ESPN Announces More On-Air Moves Ahead Of 2016 – ’17 NFL Season

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ESPN is making even more moves in its on-air ranks as the 2016 – 2017 NFL season nears.

It was announced this week that NFL Nation’s Giants reporter Dan Graziano has now been named a National NFL Insider for ESPN.  This means that he will have more on-air presence including appearances on NFL Insiders, NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, and ESPN The Magazine.  Graziano’s first official day in the position was this past Friday, July 22nd when he broke the story about Steelers’ star running back Le’Veon Bell’s upcoming four-game suspension.  The punishment was put in place in reaction to Bell violating the leagues drug policy.  Chad Millman, Vice President and Editorial Director of Domestic Digital content noted Graziano’s contributions to ESPN in discussing his new move.  “Dan has been a strong reporter for us on so many platforms over the course of five years,” Millman said.  “He consistently breaks stories on a national level and has an understanding of what’s happening across the entire league. This new role benefits our NFL team and, most importantly, our readers and viewers.”   When he originally started out at ESPN in 2011, he served as an NFL East blogger.  In 2013 he turned his focus specifically to the New York Giants as ESPN’s NFL Nation Network grew.  He has also served as a contributor to ESPN’s NFL Insiders since its inception in 2013.

As Graziano moves upward in ESPN’s on-air ranks, he will be replaced in his previous position by Jordan Raanan.  He was most recently the Giants reporter for NJ Advance Media.  He boasts more than a decade of experience as he comes in to his new position.  He also has covered the St. Louis Rams for ESPN for three seasons.  On a related note, Nick Wagoner has been named the new San Francisco 49ers reporter for ESPN.  More information on these and other moves being made by ESPN is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNNFL

 

 

 

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Randy Moss Added To ESPN’s On-Air Roster

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ESPN is known to audiences as “The worldwide leader in sports.”  That is due in part to the number of sports that it covers and the quality of its coverage of said sports.  It is also because of the personalities who fill the network’s ranks and those of the ESPN family of networks.  Now it has bolstered that reputation even more as it has announced that it has added another major name to its on-air roster.  That name is NFL great Randy Moss.

Randy Moss was one of the NFL’s most polarizing figures during his time on the field.  Now he will be a part of the game on the other side of the screen.  ESPN announced today the he will serve as an analyst on the networks’ weekly NFL broadcasts of Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown live from the site of each Monday Night Football game.  It was also announced that along with those duties, Moss will also be part of ESPN’s annual Super Bowl week coverage.  Seth Markman is Senior Coordinating Producer for ESPN’s NFL studio shows.  He was not afraid to touch on Moss’ reputation while discussing the NFL great’s addition to ESPN’s on-air roster.  “As a player and now as an analyst, Randy has always been candid, direct and compelling; when he talks about football and other topics, you are instantly drawn to what he has to say,” he said.  He also noted having Moss alongside two other NFL greats in Matt Hasselbeck and Charles Woodson for the network’s in-studio broadcasts.  “With Matthew Hasselbeck, Charles Woodson and now Randy joining ESPN this offseason, we have added three dynamic, new voices to our studio team, all of whom are widely known and respected among football fans,” he said.  Moss shared Markman’s sentiment in a statement released to the press.  “ESPN is the No. 1 sports channel in the world! Now I’m a part of a network I grew up running home to watch,” he said.  The team that has been put together has so much football knowledge to share and I can’t wait to get started. I feel very blessed and excited for this opportunity. It’s going be a great and fun year.”

Before joining ESPN’s ranks Moss worked as an analyst for Fox Sports’ Sunday morning NFL kickoff show FOX NFL Kickoff among other programs.  Moss Was originally drafted #21 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 1998.  He wasted no time showing off his talents and value.  He had 69 catches in his rookie season for a total of 1,313 yards and a league-leading 17 touchdowns, averaging 35.6 yards per touchdown.  That is not only a league-leading stat but also an NFL rookie record.  These numbers garnered Moss the 1998 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.  It also earned him an invite in his rookie year to the Pro Bowl. He was the only rookie first-team All Pro, too as the Vikings would go on that year to a record of 15 – 1.  His 1998 invite to the Pro Bowl was just the first of what would be six appearances at what is the NFL’s own “All-Star” game.    His other appearances came in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2007.  In 2007, Moss scored an NFL single-season record 23 receiving touchdowns.  That was one of five times that he was named the league’s NFL touchdown leader.  The same year he caught 98 passes for a total of 1,493 yards.  That helped take the Patriots (with whom he played at the time), to Super Bowl XLII and a perfect 16 – 0 regular season record.

Moss eventually retired in 2012.  During his 14 total seasons on the field he had amassed a total of 15,292 career yards and 982 receptions.  That includes 156 for touchdowns.  During his time as a player he was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s.  And when the Vikings celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary, he was named one of the team’s 50 greatest players.

More information on Moss’ appointment is available online now along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl

 

 

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN

 

 

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNNFL

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Houston Open Air Festival Lineup Announced

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media/Danny Wimmer Presents

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media/Danny Wimmer Presents

The lineup for the 2016 Houston Open Air Festival has officially been announced.

Organizers with the Houston Open Air Festival have revealed the lineup for the 2016 Houston Open Air Festival.  The lineup will feature 35 bands over two days.  That list includes: Deftones, Slayer,Chevelle, The Cult, Ministry, Alter Bridge, Ghost, Anthrax, Pierce The Veil, Of Mice & Men, Sevendust, Baroness, Hellyeah, Chevy Metal, Buckcherry, Nothing More, The Amity Affliction, Max & Iggor Cavalera: Return To Roots, Avatar, letlive., Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy, Texas Hippie Coalition, Young Guns, Starset, Sick Puppies, Skindred, Neck Deep, Sons Of Texas, KYNG, Twelve Foot Ninja, Gemini Syndrome, The Word Alive, Dinosaur Pile Up, September Mourning, and more.  Avenged Sevenfold and Alice in Chains have been named as the festival’s headliners.

A rolling discounted Early Bird pre-sale for Weekend General Admission tickets begins this Tuesday, May 17th at 12pm CDT/1pm EDT.  A very limited quantity of tickets will be available during this pre-sale.  They can be purchased online at http://www.HoustonOpenAir.com and will only be available while supplies last.  Their prices are noted below.

 

Early Bird #1: $89.50

Early Bird #2: $99.50

 

VIP weekend tickets will also be available at a cost of $234.50.

Public on-sale tickets will go on sale Friday, May 20th at 12pm CDT/1pm EDT.  They will also be available for purchase online at http://www.HoustonOpenAir.com.  Their prices are listed below.

 

 

Weekend GA: $109.50

Single-day GA: $69.50

Single-day VIP: $129.50

VIP Weekend: $234.50

 

 

VIP tickets include: VIP entrance lanes into venue, access to VIP-only area featuring dedicated bar, beverage and food options (for additional purchase), VIP-only viewing area of Main Stage, dedicated restroom facilities, and a VIP-only commemorative laminate.

A portion of all proceeds from ticket sales for the festival will go toward aiding the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund.  The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund was established by Houston’s mayor Sylvester Turner in order to accept donations for flood relief in the Houston community.  This includes aiding victims of the flooding that stemmed from recent storms that hit the region.  More information on The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund is available online at http://www.houstonrecovers.org.  Danny Hayes, CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents, spoke with the media recently.  He discussed the timing of the festival’s announcement in relation to the city’s recovery from said storms as well as the motivation for teaming with Mayor Turner in his recovery efforts.  “Houston Open Air has been in the works for almost a year now,” he said.  It’s awkward to announce a major music festival in a city that has experienced such recent hardship and, in fact, we delayed our announcements out of respect for what Houston has endured. But at the same time, our festivals are about highlighting the strengths (or sometimes the needs) of our host city. There’s no more important way to do that right now than to support Mayor Turner’s efforts to help Houston recover from this spring’s flooding and we will be incorporating this message throughout our launch campaign.”

Danny Wimmer is the founder of Danny Wimmer Presents.  He shared his thoughts on the logistics of the concert’s location, its lineup, and more in his discussion with the press.  “Houston is one of the country’s biggest rock markets and, when combined with the impressive food scene happening here, it’s a natural location for a DWP festival,” he said.  “We’re thrilled to have such a diverse first-year lineup that includes Avenged Sevenfold, Alice In Chains and Chevelle. With the inclusion of an incredible food experience and the Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Row, we are kicking off a powerhouse experience that will live in the market for many years to come!”

The Houston Open Air Festival’s band lineup is just part of what audiences have to look forward to this year.  There will also be a special food and drink experience for fans who attend.  This includes the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey Row and a massive Gourmet Man Food Experience  The brands featured in the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey Row include: Jack Daniel’s Black Label, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Old Forester, and Woodford Reserve.  The complete lineup and menus for the Gourmet Man Food experience will be announced soon.

Houston Open Air is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, producer of: Louder Than Life, Chicago Open Air, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Monster Energy Fort Rock, Monster Energy Aftershock, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, Rock on the Range, and more.  It is sponsored by: Monster Energy, Jack Daniel’s, El Jimador, Fxck Cancer’s Dyin2Live, NRG Park, and SoHo Concessions, and more to be announced soon.

NRG Park is the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans and the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  It is located at One NRG Park in Houston, TX.

More information on the Houston Open Air Festival is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.HoustonOpenAir.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/houstonopenair

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HouOpenAir

 

 

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‘Voices’ Will Leave Lots Of Voices Talking About Red Tide Rising

Courtesy: Vanity Records

Courtesy: Vanity Records

Colorado is not typically the first place that people think of when they think of major centers of music.  Though, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats definitely helped put the state on the musical map last year with the release of its eponymous 2015 full-length studio recording.  Now another Colorado-based band is looking to make its mark on the state’s musical community with the release of its new EP Voices.  The band goes by the name of Red Tide Rising.  The five-song record is available now.  Listening through the nineteen-minute record it can be said of the band that it is ready to be not just one of the Denver music scene’s next big names but that of the mainstream rock realm, too.

Red Tide Rising’s new EP Voices, which was produced and co-written by Drowning Pool drummer Mike Luce (except for ‘You’re Nothing), is not the Littleton, Colorado-based hard rock quartet’s record.  It is however the band’s first real chance at breaking through and becoming part of the mainstream rock realm.  That is clear in the disc’s searing closer ‘New Breed’ both in its musical arrangement and its lyrical theme.  The band waste’s no time getting listeners’ attention with the song’s musical arrangement.  Guitarist Andrew Whiteman (front man Matthew Whiteman’s brother) launches right into the song with a full throttle Spineshank style riff.  Drummer Guerin establishes the song’s foundation alongside bassist Michae LeBois’ solid low end.  The combined sound of each line makes for a song that despite being the record’s closer, is its most powerful musical statement.  Of course one would be remiss to ignore front man Matthew Whiteman’s vocals talents as part of the song’s success.  Whiteman channels Mushroomhead front man Jeffrey Nothing in this song  The similarity between the two front men’s vocal styles is especially evident in the song’s chorus.  Speaking of Whiteman, Whiteman’s words are just as powerful and impacting here as are his vocals and the talents of his band mates.  Whiteman sings of false friends—those people who talk out of both sides of their mouths, lifting up a person on one side while discreetly tearing them down on the other side—in this song.  Considering this, the driving energy being exuded by the song’s musical arrangement makes it a solid match with the song’s lyrical theme.  It serves quite well to illustrate the negative energy of those people and at the same time the frustration felt by those who have been wronged by those same people.  Keeping all of this in mind, it serves collectively to show why this song is Voices’ anchor despite being the record’s closer.  It is just one example of what makes Voices potentially Red Tide Rising’s breakout record.  The equally blistering ‘You’re Nothing (But S***)’ is another of the record’s most important compositions.

‘New Breed’ is an important inclusion in Red Tide Rising’s latest offering.  It is just one of the record’s most notable compositions.  The equally searing ‘You’re Nothing (But S***)’ is just as notable as ‘New Breed’ thanks in part to its radio ready musical arrangement.  [Andrew] Whiteman leads the way once again here as he craft’s a solid melodic hard rock sound in the song’s guitar line.  Guerin and LeBois follow Whiteman’s lead, working with him to establish a solid foundation for the song in its musical arrangement.  The song’s musical arrangement establishes a solid foundation for the song.  It is just one part of what makes this song such an impacting work.  [Matthew] Whiteman’s lyrics build on that musical foundation to make the song one of the EP’s strongest moments if not its strongest moment overall.  Much as in the case of ‘New Breed’ Whiteman addresses those types who live just to make others’ lives miserable.  That is evident as he sings, “The bridge is burned/I’m not concerned/I never thought poor to you/In the end/We’ve all gone mad/the story ends here for you/I’m not your slave/I’m not your boss/I’ll never be your g**d***ed scapegoat.”  That’s a pretty telling statement to say the very least.  This is someone that is done with people’s garbage and their games.  It is that proverbial musical middle finger to said subjects.  Now given, this is hardly the first time that any singer/band has ever tackled such a subject.  Yet Whiteman still manages to make his own impact here.  That impact doesn’t end here.  He goes on to sing along with his band mates in the song’s chorus, “I don’t care/What the world has given you/You’re nothing, nothing/I don’t care/What the f*** you think of me/You’re nothing but s*** like me.”  Whiteman doesn’t let up an inch from here.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Run your mouth/Everyday/Throw your fit and walk away/B**** at this/B**** at that/Get out of my face/You psychopath.”  From here, Whiteman and company reprise the song’s chorus before launching into one more lyrical salvo.  That final verbal assault is no less intense musically or in terms of Whiteman’s aggressive delivery of said lyrical venom.  As a matter of fact it is just as intense as the song’s previous verses.  Keeping that in mind, the whole of this song proves in the end to be quite the volatile composition.  That is meant in the best way possible, too.  Simply put, the combination of the song’s musical arrangement and its caustic lyrical content makes it one of this record’s strongest showings and possibly even its strongest.  It still is not the last example of what makes Voices such a solid outing for Red Tide Rising.  The disc’s defiant opener ‘Writing on the Wall’ is one more example of what makes Voices solid.

‘New Breed’ and ‘You’re Nothing (But S***)’ are both key examples of what makes Voices a solid new effort from Red Tide Rising.  Both songs offer content—both musical and lyrical—that makes each radio ready songs.  They are not the record’s only radio ready offerings.  The record’s defiant opener ‘Writing On The Wall’ could just as easily be used as a single for the record.  As with the previously noted songs this song’s musical arrangement serves as the basis for this argument.  The song opens with a slow, brooding guitar line from Andrew Whiteman.  It doesn’t take long before the rest of the band joins in and really launches the song.  Matthew’s lyrics are just as hard hitting here as in the EP’s other noted compositions, as is his delivery of said lyrics.  He sings here, “I refuse to be left behind/In dust/Haunted by/The ones I lost/But they’re the fire/That keeps on burning/The light shining in the dark/My voice/Can you hear me/My voice has just begun/My eyes have seen the beating/I have witnessed/The writing on the wall.”  This is just a small dose of Whiteman’s verbal assault here.  He goes on to sing in the song’s third verse of facing even more negativity but then goes on to remind himself in the song’s chorus once more of what keeps him going.  So it is very similar lyrically speaking.  And in the bigger picture of the EP’s five songs, it too carries that ongoing theme of facing the negativity in life bravely rather than letting it hold one’s self down.  Keeping this in mind, that theme couples with the song’s musical and lyrical content to show once more why it is yet another of the key offerings from Voices.  Of course it is hardly the last of the disc’s notable songs.  ‘Suffocate’ and ‘The Sound of Voices Screaming’ are both impressive in their own right, too.  They partner with the songs more directly discussed here to show why Voices is, in whole, the record that could help Red Tide Rising *ahem* rise to rock’s mainstream realm.

Red Tide Rising’s new EP Voices only boasts five songs and runs only nineteen minutes in length.  That isn’t much.  But in the course of that time, the Denver, Colorado-based quartet shows that it is truly a band ready to “rise” to rock’s mainstream realm.  That is evident in both the record’s musical and lyrical content from beginning to end.  The musical arrangements in each of its featured songs are on the same level as so many of today’s major mainstream rock songs.  Its recurring theme of facing the negatives in life with confidence in each song’s lyrical content is just as important to note.  When all of those elements are combined, they make a whole that from beginning to end is a record that could break the band into rock’s mainstream realm.  It is available now and will be available at all of the band’s upcoming live dates.  Those dates are available online now along with all of the band’s latest news, member bios, and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.redtiderising.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/redtiderising

Twitter: http://twitter.com/redtiderising

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Networks Kick Off 206 NFL Draft Coverage Thursday Night On ESPN

 Chicago, IL - April 30, 2015 - Auditorium Theatre: Mel Kiper Jr., Jon Gruden, Louis Riddick and Chris Berman on the set during the 2015 NFL Draft Presented by Bose (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)


Chicago, IL – April 30, 2015 – Auditorium Theatre: Mel Kiper Jr., Jon Gruden, Louis Riddick and Chris Berman on the set during the 2015 NFL Draft Presented by Bose (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

The countdown to the 2016 – 2017 NFL season officially begins this week.  It all begins Thursday with the annual NFL draft.  And ESPN will have full coverage of this year’s draft.

ESPN launches its coverage of the 2016 NFL draft Thursday night at 8pm ET live from Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.  ESPN will carry Round one with limited commercial interruption for the fifth consecutive year when it begins Thursday night.  It will be simulcast live on ESPN Radio nationwide.  Before the network’s coverage begins, it will air a special pre-draft SportsCenter broadcast at 7pm ET that looks forward not only to the first round of the draft but all seven rounds.  Speaking of those other rounds, ESPN will carry coverage of Rounds 2 and 3 live Friday evening beginning at 7pm ET from the Auditorium Theatre live on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNRadio.  Rounds 4 – 7 will be covered live Saturday beginning at noon eastern.  ESPN will carry coverage of Rounds 4 – 7 live from Chicago’s Grant Park.

Chris Berman will anchor ESPN’s broadcast of the draft’s first round Thursday evening.  He will be joined at the desk by veteran NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden, and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick.  Fellow NFL Insider Adam Schefter will be on hand along with NFL host Suzy Kolber, and a team of NFL reporters from team sites with all of the latest news throughout the first round.

Trey Wingo will anchor ESPN’s coverage of Rounds 2 – 7 over the weekend.  He will be joined by Mel Kiper, Jr., NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick, NFL Insider Adam Schefter, and NFL Draft Analyst Todd McShay.  The full broadcast schedule for this weekend’s NFL draft coverage across the ESPN networks is listed below.

 

ESPN NFL Draft Programming Originating from Chicago (April 28-30):

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)
Thu, Apr 28 6-10 a.m. Mike & Mike ESPN Radio, ESPN2
10-11 a.m. SportsCenter ESPN
10 a.m.-12 p.m. First Take ESPN2
1:30-2:30 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
2:30-3:30 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
6-7 p.m. SportsCenter ESPN
7-8 p.m. SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown ESPN
8-11:30 p.m. NFL Draft (Round 1) ESPN,
ESPN Radio
11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. SportsCenter ESPN
Fri, Apr 29 6-10 a.m. Mike & Mike ESPN Radio, ESPN2
10-11 a.m. SportsCenter ESPN
10 a.m.-12 p.m. First Take ESPN2
1:30-2:30 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
2:30-3:30 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
7-11:30 p.m. NFL Draft (Rounds 2-3) ESPN/ESPN2, ESPN Radio
Sat, Apr 30 12-8 p.m. NFL Draft (Rounds 4-7) ESPN

 

Along with its domestic coverage of the NFL Draft, ESPN International will carry coverage of the NFL Draft to more than 72 million households in 59 countries and territories throughout Latin America’s Spanish-speaking regions, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.  Canada will have coverage of the NFL Draft via TSN.  Audiences in Mexico and Central America can get full coverage of the draft via ESPN’s ESPNPlay broadband platform.  Audiences in Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil will be able to catch coverage of the NFL Draft online via WatchESPN while audiences in the rest of South America will get live coverage of Round 1 live online via ESPNPlay.

The ESPN networks’ primary draft coverage is just the tip of the iceberg for this year’s events.  There will also be special, additional commentary and more across each of ESPN’s networks and platforms including but not limited to The Mel Kiper Draft Grades –the foundation of SportsCenter Special: Draft Grades on May 1st at 7pm ET on ESPN.  More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of this year’s NFL Draft is available online now at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN To Carry Full Coverage OF 2016 NFL Schedule Announcement Tonight

NFL on ESPN Logo

The start of the 2016 NFL season is still many months away.  But, as always, it’s never too early to talk football, right?  Right.  With that in mind, the NFL will announce its full 2016 season schedule tonight.  And ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, will have full coverage of the announcement.

The National Football League will announce its full 2016 season schedule tonight.  And ESPN will have full coverage of tonight’s announcement on a special extended edition of SportsCenter.  Tonight’s two-hour edition of SportsCenter begins at 8pm ET on ESPN and will have full coverage of the league’s announcement of each team’s season schedule.  The first hour of the special broadcast will air on ESPN.  The second hour (9pm ET – 10pm ET) will air on ESPN2.  Football fans that won’t be near a TV during tonight’s broadcast can still see the whole thing live online via WatchESPN.  NFL Live’s Trey Wingo will anchor tonight’s special edition of SportsCenter.  He will be joined by analysts Herm Edwards, Ryan Clark, and Brian Dawkins.  There will also be a handful of NFL coaches and players on tonight’s broadcast, which will break down each team’s schedule, ESPN’s own Monday Night Football schedule, and other primetime games.  ESPN.com’s NFL Nation writers will also offer in-depth analysis of each team’s schedule and other key matchups throughout the season.

More information on tonight’s special extended edition of SportsCenter is available online now along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNNFL

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews , go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Makes Big Plays With Its NFL On-Air Staff

San Francisco, CA - February 7, 2016 - Marina Green: Mike Ditka (l) and Chris Berman on the set of Postseason NFL Countdown during coverage for Super Bowl 50 (Photo by Peter DaSilva / ESPN Images)

San Francisco, CA – February 7, 2016 – Marina Green: Mike Ditka (l) and Chris Berman on the set of Postseason NFL Countdown during coverage for Super Bowl 50
(Photo by Peter DaSilva / ESPN Images)

Legendary NFL coach and ESPN personality Mike Ditka is going to have a new role with the worldwide leader in sports.

Mike Ditka has signed a new contract extension that will keep him with ESPN at least for the next two years. It also alters his role with the network somewhat. Instead of his regular role on the network’s NFL broadcasts the new contract makes Ditka a contributor on SportsCenter, the network’s flagship news and information program. The change in roles was apparently Ditka’s choice rather than that of the network. “This new role is really a blessing. It’s something I asked for,” he said. “After many years of weekend travel, I’m thrilled I’ll get to watch NFL games on Sundays and Monday nights in the comfort of my own home. I enjoy being part of the game and part of ESPN. I really do. So this is a great solution.”

Seth Markman is ESPN’s VP senior coordinating producer of NFL studio shows. He verified Ditka’s statement noting that “Mike talked with me late in the year about his role for next season. Thankfully we were able to come to an agreement that works for him and keeps him a part of our ESPN family. He went on to note his pleasure that the deal had been reached saying, “This announcement is great news for us and for our viewers, as Coach Ditka continues to be someone NFL fans everywhere respect and admire.” Ditka’s new deal takes effect this September. It will see him contributing to SportsCenter not just during football season but on a year-round basis. Ditka joined ESPN’s on-air staff in 2004.

 

Indianapolis, IN - September 15, 2014 - Lucas Oil Stadium: Matt Hasselbeck (8) of the Indianapolis Colts during a regular season Monday Night Football game (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

Indianapolis, IN – September 15, 2014 – Lucas Oil Stadium: Matt Hasselbeck (8) of the Indianapolis Colts during a regular season Monday Night Football game
(Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

Just as ESPN has announced that Ditka’s role with the network will change later this year, it has also announced this week that veteran NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will become the network’s latest member of the network’s on-air staff.

Hasselbeck announced his retirement from the NFL this week after eighteen seasons in the league. Over the course of those eighteen seasons he became a three-time Pro Bowler. He played his final season with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015. He started his career playing with the Green Bay Packers from 1998 – 2000 as the backup to NFL great Brett Favre. In 2001 he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks where he played over the next ten seasons. During that time he led the Seahawks to six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl appearance in 2005. In 2011 Hasselbeck joined the Tennesseee Titans but his tenure there was short-lived. He only remained there until 2012 before joining the Colts in 2013 for his last run in the league. That run lasted until 2015. Over the course of his time with those teams he threw a total of 36,638 yards, completing 60 percent of his passes with 212 touchdowns. A large majority of those numbers came during his 2007 season with Seattle. That season alone, he had 3,966 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. That same year he also led the Seahawks to the divisional playoffs and was named to his third and last Pro Bowl. He started his stint with the Colts in 2013 as a backup/mentor to then 1st Round pick Andrew Luck. But when Luck suffered a series of injuries in 2015 it was up to Hasselbeck to step up and take the reins. He went on to lead the team to a 5 – 3 record over the next eight games, winning his first four starts. That record put him in elite company, becoming only the third quarterback to have four consecutive wins after his 40th birthday. The other two QBs to do that were Warren Moon, and his former teammate Brett Favre. Hasselbeck’s 11 post season starts at QB ranks 16th all-time in NFL history. And it is just one of so many other records that he holds.

Having announced his retirement this week he won’t be out of the spotlight for long. Beginning this fall he will be part of ESPN’s NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. In his announcement about his retirement Hasselbeck noted his love for the game of football and his respect for everyone that he came to know throughout his career. “As a kid, playing in the NFL was always my dream and it turned out to be way more fun than I could’ve ever imagined,” said Hasselbeck. “Throughout 18 incredible seasons, I had the chance to forge many relationships with teammates, coaches and staff that I will cherish forever. Those relationships made my playing career all the more memorable,” he said. He also noted the support of his family in his decision to join ESPN’s staff before again thanking everyone that gave him the chance to play in the NFL. He said of these topics, “With the support of my family, we’ve made the decision to embark on the next chapter. I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to have represented the NFL and so many great teams.” He added in regards to joining ESPN, “The exceptional opportunity presented to me by ESPN accelerated my decision to retire from playing football. “I’m excited for the chance to give everything I have to this new endeavor and share the knowledge I have with our viewers.”

Hasselbeck is ESPN’s second major NFL talent acquisition for its studio shows this offseason. The network recently announced that it had also signed NFL great Charles Woodson for its Countdown shows. Markman noted Hasselbeck’s years of playing experience in the decision to bring him to its studio shows as well as his personality. He also noted that the network had been watching him for some time as a potential figure that the network could use for its NFL programming. “Matthew has been on our radar for many years and we expect him to have an immediate impact as he transitions from the playing field to a marquee analyst role on our signature NFL shows,” he said. “Matthew experienced it all in his 18 NFL seasons, he has terrific insights on the game and a great sense of humor, and we are particularly excited to pair him with Tim [Hasselbeck], who already does such excellent work for us.” Tim Hasselbeck is Matt Hasselback’s younger brother. He currently appears on ESPN’s NFL Live and has been working with ESPN as an NFL analyst since 2008.

 

More information on ESPN’s recent moves on its NFL programs is available online now along with all of the latest NFL headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN

 

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