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ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Regular Season Finale Preview


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Three-Hour Pre-Game Will Examine Cowboys-Redskins; Reporters Sal Paolantonio and Ed Werder On-Site for NFC East Title Game

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM with Chris Berman, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Suzy Kolber, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski will preview the final week of the regular season on Sunday, Dec. 30, at 10 a.m. NFL Insider Adam Schefter and senior analyst Chris Mortensen will report the day’s news. Correspondents Ed Werder (Cowboys) and Sal Paolantonio (Redskins) will both cover the game that will settle the NFC East (Dallas at Washington), while Bob Holtzman (Green Bay at Minnesota), Josina Anderson (Chicago at Detroit) and Rachel Nichols (Houston at Indianapolis) will report from other top game sites. 

With the NFC East once again coming down to a winner-take-all Week 17 game, ESPN will have a trio of features about the Cowboys and Redskins, in addition to reports on the teams from both Werder and Paolantonio:

  • Mike Shanahan Conversation: Countdown’s Adam Schefter goes one-on-one with the Redskins head coach, who after a loss against Carolina in early November, was ready to start evaluating players for 2013. Six straight wins later, the Redskins are a victory away from their first division title since 1999.
  • Quarterback Soundtracks – Romo and RG III: Last week, the Cowboys played a thriller and a heartbreaker in a 34-31 overtime home loss to the Saints. Hear inside-the-game audio from quarterback Tony Romo’s perspective. Plus, soundtracks highlights Robert Griffin III’s sensational rookie season.
  • Vignettes and teases: Countdown will produce special vignettes and teases using Cowboys and Redskins players from the 1970s and 1980s, when both franchises were perennial playoff contenders and the rivalry was red hot.

Other planned Countdown features:

  • DJ Porter’s Spins the Sounds of the Season: Shot in Times Square in New York City, DJ Porter spins the sounds and stories from the 2012 season, from the stellar rookie quarterback class, to the remarkable comebacks of Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning, and more.
  • Greg Olsen update: This feature updates the Chris Connelly piece from earlier this season on Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, whose twins were born in the middle of the season. One of his twins, TJ, was born with a heart defect and required surgery shortly after birth. ESPN catches up with the Olsen family to see the progress their young son has made and how the family is coping with what’s been a difficult few months. 

The program will discuss the much-anticipated return of Colts coach Chuck Pagano. Countdown will also include live look-ins at Andrew Luck, Matt Schaub, Jay Cutler, Calvin Johnson and other players during their pre-game warm-ups before the 1 p.m. games. Additional segments include a discussion of the NFC Wildcard playoff race and Cris Carter’s “Where You At?”.