'SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL' HEADS TO BIG D FOR COWBOYS-GIANTS AND OPENING OF THE NEW DALLAS COWBOYS STADIUM
"Not only an important matchup in the division, but obviously it's an event." - Costas
"This is an amazing blend of exciting events." - Collinsworth
New Stadium Officially Unveiled on "Sunday Night Football"
NEW YORK � Sept. 17, 2009 � The Dallas Cowboys will officially unveil their new $1.2 billion stadium Sunday night on "Sunday Night Football" as the Cowboys host their division rival New York Giants. "Football Night in America" begins at 7 p.m. ET with Bob Costas hosting live from inside the stadium. Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) call the action from Arlington, Texas.
Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann will co-host "Football Night" from NBC's 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios joined by Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison and Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Tiki Barber will report from the Steelers-Bears game at Soldier Field.
NBC Sports conducted a media conference call today with Costas, Michaels, Collinsworth and SNF producer Fred Gaudelli to preview the SNF matchup and the new stadium. For a complete replay dial 719-457-0820 and enter passcode 6097034. Highlights of the call are below:
COSTAS ON THE BIG EVENT FEEL: "The idea of being at the scene of the game automatically captures the atmosphere and the sense of anticipation. Coming off Packers-Bears we now go to Dallas for what's not only an important matchup in the division, but obviously it's an event because of the opening of the first regular season game in the new stadium. We're two for two in terms of an event feel to it."
MICHAELS ON DOING THE FIRST GAME AT THE NEW STADIUM: "When the schedule came out I was very excited to not only know that we were going to do the first regular season game there, but it would be the New York Giants. I was hoping it would be the Giants or the Redskins or a team that is one of the noted rivals of the Cowboys so this is perfect. I spoke to Jerry Jones about this as long ago as five or six years. His dream was that if he was ever able to get something like this built in the Metroplex it was going to be the best of the best and he's been able to affect that even through obviously very rough economic times. He hasn't cut any corners from what I can gather and it's a spectacular venue."
COLLINSWORTH ON SPECIAL FEEL OF THE NIGHT: "This is an amazing blend of exciting events. You could buy a plane ticket down just for the opening of the stadium if you wanted to and feel like you got your money's worth or you could go down and watch this football game and really feel like you got your money's worth."
COSTAS ON HIS LAST FOOTBALL BROADCAST IN DALLAS: "NBC was the AFC network and we just never happened to have a game in Dallas, or if we did it would have been the biggest game and Dick Enberg would have been assigned to that game, or some other broadcaster at that point than me. So I think, as I recall it, the last time I was in Dallas to cover a football game was for CBS, before NBC hired me, for CBS around 1978, and it was a preseason game. I recall that Frank Gleiber was doing the game, and Verne Lundquist I think was also there for Cowboys radio, may have been pre Brad Sham. I was about 25 or 26 years old and I think that's the last time I did a live football game from Dallas."
GAUDELLI ON COVERING PUNTS: "We will cover our punts differently in this game than we do in a normal game. In a regular game, we're not tracking the ball on a punt, we're actually just moving down the field to show the coverage go after the returner, but we're going to start initially tracking the ball live because obviously people are going to be wondering about that right away."
GAUDELLI ON BALANCING THE GAME AND STADIUM: "Obviously the game always takes precedent over everything that we're doing. We've found a way through the years, whether it is the city we're in, or the circumstances of the stadium, to work that into the game, complementing the game, not at the expense of the game. We've added a couple of cameras, one will be outside just to show this enormous expanse, one will be inside to take you to different places inside the stadium that make this place unique. It will be woven in naturally and not at the expense of what's happening on the field."
MICHAELS ON THE MATCHUP: "It doesn't matter when you have the Giants and the Cowboys or where you have the Giants and the Cowboys it's going to be a treat. You've got two major stories here one being the opening of the stadium and the other being the Giants and the Cowboys and what still figures to be the NFL's toughest division. I'm looking forward to what should be a pretty perfect night and what should be a hell of a game."
COLLINSWORTH ON TONY ROMO: "He's in a tough spot. There have been so many great quarterbacks with the Dallas Cowboys over the years; legendary figures there with Troy (Aikman) and (Roger) Staubach. Tony Romo really impressed me (in last week's game) with his ability to move in the pocket. His reads were dead on, he threw the ball great, and his pump fake in the flat that ended up with the big play down the field to Crayton for the touchdown was sort of Roethlisberger-like when we saw him on Thursday night. It's a tough standard in Dallas because of those guys that came before him, but honest to goodness I think this guy is, if he's not top 5, he's certainly top 7 or so and getting better, so I'm a big Romo guy."
COLLINSWORTH ON COWBOYS: "The Cowboys offensively exploded with out "TO" last week. Some great performances by the wide receivers like Crayton, Austin Miles and Roy Williams. They did not have a great game defensively, but good enough."
COLLINSWORTH ON GIANTS: "The Giants defensively as advertised with Umenyiora's return were just great. Offensively the New York Giants look like their ready to go. Brandon Jacobs will be going in there and slamming into the Cowboys front that gave up some yards against Tampa Bay. A lot of storylines to follow from the football stand point, but its exciting for me to get a chance just to be there."
COLLINSWORTH ON GIANTS DEFENSIVE LINE: "This defensive line is pretty dynamic. When they put those five down lineman in there with Bernard and Canty, Umenyiora, Kiwanuka and Tuck it's a little intimidating. When you look across there, you go 'Oh my goodness, here they come' because it looks like the beginning of the 100m in Beijing."
GIANTS VS. COWBOYS: This is the 94th game in this rivalry that dates back to 1960 with the Cowboys holding a 55-37-2 overall edge in the matchup including a 20-8 victory on SNF in Week 15 last season, which stands as the most watched game in SNF history (23.1 million viewers). Amazingly, these two teams have only met once in the post-season and that came in the 2007 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 scheduled to appear three times this season on "Sunday Night Football." The Giants will host the NFC Champion Cardinals in Week 7 and the Eagles in Week 14 while the Cowboys travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in Week 9 and are on the road in Washington to take on the Redskins in Week 16. The Cowboys are 8-2 overall on "Sunday Night Football," and their 11 appearances are the most for any team on SNF. The Giants have a 3-5 all-time record on the NFL's premier primetime package.
NBC SPORTS OFF TO GREAT START WITH NFL: NBC Sports' two NFL Kickoff Weekend games were most watched since the creation of the NFL Kickoff Weekend, highlighted by the "Sunday Night Football" season opener (Bears-Packers) which was the most watched season opening SNF game since the much-hyped "Manning Bowl" (Colts-Giants) game in the 2006 SNF opener.
The two-game average audience for the Thursday night NFL Kickoff (Steelers-Titans) and the opening SNF game is 21.0 million viewers, a gain of 32 percent over 2008 (15.9 million), 17 percent over 2007 (18.0 million) and one percent over 2006 (20.9 million).
"SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL EXTRA": For the second straight season, the 17-game Sunday Night Football schedule will be available to fans on NBC Sports as well as streamed live on NBCSports.com and NFL.com.
The live coverage on NBCSports.com and NFL.com will once again come from NBC Sports' broadcast of Sunday Night Football plus four additional camera angles and several new interactive features. Sunday Night Football Extra will employ a full HD-quality player using Microsoft Silverlight and Smooth Streaming that will help set new benchmarks for live streaming video cross-platform. The video player, the highest quality yet, will include full DVR and functionality allowing the user to pause and scroll back-and-forth � even review plays in "slo-mo" -- all while watching live video.
ROTOWORLD.COM'S WEEK 2 FANTASY SLEEPER PICKS: Rotoworld.com managing editor Gregg Rosenthal, who was named Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, picks his fantasy sleepers for Week 2.
1. Joe Flacco, Ravens QB vs. San Diego: While the Chargers load up eight in the box to stop the Baltimore running game, Flacco will burn them deep.
2. Fred Jackson, Bills RB vs. Tampa: Until Marshawn Lynch comes back, Buffalo's versatile starter is a must-play in fantasy leagues.
3. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers RB vs. Atlanta: Already a bigger part of the Panthers offense than expected.
4. Leon Washington, Jets RB vs. New England: The Patriots linebackers struggle with the screen game and running backs that get to the outside.
5. Earl Bennett, Bears WR vs. Pittsburgh: One of the league leaders in targets in Week One, Bennett can take advantage of a secondary without Troy Polamalu.
2009 "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" REMAINING SCHEDULE
Football Night in America begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET
Sun. Sept. 20 Week 2 New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sun. Sept. 27 Week 3 Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals
Sun. Oct. 4 Week 4 San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun. Oct. 11 Week 5 Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Sun. Oct. 18 Week 6 Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons
Sun. Oct. 25 Week 7 Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
Sun. Nov. 1 Week 8 NO SNF GAME (Football Night airs 7-8 p.m.)
Sun. Nov. 8 Week 9 Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Sun. Nov. 15 Week 10 New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
Sun. Nov. 22 *Week 11 Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Sun. Nov. 29 *Week 12 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Sun. Dec. 6 *Week 13 New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Sun. Dec. 13 *Week 14 Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Sun. Dec. 20 *Week 15 Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Sun. Dec. 27 *Week 16 Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Sun. Jan. 3 *Week 17 TBA
HIGHLIGHTS OF "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" SCHEDULE
� All 12 NFL playoff teams from last season are featured.
� Fourteen of NBC's 16 scheduled games involve at least one playoff team from last season.
� Giants at Cowboys opens the $1.2 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium, "the 8th Wonder of the World." It's a rematch of the most viewed game ever on "Sunday Night Football."
� Three appearances a piece from six marquee teams: this year's Super Bowl champion Steelers, last year's Super Bowl champion Giants plus Dallas, Indianapolis, Chicago and Philadelphia.
� Six games involving one of the Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli.
� Quarterback duels between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Peyton and Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger and Donovan McNabb and Jay Cutler.
NBC & THE NFL: NBC's long history with the NFL dates back 70 years to 1939 when NBC became the first network to televise an NFL game � Philadelphia Eagles vs. Brooklyn Dodgers from Ebbets Field to the approximately 1,000 sets then in New York. NBC first broadcast the NFL Championship Game in 1955. In 1964, NBC signed a five-year contract to televise the AFL. NBC was awarded the AFC package in 1970, an association that would continue through the 1997-98 season. NBC televised the first Super Bowl in 1967, the historic New York Jets' upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969, and this past February broadcast Super Bowl XLIII, the most-watched program in television history.