Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ESPN the Magazine's "The Interview" Edition

From ESPN -

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We all want answers. We demand them, actually. From revered coaches, from players making history, from execs we’re convinced are up to no good. Every time one of them answers a question from us – the reporters, the fans – it reveals a small, unvarnished truth about them and about the games we love.
ESPN The Magazine’s debut “Interview” issue on newsstands Friday, December 2, features Green Bay Packers’ Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his thoughts on having the greatest season of his life, Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose about why he refused to attend negotiations between the NBA players and owners, and Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander about how he gets from 97 to 100 on the radar gun. No matter the interview, no question went unanswered.  Cover    |    Articles
Full list of interviews:
·         Aaron Rodgers
·         Alex Ovechkin
·         Bernard Hopkins
·         Clayton Kershaw
·         Danica Patrick
·         Derrick Rose
·         Ed Reed
·         Fred Jackson
·         Jurgen Klinsmann
·         Justin Verlander
·         Mark Emmert
·         Novak Djokovic
·         Ozzie Guillen
·         Theo Epstein
·         Tony LaRussa
·         Usain Bolt
·         Yani Tseng 

Beyond the Interview:
·         Special Report: The “Interview” issue also features “We Were,” a detailed account from The Mag’s Wright Thompson who visited State College a week after the twin legends of Joe Paterno and Happy Valley came crashing down to ask how, in the face of a new normal, Penn State will remake its identity.
·         The Truth: Howard Bryant’s debut as The Mag’s newest columnist, exploring the cult classic Tim Tebow – how we can’t stop talking about him but it’s not because he is the best player on the field.
·         MLB: Now that the season is over, ESPN The Magazine’s Peter Keating reviews the evidence after labeling the Blue Jays sign-stealers earlier this year.
·         College Basketball: Five-star freshman Cody Zeller could have played just about anywhere, but he chose the school that needed him most: Indiana.
·         College Football: No contender will win the hardware on his own. Meet the big award’s five finalists, according to ESPN’s Heisman voters, and the teammates who will help them get to New York.

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Abbie's NFL Picks - Week 13

Eagles over Seahawks
Patriots over Colts
Jets over Redskins
Raiders over Dolphins
Saints over Lions
Chargers over Jaguars

FOX Football - NFL Week 13 & Big 10 / Pac 12 Conference Championships

From FOX Sports -

FOX Sports Presents College Football Championship Weekend

UCLA Battles Oregon For Pac-12 Football Championship Friday at 7:30 PM ET
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State For Big Ten Football Championship Saturday at 7:30 PM ET

Aikman on Rodgers: “No One Has Played The Position Better”

FOX SPORTS COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS AIR FRIDAY & SATURDAY – Championship weekend on FOX Sports is here! Earlier today, the FOX Sports Media Group conducted a conference call to preview Championship weekend on FOX where the network proudly presents exclusive coverage of the Pac-12 Conference Football Championship game between UCLA and Oregon on Friday, Dec. 2 (7:30 PM ET) and the Big Ten Conference Football Championship game between Wisconsin and Michigan State on Saturday, Dec. 3 (7:30 PM ET).  FOX Sports Co-President and Executive Producer Eric Shanks, was joined by FOX Sports college football announcer Gus Johnson and analysts Charles Davis, John Lynch & Dhani Jones to preview both championship telecasts.

Lynch on Rick Neuheisel coaching his final game after being fired by UCLA: Rick Neuheisel is handling it in as professional a manner as you can. After practice, I heard him talking about going, ‘deep, deep, deep’ in their playbook. Rick has nothing to lose. I’ve been in those situations both in college and in pros. Players are out of their comfort zones and you can’t blame it on the old coach anymore, it’s on you.  What you put out there is going to be on film and you’re playing for your job next year. Some kids are playing for scholarships. Neuheisel has been in a tight situation where he knew that unless he moved the needle on the program, his job was on the line. Now, he takes the gloves off and can coach aggressively.”

Johnson on UCLA storylines:  “We have great stories, we have great leading men. UCLA deciding to part ways with Rick Neuheisel gives us a great story. Now, we get to see if coach Neuheisel can wrench out one last stand with his guys. Are they going to come and play real hard for him?”

Lynch on what it’s like to be such a large underdog, like UCLA:  “I was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the early-90’s and they called us the “Yucks,” not the Bucs.  People say, ‘a 31-point underdog, how could it ever happen?’ How did my alma mater, Stanford, and Jim Harbaugh in his first year go down to the Coliseum and knock off USC when they were at a 41-point underdog? Is it possible? Absolutely. Players know that and coaches are selling it. I’ve been there before. The pressure is off you because you aren’t supposed to win.”

Davis on Pac-12 Football Championship Game being played at the home stadium of the team with the best conference record: “The Pac-12 is not a driving conference, yet it’s one of the most perfectly modeled travel conferences.  By comparison, the SEC is a driving conference.  You can pretty much get where you need to get to by hopping in the car and that’s not easily done in the Pac-12.  Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and his conference did a great job in deciding early on to put it at home sites because atmosphere is what makes a championship game too.  We’ll have that championship feel on Friday night.  And remember, the team that’s hosting has earned that opportunity.”     

Johnson on Oregon storylines:  “For Oregon, you have a man like Chip Kelly who came from New Hampshire and in four years has done incredible things in leading this program to become one of the top-10 in the country.  He has a unique style of play. Everything is fast, uptempo and precise.”

Johnson on calling back-to-back championship college football games: “It’ll be fun.  This is an exciting time of year.  We’re honored to be the team that broadcasts these two back-to-back championships during their inaugural seasons on FOX Sports.  The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for all of those years was wonderful, sometimes calling four games in one day but doing back-to-back college football games is a totally different animal.  Especially when you consider that these two conferences are two of the great conferences in the history of college football.  There have been times this year and in the past where I’ve done a college football game on a Saturday and an NFL game on a Sunday.  That happened to me this year with Iowa St.-Texas.  Charles and I did that game and then we got in a car and drove to Kansas City and did Chiefs-Vikings.  I think those kinds of experiences give you more traction than doing college basketball.”

Davis on what Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson needs to do to be successful on Saturday: “For Wilson in this game he just needs to continue to be who he is.  I would not be surprised if they put a little bit more on him in the throwing game, especially early in this game to start things off.” 

Davis previews Wisconsin vs. Michigan State:  “It wouldn’t surprise me if both teams come out with some wrinkles. We are going to get some things that we have not seen. We know who they are and these two teams fit perfectly in terms of style to make it a fight. Both teams are very tough on defense, run the football on offense, with big offensive lines, quarterbacks that don’t make mistakes but know how to make winning plays when the game is on the line. The only difference this year is that Michigan State hasn’t run the ball as well as Wisconsin has. That’s the glaring stat that jumps out at you.”

Jones & Davis react to Wisconsin running back Montee Ball’s season and a lack of Heisman recognition:

Jones:  “He’s having a fantastic season. Sometimes Big Ten players don’t get as much recognition.  I think there is a lot of focus on other conferences. For this championship game he will be able to show a lot of his skills on a national platform which gives him more visibility and at the end of the day, your contention for those awards [Heisman trophy, etc.] rest on people seeing what you’ve done.  As he starts to gain interest within the league later down the line, that’s going to be a part of it because they know he’s a capable running back that can score touchdowns.”

Davis: “If you look at the Wisconsin website for most of the season, the Heisman Trophy campaign was for Russell Wilson, not Montee Ball. He’s having a season as good as a running back can have as we have seen in recent years. When you start using the name Barry Sanders in the same sentence with a young man, you know he’s having that kind of season, but I think those back-to-back losses for Wisconsin in the last second, blew him and Russell Wilson off of the Heisman grid because there were so many other candidates and they just got over looked.”

BIG TEN NETWORK PROVIDES EXTENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE BIG TEN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BEGINNING FRIDAY – The Big Ten Network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Big Ten’s inaugural football conference championship (#B1GFCG) begins Friday, as the Michigan State Spartans prepare to take on the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  Coverage kicks off at 4:00 PM ET as Mike Hall hosts live coverage of the press conferences for Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema as well as key players from both teams.  Rick Pizzo and analysts Derek Rackley and Tim Doyle host a new episode of The Pulse at 6:30 PM ET. At 7:00 PM ET, BTN replays the epic Oct. 22 matchup between the two teams when Michigan State upset Wisconsin, 37-31. The win dashed Wisconsin’s national title hopes and propelled Michigan State into the conference championship race.  At 9:00 PM ET, Dave Revsine, Hall, Howard Griffith, Gerry DiNardo and Glen Mason host a full 60-minute preview on a special edition of the Big Ten Football Report from Lucas Oil Stadium.  They are joined on the set by Bielema and Dantonio.

On Saturday, Revsine, DiNardo, Griffith and Mason are live at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Championship Pregame Show Saturday at 6:30 PM ET.  Pizzo will join the BTN team in Indianapolis to provide viewers with arrival interviews and a behind the scenes glimpse at the championship game.  Immediately following the championship game on FOX, Revsine, DiNardo, Griffith and Mason will return for complete postgame coverage, analysis and interviews with coaches and players.

*All Times Eastern

Friday, Dec. 2
7:30 PM UCLA at Oregon (Pac-12 Championship) FOX
Gus Johnson/Charles Davis/Tim Brewster

Saturday, Dec. 3
12:30 PM Iowa State at Kansas State FSN
Craig Bolerjack/Joel Klatt/Petros Papadakis

Saturday, Dec. 3
7:30 PM Wisconsin vs. Michigan State (B1G Championship, Indianapolis, IN) FOX
Gus Johnson/Charles Davis/Tim Brewster

DREAM FOUNDATION GETS NATIONAL EXPOSURE THIS WEEKEND ON FOX SPORTS – In what turned out to be an outstanding college football season for the FOX Sports Media Group’s networks – Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox College Sports, the Big Ten Network, and FX – FSMG has proudly supported the Dream Foundation.  The charity reaches an even larger audience this Friday & Saturday night as FOX Sports carries in-game mentions and a special Public Service Announcement featuring actor Jeff Bridges, along with FOX Sports broadcasters Gus Johnson and Charles Davis during exclusive coverage of College Football’s Pac-12 and Big Ten Conference Championship games on FOX Sports.  The Dream Foundation is the first wish granting organization for adults whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for families battling life-threatening illness.  For more information please visit
TEBOW/BRONCOS AND RODGERS/PACKERS BOOKEND NFL ON FOX DOUBLEHEADER  – On Sunday, Dec. 4 FOX Sports commences Week 13  with doubleheader coverage of six hard-hitting matchups – each presented in true HD. Action kicks-off at 1:00 PM ET as Tim Tebow leads the resurgent Broncos into Minneapolis to face Christian Ponder and the Vikings. NFC and AFC South foes meet as Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and the Falcons travel to Houston to battle Arian Foster and the Texans. FOX closes out the first-half of the doubleheader with Cam Newton and the Panthers in Tampa taking on the Bucs. The second half of the NFL on FOX doubleheader kicks off in a major way as Eli Manning and the Giants look to end their four-game losing streak and the Packers undefeated run. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver call all of the action from MetLife Stadium. Tony Romo and the NFC East-leading Cowboys travel to the desert to face Beanie Wells and the Cardinals. The NFL on FOX action closes with the NFC west-leading 49ers hosting the Rams.

Coverage begins at 12:00 PM ET with America’s most-watched Sunday afternoon 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 from the FOX NFL SUNDAY studio while comedic prognosticator Frank Caliendo contributes his weekly “Frank’s Picks” segment.  FOX Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira is also on hand to go over any impactful officiating issues.

For instant updates during the week and games from the entire NFL on FOX crew, follow us on Twitter at Follow the NFL on FOX on-air personalities @Jay_Glazer, @JimmyJohnson, @CurtMenefee, @MikePereira, @MichaelStrahan, @TroyAikman, @KennyAlbert, @CoachBillick, @TimBrewster, @CFD22 (Charles Davis), @DarylJohnston, @The_ChrisMyers, @LauraOkmin, @ChadPennington, @TimRyan99 & @TonySiragusa on Twitter as they provide insight and analysis all weekend. Fans can gain more access to exclusive FOX Sports content by logging on to

AIKMAN ON RODGERS: “NO ONE HAS PLAYED THE POSITION BETTER”:  NFL on FOX lead analyst Troy Aikman heads to New York this weekend to call the Giants’ attempt to end the Packers undefeated streak alongside Joe Buck and Pam Oliver. The Hall of Famer sizes up his impression of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his place among elite quarterbacks in the game: “I’ve seen Aaron a lot during this stretch. We also had him to finish the season last year, the last six games including the Super Bowl. This is our third straight game of the Packers coming up this week. He’s making it look a hell of a lot easier than it is. I think right now it’s as good a time as I have ever seen in the NFL for the quarterback position. Tom Brady has been outstanding for a really long time and we saw what Drew Brees did this week against the Giants but I’d say if you look at 2011, Aaron Rodgers is playing better than all of them. The remarkable thing is he has been playing that well since last year. I think the numbers say no one has played the position better. I’m a big fan of Aaron’s. I said last year if I were starting a team, he’d be the first guy I would want.”

Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings - 1pm 61% of nation                        
Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick   & Laura Okmin
Mall of America Field – Minneapolis, MN
MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Milwaukee, New York, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tulsa, West Palm Beach

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans - 1pm 20% of nation                               
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston & on-field analyst Tony Siragusa
Reliant Stadium– Houston, TX
MARKETS INCLUDE: Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, San Antonio

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Bucs - 1pm 5% of nation                       
Ron Pitts, Jim Mora  & Drea Avent
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL
MARKETS INCLUDE: Charlotte, Fort Myers, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants  - 4:15pm 77% of nation                    
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman  & Pam Oliver
MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, NJ
MARKETS INCLUDE: Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Denver, Detroit, Fort Myers, Greensboro, Greenville, Hartford, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Raleigh, Richmond, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, Washington, West Palm Beach

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals - 4:15pm 14% of nation                          
Dick Stockton, John Lynch  & Jennifer Hale
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, AZ
MARKETS INCLUDE: Albuquerque, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tulsa

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers - 4:15pm 7% of nation                     
Chris Myers, Tim Ryan  & Jaime Maggio
Candlestick Park – San Francisco, CA
MARKETS INCLUDE: Sacramento, San Francisco, St. Louis

ESPN's NFL Coverage - Week 13

From ESPN - 

ESPN NFL Content Highlights – Week 13

Monday Night Football: Chargers Face Jaguars in Jacksonville
Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville Jaguars will host Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on December 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET.  ESPN’s MNF play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico will call the game with analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski and sideline reporter Sal Paolantonio. In studio, Chris Berman will host the 90-minute Monday Night Countdown, at 7 p.m., with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.  ESPN Deportes will also televise MNF.

Sunday NFL Countdown: The Pursuit of Perfection; Jim Mora Sr. and “Playoffs?”; Haloti Ngata’s Strength, “Mayne Event” and More
Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson (on the main set) and Suzy Kolber, Bill Parcells and Merril Hoge (on the second set), will preview the NFL’s week 13 games on Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM on December 4 at 10 a.m.  NFL Insider Adam Schefter and senior analyst Chris Mortensen will provide the day’s headlines and league news.  In addition, reporting from key games:  Bob Holtzman – Falcons at Texans; Josina Anderson – Bengals at Steelers; George Smith – Broncos at Vikings; Hank Goldberg – Raiders at Dolphins; and Rachel Nichols – Packers at Giants. Highlights:
·         The Road to Perfection:  The Green Bay Packers are unbeaten heading into week 13.  The only team to register a perfect season is the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  Since then several teams have come close.  The 1998 Broncos were 13-0 when they lost to the Giants.  However the Broncos repeated as Super Bowl champions. The 2007 Patriots completed a perfect regular season (16-0) and playoffs, but lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.  In 2009, the Colts were undefeated entering week 15 vs. the Jets.  The Colts rested their star players and lost to the Jets before losing in the Super Bowl to the Saints.  Garber reports on the best approach to a perfect season. 
·         “Playoffs?”: Ten years after a memorable and honest post-game moment following a loss to the 49ers, the words of Jim Mora Sr., then head coach of the Indianapolis Colts -- “Playoffs?  Don’t talk about Playoffs.  Are you kidding me?  Playoffs?”  -- still resonate today. senior writer Greg Garber joins the Indianapolis journalists present that day to revisit the moment.  Also, Mora sits down with Garber to watch the entire press conference for the first time.
·         Haloti Ngata’s Strength:  Haloti Ngata was so coveted coming out of Oregon that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis went into GM Ozzie Newsome’s office to lobby for Baltimore to draft the 300-pound defensive lineman. Rachel Nichols reports on the two tragedies the 27-year-old Ngata has endured.
·         Mayne Event:  All season, Tennessee’s rookie quarterback Jake Locker has learned the ropes from veteran Matt Hasselbeck, an opportunity he treasures greatly.  In this week’s Mayne Event, Kenny Mayne catches up with Hasselbeck and Locker to talk about their unique bond and some of Hasselbeck's unorthodox teaching methods.

NFL Matchup: Ron Jaworski on Jets’ Mark Sanchez in the Red Zone and Packers Offense 
Host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge will preview Sunday’s key games on NFL Matchup.  Each NFL Sunday morning (ESPN - 3 a.m. and 7:30; ESPN2 - 8:30 a.m.), the trio brings viewers inside the film room for the Xs and Os of the matchups.  Highlights:
·         Sanchez in the Red Zone: An effective pass game in the red zone requires a quarterback who can quickly read the coverage and make crucial adjustments at game speed.  Currently ranked second in the league in red zone efficiency with 15 touchdowns and only one interception, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is proving he can be an effective signal caller in the NFL.
·         Creating Mismatches:  The Green Bay Packers offense exemplifies a team that looks to create and exploit matchups.  Jaworski shows how the Packers offense uses designed formations and personnel to dictate where and how opposing defenders are aligned to create opportunity for big plays.

Danielson previews SEC Championship Game on CBS

From CBS Sports -




CBS Sports presents the SEC Championship game Saturday, Dec. 3 (4:00 PM, ET) featuring the Eastern Division Champion and *No. 14-ranked Georgia taking on the undefeated Western Division Champion and *No. 1-ranked LSU at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.

Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, CBS Sports’ lead college football announce team, call the action from Atlanta with Tracy Wolfson reporting from the sidelines. Craig Silver, the Network’s coordinating producer of college football, produces and Steve Milton directs. 

Kicking off the day’s coverage live from Atlanta is CBS COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY (3:00-3:30 PM, ET) with host Tim Brando and analysts  Spencer Tillman, Archie Manning and Tony Barnhart.  The show previews the SEC Championship and includes a feature on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray as well as the inspirational story of LSU quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe who is dealing with Parkinson’s Disease while preparing his team for a run at the National Championship. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL TODAY, CBS Sports’ pre-game, halftime and post-game studio show will be broadcast live from the field of the Georgia Dome beginning at 3:30 PM, ET featuring Brando along with Tillman, Manning and Barnhart.  Vin DeVito produces and Linda Malino directs. Harold Bryant is Executive Producer and Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.

CBS Sports Network will air a special SEC CHAMPIONSHIP TAILGATE show on Saturday (1:00–2:00 PM, ET).  Host Adam Zucker will be joined in-studio by analyst Randy Cross and’s Bruce FeldmanMolly Qerim and analyst Brian Jones will report on-site from Atlanta.   SEC TONIGHT (11:30 PM-12:00 AM, ET) provides an in-depth recap of the Championship game. 

As it has done for the entire 2011 SEC ON CBS football schedule, will provide live streaming coverage of the SEC Championship. The game is available exclusively on and CBS Sports Mobile. The SEC Championship can be viewed at:

Following the game, SEC football fans can go to for the “5th Quarter with Gary Danielson,” an interactive show produced live from the SEC ON CBS CRUISER, an all-access mobile media vehicle fully outfitted with the latest technology. The “5th Quarter with Gary Danielson” provides fans an opportunity to chat with Danielson and discuss the game and the BCS implications from the outcome.  The “5th Quarter with Gary Danielson” can be viewed by visiting:  Fans can also follow Danielson via Twitter: @DanielsonCBS.

(*BCS Poll as of 11/29/10)
                                                                                                  * * * * *

Since Alabama, this is the first team that has some of the same parts. Georgia has a defense built with size. Their defensive coordinator is a disciple of Nick Saban and has built his team around the ability to stop the run with size up front and big linebackers.  Georgia should be able to stay in the game without being able to bring up the defensive backs to stop the run like other teams have had to do. Their size up front should match up against LSU’s size, giving them a chance.

LSU can win is so many different ways that it’s really hard to isolate what teams have to do to beat LSU. They have playmakers everywhere. They don’t have a lot of role players, they have a lot of game breaking players and that’s why they are unique.  If they get a lead, they can embarrass you. I don’t know if I’ve seen a team this big, with very few drop-offs in talent. A lot of teams can beat you in a one game, LSU is built for the season.

LSU has tried to manage one area, quarterback.  But now Jordan Jefferson is coming out strong. He is becoming a weapon, which makes LSU even scarier. 

If I was Georgia I wouldn’t worry about Aaron Murray. I think he’ll be fine. I question the other ten guys on the field. Georgia has depth and a good group of wide receivers.  LSU hasn’t faced that many dangerous pocket quarterbacks this year. West Virginia and Oregon didn’t match up well with LSU because they play so well against teams who spread the field.  If everyone else on the team is up to it, Murray will be fine.

Brady on Showtime's Inside the NFL

From Showtime/CBS Sports - 



NEW YORK (Nov. 30, 2011) – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joins Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth via satellite on tonight’s episode of INSIDE THE NFL.  Brady discusses his relationship with Bill Belichick, and what he thinks of fellow quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning

Also in tonight’s episode, James Brown, Simms, Collinsworth and Warren Sapp discuss the continuing problem with helmet-to-helmet contact in the league.  Plus, should Stevie Johnson be punished for his controversial touchdown celebration. The episode premieres tonight, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME

INSIDE THE NFL, now in its 33rd season, airs every Wednesday night through the NFL season on SHOWTIME for a total of 23 episodes, with multiple replays each week on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME® and availability on SHOWTIME On Demand.  
INSIDE THE NFL is produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films. The executive producers are CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and NFL Films President Steve Sabol.  Pete Radovich Jr., the Emmy Award-winning Creative Director for CBS Sports, serves as coordinating producer.

Following are excerpts from this week’s episode:

Tom Brady Interview

On his relationship with head coach Bill Belichick…
BRADY: I think the great part about playing for him is, as a player the expectations that he has for me are very similar to what he has for everybody on this team.  He doesn’t treat me any differently than he treats the other guys, which actually is great for me because I can be one of the guys.  And I can get yelled at just like the other guys get yelled at.  He usually has a low-lights clip either from practice or a game with all the plays that we could have done better, and usually I’m the one that leads it off.  So he sets the tone for the whole meeting with me throwing a hitch into the dirt and him screaming at me saying, ‘Foxborough High School could complete this pass.’  And some days I want to look at him and say, ‘God, don’t you know how many games we’ve won or how many Super Bowls we’ve won?’ And then the other part of me says, ‘You know what?  That’s what you need.’  Because he has to be able to tell me, ‘You’ve got to be able to complete this.  We can’t take this penalty.’  Because that is what he expects for the entire team.  So when we’re in the off-season and stuff, maybe we have some more candid conversations about the team and what he thinks or what I may think about where our team is at.  But for the most part, he is the coach and this is a dictatorship here.  There are not a lot of people that get to make decisions here other than him.

On Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his currently undefeated team…
BRADY: It’s so impressive when you watch a team that can string together that many victories going all the way back to last season.  It really tells you what the character and the make-up of the players on that team are.  So them getting off to the start that they’ve gotten off to is very impressive.  And the way Aaron’s playing, it’s impossible to play the quarterback position any better than he is playing it right now.

On Indianapolis’s Peyton Manning…
BRADY: The NFL misses guys like that… I know how much football means to Peyton.  He and I have developed a real friendship over the years.  I remember when I got hurt, he was one of the first people that called me and kind of expressed his disappointment that I wouldn’t be out there.  And I feel the same way.  And hopefully he’ll be back out there next year.

On League dealing with helmet-to-helmet hits

COLLINSWORTH: The Steelers feel like there are certain plays…when guys are just playing football, the idea that you are going to fine somebody and take out of their family $55,000 for a play that they don’t think they can really do anything about, is really infuriating to the Steelers.

SIMMS: The have to change it…The penalty is not enough.  If it’s (just) a penalty, then the teams will go, ‘Let’s take a 15-yarder and let’s knock so-and-so out or let’s deliver a message.’  So it has to be more.  And what other way [than] to fine.  You have to deter it, the teams.  Fine the team.  There has to be more than just a penalty.  Because the penalty, you can take calculated times in the game and go, ‘Let’s head-hunt.’  And don’t think they don’t.  They would.

COLLINSWORTH: Warren brought up the best point about this whole thing when we were talking about this a little before, he said, ‘Okay, you don’t want me to hit them in the head?’, they’re going to start hitting them in the knees and then you’re going to see wide receivers say, ‘Please hit me in the head again.’…

SIMMS: It’s about players’ safety…We’re talking about health.  We’re talking about people’s lives and how we can change it.  You say, ‘They can’t change.’  Yes they can.  It’s going to take a while.  What we have to do, they’re going to change, slowly it will.  What we’re going to do, we’re going to build a generation of college and high school and pee wee kids who are going to learn to tackle the proper way instead of, ‘Hey, go to the head, knock’em out and get the ball loose.’  That will be gone.

SAPP:  How can I lead with my shoulder if my head is two inches in front of me?...It’s impossible to lead with my shoulder without my head there.

COLLINSWORTH: Here’s the problem I have with it.  It doesn’t impact the team that was fouled enough.  Okay, you’re going to get the 15 yards out of it, but it’s highly likely you’re going to lose a player…The foul in the game isn’t enough.  I think the disqualification has to be in the discussion.  If you go back, review it under replay, if it’s determined that it was definitely a helmet-to-helmet shot, you take that player out of the game.  All of a sudden, now, you’re going to start changing your thinking in this thing.  If you’re really dead serious on how important this is to take the head-to-head hits out of it, then you have to think about disqualification.  

On Buffalo Bills Stevie Johnson’s controversial touchdown celebration…

COLLINSWORTH: The Stevie Johnson thing was worse than Ndamukong Suh because it was premeditated.  Because he planned it out.  And the reason they don’t let them do all this stuff, the NFL, is because it will always get away from them.  It will always go too far.  And to plan on a celebration where you’re going to shoot somebody, shoot yourself in the leg to mock another player, but the other one was even worse.  To do the jet thing and fall down like a jet falling out of the sky.  To me it crossed so many boundaries.   It makes you want to eliminate all celebrations together.  Ndamukong Suh, he got mad.  There was a fight and it’s happened to every one of us. Every one of us.  We’ve jumped over and slammed somebody down.

SAPP: …You have got to know how far you can take that by knowing the rules. That’s the only thing I have a problem with Stevie Johnson.  There is a clear-cut rule and he said, “I didn’t know the rule.”  Then son, you don’t know what you’re doing.  You can’t do that.  That’s something you were taught as a little boy. 

ESPN sets College Football Bowl Game Announcers

From ESPN - 

Football’s Top Commentators to Work ESPN’s Bowl Game Coverage
ESPN’s extensive college football coverage will continue with 33 bowl games, highlighted by all five of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) matchups, including the Allstate BCS National Championship on Monday, Jan. 9, at 8:30 p.m. ET. It will mark the second straight year the entire BCS will be available on ESPN, ESPN3 and ESPN Radio.
ESPN 3D, the first 3D network to launch in the industry, will continue its extensive schedule of college football with exclusive 3D coverage of six bowl games, concluding with the Allstate BCS National Championship. The network televised the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Tostitos BCS National Championship last year.
Overall, ESPN will utilize a minimum of 64 on-air commentators to provide play-by-play, analysis and sideline reports for the network’s exclusive multiplatform coverage of the 33 bowl games. Highlights:
  • The Allstate BCS National Championship (Jan. 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN 3D and ESPN Radio): For the second consecutive year Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi will call ESPN’s telecast. ESPN’s Monday Night Football signal caller Mike Tirico will work ESPN Radio’s broadcast with ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge and reporter Holly Rowe.
It will mark Musburger’s and Herbstreit’s fifth consecutive BCS National Championship, the first two on ESPN Radio, followed by the BCS National Championship Game from the Rose Bowl on ABC two years ago and last season’s Championship from Glendale, Ariz. on ESPN.
  • Sean McDonough, Matt Millen and Heather Cox will work BCS bowls on consecutive days, calling the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on ESPN on Monday, Jan. 2, at 8:30 p.m. and ESPN Radio’s broadcast of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 8:30 p.m. They will also work the Insight Bowl on Friday, Dec. 30, at 10 p.m. on ESPN.
  • Musburger, Herbstreit and Andrews – the ESPN on ABC Saturday Night Football Presented by Southwest Airlines announcers – will also call the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio on ESPN on Monday, Jan. 2, at 5 p.m.
  • Tirico will be joined by Monday Night Football analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski on ESPN’s telecast of the Discover Orange Bowl with reporter Lisa Salters on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 8:30 p.m. Tirico, Gruden and Salters will also work the Outback Bowl on ABC, Monday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m. on ABC.
  • In addition to the Allstate BCS National Championship, Blackledge and Rowe will work ESPN’s coverage of the Allstate Sugar Bowl with their regular-season play-by-play partner Brad Nessler on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 8:30 p.m.
  • Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore, ESPN’s regular Friday night game announcers, will call ESPN Radio’s broadcast of the Discover Orange Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 8:30 p.m.; ESPN’s telecast of the Capital One Bowl Monday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m.; and ESPN’s coverage of the Champs Sports Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 5:30 p.m.
Bowl Championship Series
Mon, Jan 2 5 p.m. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
ESPN: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit & Erin Andrews
ESPN Radio: Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman & Tom Rinaldi
  8:30 p.m. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
ESPN: Sean McDonough, Matt Millen & Heather Cox
ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie & Joe Schad
Tue, Jan 3 8:30 p.m. Allstate Sugar Bowl
ESPN: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge & Holly Rowe
ESPN Radio: Sean McDonough, Matt Millen & Heather Cox
Wed, Jan 4 8:30 p.m. Discover Orange Bowl
ESPN: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski & Lisa Salters
ESPN Radio: Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore & Quint Kessenich
Mon, Jan 9 8:30 p.m. Allstate BCS National Championship
ESPN: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Erin Andrews & Tom Rinaldi
ESPN Radio: Mike Tirico, Todd Blackledge & Holly Rowe
Additional Postseason Bowl Games
Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Dec 17 2 p.m. Gildan New Mexico Bowl
ESPN: Clay Matvick, Brian Griese & Jessica Mendoza
ESPN Radio: TBA, David Diaz-Infante & TBA
  5:30 p.m. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
ESPN: Dave Flemming, Mike Bellotti & Heather Cox
ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie & Joe Schad
  9 p.m. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
ESPN: Carter Blackburn, Brock Huard & Shelley Smith
ESPN Radio: Adam Amin, Jay Walker & Ian Fitzsimmons
Tue, Dec 20 8 p.m. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg
ESPN: Mike Patrick, Craig James & Jeannine Edwards
ESPN Radio: Rob Stone, Danny Kanell & TBA
Wed, Dec 21 8 p.m. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Lou Holtz, Mark May & TBA
ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie & Joe Schad
Thu, Dec 22 8 p.m. MAACO Bowl Las Vegas
Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit & Tom Rinaldi
Sat, Dec 24 8 p.m. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
ESPN: Mark Jones, Ed Cunningham & Jessica Mendoza
ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher & Trevor Matich
Mon, Dec 26 5 p.m. AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Rob Stone, Danny Kanell & Allison Williams
Tue, Dec 27 4:30 p.m. Little Caesars Bowl
Beth Mowins, Mike Bellotti & Eamon McAnaney
  8 p.m. Belk Bowl
Bob Wischusen, Brian Griese & Shannon Spake
Wed, Dec 28 4:30 p.m. Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Pam Ward, Dan Hawkins & Jeannine Edwards
  8 p.m. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
ESPN: Rece Davis, Craig James, Jesse Palmer & Jenn Brown
ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie & Joe Schad
Thu, Dec 29 5:30 p.m. Champs Sports Bowl
ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore & Holly Rowe
ESPN Radio: Mike Gleason, John Congemi & TBA
  9 p.m. Valero Alamo Bowl
ESPN: Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman & Quint Kessenich
ESPN Radio: Carter Blackburn, Brock Huard & Eamon McAnaney
Fri, Dec 30 Noon Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
ESPN: Dave Neal, Andre Ware & Cara Capuano
ESPN Radio: Adam Amin, Tim Brown & Ian Fitzsimmons
  3:20 p.m. New Era Pinstripe Bowl
ESPN: Chris Fowler, Jesse Palmer & Tom Rinaldi
  6:40 p.m. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Mark Jones, Ed Cunningham & Jeannine Edwards
  10 p.m. Insight Bowl
ESPN: Sean McDonough, Matt Millen & Heather Cox
ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie & Joe Schad
Sat, Dec 31 Noon Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
ESPN: Bob Wischusen, Brian Griese & Eamon McAnaney
ESPN Radio: Beth Mowins, Mike Bellotti & TBA
  3:30 p.m. AutoZone Liberty Bowl
ABC: Dave Lamont, Ray Bentley & Quint Kessenich
ESPN Radio: Pam Ward, Dan Hawkins & TBA
ABC / ESPN3 / ESPN Radio
  3:30 p.m. Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Carter Blackburn, Brock Huard & Shelley Smith
  7:30 p.m. Chick-fil-A Bowl
ESPN: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge & Holly Rowe
ESPN Radio: Dave Neal, David Diaz-Infante & Cara Capuano
Mon, Jan 2 Noon TicketCity Bowl
Clay Matvick, Danny Kanell & Allison Williams
  1 p.m. Outback Bowl
ABC: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden & Lisa Salters
ESPN Radio: Bob Wischusen, John Congemi & Joey Galloway
ABC / ESPN Radio
  1 p.m. Capital One Bowl
ESPN: Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore & Quint Kessenich
ESPN Radio: Dave Lamont, Ray Bentley & TBA
  1 p.m. Gator Bowl
Mike Patrick, Craig James & Jeannine Edwards
Sat, Jan 7 1 p.m. BBVA Compass Bowl
ESPN: Mike Gleason, John Congemi & Eamon McAananey
ESPN Radio: Clay Matvick, Charles Arbuckle & Jessica Mendoza
Sun, Jan 8 9 p.m. Bowl
Rob Stone, Danny Kanell & Cara Capuano
As part of an extensive four-year agreement with the Bowl Championship Series that began last year, ESPN will provide exclusive worldwide television coverage, radio broadcasts, digital content and more for the five annual BCS games from January 2011 through January 2014. Last season was the first time ESPN televised BCS games while ESPN Radio has broadcast every BCS game since 2000.
ESPN’s coverage of last year’s BCS title game averaged 27,316,000 viewers and 17,718,000 households, making it the most watched program in the history of cable television.
The 2011 college football season on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN 3D, ESPN3, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Regional Television and ESPN GamePlan totals more than 400 regular-and post-season games.