Weekend Watch – Manning, Brady Square Off Again

Update – Check the Patriots Game Day page for complete links in the Sunday papers to Patriots stories.

The biggest regular season game of the NFL season thus far is this Sunday night as the Patriots clash once more with the Indianapolis Colts. This game has all the usual Manning/Brady, Belichick/Dungy, Defense/Offense matchups, with the new added twist of seeing Adam Vinatieri kick field goals at Gillette for the opposition. If the TV crew is smart, they’ll also have a “Bill Polian Cam” to see if the Colts president attempts to assault any Patriots employees or is slamming things around in the press box during the game.

This weekend, be sure to check in with the Patriots Game Day page. We had our weekly Roundtable discussion this morning, and will have a Bill Barnwell column on backup quarterbacks posted this weekend, as well as a gameday blog and recap on Sunday. Keep up with all the Patriots news and blog entries on the newly revamped (yes AGAIN) Patriots News Mashup page.

Get the coverage from Indy in the pages of the Indianapolis Star. The Star’s Colts Message board is also a fun destination.

Some other notes and items on the game:

Cold Hard Football Facts dug into the numbers and discovered that Tom Brady has a better passer rating than Peyton Manning – both in domes AND outside.

On ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, look for the “Who’s better, Manning or Brady” argument to be part of the “The Great Debate” segment. In addition, “Soundtracks” will feature highlights from the Patriots/Colts rivalry from the last few seasons.

Bill Simmons really hates the Colts.

With the Patriots/Colts game on their network, the NBCsports.com website is sure to have plenty of coverage. They’ve already got a number of articles on the game, including a piece from Tom Curran who wonders what would happen if Tom Brady and Peyton Manning switched teams. Curran’s blog should be a good read as the weekend goes on.

This week on Patriots All Access (8:00pm Saturday, 10:00am Sunday, WCVB):

* A one-on-one interview with Richard Seymour to preview the Colts game.

* A look inside the Patriots locker room to find out why the Minnesota victory was extra special for Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.

* Bill Belichick shows how play action is a vital part of the Colts offensive game plan on the Belestrator.

Household ratings in Boston/Manchester market for Monday’s Patriots game:
ESPN 16.3 / 26
WCVB 10.8 / 16
WMUR 2.0 / 3

A reminder – If you didn’t get a chance to check out the BSMW review of the new Charlie Pierce book on Tom Brady – Moving the Chains – you can find it here. If you decide purchase the book, keep in mind that if you buy it through that Amazon link, BSMW will get a small portion of the sale.

I’ll be redoing the Red Sox News Mashup and Celtics News Mashup (done) pages shortly, with a Bruins one on the horizon.

The Boston Phoenix had advice last week for those who would rather have wine with their football instead of beer.

Weekend Viewing Highlights

Friday
7:30pm – Celtics/Pistons, FSN
8:00pm – Cavs/Spurs, ESPN
10:30pm – Sonics/Lakers, ESPN

Saturday
Noon – Breeders Cup, ESPN
7:00pm – Celtics/Wizards, FSN
7:00pm – Boston College/Wake Forest, ESPN2
7:00pm – Bruins/Lightning, NESN

Sunday
1:00pm – Bengals/Ravens CBS4
1:00pm – Cowboys/Redskins, FOX25
3:00pm – NASCAR Dickies 500, 7NBC
4:15pm – Steelers/Broncos, CBS4
8:15pm – Patriots/Colts, 7NBC

Here’s the weekly maps of the national TV coverage for the NFL:

CBS Game 1

CBS Game 2

FOX Single Game

Here’s the full college football schedule.

Sports Media Columns from around the country:

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt checks in with Andrea Kremer, who will be working the sidelines of Sunday night’s Patriots/Colts game for NBC. David Scott checks in with his weekly installment of Scott’s Shots. This week’s topics include another look at the Borges article in Boston Magazine, comments on the Red Auerbach tributes on opening night, a MySpace page to support Jon Lester, and ESPN ombudsman George Solomon. Bill Doyle has a look at FSN expanding its HD availability to central Massachusetts with a new deal with Charter Communications. He also previews another Patriots prime time game. John Molori’s Media Blitz garnered reaction on the passing of Red Auerbach from a number of media figures. George Solomon, the ESPN Ombudsman, checks in this week with comments on his network’s coverage of the Miami/FIU brawl, the Cory Lidle tragedy, sideline reporters, and boxing.

New York

Phil Mushnick says that ESPN finally woke up for last Monday’s Patriots/Vikings game and delivered a quality broadcast centered on football. Andrew Marchand says that the Harold Reynolds/ESPN mess may get a whole lot messier, as the former Baseball Tonight analyst has hired a private investigator, possibly with the aim of bringing to light skeletons in the ESPN closets. Marchand also has five questions with Charles Barkley. Bob Raissman lays into the MSG Network for being nothing more than shrills for the Knicks. Neil Best tries again to decipher who is right and wrong in the ongoing battle betweenthe NFL Network and cable companies that refuse the carry the channel under the terms it is demanding. Richard Sandomir looks at a new high tech way to watch the NYC Marathon…through your PC.

East Coast

Michael Hiestand has a look at Kelly Hayes, who has served as Al Michaels’ spotter in the booth since 1978. He also notes that over at the NBC Sports website you can download the spotting board the broadcast crew will use for Sunday night’s game. Aaron Bracy has a few things that are bothering him in the sports media world this week. Laura Nachman has a Philly radio station upset that they haven’t gotten Eagles coach Andy Reid on their show yet. Chris Zelkovich looks at the Raptors less than ideal TV situation. Jim Williams has praise for the Ravens pregame show. Hiestand also has a look at tomorrow’s coverage of the Breeders Cup, which will be on ESPN after 22 years on NBC. William has more on the Super Bowl of Horse Racing.

South

Barry Jackson gives us his winners and losers in the NFL broadcast world as we come up on the mid point of the season. Jim Sarni looks at 34 Heat broadcasts on Sun Sports/FSN being fully produced in both English and Spanish. Dave Darling looks at Orlando’s WHOO facing the same problem many AM stations have when the sun goes down…they lose their signal. The station has a plan to try and overcome the problem. Barry Horn looks at the Cowboys possibly facing a “flex schedule” change on December 10th against New Orleans. David Barron reports on the Jim Rome show remaining on the Houston airwaves, and former NBA player Mario Ellie taking a shot at the broadcast world while awaiting a coaching job. in Barron’s blog, he muses over whether Calvin Murphy should be brought back into the Rockets broadcast booth.

Midwest

Ed Sherman looks at NBC trying to land the Bears on one of its “flex schedule” Sunday nights down the stretch of the NFL season. A logical choice would be the Patriots game on November 26th, but FOX isn’t going to let that one go without a fight. Judd Zulgad says that just because Comcast has taken over as the main cable provider in the Minneapolis area, viewers shouldn’t assume that the NFL Network will now quickly appear on their sets. Bob Wolfley reports on the Milwaukee Brewers search for a new television voice. There is no shortage of options available as over 60 people have applied for the position. Jeffrey Flanagan says that Larry Johnson was close to having had to sport an orange mohawk after an Xbox live matchup with Chad Johnson.

West Coast

Larry Stewart looks at FOX lining up a UCLA Bruin (Terry Donahue) and a USC Trojan (Pat Haden) in the same broadcast team for the January 2nd Orange Bowl telecast. Tom Hoffarth reports on Jose Canseco starting a new life as a reality show star. He also slams ESPN for taking Chris Fowler off College GameDay this week and having him call the Breeders Cup action instead. Stewart has more on ESPN’s coverage of the Cup. Jim Carlisle has more on College GameDay going ahead without Fowler this weekend. John Maffei hopes that Tony Kornheiser follows through on his statement that this might be his only season on Monday Night Football. Maffei asserts that the Washington Post columnist has not added anything to the telecasts. Joe Davidson looks at Raiders voice Greg Papa dabbling in the side calling a high school football game. Papa probably wanted to see a higher level of football than he’s seen in his regular gig this season…

The 4th annual BSMW Fall Fund drive begins on Monday. Thanks in advance!

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