DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPION STEELERS MEET THE CHARGERS AS 'NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL' VISITS SAN DIEGO
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NBC's Bettis: "This is a game that the Steelers can't afford to lose."
NEW YORK � October 4, 2006 � "NBC Sunday Night Football" travels to San Diego for a matchup between the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) and the Chargers (2-1), 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.
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.
"This is going to be a tough game -- both teams are similar in terms of strength of defense and they both run the ball well," said Bettis. "Ben [Roethlisberger] has obviously played a lot more than Philip Rivers, even though they came into the league the same year; the Chargers have the home field advantage.
"This is a game that the Steelers can't afford to lose. Last week's bye should help them -- when you lose two in a row, it can't do anything but help. San Diego needs this win also to stay in there with the Broncos in the AFC West, but with Pittsburgh losing their last two, they need it more."
SUBPLOTS � QBs & LT
The Steelers are led by QB Ben Roethlisberger, who helped the Steelers win the Super Bowl in just his second NFL season, and his favorite target, Super Bowl MVP, Hines Ward. Roethlisberger was chosen No. 11 in the 2004 NFL draft, seven slots behind Chargers QB Philip Rivers, who has taken over as the starter for the first time in his young career. San Diego features RB LaDainian Tomlinson, one of the NFL's most dynamic offensive players. Thus far this season, Tomlinson has averaged 100 yards per game and rushed for three touchdowns in three games. The Chargers defense has allowed the fewest points in the NFL � just 23 in three games.
"NBC SNF" AVERAGING 18.6 MILLION VIEWERS; UP 12 PERCENT FROM MNF IN '05
Last week's "NBC Sunday Night Football," a Chicago Bears 37-6 romp over the Seattle Seahawks, averaged 16.9 million viewers (8:21-11:11 p.m. ET), up eight percent from last year's Week Four "Monday Night Football" game (15.6 million, Carolina 32 � Green Bay 29), according to fast national data from Nielsen Media Research. "NBC SNF" drew a 10.8 household rating and 17 share, up five percent from Week Four in 2005 (10.3/17).
After five games, "NBC Sunday Night Football" is averaging 18.6 million viewers, 12 percent higher than "Monday Night Football" through five games in 2005 (16.6 million, averages include Thursday night season openers). In households, "NBC SNF" is averaging a 12.0/19, nine percent higher than ABC "MNF" after five games in 2005 (11.0/18). Each "NBC Sunday Night Football" game to date has out-rated and out-drawn the respective "MNF" games from 2005.
"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. 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