UNDEFEATED SEAHAWKS & BEARS CLASH IN EARLY TEST OF NFC SUPREMACY AS 'NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL' VISITS CHICAGO
NBC's Madden: "This is a classic offense versus defense matchup."
NEW YORK � September 27, 2006 � "NBC Sunday Night Football" travels to Chicago for a clash between the undefeated Bears (3-0) and defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks (3-0) in a potential NFC Conference Championship preview, Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET presented in high definition. NBC's coverage kicks off at 7 p.m. ET with the "Football Night in America" studio show, a complete recap of the top stories in the NFL, complete with highlights, analysis and reports from around the league. The Bears are making their first appearance in the NFL's premier primetime game since Sept. 29, 2003 on ABC Monday Night Football, when they lost to the Green Bay Packers.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) will call all the action. Bob Costas (host) and Cris Collinsworth (co-host), analysts Sterling Sharpe and Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated, comprise the "Football Night in America" studio team.
Madden: "This is a classic offense versus defense matchup. You have the great offensive coach in Mike Holmgren and a great defensive coach in Lovie Smith. The Bears' defense used to be just about Brian Urlacher. Now he's surrounded by great players. On paper coming into the season this looked like a great matchup. You had a team that went to the Super Bowl and you knew the Bears, after making the playoffs, would be even better. There's a long way to go but these look like two very good teams."
Led by 2005 AP Defensive Player of the Year LB Brian Urlacher, the Bears have reemerged as "Monsters of the Midway" and have allowed the fewest points in the NFC thus far this season. The Seahawks boast an explosive offense, led by QB Matt Hasselbeck, who last weekend threw for five touchdown passes in a victory over the New York Giants.
NBC's "Sunday Night Football" Broncos-Patriots matchup last week averaged 15.6 million viewers, up 15 percent from last year's third "Monday Night Football" game (13.6 million, Kansas City-Denver on 9/26/05). The game scored a 10.0 household rating/16 share, up 14 percent from, and more than a rating point above, the third "MNF" game last season (8.8/14), despite stiff competition from the other networks including the season premieres of "Desperate Housewives" and "Without a Trace." Every "NBC Sunday Night Football" game has outrated the respective ABC "MNF" games from 2005 by at least eight percent. After four games, "NBC Sunday Night Football" is averaging a 12.2/20, 10 percent higher than ABC "MNF" after four games in 2005 (11.1/19, averages include Thursday night season openers).
"FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA" STUDIO
The "Football Night in America" studio, just down the hall from the famed Studio 8H, home of "Saturday Night Live," was built in the former studio home of first the Philco Television Playhouse (1948-1955) and later for game shows Concentration (1958-1973) and Jeopardy (1964-1975), and talk shows Donahue (1984-1996) and The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1996-2002), and shares the "SNL" control room for the football season. The "Football Night" set was designed and built by Jeremy Conway, the former set designer for "Sex in the City." Two 103" high definition Panasonic plasma screen televisions � roughly the size of a queen-size mattress � are two of the set innovations.
"NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL"
"NBC Sunday Night Football," the premier primetime game of the week, will be preceded by the "Football Night in America" studio show, which kicks off NBC's regular season coverage each Sunday at 7 p.m. The unprecedented six-year NFL deal includes innovative flexible scheduling and continues through the 2011 season with Super Bowls in 2009 and 2012. NBC has assembled the most honored broadcast team ever: Joining Al Michaels, the commentator called "TV's best play-by-play announcer" by the Associated Press, and John Madden, the most honored NFL broadcaster of all time with 15 Emmy Awards, are Bob Costas, the most honored studio host of all time with 19 Emmy Awards, who will host NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history with six Emmy Awards; and analysts Sterling Sharpe, a five-time Pro Bowler and Jerome Bettis, one of the most popular players in recent NFL history. "NBC Sunday Night Football" coverage also includes sideline and feature reporter Andrea Kremer, whom the Los Angeles Times has called "the best TV interviewer in the business of covering the NFL." Peter King, who covers the NFL for Sports Illustrated and is considered one of the country's foremost NFL reporters, serves as a reporter for the "Football Night in America" studio show.
NBC'S REMAINING 2006 NFL SCHEDULE
(Sunday coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with "Football Night in America" studio show)
Sunday, Oct. 1 � Seattle at Chicago
Sunday, Oct. 8 � Pittsburgh at San Diego
Sunday, Oct. 15 � Oakland at Denver
Sunday, Oct. 29 � Dallas at Carolina
Sunday, Nov. 5 � Indianapolis at New England
Flexible Scheduling Weeks 10-15
Monday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) � Philadelphia at Dallas
Flexible Scheduling Week 17