UNDEFEATED PATRIOTS HOST THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, CHASE HISTORY ON 'NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL'
"As close to perfect as you can be." -- Sunday Night Football's Madden on the Patriots
"The greatest team we've seen in a long time." -- Football Night's Barber
NEW YORK � November 20, 2007 � Tom Brady and the undefeated New England Patriots (10-0) host the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) on "NBC Sunday Night Football." Coverage begins Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET with the "Football Night in America" studio show.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) will call all the action from Foxboro, Mass. Bob Costas (host) and Cris Collinsworth (co-host), Keith Olbermann (co-host), analysts Tiki Barber and Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated, comprise the "Football Night in America" studio team.
NBC Sports today conducted a media conference call to preview the game with Madden, Barber and Sunday Night Football Producer Fred Gaudelli. For a complete replay, dial 719-457-0820 and enter passcode 4589460. Highlights of the call are below.
-The Patriots will be playing on "NBC Sunday Night Football" for the second consecutive week. The last time a team played two straight weeks on the NFL's premier primetime broadcast was the 2001 Baltimore Ravens (Saturday, Dec. 29 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers; no game on Dec. 31; Monday, Jan. 7 vs. Minnesota Vikings)
The Patriots are coming off a 56-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills on "NBC Sunday Night Football." Tom Brady threw for five touchdown passes, four of them to Randy Moss. The Patriots 46-point victory is the biggest winning margin in the history of the NFL's premier primetime package (ABC MNF and NBC's SNF), bettering the Seattle Seahawks 42-0 victory over the Eagles on Dec. 5, 2005 and the San Francisco 49ers 41-0 blanking of the Chicago Bears, Dec. 14, 1987.
TIKI ON THE PATS DOMINANCE: "The New England Patriots are showing to be the greatest team that we've seen in a long time. Whether you are rooting for or against them having an undefeated season all the way to the Super Bowl, it is certainly entertaining and exciting to think about them going 19-0 and doing it in the dominating fashion they have been doing it."
MADDEN ON THE PATS DOMINANCE: "I think that New England, especially offensively, is as close to perfect as you can be. I think that they're obviously the best team in the NFL and I think the gap is pretty big."
MADDEN ON WHO IS THE NFL'S SECOND BEST TEAM: "For a long time everyone agreed that it was the Indianapolis Colts. Because of injuries and that they have now, it's probably not. You would probably have to go to Dallas and Green Bay."
TIKI ON GIANTS SPOILING THE BRONCOS PERFECT SEASON IN '98: "That was our only motivation. We knew, with them coming into our home, the charged atmosphere of our stadium was the incentive. We knew we had to play an almost perfect game and make a couple of huge plays to do it, but I think any team is capable of that, it's just a matter of making it happen. Everybody loves being a spoiler." [the Broncos were 13-0 at the time]
MADDEN ON IF BELICHICK SHOULD REST GUYS ONCE PATS CLINCH: "That's going to be the dilemma. Do you go for a championship or do you go for a record? At some point he's going to have to make that decision. Knowing Bill Belichick, I know that championships are going to be more important than records. It's just very, very difficult to see, if you get to that point, where you have everything clinched and in essence it's a meaningless game, to have Tom Brady and Randy Moss and that group out there the whole game."
MADDEN ON PATS PLACE IN HISTORY: "It's the best offense that I've ever seen. Tom Brady is playing the position of quarterback, right now, better than anyone I've ever seen play it. So where are they as the best team, I think offensively, they are right there. The best offensive team that won was the San Francisco 49ers. In my mind, this team, the way they're playing right now, is probably better. I would say that this is the best offensive team that I've ever seen. Again, I'm putting the whole thing together with the offensive line, the receivers, the quarterback, everything. When you go to team, you have to put in defense. Their defense isn't the Pittsburgh Steelers defense; it's not the '85 Bears defense. Historically, when you put everything together, I'm not sure that they're the best team ever. I am sure, in my mind and just my observation, they are the best offensive team that I've ever seen."
GAUDELLI ON THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP AND PATS: "Having watched New England on Sunday night and at the level at which they're playing, I think you're getting one of those rare instances in sports where one team in functioning at a level that you just don't see. Philadelphia is obviously a more experienced team and probably at this point a better team than Buffalo is right now, so we're hoping that the game can remain somewhat competitive. But if it doesn't, you do have the incredible attraction of New England, especially offensively, and the way that they're playing right now it should be quite an entertaining night."
"Blowout TV with the Patriots is really interesting because you don't know where it's going to go. Last Sunday night, the level of play was hard to imagine you were seeing what you were seeing."
MADDEN ON PATS DEFENSIVE SCHEMES: "Every team knows that when you play the Patriots, you're going to get a special of the day. You're going to get something that you haven't seen and it's going to be a special defense for you that day and you don't know what it is."
MADDEN ON MCNABB: "It would be a big disadvantage [if McNabb doesn't play]. You don't know right now, as you're practicing, exactly what defense you're going to see, but you know it will be different. That's a very difficult thing for a guy that hasn't played. Donovan McNabb is the type of guy who has played long enough that he's seen everything. You need that guy who has seen everything and can adjust and fix during the game and that is very, very difficult for a backup quarterback."
MADDEN ON IF THE PATRIOTS ARE HATED AS MUCH AS RAIDERS: "When we played on the road and you knew you were going to get booed, I used to tell my people, 'I don't know if they're going to cheer you or they're going to boo you when you run out onto that field, but I'll tell you this, if they boo you, they respect you and they're afraid of you. If they cheer you, they don't respect you and they're not afraid of you.' I knew they were going to get booed. So when the boos would come I would say, 'Told you, they are scared to death of you.' So you would take that thing and just turn it and make a positive thing out of it, because we led the league in boos. I don't know that they [the Patriots] are hated like that. You can go back to the 'Spygate' thing but when you think of the players, I would think that this team is probably half loved and half hated. I think there's a lot of respect. When you see what Tom Brady is doing, what Randy Moss is doing, Wes Welker, the offensive line, Teddy Brushci, Junior Seau on defense, Richard Seymour, I don't know that people are really against those guys. I had some guys where fans really booed. I mean, they booed the guys. This is the kind of thing where, if they are against them, they're against the organization rather than the players."
MADDEN ON RANDY MOSS: "They have a term where they just throw the ball up there and he jumps up and catches it and, you got 'Mossed.' He's going to 'Moss' a lot of guys."
The Pats are the 18th team in NFL history to start a season 10-0. Should they defeat the Eagles this week, they will become one of only 12 teams to start 11-0. Below is a list of undefeated streaks to start a season:
10-0 18 teams
11-0 11 teams
12-0 5 teams
13-0 4 teams
14-0 1 team
The 2007 NFL schedule will utilize flexible scheduling in Weeks 11-17. In those weeks, the schedule will list the games tentatively scheduled for Sunday night on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move will be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the move may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
As an indication of the success of the inaugural year of flex scheduling, three of the final four games on NBC achieved ratings more than 20 percent higher than the comparable games in 2005.
"NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL":
"NBC Sunday Night Football" the premier primetime game of the week, is preceded by the "Football Night in America" studio show, which kicks off NBC's regular season coverage each Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. 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 hosts NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history with eight Emmy Awards; co-host Keith Olbermann, named one of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in TV News for 2007 by Television Week; and analysts Tiki Barber, a three-time NFL Pro Bowler for the New York Giants, 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 SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" REMAINING 2007 NFL SCHEDULE:
Sunday, Nov. 25 � Philadelphia at New England (Flex Week, no change)
Sunday, Dec. 2 � Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 9 � Indianapolis at Baltimore (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 16 � Washington at NY Giants (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 23 � Tampa Bay at San Francisco (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 30 � Kansas City at New York Jets (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
CREDITS: Fred Gaudelli is the producer of "NBC Sunday Night Football" and Drew Esocoff is the director. This is Gaudelli and Esocoff's second season at the helm of "Sunday Night Football." The Emmy Award-winning duo came from ABC where they worked together for five seasons on "Monday Night Football."