Air Date: Sunday, December 21, 2008
Time Slot: 8:15 PM-11:30 PM EST on NBC
Episode Title: (#2216) "Carolina Panthers at New York Giants (FLEX GAME #6)"
[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.]

"If they can't beat these teams, they don't belong in the playoffs." � NBC's Madden on Cowboys


"If they can't beat these teams, they don't belong in the playoffs." � NBC's Madden on Cowboys

Giants Host Panthers on Dec. 21 in SNF Flex Game

NEW YORK � Dec. 9, 2008 � "NBC Sunday Night Football," in its third season as the NFL's premier primetime package travels to Dallas as Eli Manning and the Super Bowl champion Giants (11-2) take on Tony Romo and the Cowboys (8-5). The Giants have clinched the NFC East division title and the Cowboys are a team fighting for their playoff lives in the competitive NFC. 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).

SNF FLEX: The NFL announced today that the Dec. 21 "Sunday Night Football" game will "flex" to the Panthers-Giants at Giants Stadium.

GIANTS VS. COWBOYS: This is the 93rd game in this rivalry that dates back to 1960 with the Cowboys holding a 54-37-2 overall edge in the matchup. In Week 9 this season the Giants defeated the Cowboys at the Meadowlands 35-14. Amazingly, these two teams have only met once in the post-season and that came in last year's NFC Divisional round with the Giants winning 21-17 in Dallas on their way to a Super Bowl championship.

GIANTS-COWBOYS IN PRIMETIME: Both the Giants and Cowboys are making their third 2008 appearance on NBC. In the Thursday night opener, the Giants defeated the Redskins 16-7 and then in Week 10 the Giants beat the Eagles 36-31 and are now 3-4 overall since the NFL's premier primetime package moved to NBC in 2006. The Cowboys are 7-2 overall on "Sunday Night Football," including a 27-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 and a 14-10 win over the Redskins in Week 11. The Cowboys tenth appearance on Sunday will tie the Colts for the most on "NBC Sunday Night Football."

NBC Sports conducted a media call today to preview the Giants-Cowboys game with Madden and Collinsworth. Highlights follow:

COLLINSWORTH ON GIANTS-COWBOYS MATCHUP: "There is always a buzz when you get the NFC East games. The tradition of the Giants and Cowboys, no matter what their records, is always something pretty exciting. But when you put it in this scenario, with so much on the line, it just becomes doubly so. The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a hugely disappointing game and are fighting for their playoff lives, and going home against an arch rival in the New York Giants, who stunned them in the playoffs a year ago in this stadium, when it looked like the Cowboys were the clear favorite to go on to the Super Bowl. The Giants stole their thunder and went on and shocked everybody by winning the Super Bowl."

MADDEN ON THE COWBOYS TOUGH REMAINING SCHEDULE: "I laugh when I hear this, 'well the cowboys have a tough schedule and it's going to be tough.' Well, if they can't beat these teams, they don't belong in the playoffs."

MADDEN ON THE GIANTS-COWBOYS: "The interesting thing here is the Giants weren't always the favorite to go to the Super Bowl this year. Remember early in the season and everyone was picking the teams, the favorite was the Dallas Cowboys. They started out 3-0, and everyone said the Giants were flying under the radar, and not getting the respect. Then Tony Romo gets hurt, the Cowboys have some problems, the Giants go on a winning streak, and then the Giants become the best team, and should go to the Super Bowl and the great thing about that, is all of that stuff means nothing."

COLLINSWORTH ON THE GIANTS AS SUPER BOWL FAVORITES: "It's a legitimate question in light of the Plaxico Burress situation. After stubbing their toe last week, was that all it was or is there something bigger going on with the Giants? So, we have a lot to talk about with this game and should be a lot of fun, I'm looking forward to it."

MADDEN ON TEXAS STADIUM TELEVISION BOOTH: "The booth was the best in the business. I didn't know a lot about all the booths in the NFL, but I found out quickly that that was the best because it was not only the biggest but it was the only one that had a bathroom in it, and if you don't think that's big, that is big."

MADDEN ON TEXAS STADIUM: "The first impressions were of course the Tom Landry years. Tom was so dominant that you would think of the Dallas Cowboys, and you'd think of Tom Landry. That's what I think of going in to that stadium, the hole in the roof, the Tom Landry coached teams, and the discipline he brought. I know it has to come down and time has to march on and all that stuff, but that's one place that I have great memories of games and people, starting with Tom Landry and being there every other Thanksgiving. It was just a fun deal."

COLLINSWORTH ON TEXAS STADIUM: "The first time I walked into the Cowboys stadium I was like 'wow, I'm really a professional football player.' There is no question that that stadium will always hold a special place in footballs fans' hearts because so many great, great moments in the history of this game happened with God looking down upon us all."

COLLINSWORTH ON PLAYING GOOD FOOTBALL DOWN THE STRETCH: "It comes down to who has the most NFL bodies still standing by the end of the season and the New York Giants are starting to face that a little bit and creating some doubt in my mind about how many more guys can they lose off this football team. It really comes down to if you are built for a championship run at the end of the season. And don't pay too much attention to September and October cause it's not when it's decided."

MADDEN ON TEAMS RESTING AFTER CLINCHING: "What I really hate is teams that clinch early tend to throttle down and they start resting their players at the end of the season. A lot of teams made that mistake and I think that's why the Giants won a Super Bowl last year because they didn't. They played hard against the Patriots. Then they went down to Tampa beat Tampa who had been rested up. Then they went to Dallas, beat Dallas who had been rested up. Then they went to Green Bay and beat Green Bay. And you know they didn't rest up. They didn't take time off."

COLLINSWORTH ON THE NFC EAST: "I think the Giants, the Cowboys and the Eagles are the best teams (in the NFC). Their schedule and playing each other and what it takes it go through that division, and the teams they've had to play outside that division it's just brutal. The Bears, the Vikings, do I think those three teams can beat those teams? I do. I think the Panthers maybe and the Buccaneers deserve to be in the discussion with those other two teams but it looks now like and it's going to be a very strange year. I always think the best teams make the playoffs, maybe one exception, maybe two. But there's a real possibility this year that the Cowboys and the Eagles don't make the playoffs and to me that would be a real shame. When I look at these teams and the way they're built and the competition that they're playing, the idea that only one team out of the NFC East would make the playoffs to me that would be a shame."

COLLINSWORTH ON BRANDON JACOBS: "This guy Brandon Jacobs changes the game. There aren't many guys that intimidate from the offensive side but you can sometimes see fear when he breaks the line of scrimmage and one of those defensive backs has to tackle him, it's like, 'oh come on, oh no!' You can almost see it in their eyes. Brandon Jacobs scares guys and there aren't many guys like him in the NFL."

MADDEN ON GIANTS MISSING BURRESS: "They really are going to miss Plaxico Burress because everyone was always worried about him going deep. Especially when you get close to the red zone, they always had that safety over the top. Without him you can play a much more balanced defense and you can gang up on the run a little."

SNF DOMINATES NOVEMBER SWEEPS: "Sunday Night Football," in its third season as the NFL's premier primetime package, finished the November sweeps (10/30/08-11/26/08) as the No. 1 program in all of primetime television across the key advertising demographics of Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54, Men 18-34, Men 18-49 and Men 25-54, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research.

DALLAS & NEW YORK COOK UP SUNDAY NIGHT MEALS: The "Sunday Night Football" Cookbook features recipes from NFL stars including Cowboys' LB DeMarcus Ware who offers his cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole recipe, and Giants' player Lawrence Tynes who contributes his scottish lentil soup recipe. The Sunday Night Football Cookbook also features recipes from prominent chefs from each NFL city including Dallas' Kent Rathbun of Abacus and Stephen Lewandowski of New York's Tribeca Grill.

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).

Taste of the NFL is the premier food and wine event at Super Bowl, a "party with a purpose" that raises awareness and funds for hunger-relief organizations including Feeding America and its affiliates nationwide. Since 1992, Taste of the NFL has donated more than $10 million to local and national hunger-relief organizations.

ROTOWORLD.COM'S WEEK 15 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 15.

1. Shaun Hill, 49ers QB vs. Dolphins: "Similar matchup to last week for Hill: A 3-4 defense that doesn't fare well when you spread them out and throw like crazy."

2. Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs QB vs. Chargers: "You've made it this far with the pride of Coastal Carolina; don't give up now! If the Chiefs didn't bother to even try running against the Broncos, they will throw it 40 times against the Rams."

3. Sammy Morris, Patriots RB vs. Raiders: "New England will try to control the clock to keep their injured and ancient defense off the field."

4. Dominic Rhodes, Colts RB vs. Lions: "With Joseph Addai at less than 100%, Rhodes could finish off a convincing victory ala LenDale White in Tennessee."

5. Deion Branch & John Carlson, Seahawks WRs vs. Rams: "Seneca Wallace's return to health makes a surprising difference. And the Rams are still the Rams."

6. Maurice Morris, Seahawks RB vs. Rams: See above. "Julius Jones is no longer a big factor in the Seattle offense."

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, Dec. 14 � New York Giants at Dallas (Flex Week, No Change)
Sunday, Dec. 21 � Carolina Panthers at New York Giants (Flex Game)
Sunday, Dec. 28 � Flex Week � teams TBA

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