2010 "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED
Thursday Night Opener: Vikings at Super Bowl Champion Saints; McNabb and Redskins Host Cowboys in Opening SNF Game
"Manning Bowl" in Week 2
3 Appearances Each by Colts, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Packers and Steelers; 2 Appearances Each by Chargers, Patriots, Redskins and Vikings
NEW YORK - April 20, 2010 - Three appearances each by six marquee NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers; a rematch of the NFC Championship Game as the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings in the opening Thursday night game; the "Manning Bowl" rematch in Week 2; and storied rivalries including three NFC East games, Chargers-Colts, Vikings-Packers at Lambeau, Steelers-Ravens and Jets-Dolphins highlight the "NBC Sunday Night Football" schedule as the league announced its 2010 slate of games today.
Highlights of "NBC Sunday Night Football" schedule:
Sixteen of NBC's 17 scheduled games involve at least one playoff team from last season; eight of 17 include two playoff teams.
Fourteen of the 17 teams playing on "Sunday Night Football" had .500 or better records.
Three appearances from six marquee teams: Colts (vs. Giants, Redskins, Chargers), Cowboys (Redskins, Packers, Eagles), Eagles (49ers, Giants, Cowboys), Giants (Colts, Bears, Eagles), Packers (Vikings, Cowboys, Patriots) and Steelers (Saints, Patriots, Ravens).
A rematch of last year's NFC Championship game between the Vikings and Saints to kickoff the NFL season on Thursday night, Sept. 9.
Peyton and Eli meet in the anticipated rematch of the "Manning Bowl" when the Giants and Colts face off in Week 2. They last met in the network debut of "Sunday Night Football" in 2006 in a game that was seen by 22.6 million viewers, the third-most ever in the history of "Sunday Night Football." Six SNF games involve one of the Manning brothers.
A matchup of two of the oldest NFL teams when the Bears and Giants meet in Week 4 in the New Meadowlands Stadium. The Bears-Giants rivalry dates back to 1925.
Three matchups among bitter NFC East rivals: Cowboys-Redskins, Giants-Eagles, and Eagles-Cowboys.
The first "NBC Sunday Night Football" trips to New Orleans, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Miami.
SNF DOMINATED SUNDAY NIGHTS: "Sunday Night Football" was the most- watched Sunday night primetime broadcast in a record 15 of 16 (94 percent) weeks last season. In 2008, SNF won 13 of 16 (81 percent) Sunday nights after winning 11 of 16 in 2007 (69 percent) and nine of 16 in 2006 (56 percent).
SNF NO. 1 PRIMETIME PROGRAM FOR 2009 SEASON IN KEY DEMOS: For the full 2009 season, "Sunday Night Football" ranked as the No. 1 program across the key demographics of Adults 18-49 (7.5), Men 25-54 (10.8), Men 18-49 (9.7) and Men 18-34 (8.1). Additionally, SNF ranked No. 2 in viewership (19.6 million) and in household rating (11.7) among all primetime programs during the football season.
NFL OPENING KICKOFF: In a tradition that began in 2004, the Super Bowl champion annually hosts the following season's Thursday night season kickoff. The NFL will open this season on NBC, Thursday, Sept. 9, with the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints hosting the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings, who the Saints defeated in the NFC Championship game last season, 31-28. The first "NBC Sunday Night Football" contest of the season is a classic NFC East rivalry as the Washington Redskins with their new QB Donovan McNabb and head coach Mike Shanahan host Tony Romo and the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys.
2010 "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" SCHEDULE
Thurs. Sept. 9 NFL Kickoff Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Sun. Sept. 12 Week 1 Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Sun. Sept. 19 Week 2 New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts
Sun. Sept. 26 Week 3 New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Sun. Oct. 3 Week 4 Chicago Bears at New York Giants
Sun. Oct. 10 Week 5 Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers
Sun. Oct. 17 Week 6 Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins
Sun. Oct. 24 Week 7 Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Sun. Oct. 31 Week 8 Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints
Sun. Nov. 7 Week 9 Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers
Sun. Nov. 14 Week 10 New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun. Nov. 21 *Week 11 New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Sun. Nov. 28 *Week 12 San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
Sun. Dec. 5 *Week 13 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Sun. Dec. 12 *Week 14 Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Sun. Dec. 19 *Week 15 Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
Sun. Dec. 26 *Week 16 San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Sun. Jan. 2 *Week 17 TBA
"Football Night in America" begins NBC's NFL coverage every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.
Following is a complete breakdown of the matchups with analysis from "NBC Sunday Night Football" analyst Cris Collinsworth and "NBC Football Night in America" analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison:
THURSDAY, SEPT. 9 - NFL KICKOFF 2010
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.)
In a tradition that began in 2004, the Super Bowl champion annually hosts the following season's Thursday night season kickoff. This year's matchup features a rematch of last year's thrilling NFC Championship Game as the defending Super Bowl champion Saints host the Vikings, who are still awaiting word as to Brett Favre's return.
Collinsworth: "If I could hand pick one game to start the season - assuming Brett Favre comes back - this would be mine. In many ways this was probably the most memorable and most emotional of all the playoff games last year including the Super Bowl. You had Brett Favre and the New Orleans Saints, with their fans who have endured so much, getting the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl."
SUNDAY, SEPT. 12 - WEEK ONE
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (FedExField, Landover, Md.)
"NBC Sunday Night Football" kicks off its season with one of the most storied rivalries in sports as the Redskins host the Cowboys. Donovan McNabb will face a familiar foe, but as the quarterback of a new team, as he makes his debut under center with the Redskins. And new Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan makes his regular-season debut in a bitter NFC East rivalry game.
Collinsworth: "Without question the story of the off-season was Donovan McNabb going to divisional rival Washington. The Redskins have almost unbelievably rebuilt the team, starting at the top with Mike Shanahan as the coach and Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator, McNabb at QB and they added Larry Johnson and Willie Parker at RB. It's been a remarkable quick fix for the Redskins and, the way they played defense last year and with coach and QB now in place, this is a very very different looking Washington Redskins team."
SUNDAY, SEPT. 19 - WEEK TWO
New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.)
Brothers Peyton and Eli Manning face off in the rematch of the "Manning Bowl." This is the first time the brothers will meet since 2006 when the Colts and Giants met in the first ever "Sunday Night Football" game on NBC, a game that drew 22.6 million viewers and stands as the third most-watched game in SNF history. The Colts won, 26-21, at Giants Stadium. Peyton, who won his fourth NFL MVP last season, has led the Colts to the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons while the Giants, who won Super Bowl XLII, missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004.
Dungy, head coach of the Colts for the first "Manning Bowl": "I have never been in a regular season game with that much hype. This will be huge, too."
Collinsworth: "This game takes on a completely different feel now that Eli has a Super Bowl championship of his own. It's no longer, 'could Eli ever measure up to what Peyton has done?' Certainly Peyton with the four MVPs puts him at the top of the class in many ways but for Eli, he's no longer the baby brother in this one. This is more about two top quarterbacks going at it�and, oh, by the way, they're brothers."
SUNDAY, SEPT. 26 - WEEK THREE
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.)
A bitter AFC East rivalry as the Jets, who advanced to the AFC Championship Game last season behind rookie head coach Rex Ryan and rookie QB Mark Sanchez, take on the Dolphins who won the division just two seasons ago. The Jets acquired a number of high-profile players during the off-season, including formers Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie and RB LaDainian Tomlinson. The Dolphins recently traded for former Broncos WR Brandon Marshall and signed him to a long-term contract. Marshall will have a difficult task in this game as he goes up against one of the top CBs in the league in the Jets' Darrell Revis. The Dolphins swept their two meetings last year winning 31-27 at home in Week 5 and 30-25 at the Meadowlands in Week 8.
Harrison: "The Jets made a ton of off-season moves and are definitely looking to reach that next level. But I'm interested to see how Mark Sanchez develops. If the quarterback doesn't play well, then they won't have success. I had the opportunity to play against Brandon Marshall. He's a phenomenal young player and is going to help out the Dolphins tremendously. The Marshall-Revis matchup is awesome. I'm taking Revis all day despite Marshall being a physical specimen."
SUNDAY, OCT. 3 - WEEK FOUR
Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants (New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.) The Giants and Bears first met in 1925 at the Polo Grounds. This will be the 56th meeting, including playoff games, between the 85-year old rivals but the first at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The Bears were active in the off-season signing Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers and hiring new offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who specializes in the passing game.
Dungy: "The Bears have a completely different offensive philosophy with Mike Martz there. They are trying to build the team around Jay Cutler and win games through the air. The Giants are looking to get back that pressure defense they had when they won the Super Bowl."
SUNDAY OCT. 10 - WEEK FIVE
Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers (Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.) The 49ers, poised for a playoff run after an 8-8 season in 2009, make their first appearance on "NBC Sunday Night Football" by hosting the Eagles - making the first of three SNF appearances in 2010 - and their new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Harrison: "Philadelphia went out west to Oakland last year and lost. This will be an interesting game to see how they respond to the West Coast travel. It's an opportunity for them to show that they are going to be a consistent team no matter who the opponent is or where they play."
SUNDAY, OCT. 17 - WEEK SIX
Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins (FedExField, Landover, Md.)
A battle of two of the NFL's top QBs as reigning NFL MVP Peyton Manning leads the AFC Champion Colts into the nation's capital to take on the Redskins with their new Head Coach Mike Shanahan and new QB Donovan McNabb.
Dungy: "Mike Shanahan knows the Colts well. He played a lot of games against them when he was in Denver. It's going to be interesting to see how far along Donovan McNabb is in the Redskins offense. I think you'll see his best around this time."
SUNDAY, OCT. 24 - WEEK SEVEN
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.)
Will Brett Favre return for another season? If so, this will be the Vikings quarterback's second trip back to Lambeau Field, a place where he donned the green and gold of the Packers for 16 seasons. His inaugural return last year was the most-watched NFL regular-season game of the year with 29.8 million viewers.
Dungy: "A lot depends on if Brett Favre comes back, and I think he will be back. Even though Brett played at Lambeau last year, it's always going to be emotional for him and the Packers fans. Green Bay knows it needs to beat Minnesota if it wants to win the division. The Packers lost twice last year despite being able to move the ball and put points on the board. They were unable to stop the Vikings."
SUNDAY, OCT. 31 - WEEK EIGHT
Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints (Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.)
This Halloween Night in New Orleans shouldn't be so scary with a matchup of the last two Super Bowl winners as the Steelers head to the Big Easy to take on Drew Brees and the Saints.
Collinsworth: "Where else would you have Halloween night? The Saints fans and the city of New Orleans do costumes pretty well so I hope I can keep my attention on the field for what should be a tremendous football matchup. You have arguably the most exciting offense in the Saints going against the most exciting defense in the Steelers."
SUNDAY, NOV. 7 - WEEK NINE
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.)
Two 2009 playoff teams collide at the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field. This game, in each of the last two years has drawn an impressive 22.2 million and 26.7 million viewers, respectively.
Dungy: "This is a game for people like me who appreciate the history of the NFL. It evokes a lot of memories. It will showcase two up-and-coming quarterbacks. Both teams have good receiving corps, players who can run after the catch, and good pass rushers. It's going to come down to which pass rushing unit can nullify the other team's quarterback."
SUNDAY, NOV. 14 - WEEK 10
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Tom Brady leads the Patriots into Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in a matchup of two of the NFL's top teams of the past decade. The Steelers and Patriots have combined to win five of the last nine Super Bowls.
Harrison: "This is definitely going to be a really physical game. The Steelers definitely have a bitter taste in their mouths from how they ended last year. With all the controversy about Ben Roethlisberger, he's going to have a chip on his shoulder. The Patriots have not made a lot of off-season moves, they feel comfortable with who they are. They are going to have a renewed energy because the way they finished their season last year is totally unacceptable. They are going to come out and be a lot younger, faster and more physical."
SUNDAY, NOV. 21 - WEEK 11
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.) The Eagles have won the last four matchups between these two longtime NFC East rivals, including a two-game sweep in 2009 in which they scored 85 total points. Last year's on Sunday Night Football in Week 14, the two division rivals combined to score 83 points in a 45-38 Eagles victory.
Dungy: "It will be interesting to see at that time where Philly's offense is. Are they rolling? Is Kevin Kolb progressing? Is he playing like a veteran or a first-year starter? Have defenses gotten a read on him? I'm sure the Giants will test the Eagles run defense."
SUNDAY, NOV. 28 - WEEK 12
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.)
Two of the NFL's most high-powered offenses that had the two best records in the league last season clash as Philip Rivers leads the Chargers into Indianapolis to talk on Manning and the Colts. The defending AFC West division Chargers were 13-3 last year, tied with the Saints for the second best record in the NFL only behind the Colts (14-2).
Dungy: "This is the game that didn't happen last year in the playoffs. San Diego has no qualms about going into Indy. They have won there in the past. They will be a little bit different without LaDainian Tomlinson. The challenge for the Colts will be how they react to losing the Super Bowl. But previous disappointing losses just made those guys work harder."
SUNDAY, DEC. 5 - WEEK 13
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.)
This game has become one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL. They split their two head-to-head meetings last season with the Ravens winning 20-17 in OT in Week 12 in Baltimore and the Steelers taking the Week 16 matchup 23-20 in Pittsburgh. Both teams finished 9-7 last season in the AFC North but the Ravens captured the Wild Card berth by virtue of their better conference record.
Harrison: "You can circle this on your calendar as the most physical football game in the NFL this year on Sunday night. The Ravens came out and smacked the Patriots in the face in the playoffs. Then you've got the Steelers who will have Troy Palamalu back. It's going to be physical."
SUNDAY, DEC. 12 - WEEK 14
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas)
The Eagles will be looking to exact some revenge for three losses to the Cowboys in 2009, two of them on NBC. On the strength of their defense, which recorded four sacks and two interceptions, the Cowboys defeated the Eagles, 20-16, on SNF in Week 8. In the Wild Card game on NBC and watched by 32.1 million viewers, the most-watched primetime Wild Card game ever, Dallas won, 34-14.
Harrison: "Kevin Kolb, you asked for it, you got it. You got a chance to go in there and beat a team that Donovan McNabb struggle to beat last season, losing three times. They moved in a different direction and handed you the throne and said, you know what, you need to get us over the hump so we can beat Dallas. I'm interested to see how he's going to respond, or is he going to have to have Michael Vick come in as his savior."
SUNDAY, DEC. 19 - WEEK 15
Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.)
QB Aaron Rodgers leads the Packers into Foxboro for the first time since 2002 to take on Brady and the Patriots. Both teams were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last season with the AFC East champion Patriots losing to the Ravens, 33-14, and the Wild Card Packers losing to the Cardinals, 51-45, in OT. This is only the ninth regular-season meeting ever between these two teams and the first since 2006 when the Patriots shutout the Packers 35-0 at Lambeau Field. The series between the Patriots and Packers also includes Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans when the Packers defeated the Patriots 35-21.
Collinsworth: "Set Tom Brady aside. Everyone knows what he has done in the league with three Super Bowl wins. Aaron Rodgers is the next superstar that we will be talking about. I really think that Aaron Rodgers has Drew Brees-like talent and leadership skills and is going to be the next star in this league."
Harrison: "A game like this could have significant playoff implications. The Patriots will be going up against one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. He faces a good young secondary. This is a great measuring stick for the Patriots."
SUNDAY, DEC. 26 - WEEK 16
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio)
The AFC North champion Bengals host their first ever "Sunday Night Football" game in this battle of division winners as they take on Philip Rivers and the AFC West champion Chargers. These two teams met in Week 15 last season with the Chargers winning 27-24. The playoff berth for the Bengals last season was just their second since 1990.
Collinsworth: "The first "Sunday Night Football" game in Cincinnati and a home game for me. San Diego is one of the clear-cut favorites in the AFC. Cincinnati just has to fix its passing game, which sounds strange when you are talking about a Bengals team that was all passing and couldn't find a running game and their defense for so long. Assuming they get their passing game back on track, the Bengals can be one of the favorites this year in the AFC."
SUNDAY, JAN. 2 - WEEK 17
Teams to be announced by NFL at least six days prior.
The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot to conclude the season.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: The season again will utilize "flexible scheduling" in Weeks 11-17. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would 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 would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the change will be announced no later than six days before the game. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot to conclude the season.
Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and give "surprise" teams a chance to play their way into primetime.
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