To this point in the season, Patriots fans have been spared the anguish of listening to Cris Collinsworth call one of their games. That will end this weekend. The Sunday night format hasn’t been the best for the Patriots either, as although they are 15-13 all time in that time slot, they are only 3-4 since NBC has taken over the games. Last season they dropped both their Sunday night games, to Indianapolis and San Diego.
Here is the broadcast information for this week’s game, followed by some media notes, and weekend features.
This week’s game with be broadcast to a national audience by NBC and can be seen in Boston on WHDH-TV Channel 7. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth providing color. Andrea Kramer will be the sideline reporter.
This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by Westwood One. Dave Sims and James Lofton will call the game, Hub Arkush will be the sideline reporter.
98.5 FM, The Sports hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 33rd season as the voice of the Patriots, and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 26th season as a tandem.
The radio feed of the game is also being streamed live on the internet through 985thesportshub.com.
NBC Coverage begins with “Football Night in America,” Sunday at 7 p.m. ET with Bob Costas hosting live from inside the stadium.
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. “Football Night’s” Tiki Barber will report from Lambeau Field on the Cowboys-Packers game.
NBC Sports conducted a media conference call today with Michaels, Dungy, Harrison and SNF producer Fred Gaudelli. Highlights of the call are below:
HARRISON ON COVERING THIS GAME AS AN ANALYST: “Now that I’m covering it from a media standpoint, it gets me even more excited because now I get a chance to?sit back and relax and enjoy the game and not have to really worry about being nervous or having that anxiety facing those guys.”
MICHAELS ON THE RIVALRY: “This is the fifth time in six years that our crew has had a chance to do this game (third time on SNF, twice on MNF) and this game has been either the most anticipated or one of the most anticipated of the season. It’s one of those games when the schedule comes out and you see it you just hope each team gets out to a pretty good start and they have. Without question, this is the rivalry of the decade.”
DUNGY ON THE RIVALRY: “From a coaching standpoint, it’s a tremendous matchup. When you play against a team like (New England), it’s such a big challenge. It brings out the best in you and elevates your game. It’s just a tremendous rivalry. The respect for each other is there and it’s been a great game and one I’m looking forward to seeing for the first time from a different perspective.”
HARRISON ON THE RIVALRY: “I’ve played in this rivalry many times. You get really excited about facing the biggest challenge of the year, which is always going to be the Indianapolis Colts. Just being a part of one of the greatest rivalries in football really gets you excited. I know both of these teams have a mutual respect for one another, but I also know they have a distinct dislike for one another. It’ll be exciting and hopefully the Patriots can go out and kick some butt.”
MICHAELS ON COMPARING THIS RIVALRY: “This one is as good as anything I can remember. This is very similar to Dallas and San Francisco in the 90’s.”
GAUDELLI ON THE QUARTERBACK MATCHUP: “Without a doubt, besides the fact that they are two great teams, the headline of this game?is the two quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Al (Michaels) and I were talking over the last week, and in any decade was there one single quarterback matchup where you can clearly say these are the two best guys? While there were a lot of great matchups in the ’90’s, ’80’s and ’70’s, we couldn’t really delineate two quarterbacks where you could say, ‘these were absolutely the two best guys.’ In this decade, I don’t think there is any question, and you can put them in any order you want — Tom Brady-Peyton Manning, Peyton Manning-Tom Brady — these are the two best quarterbacks of this decade. They are what make this game really special on Sunday night.”
ON THE BETTER QUARTERBACK:
HARRISON: “Peyton Manning is the best pure quarterback in the National Football League but Tom Brady is my quarterback with a minute left and we’re down four points and we need a touchdown because he’s done it. Three Super Bowl rings, Super Bowl MVP, a guy whose preparation goes above and beyond anyone in that facility. It’s not very often that you find Tom Brady not prepared or ready to go. He’s my guy with a minute left.”
DUNGY: “I’ve been with Peyton Manning for seven years, I’ve seen him prepare and I’ve seen what he does and how he’s lead our team. There is no other quarterback that I would want, and I might see it differently if I had been with Tom Brady for seven years, but that’s the experience I had and I can’t imagine anybody running the offense and doing as much as Peyton does for the Colts.”
ON THE PATRIOTS DEFENSE TRYING TO CONFUSE MANNING:
HARRISON: “The thing that Bill (Belichick) gave us to do was to create a lot of freedom by trying to disguise the coverage. I lined up at cornerback and Ty Law lined up at safety at times which really seemed to confuse Peyton.”
DUNGY: “That was one of the few things that New England did that we hadn’t seen before. That was very unusual with Rodney playing corner. Usually you come into a game with New England showing a lot of blitzes, five-man pressures and then in our game they decide to rush three and drop eight or vice versa. The thing from the Colts standpoint that we’ve always admired about the Patriots is they’ve been able to have a different game plan, even for a half sometimes. You have to be ready to adjust when you play New England.”
DUNGY ON COACH CALDWELL: “He’s a little more emotional, a little more fiery?It was important to the team to transition well and not take a step backwards and that’s why everyone in our organization felt that Jim would be the best man for the job.”
DUNGY ON CALDWELL AS A FIRST YEAR COACH AGAINST BELICHICK: “Jim obviously has the benefit; he’s not like most first year coaches. He’s been there for seven years. He’s seen it. He’s provided a lot of the game planning, especially offensively, for those however many games were played. It’s not like the new guy coming in. He’s very aware of everything that’s taken place in the last seven years. I really don’t look at this like the first year coach in the normal sense.”
HARRISON THE COLTS SECONDARY: “I look at a Colts secondary that’s in trouble. You lose Bob Sanders, which is not a big surprise for those guys because he’s missed a lot of time, but losing Marlon Jackson and Calvin Hayden. Two losses for them, especially Marlon Jackson. He’s a guy who shows up a lot in the run game. Very physical, very aggressive cornerback who can play corner, safety, nickel back, dime back, cover a tight end, a guy that’s very versatile. If you’re Tom Brady and the Patriots you’ve got to look to really exploit that secondary.”
On Sunday NFL Countdown:
Patriots/Colts – Rivalry Remembered: The Patriots and Colts were division rivals in the old AFC East, and it feels that way again with the seventh straight regular season game between the two teams Sunday. Greg Garber visits with former Patriots and Colts for their insight on the rivalry.
On NFL Matchup (Sunday 3 A.M. and 7:30 A.M.)
Patriots @ Colts: Communication in the Secondary – Hoge illustrates how the Colts’ inexperience at the cornerback position will hurt their chances against the Patriots.
Patriots @ Colts: Colts Offense vs. Patriots Defense – Jaworski demonstrates how the Colts offense will rely on precise execution Sunday in Indianapolis.
Saturday at 6:00 PM ET (repeated Sunday at 7:00 AM ET)– AFC Playbook – Brian Baldinger, Sterling Sharpe and Joe Theismann discuss:
- How the Patriots’ passing game can hand the Colts their first loss of the season
- Brian Billick explains how the Patriots’ defense can contain Colts TE Dallas Clark
Greatest 4th QTRs – Saturday at 8:00 PM ET
New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts (11/4/2007): Working to overcome a 10-point deficit and remain on track for an unbeaten season, QB Tom Brady threw two of his three touchdown passes in a four-minute span of the fourth quarter to beat the defending Super Bowl champion Colts, 24-20