ET more than doubling second-place CBS (7.1/11) and topping the combined results of CBS, Fox (3.1/5) and ABC (2.3/4).

* Tuesday’s edition of SNF delivered the highest Tuesday metered-market average for any network this season. The prior high was a 12.4 for ABC on November 23, the night of the "Dancing With the Stars" finale.

SNF IS 16 FOR 16: When the viewership is available tomorrow from Nielsen, “Sunday Night Football” is expected to be the most-watched Tuesday night show, the 16th straight time this season that SNF defeated its nightly competition (every week this season). Last season, SNF was the most-watched Sunday night primetime broadcast in a record 15 of 16 (94 percent) weeks. 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).


TOP METERED MARKETS FOR VIKINGS-EAGLES:

1. Minneapolis, 38.4/57
2. Philadelphia, 36.3/53
3. New Orleans, 29.1/39
4. Norfolk, 22.9/35
5. Richmond, 21.8/35
6. Milwaukee, 19.9/31
7. Baltimore, 19.6/31
8. Las Vegas, 19.1/31
9. Atlanta, 18.2/27
10. Ft. Myers, 17.9/28

Rams/Seahawks Sunday Night NBC Preview

From NBC Sports -

COVERAGE BEGINS WITH “FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA” AT 7 PM ET

“This is a playoff game.” – Rodney Harrison

“I envision Seattle trying to come up with some defensive tactics to stymie (Rams rookie QB Sam) Bradford.” – Tony Dungy on the storyline of the game

NEW YORK – December 29, 2010
– The St. Louis Rams travel to Qwest Field in Seattle to face the Seahawks in a ‘win-and-in’ game flexed by the NFL for “Sunday Night Football” in which the winner will claim the NFC Western Division and a playoff berth, while the loser will see its season end. If the game ends in a tie, the Rams advance.

Calling Rams-Seahawks will be six-time Emmy Award-winner Al Michaels (play-by-play), who is in his 25th season as the voice of the NFL’s premier primetime package; 11-time Emmy Award-winner Cris Collinsworth, who last year, 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.”

Coverage begins with “Football Night in America” at 7 p.m. ET Sunday with Bob Costas, who won the outstanding studio host Emmy last year, hosting live from inside the stadium. Dan Patrick will co-host “Football Night” from NBC's 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach and Emmy-nominated Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Harrison, and Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Alex Flanagan will report from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc., on the Bears-Packers game.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL HISTORY: The Seahawks are 1-3 on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” (since 2006). The team’s last SNF appearance was a 20-10 loss at Tampa Bay in 2008, and last home SNF game was a 28-17 loss to New Orleans in 2007. This is the Rams first-ever NBC SNF appearance.

# # #

HARRISON ON PLAYOFF ATMOSPHERE: “This is a playoff game. This is both teams’ first playoff game. Seattle is a tough place to play. It’s a true hostile environment. It’s going to be a rocking, playoff atmosphere.”

DUNGY ON RAMS: “I’ve really been impressed with how they’ve utilized Sam Bradford and been successful with a rookie quarterback. I remember Peyton Manning’s first year. The Colts won three games. For Sam Bradford to come in and take a one-win team (last year) to the verge of the playoffs is really outstanding. Steven Jackson is an outstanding back and has obviously helped Bradford. They’ve done a very good job of constructing an offense around a very young quarterback. They also have some young defensive linemen who can pressure the quarterback. It’s a young exciting team.”

HARRISON ON RAMS: “Sam Bradford is a good young rookie quarterback but at times he’s called on to do too much. The biggest thing for the Rams is their good young defense. They have an active front seven highlighted by Chris Long.”

DUNGY ON SEAHAWKS: “Seattle has been up and down but they have a chance to win it. They’ll have that home crowd with the noise. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. They have some offensive weaponry and a return game that can generate points. I envision Seattle trying to come up with some defensive tactics to stymie Bradford. That’s going to be the storyline of the game.”

HARRISON ON SEAHAWKS: “Seattle has been so inconsistent but as poorly as they’ve played, they’re still in position to make the playoffs.”

# # #


REMAINING 2010 “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” SCHEDULE

Regular Season – “Football Night in America” begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET

Sun. Jan. 2 *Week 17 Rams-Seahawks (Flex Game)


*Flex Week


ABOUT FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: The NFL will utilize “flexible scheduling” on Sundays in Weeks 11-17. Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots in those weeks and give teams a chance to play their way onto primetime and into the late-afternoon 4:15 PM ET time slot on CBS and FOX.

For each of the flexible scheduling weeks with the exception of Week 17, the NFL will announce the start times of games on Sundays no later than 12 days prior to that weekend. To ensure a Sunday night game and doubleheader games with playoff implications in Week 17, the flexible scheduling decision for that Sunday may be made on six days notice.

Saints/Falcons hightest rated of season for ESPN

From ESPN -

ESPN’s Highest-Rated and Most-Viewed Season of Monday Night Football
Most-Watched Series on Cable and 16 Biggest Cable Household Audiences of 2010;
Saints-Falcons MNF Finale is Cable’s No. 3 Audience All-Time and Most-Watched Cable Show of Year;
Highest-Rated and Most-Viewed Season for Monday Night Countdown
 
The 41st season of Monday Night Football was the highest-rated and most-viewed season since ESPN assumed sports television’s signature series in 2006. For the fifth straight year, MNF was again the most-watched series on cable television, drawing the calendar year’s 16 biggest cable household audiences, and the top 12 among viewers. For the second consecutive year, ESPN’s MNF averaged higher than a 10 rating and 14 million viewers for the season.
 
In five seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, four of which occurred this season.
 
ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2010 averaged a 10.5 rating (9.1 US rating), representing an average of 10,495,000 households (14,657,000 viewers – P2+), increases of 1%, 2% and 2%, respectively, vs. 2009 (10.4; 10,315,000 and 14,382,000), according to Nielsen.  Additionally, MNF ranks No. 2 among all regularly-scheduled Prime Time television programs this season among the coveted adults 18-49 demographic.
 
MNF ended on a very strong note with last night’s game – the New Orleans Saints’ 17-14 road victory over NFC South rival Atlanta – delivering a 13.0 rating (11.2 US rating), representing an average of 12,957,000 households (19,137,000 viewers – P2+).  The game ranks as the third-largest cable television audience all-time among both households and viewers, excluding breaking news. MNF led all the night’s programs (broadcast or cable) among households, viewers and all key male and adult demos, making ESPN the top network for the night in all categories. It marks the sixth time MNF won the night among households, and the fifth time for total viewers, among all networks this NFL season.
 
“ESPN’s Monday Night Football was another resounding success this season, further demonstrating why it remains cable’s most valuable television franchise and the signature property within our year-round multiplatform NFL coverage,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming.
 
MNF on TV
ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed Monday Night Football game of 2010 was the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (Dec. 27), which topped all of cable television for the year with 12,957,000 households and 19,137,000 viewers based on a 13.0 rating. In five years, ESPN’s MNF occupies the top 10 spots on the list of cable’s biggest audiences ever among households – and nine of the top 10 among viewers – excluding breaking news.
 
Other highlights for the 2010 NFL season:
  • ESPN’s MNF games rank as the 16 biggest audiences among households and the 12 biggest among total viewers for cable television in 2010;
  • ESPN led all networks – cable or broadcast – in delivery of men 18-34, men 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 18-49 every Monday in primetime this season (16 consecutive weeks); ESPN was also No. 1 in men 25-54 in 15 of 16 weeks, and No. 1 among adults 25-54 on 13 Mondays;
  • Six times, ESPN won the night as the most-watched network among households, and five times for viewers – cable or broadcast – in Prime Time on Monday;
  • Monday Night Countdown, ESPN’s 90-minute weekly MNF pre-game show, finished with an average 2.7 rating and 2,729,000 households (3,532,000 viewers), representing increases of 13% and 16%, respectively. This ranks as Countdown’s highest-rated and most-viewed season ever. Countdown also registered its two most-viewed shows ever.
 
ESPN Monday Night Football Season Averages (2006-10)
Year Rating Households (000s) Viewers (000s)
2010 10.5 10.495 14.657
2009 10.4 10.315 14.382
2008 8.9 8.679 11.962
2007 8.6 8.277 11.230
2006 9.9 9.109 12.325
 
 
 
Most-Viewed Monday Night Football Games on ESPN (2006 – Present)
Rank Date Program Viewers (000s) HHs (000s)
1. 10/05/2009 Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings 21,839 15,136
2. 11/30/2009 New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints 21,402 14,872
3. 12/27/2010 New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons 19,137 12,957
4. 09/15/2008   Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys 18,608 12,953
5. 10/25/2010 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys 17,953 12,948
6. 12/03/2007  New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens 17,522 12,529
7. 09/27/2010   Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears 17,454 12,482
8. 10/11/2010 Minnesota Vikings-New York Jets 17,313 12,454
9. 12/20/2010 Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings 17,094 11,573
10. 12/28/2009     Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears 17,006 11,899
 
Top 10 Most-Viewed Programs in Cable Television History (Households):
Rank Date Program Network HHs (000s)
1. 10/05/2009 Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings ESPN 15,136
2. 11/30/2009 New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints ESPN 14,872
3. 12/27/2010 New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons ESPN 12,957
4. 09/15/2008      Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 12,953
5. 10/25/2010 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 12,948
6. 12/03/2007      New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens ESPN 12,529
7. 09/27/2010      Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears ESPN 12,482
8. 10/11/2010 Minnesota Vikings-New York Jets ESPN 12,454
9. 12/28/2009      Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears ESPN 11,899
10. 10/23/2006      New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 11,807
 
Top 10 Most-Viewed Programs in Cable Television History (Viewers):
Rank Date Program Network Viewers (000s)
1. 10/05/2009 Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings ESPN 21,839
2. 11/30/2009 New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints ESPN 21,402
3. 12/27/2010 New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons ESPN 19,137
4. 09/15/2008      Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 18,608
5. 10/25/2010 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 17,953
6. 12/03/2007      New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens ESPN 17,522
7. 09/27/2010      Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears ESPN 17,454
8. 10/11/2010 Minnesota Vikings-New York Jets ESPN 17,313
9. 08/17/2007 High School Musical 2 Disney 17,241
10. 12/20/2010 Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings ESPN 17,094
 
Note: excluding breaking news; live + same day
 
2010 MNF games in bold
 
MNF Team to Call 2011 Discover Orange Bowl
ESPN’s Monday Night Football team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will return to the booth to call the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl between Pac 10 runner-up Stanford and ACC champion Virginia Tech. The Bowl Championship Series game will be played at Sun Life Stadium in South Florida on Monday, January 3, 2011, on ESPN and ESPN HD (simulcast on ESPN3.com) at 8:30 p.m. ET.
 

NFL Week 17 Predictions

Carolina at Atlanta (Sunday 1pm)
Falcons have everything to play for : NFC South Title, 1st Round Bye & Home Field Advantage.   The Panthers are playing for John Fox’s swan song.
Winner: Falcons

Cincinnati at Baltimore (Sunday 1pm)

Could be Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson’s last game in a Bengals uniform.
Winner: Ravens

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (Sunday 1pm)

Steelers still need a win to clinch a first round bye as they may give Browns head coach Eric Mangini a fond farewell to Cleveland.
Winner: Steelers

Minnesota at Detroit (Sunday 1pm)

Who would’ve thought?  The Lions are going for four in a row here.
Winner: Lions

Oakland at Kansas City (Sunday 1pm)

It’s a chance at payback for the Chiefs for that overtime loss in Oakland earlier this season.
Winner: Chiefs

Miami at New England (Sunday 1pm)

Don’t expect the Patriots to relax just because they’ve wrapped up everything in the AFC.  They’ll want to get BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1,000 yards for the season.
Winner: Patriots

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (Sunday 1pm)

The Saints look just as dangerous now as they did one season ago.   Bucs will give New Orleans a nice playoff primer.
Winner: Saints

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets (Sunday 1pm)

With the playoffs ahead on the road next weekend, we may see the Jets rest a few including QB Mark Sanchez. 
Winner: Jets

San Diego at Denver (Sunday 4:15pm)

Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow!
Winner: Broncos

Chicago at Green Bay (Sunday 4:15pm)

We could see this matchup again in round 2 of the playoffs.  But first, the Packers have to get there with a victory here.
Winner: Packers

Jacksonville at Houston (Sunday 4:15pm)

No David Garrard for the Jags.  No win for Jacksonville.
Winner: Texans

Tennessee at Indianapolis (Sunday 4:15pm)

The beat rolls on for the Colts.  What seemed improbable five weeks ago becomes reality again: Colts will be AFC South Champs.
Winner: Colts

Dallas at Philadelphia (Sunday 4:15pm)

Michael Vick sits down and Kevin Kolb won’t miss a beat.  He should at least be able to do what Cardinals QB John Skelton did to Dallas.
Winner: Eagles

Arizona at San Francisco (Sunday 4:15pm)

Seriously?
Winner: 49ers

N.Y. Giants at Washington (Sunday 4:15pm)

What was once so promising in NY quietly ends in D.C. with a whimper.
Winner: Redskins

St. Louis at Seattle (Sunday 8:20pm)

Did you ever think the last regular season game would be matchup of two losing teams for a playoff spot?
Winner: Seahawks

Last week: 9-7

Season: 148-92

Favre fined $50,000 by NFL

Vikings QB Brett Favre has been fined $50,000 by the NFL Wednesday for his involvement in the Jenn Sterger case.

The league said the Favre did not violate the personal conduct policy since the NFL could not prove that Favre indeed was the one who sent inappropriate texts and messages to Sterger while she was an employee with the NY Jets.

The fine, according to the league, was for not fully cooperating with the investigation.

Read more from Pro Football Talk.com

Update: 2010 NFL Playoff TV Schedule Prediction

An update to our TV projections for the NFL Playoffs now that we know the Bears are the #2 seed in the NFC and the Eagles #3 after Philly's choke job Tuesday against Minnesota.


If it goes like this:

AFC
1. New England
2. Pittsburgh
3. Kansas City
4. Indianapolis
5. Baltimore
6. NY Jets

NFC
1. Atlanta
2. Chicago
3. Philadelphia
4. St.Louis/Seattle
5. New Orleans
6. Green Bay

Wild Card Playoffs
Saturday, January 8
4:30pm Baltimore at Indianapolis (NBC)
8pm Green Bay at Philadelphia (NBC)

Sunday, January 9
1pm NY Jets at Kansas City (CBS)
4:30pm New Orleans at St.Louis/Seattle (FOX)

Divisional Playoffs
(#1 vs. lowest seed remaining, #2 vs. highest seed remaining from Divisional Playoffs):
Saturday, January 15

4:30pm  TBD at New England (CBS)
8pm TBD at Atlanta (FOX)

Sunday, January 16
(#1 vs. lowest seed remaining, #2 vs. highest seed remaining from Divisional Playoffs):

1pm TBD at Chicago (FOX)
4:30pm TBD at Pittsburgh (CBS)

Conference Championships - Sunday, January 23
3pm NFC Championship (FOX)
6:30pm AFC Championship (CBS) 

Super Bowl XLV - Sunday, February 6
6:22pm (FOX)