Air Date: Sunday, November 16, 2008
Time Slot: 7:00 PM-8:15 PM EST on NBC
Episode Title: (#311) "111608"
[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]



"NFC East football in November just kind of sounds good and smells good." � NBC's Madden

NEW YORK � November 12, 2008 � Tony Romo returns to the lineup as the Cowboys (5-4) travel to our Nation's Capital to take on the Redskins (6-3) in a crucial NFC East match-up. Al Michaels (play-by-play), John Madden (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) call the action. Coverage on NBC begins at 7 p.m. ET with "Football Night in America," with Bob Costas (host), Cris Collinsworth (co-host) Keith Olbermann (co-host), Dan Patrick (co-host), Jerome Bettis (analyst), Tiki Barber (analyst) and Peter King (reporter).

COWBOYS-REDSKINS IN PRIMETIME: Both the Cowboys and Redskins are making their second 2008 appearance on NBC. In the Thursday night opener, the Redskins lost to the New York Giants 16-7 and are now 2-2 overall since the NFL's premier primetime package moved to NBC in 2006. The Cowboys are 6-2 overall on "Sunday Night Football," including a 27-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. Their ninth appearance will tie the Cowboys with Indianapolis for the most on "NBC Sunday Night Football." Dallas has one more SNF game scheduled this season in Week 15 when they host the Giants.

COWBOYS VS. REDSKINS: This is the 92nd game in this rivalry that dates back to 1960. Dallas holds a 56-37-2 overall edge. On Sept. 28 in Dallas, Clinton Portis rushed for 121 yards in a 26-24 Washington victory.

NBC Sports conducted a media call today to preview the Cowboys-Redskins game with John Madden, Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis. Highlights follow:

MADDEN ON NFC EAST RIVALRY GAMES: "I love these division rivalries. This is what football is all about when you can get these division games in November that are very meaningful. Last week, when we had the Giants and Eagles, we had a great rivalry game and a game that was a real football game and this week we come back with the same type of thing with Dallas and Washington. NFC East football in November just kind of sounds good and smells good."

MADDEN ON THE MATCHUP: "It's going to be interesting to see how Tony Romo comes back. Is it going to be the Tony Romo of the first three games? Coming off the bye week, how's the Dallas defense going to play? They played earlier in the season and Clinton Portis had a big game and the Redskins beat the Cowboys. But is Clinton Portis going to be able to play? The biggest thing would be losing Clinton Portis. I think he's one of the best players in the NFL.

"You work to get in position the first 10 games and now you make your run to the playoffs. Both these teams, the Redskins and the Cowboys, have positioned themselves that they can make a run. You can say that this is a must game and all this stuff and I think it's a must game to get started to make a run to get to the playoffs."

MADDEN ON COWBOYS: "I thought the Cowboys were going to be more like in the position they were a year ago. I thought they had the whole thing; their offensive line was playing well, Romo was playing well, they had T.O. and Witten and all the weapons and Marion Barber running. The defense I thought was going to be better than they were. I thought the whole team would be better and I thought they'd be sitting here with the Cowboys maybe undefeated, maybe one loss. I didn't think they'd be in this situation."

BETTIS ON CLINTON PORTIS' INJURY: "The one problem that I had when I had the ACL injury was having to wear a brace. When you have to wear a brace you're limited in terms of what you can do physically on a football field. There are certain cuts that the actual brace doesn't allow you to make so there's going to be definite limitations to the things that he's able to do on the football field. You're not going to see the same Clinton Portis that you're used to seeing because he is going to be limited just from a functionality standpoint with that brace."

TIKI ON PORTIS' INJURY: "If he plays the first couple of series, it'll be on his mind, but after awhile the magnitude of the game kind of takes away the pain and you just play with it. I'm sure he'll be on some kind of painkiller to alleviate the surface pain. The injury itself probably won't heal and probably will affect him longer if he does go out and play on it."

MADDEN ON IF PORTIS CAN'T PLAY: "Last time they played, the Cowboys didn't have an answer for Clinton Portis and it's not only his running, it's what he does in the passing game and pass protection. When Clinton Portis chips a defensive end, that guy is chipped. I think it would be very, very tough for the Redskins to win without Clinton Portis."

BETTIS ON SHAUN ALEXANDER POTENTIALLY FILLING IN FOR PORTIS: "I think he definitely has gas in the tank. When you don't go through training camp and you're not subject to that type of wear and tear, even if you are an older player, you're going to benefit. How effective will he be? That's the question. I don't think it's an issue of him coming in and not being able to play a full game. I think he has gas in the tank but the question is will the Dallas Cowboys defense stop the offense from running the football because that has to be priority number one in order to win the football game."

TIKI ON ALEXANDER: "He missed all of training camp and he struggled for the first three or four weeks and then he started getting on track and the team started doing well. I think for Shaun to come in and be effective right away is unrealistic. If he has to play for a few weeks I think he'd be fine."

The speakers on the call also answered some questions about the NFL this year:

MADDEN ON THE DOLPHINS APPROACH THIS YEAR: "I love the approach. I think Bill Parcells came in there and took an organization that was really down and he started to get it turned around. The thing that most impresses me about the Dolphins is the job that coaching staff is doing."

TIKI ON GIANTS OFFENSIVE LINE AND RUNNING GAME: "The Giants offensive line, which I've been saying for years is one of the most underrated, now is probably one of the top two in the NFL right now. Especially in the run game because they've worked together for so long and they understand the schemes so well. I think Brandon (Jacobs) and Derek (Ward) are both very smart football players and know how to run into that scheme. So there success is not surprising me at all."

MADDEN ON PARITY IN THE LEAGUE: "The system is set up to be like this. The system says that no one is going to be dominant. No franchise is going to have all the best players or the highest percentage of the best players."

MADDEN ON IF THE TITANS WILL GO UNDEFEATED: "I'm really impressed with Tennessee and the job that they are doing. Do I think they will go undefeated? My answer is, no, but remember that I am the same guy who didn't think the Patriots would go undefeated last year."

TIKI ON THE NFL THIS SEASON; INVOKES DEREK JETER: "The NFL this year has been exciting because you don't know what's going to happen any week. There have been a couple of teams that have stood out, obviously one in the AFC being the Tennessee Titans and in the NFC the New York Giants. But other than that it's a crapshoot and everything has been up in the air and you literally have to wait and see what happens and it changes week to week."

"Every team in every division has inconsistencies, which makes it almost impossible to predict what's going to happen down the stretch. I think I heard Derek Jeter say last baseball season, 'It's not the best team that wins, it's the one that gets hot at the right time,' so I think we're all going to wait and see who gets hot."

SPRINGSTEEN SONG TO DEBUT AT HALFTIME: NFL fans will be treated to new music from Bruce Springsteen as the studio version of Springsteen's new song "Working on a Dream" makes its world premiere at halftime of this Sunday's "NBC Sunday Night Football" matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Excerpts from "Working on a Dream" will be set to NFL highlights.

As was announced in late September, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform in the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show on NBC at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday, February 1.

The Super Bowl halftime show is annually the most-watched musical performance. More than 148 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year's show. The Super Bowl and halftime show will be broadcast worldwide in more than 230 countries and territories.

IT'S EASY BEING GREEN: NBC Universal's "Green Week" officially launches on NBC's "Football Night in America" this Sunday as the Football Night crew will discuss how they each personally green their own routines. Host Bob Costas will conduct a live interview with Matt Lauer from parts unknown.

On November 22, NBC will air a carbon neutral Notre Dame and Syracuse game, but the competition won't just be on the field. For the entire month of November, both campuses will participate in the NBC Universal Green Your Routine challenge, hosted on Carbonrally.com. Students, alumni, faculty, and fans will have the opportunity to take eco-challenges and help reduce carbon emissions and save energy. NBC Universal will donate $10,000 to the winning school, which will be designated to their campus sustainability efforts.

In addition, NBC Sports will host an online video contest, in which students from Notre Dame and Syracuse will produce short commercials promoting sustainable practices. The best submissions will be displayed on the NBC Sports website, NBCSports.com

DALLAS & WASHINGTON COOK UP SUNDAY NIGHT MEALS: The "Sunday Night Football" Cookbook features recipes from NFL stars including Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware who contributes his Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole and Redskins QB Jason Campbell offers his Chicken Casserole. The Sunday Night Football Cookbook also features recipes from prominent chefs from each NFL city including Dallas' Kent Rathbun of Abacus and Bob Kinkead of Kinkead's restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse represent their favorite NFL teams and NBC's "Sunday Night Football" crew have added their favorite Sunday Night recipes to the Cookbook. Faith Hill and John Madden not only provide some of their favorite recipes, but also write special introductions. The book contains full meals and a section on Super Bowl parties, just in time for the next Super Bowl on NBC. Proceeds from the cookbook, which is available wherever books are sold or at SundayNightFootballCookbook.com, go to support local food banks across the U.S. through Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest).

ROTOWORLD.COM'S WEEK 11 SLEEPER PICKS: Rotoworld.com managing editor Gregg Rosenthal, who was named 2007 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, picks his fantasy sleepers for Week 11.

1. Tyler Thigpen vs. Saints: "Kansas City's new spread attack has turned around a dead offense in a hurry. Tyler Thigpen is a factor in November! (And the Saints best cornerback Mike McKenzie is now out for the season)."

2. Matt Ryan vs. Broncos: "The best rookie quarterback since Dan Marino is far ahead of Brady Quinn. And the Broncos made Quinn look like a Pro Bowler."

3. Peyton Hillis vs. Falcons: "Versatile former fullback is a decent bet to steal a touchdown."

4. Marvin Harrison vs. Texans: "Everyone else has given up on Harrison except Peyton Manning. The matchup is right for a rebound."

5. Bobby Engram vs. Cardinals: "The return of Matt Hasselbeck will awaken Seattle's slot receiver."

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Al Michaels, the commentator called "TV's best play-by-play announcer" by the Associated Press, is joined in the "Sunday Night Football" booth by John Madden, the most honored NFL broadcaster of all time with 16 Emmy Awards, and on the sidelines by Andrea Kremer, whom the Los Angeles Times has called "the best TV interviewer in the business of covering the NFL."

"FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA": The Washington Post calls NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show the "Gold Standard" of NFL studio shows and "must-see television for NFL fans." Bob Costas, the most honored studio host of all time with 19 Emmy Awards, hosts "Football Night in America" alongside co-host Cris Collinsworth, the most honored studio analyst in history; co-host Keith Olbermann, named one of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in TV News for 2007 by Television Week; newcomer and co-host Dan Patrick, reuniting him with Olbermann who together redefined sports highlights during their time together on ESPN's SportsCenter from 1992-97; 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. 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" kickoff, 8:15 p.m. ET preceded by "Football Night in America," 7 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Nov. 16 � Dallas at Washington (Flex Week, No Change)
Sunday, Nov. 23 � Indianapolis at San Diego (Flex Week, No Change)
Sunday, Nov. 30 � Chicago at Minnesota (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 7 � New England at Seattle (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 14 � New York Giants at Dallas (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 21 � San Diego at Tampa Bay (Flex Week, Teams Subject to Change)
Sunday, Dec. 28 � Flex Week � teams TBA

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