- NFL Wild Card Weekend – Saturday and Sunday Editions of Countdown and Matchup
- Extensive ESPN.com and ESPN Radio Coverage of NFL Wild Card Weekend
NBA, OTL, FNF & MORE…
- NBA Friday: Heat-Bulls, Battle for L.A.
- Outside the Lines: Generational Divide
- ESPN’s Friday Night Fights’ Kicks Off 15th Anniversary Season: Undefeated Fighters; New Host and On-Site, Bilingual Reporter
- Men’s College Hoops: Conference Action includes Five of Top Eight Teams
- Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship on Sunday – Two, Two-Handed Bowlers
- espnW.com: University of Tennessee Total Access: Tyler Summitt, “Tenn Questions” and Summer (Sanders) on the Run
- Numbers Never Lie Goes 17-0 in ESPN.com NFL Eliminator Pick-Em Pool
ESPN’s NFL Wild Card Weekend will be anchored by two editions of Sunday NFL Countdown – a two-hour special Saturday, Jan. 5, at 11 a.m. and the regular three-hour edition Sunday, Jan 6, at 11 a.m. – with Chris Berman, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Suzy Kolber, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski. NFL Insider Adam Schefter and senior analyst Chris Mortensen will report the day’s news.
Snickers NFL Matchup with host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will also include Saturday and Sunday editions at 6:30 a.m. (reairs on ESPN2 at 8:30 a.m.) each day. NFL PrimeTime will air two live shows – late Saturday at midnight (9 p.m. PT) and Sunday at 8 p.m. Additionally, Trey Wingo will host a two-hour SportsCenter Special: Wild Card Weekend on Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2, recapping the weekend and looking ahead to the NFL Divisional Playoff round.
|Fri, Jan 4||4 p.m.||NFL Live presented by Radio Shack
Trey Wingo, Mark Schlereth and Tedy Bruschi
|7 p.m.||NFL Kickoff
Wingo, Schlereth and Bruschi
|Sat, Jan 5||6:30 p.m.||Snickers NFL Matchup
Sal Paolantonio, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski
|11 a.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown presented by IBM (2 hours)
Chris Berman, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Suzy Kolber, Hoge and Jaworski
|12 a.m.||NFL PrimeTime
Wingo, Trent Dilfer and Hoge
|Sun, Jan 6||6:30 a.m.||NFL Matchup
Paolantonio, Hoge and Jaworski
|10 a.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown presented by IBM (3 hours)
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Kolber, Hoge and Jaworski
|8 p.m.||NFL PrimeTime
Berman, Jackson and Dilfer
|9 p.m.||SportsCenter Special (2 hours)
Wingo, Jaworski, Hoge, Antonio Pierce and Herm Edwards
On-site reporters at the four NFL Wild Card Weekend games:
ESPN’s NFL Wild Card playoff coverage will include pre- and post-game reports from all four stadiums. Saturday: Bob Holtzman (Cincinnati at Houston) and Josina Anderson (Minnesota at Green Bay). Sunday: Rachel Nichols (Indianapolis) and Sal Paolantonio (Baltimore) will split coverage of the teams playing at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, and Ed Werder (Seattle at Washington).
Sunday NFL Countdown (Saturday):
- Adrian Peterson Soundtracks – Coming off one of the most memorable seasons for an NFL running back, Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson will be featured in “Soundtracks.”
- Arian Foster’s Rise – As a kid growing up in Albuquerque, N.M., Arian Foster promised his mom, Bernadette Sizemore, and family members a fruit basket when he makes it big in the NFL. During the off-season, the running back made good on his promise after he signed a multi-year agreement with the Texans. Countdown’s Tom Jackson revisits the emotional press conference where Foster shared his childhood promise, interviews his mother and tells the story of a promise kept.
- The Comeback – This week is the 20th anniversary of the greatest comeback in NFL history – the Buffalo Bills overcoming a 35-3 third quarter deficit to beat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in overtime in a home NFL Wild Card game. Countdown will relive the game through the eyes of the players and coaches.
Sunday NFL Countdown (Sunday):
- RG3 and Russell Wilson’s Week 17 Soundtracks – Last Sunday, Robert Griffin III led the Washington Redskins to a must-win victory over the Dallas Cowboys to top the NFC East. His rookie counterpart in Seattle, Russell Wilson, beat the St. Louis Rams to finish his first season a perfect 8-0 at home. Before their game, Countdown takes the viewer inside their week 17 games in Soundtracks.
- What Drives Alfred? – In a revealing piece about the Redskins breakout running back Alfred Morris, Josina Anderson takes a drive with the rookie in his 1991 Mazda 626 (blue book value of $1,000) a symbol for what has kept Morris grounded as he is fast becoming a star in the NFL.
- One Last Dance? – Before Ray Lewis’ last home game, Chris Connelly talks to past and present Baltimore Ravens as well as opponents who have admired Lewis perform his pre-game dance.
- Frank Caliendo – The comedian takes a witty look at the N.Y. Jets season and their head coach Rex Ryan.
- O.J. Brigance – O.J. Brigance’s 16 games with the Baltimore Ravens culminated in a Super Bowl XXXV victory. Four years later, he joined the Ravens front office, becoming the director of player development. In 2007, Brigance was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. He has since become an inspiration to others, facing his challenge with passion and perseverance, and starting a foundation to help others fight the disease.
Snickers NFL Matchup (Saturday):
- Merril Hoge explains how Vikings receiver Jarius Wright caught a 73 yard pass last Sunday against the Green Bay Packers and contends the Vikings offense will need to make similar plays in the playoffs to be successful.
- Hoge shows how Vikings “Factor Back” Adrian Peterson has racked up more than 400 yards in his two games versus the Packers this season.
- Ron Jaworski, using the telestrator, shows how the Packers attacked the Vikings defense when cornerback Antoine Winfield was off the field.
- Jaworski shows how the Packers use tight end Jermichael Finley to help with pass protection.
- The Cincinnati Bengals defense has emerged as among the best by starting their blitz and pressure schemes in the “A Gap,” explains Jaworski.
- The Bengals are in the playoffs for the second straight year, but Hoge contends quarterback Andy Dalton is still missing some opportunities to score points.
- Hoge uses the “Coaches Clicker” to show how the Texans offense, which is predicated on establishing the zone runs, used running back Arian Foster effectively by running in-between the tackles against the Indianapolis Colts.
Snickers NFL Matchup features (Sunday):
- Jaworski explains how rookie quarterback Andrew Luck’s mobility has had a huge impact on the Colts passing game.
- Using the telestrator, Jaworski explains how the Redskins could use wide receiver Santana Moss in the slot to create more explosive plays.
- Jaworski revisits a 23-yard run by Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles to show how the Colts defense struggles to set the edge and tackle on the perimeter.
- The Ravens have held their opponents under 200 passing yards in the last four games and Hoge breaks down their blitz scheme.
- Hoge shows how the pistol formation allows Seattle to freeze defenders and get running back Marshawn Lynch busting through.
- Using the “Coaches Clicker,” Hoge explains how the Redskins offensive formations have led to running back Alfred Morris setting the team’s single-season rushing record.
Extensive ESPN.com and ESPN Radio Coverage of NFL Wild Card Weekend
In addition to ESPN’s television coverage of the NFL Wild Card Playoff weekend, ESPN.com will dispatch multiple NFL writers and divisional bloggers to all four games:
- On Saturday, bloggers Jamison Hensley (AFC North) and Paul Kuharsky (AFC South), and senior writer Jeff Chadiha will cover the Bengals-Texans game in Houston, while blogger Kevin Seifert (NFC North) and senior writer Ashley Fox will be at Lambeau Field for the Vikings-Packers game.
- On Sunday, Hensley and Kuharsky will travel to Baltimore for Colts-Ravens, while bloggers Dan Graziano (NFC East) and Mike Sando (NFC West), as well as senior writer John Clayton, will cover the Seahawks-Redskins matchup.
ESPN.com will have the latest updates throughout the week on the NFL Nation blog and on the specific pages that launched highlighting each of the four games. ESPN.com will also look ahead to the divisional round with an AFC Playoff Q&A by Chadiha and a NFC Playoff Q&A from Clayton.
ESPN Radio’s Countdown to Kickoff – Saturday (1-4 p.m.) with host Chuck Wilson, and Sunday (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) with host Jonathan Coachman – will preview and review all the games. Guests will include analysts Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge, insiders Chris Mortensen and Clayton, and on-site game reporters as well as newsmakers from around the league.
NBA action returns Friday, Jan. 4, on ESPN when the Miami Heat – led by LeBron James – host the Chicago Bulls and Joakim Noah at 8 p.m. Mike Breen will call the game with analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Lisa Salters. In the nightcap, the Los Angeles rivalry takes center stage as the Los Angeles Clippers and the superstar duo of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul host the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash at 10:30 p.m. Dave Pasch and analyst Jeff Van Gundy will handle the call with reporter Chris Broussard. Both games are available on WatchESPN.
|Friday, Jan 4||8 p.m.||Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat||Mike Breen, Hubie Brown, Lisa Salters||ESPN, WatchESPN|
|10:30 p.m.||Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers||Dave Pasch, Jeff Van Gundy, Chris Broussard||ESPN, WatchESPN|
Outside the Lines: Generational Divide
There is nothing new about disputes between college coaches and athletes. But in recent months, such incidents have made headlines, with young athletes pushing back and questioning authority. Some experts wonder whether coaches today are having trouble bridging a generational divide. On Sunday’s Outside the Lines at 10 a.m. on ESPN2, John Barr examines what happens when Generation Y – the generation that came of age at the dawn of a new millennium – encounters the immovable object known as the old-school coach. Preview clip: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8802611
“He sits us down and he looks at us and then he says, ‘Yeah, listen, I am not your friend, I am not your brother, I am not your father, I am your coach and you are all my b#*!hes.’ And, uh, we just looked at each other like, ‘Who does this guy think he is?’” — Trevor Walker, former Towson University football player who was kicked off the team, on how head coach Rob Ambrose spoke to players
“Give me a chance. I’d do the same, be the same as I was forty years ago. Bear Bryant would be just as good today as he was then.(Ara) Parseghian would be just as good today, (Bo) Schembechler, because none of them put up with any bull$#!t.” — Bob Knight
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights will begin its 15th anniversary season January 4, at 10 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and WatchESPN featuring undefeated Junior Lightweights Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (17-0, 11 KOs) vs. Arash Usmanee (20-0, 10 KOs). Read more
Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside at Miami’s Magic City Casino with new studio host Todd Grisham presenting the latest news. ESPN Deportes’ Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will describe the action with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in the studio. Former Friday Night Fights host Bernardo Osuna debuts as the network’s on-site, bilingual reporter for both shows.
In addition, Friday’s show will profile Usmanee, reviewing his migration from Afghanistan to Canada following the then-Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
Men’s College Hoops: Conference Action includes Five of Top Eight Teams
ESPN’s upcoming men’s college basketball schedule will be highlighted by conference action on Super Tuesday and Wednesday Night Hoops Presented by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with five of the top eight ranked teams and 13 ranked teams overall.
- The week will tip-off with No. 21 Notre Dame at No. 14 Cincinnati in a matchup between BIG EAST ranked teams on Monday, Jan. 7, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
- The first Super Tuesday of the season on January 8 will include an ESPN and ESPNU doubleheader with at least one ranked team in each game:
- ESPNU will televise No. 1 Duke against Clemson at 7 p.m. and No. 24 Pittsburgh at No. 15 Georgetown at 9 p.m.
- ESPN will have No. 12 Missouri against Alabama at 7 p.m. followed by No. 8 Ohio State at Purdue at 9 p.m.
- The lineup for Wednesday, Jan. 9, will include four 7 p.m. games with at least one ranked team in each: No. 4 Louisville at Seton Hall on ESPN2, No. 6 Kansas against Iowa State on ESPNU, No. 7 Syracuse at Providence on ESPN3 and the BIG EAST Network, and No. 13 Florida against Georgia on ESPN3.
|Mon, Jan 7||6:30 p.m.||No. 21 Notre Dame at No. 14 Cincinnati
Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Bill Raftery
|Tue, Jan 8||7 p.m.||Alabama at No. 12 Missouri
Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake
|Baylor at Texas Tech
Roxy Bernstein & Miles Simon
|Clemson at No. 1 Duke
Tom Hart & Len Elmore
|DePaul at Connecticut
Bob Picozzi & Kara Lawson
|ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network|
|9 p.m.||No. 8 Ohio State at Purdue
Mike Tirico & Dan Dakich
|No. 24 Pittsburgh at No. 15 Georgetown
Adam Amin & Tim Welsh
|Wed, Jan 9||7 p.m.||No. 4 Louisville at Seton Hall
Mike Patrick & LaPhonso Ellis
|Iowa State at No. 6 Kansas
Mark Neely & Matt Doherty
|Georgia at No. 13 Florida
Dave Baker & Bill Koss
|ESPN3 * & CSS|
|Boston College at Virginia Tech||ESPN3 * & RSN ^|
|No. 7 Syracuse at Providence
Don Orsillo & Ron Perry
|ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network|
|Rutgers at St. John’s
Mike Corey & Bob Valvano
|ESPN3 * & RSN|
|8 p.m.||South Carolina at Mississippi State
Mike Gleason & Nate Ross
|TCU at No. 22 Oklahoma State
Dave Armstrong & Reid Gettys
|ESPN3 * & Big 12 Network|
|Florida State at Maryland||ESPN3 * & ACC Network|
|Georgia Tech at No. 23 NC State||ESPN3 * & ACC Network|
|Ole Miss at Tennessee
Dave Neal & Barry Booker
|ESPN3 & SEC Network|
|Villanova at South Florida
Rich Hollenberg & Bob Wenzel
|ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network|
|9 p.m.||West Virginia at Texas
Bob Wischusen & Stephen Bardo
|Arkansas at Texas A&M
Dari Nowkhah & Dino Gaudio
|Virginia at Wake Forest||ESPN3 * & RSN ^|
|LSU at Auburn
Matt Stewart & Daymeon Fishback
|ESPN3 * & CSS|
|11 p.m.||Washington at California
Dave Flemming & Bill Walton
|Hawaii at UC Irvine
Rich Cellini & Corey Williams
Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship on Sunday – Two, Two-Handed Bowlers
ESPN will present the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship stepladder finals Sunday, Jan. 6, at 1 p.m. Lon McEachern and PBA Hall of Famer Randy Petersen provide commentary and analysis from Las Vegas. In the opening match, Tom Daugherty will face off against Jason Sterner with both looking for their first Tour titles. The winner will then bowl against five-time Tour titlist, Australian Jason Belmonte, who uses a unique two-handed delivery and is making his second consecutive television appearance of the season having finished second in the Chameleon Championship. The winner of the semifinal will take on No. 1 seed Osku Palermaa of Finland, who also uses the two-hand delivery. Palermaa is trying for his third Tour title which included a PBA World Championship win in 2011 for his first major title.
espnW.com: University of Tennessee Total Access: Tyler Summitt, “Tenn Questions” and Summer (Sanders) on the Run
espnW.com continues the University of Tennessee Total Access series with “Tenn Questions” with Lady Vols junior Meighan Simmons, and a feature on legendary coach Pat Summitt’s son Tyler who is in his first season as an assistant with the Marquette women’s basketball team. espnW.com also continues the 12-week video and blog series, Summer on the Run, following former Olympic swimmer and avid runner Summer Sanders on her training journey for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon on February 24. Through a mix of blog postings and videos, Summer provides training tips and motivation to #GoRun.
Numbers Never Lie Goes 17-0 in ESPN.com NFL Eliminator Pick-Em Pool
ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie opened their ESPN Eliminator Challenge on ESPN.com pick to fans this past weekend, allowing them to tweet their Week 17 pick to @ESPN_Numbers. With the Seattle Seahawks win, the show went 17-0 in the pool. Eleven ESPN studio shows entered the pool this season including PTI, First Take and SportsNation. “We’re so thankful fans weighed in on Numbers Never Lie’s Week 17 pick,” said host Michael Smith. “Thanks to them we went an unprecedented 17-0 in the pick-em pool!” Numbers Never Lie airs weekdays at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.