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

 

 

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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

 

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.

Gruden’s QB Camp Returns For Its Seventh Season This Spring

Orlando, FL - March 31, 2015 - Wide World of Sports: Jon Gruden during Gruden's QB Camp class of 2015 (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)

Orlando, FL – March 31, 2015 – Wide World of Sports: Jon Gruden during Gruden’s QB Camp class of 2015
(Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)

The start of the 2016 – 2017 NFL season is roughly six months away. Even with so much time until football returns, any true NFL fan will agree that it is never too soon to talk football. That being the case NFL fans will be happy to know that ESPN has announced the return of Gruden’s QB Camp this spring.

Gruden’s QB Camp is an integral part of ESPN’s annual pre-NFL Draft programming. This year it returns for its seventh year beginning April 12th at 8:30pm ET on ESPN and will run for a total of five weeks leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft. It will air across the ESPN networks, including ABC. As a bonus for audiences, previous episodes of Gruden’s QB Camp will be available via ESPN Classic VOD beginning in the first week of April. Excerpts of each episode will be run on NFL Live, SportsCenter, and other shows.

This year’s season of Gruden’s QB Camp will feature projected first round picks Jared Goff (California — 1st Team All-Pac 12 selection), and Carson Wenz (North Dakota State – Most Outstanding Player from the NCAA D1 National Championship over the past two years). Also expected to appear on Gruden’s QB Camp this year are: Connor Cook (Michigan State — Big Ten QB of the Year and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award-winner), Christian Hackenberg (Penn State – 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year), Cardale Jones (Ohio State – 2015 College Football Playoff National Champion), Paxton Lynch (Memphis – AAC 1st Team selection), and Dak Prescott (Mississippi State – 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl MVP).

Over the course of its past six seasons Gruden’s QB Camp has welcomed fifty players. Forty-three of those fifty players were quarterbacks. Of those quarterbacks, ten have gone on to be starting QBs in the NFL including: Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers QB) and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks QB). More information on this year’s season of Gruden’s QB Camp is available online with all of the latest NFL headlines 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 Adds Woodson To Its NFL Broadcast Team

NFL on ESPN Logo

Earlier this week ESPN announced a major addition to its NBA broadcast team. Now an announcement has come down about another big name joining the worldwide leader in sports.

Charles Woodson has joined ESPN as the network’s latest addition to its NFL broadcast team. Woodson, a Super Bowl Champion and nine-time Pro Bowl defensive back, recently announced his retirement from the NFL. Now he will continue his NFL career on the other side of the game as an analyst for ESPN. He will now be part of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. He will also make appearances on other ESPN studio shows and platforms. A firm date for his on-air debut has not yet been announced. However it is known that he will make his debut in July.

Seth Markman, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer for NFL shows noted Woodson’s accomplishments over the course of his career and the respect that he earned during his career as major reasons for his addition to ESPN’s NFL staff. “Charles is one of the most accomplished players of his era and he is held in such high regard by players, coaches and fans for the way he played the game and led his teams, he said. He will be a tremendous addition to ESPN and to our Sunday and Monday Countdown teams,” said Seth Markman, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer, NFL studio shows.

Woodson was humble in discussing his new appointment noting the reputation that Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown have helped build for ESPN. “I would like to thank ESPN for this incredible opportunity to join their Sunday and Monday Night Countdown shows. I look forward to carrying on their strong tradition and gaining the respect of those who came before me and those who will follow me,” he said. I’m extremely honored and can’t wait to get started.”

Woodson’s list of accomplishments during his career reads like a who’s who of the sport. He is one of one of very fe players in NFL history to play in a Pro Bowl in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, and 2010s). He played with the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII and earned a Super Bowl Championship as a member of the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1997 and a National Championship as a member of the Michigan Wolverines. He went on from there to be drafted fourth overall by the Raiders in the 1998 NFL Draft and tapped as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year that same year.

During his NFL career, Woodson was named the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team (2000s). He is tied for fifth place on the league’s all-time interceptions list (65), and most career defensive touchdowns (13). He is second all-time for interceptions returned for touchdowns (11) and amassed 1,003 tackles, 20 sacks and 28 forced fumbles over 254 regular-season games. That is the second-most games of any defensive back in NFL history. He also twice led the NFL in Interceptions—9 in 2009 and seven in 2011.

Adding to his accomplishments and accolades, Woodson was awarded the league’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship award as he finished his NFL career.

More information on Woodson’s addition to ESPN’s NFL staff is available online now along with all of the latest NFL news 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.

30 For 30: The ’85 Bears Premieres Thursday Night On ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will debut the latest chapter in its award-winning film series 30 For 30 this week.
30 For 30: The ’85 Bears will debut Thursday night on ESPN. It will air at 9pm ET on ESPN. Directed by Emmy Award-winning director Jason Hehir (Bernie and Ernie, The Fab Five, Jose Canseco: Last Shot) the program follows the 1985 Chicago Bears squad. the team went nearly undefeated on its way to Super Bowl XX and an NFL championship. The whole thing started with a letter penned by the team’s defensive captains Gary Fencik and Alan Page to then 86-year old team owner George Halas. That team included the likes of William “The Refrigerator” Perry, Jim McMahon, Walter Peyton, and Mike Singletary among others. Of course the one and only Mike Ditka was at the helm when the team won it all.

Hehir shows through his lens a team that no one thought would ever make it to the Super Bowl yet whose differences brought them together and made the team in whole stronger. That strength led them to form a team that came together at just the right time and defied all the expectations of those around the league from players to fans alike. Audiences can check out a trailer for this latest installment of 30 For 30 online now at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=14503626. More information on this and other films in ESPN’s 30 For 30 series is availabel online now at:

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

http://www.espn.com/30for30

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30

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 Offering Extensive Coverage Of College Football Playoff Championship

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Next Monday night the 2015 – 2016 college football season finally comes to an end.

A season of hits and hard work finally comes down to just one game next Monday night when Alabama (SEC) and Clemson (ACC) face off for this year’s college football championship.  And ESPN will have full coverage of this year’s championship game.  Kickoff is set for 8:30pm ET on ESPN.  Chris Fowler will have the call for Monday night’s game, presented by AT&T.  He will be joined in the booth by Kirk Herbstreit.  Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi will also be on hand on the sidelines for additional commentary and reports throughout the game.

Those that won’t be near a TV Monday night can still catch the game as it will be simulcast on ESPN Radio and online via ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN app, SiriusXM, Apple iTunes Radio, Slacker Radio, and TuneIn.  Mike Tirico will have the call for the game’s broadcast on ESPN Radio.  He will be joined in the booth by analyst Todd Blackledge.  Holly Rowe, Joe Schad, and Bill Lemonnier will all be on hand on the sidelines for additional commentary and reports for ESPN Radio throughout the game.  Additional information for Monday night’s broadcast of the College Football Championship will be announced as the week progresses.

As the days tick by and anticipation builds for this year’s College Football Championship, ESPN and the ESPN networks will have plenty of in-depth coverage ahead of the big game.  College Football Live will come live from the campus of both Alabama and Clemson.  It will also have a live broadcast from the University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of this year’s championship game.  Joe Tessitore will be live at Alabama’s campus.  He will be joined by analysts Mark May and Booger McFarland, and reporter Tom Rinaldi.  Chris Cotter will be live from Clemson alongside Danny Kanell and analyst Joey Galloway.  Reporters Samantha Ponder and Marty Smith will also be on hand for additional commentary and news.  On Friday, Chris Cotter will anchor College Football Live on site at the University of Phoenix Stadium.  He will be joined live by analysts Joey Galloway, Jesse Palmer, Mack Brown and Todd McShay, and contributor George Whitfield.  That broadcast will air Friday at 1:30pm ET on ESPN.

Along with broadcasts of College Football Live ESPN will also offer college football fans live editions of SportsCenter in the days leading up to the College Football Championship.  David Lloyd will host SportsCenter  Thursday at 1pm ET.  Lindsay Czarniak will host the 6pm edition of SportsCenter Thursday and Friday evening.  Thursday’s broadcast will air live from Alabama and Friday’s from Phoenix.  Saturday morning, SportsCenter will air live from College Football Playoff Media Day from 8am ET – 12:30pm ET.  Matt Barrie, Joe Tessitore will be on hand for the early edition of SportsCenter while John Anderson and John Buccigross will be on hand for the late edition of SportsCenter.  On Monday, SportsCenter will be live from 9am ET to 2:30 pm ET on-site from the University of Phoenix Stadium.  There will also be a follow-up edition of SportsCenter following the game.  Lindsay Czarniak will wrap SportsCenter’s coverage of the College Football Championship Tuesday night at 6pm ET.

The ESPN networks’ extensive coverage of the 2015 – 2016 College Football Championship includes not only coverage from its flagship news broadcast and one of its college football broadcast but also on Face To Face with Hannah Storm.  Monday afternoon at 2:30pm ET, Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will sit down with ESPN’s Hannah Storm for a special interview.  The coaches will discuss their respective teams’ seasons, the championship game, and much more in a special half-hour edition of the program.

Over on the radio side, Mike and Mike will broadcast on-site on Monday and Tuesday live from the University of Phoenix Stadium as will Rusillo and KanellMike and Mike will be simulcast both days from 6am ET to 10am ET on ESPN2. Rusillo & Kanell will air both days at 1pm ET live from Phoenix. As an additional bonus for fans NFL great Steve Smith, Jr. will join Golic and Greenie Friday morning on Mike and Mike. His appearance comes on the heels of his announcement that he will be returning to the Ravens in 2016 instead of retiring as he had previously announced. Smith will be live from 7:30am – 10am ET.

More information on the ESPN networks’ extensive coverage of the upcoming College Football Playoff Championship is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

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

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.