NFLN Plans Full Week of Patriots Coverage

For those of you who have access to the NFL Network (and that’s the trick, isn’t it?), you’ll be treated to quite a full week of programming involving the Patriots in the days leading up to Saturday’s Patriots/Giants game, where New England tries to finish the regular season at 16-0.

Included in the week will be eight replays of previous Patriots games from this season, the matchups with the Dolphins, Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins, Jets, Colts, Steelers and Ravens will all be shown as part of “NFL Replay” or “NFL Classic.”

Here’s the press release and schedule from the network:

The New England Patriots visit the New York Giants in a game teeming with historical significance Saturday at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network with live “look-ins” on NFL.com Live. Cris Collinsworth and Bryant Gumbel call the action as the Patriots can become the first team to complete a perfect 16-0 regular season while the 10-5 New York Giants look to upend a perfect season on their home turf for the second time in a decade (defeated 13-0 Denver Broncos 20-16 at Giants Stadium on Dec. 13, 1998).

In addition, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady needs two touchdown passes to break Peyton Manning’s NFL record for scoring passes in a season (49 in 2004) and New England wide receiver Randy Moss needs two touchdown receptions to break Jerry Rice’s NFL record for scoring catches in a season (22 in 1987).

NFL Network will be there with wall-to-wall coverage featuring a record 65.5 hours of Patriots and Giants specific programming (60.5 hours in high definition) – compared to the 36.5 hours on NFL Network prior to Patriots-Colts on Nov. 4. Highlighting the coverage will be a six-hour live pregame show beginning Saturday at 2:00 PM ET – which matches the longest NFL pregame show, including for a Super Bowl, on a single network.

“Our game plan is to cover this unlike any regular season game,” said Charles Coplin, NFL vice president of programming. ”From the historical footage in our vault to extensive X’s and O’s chalkboard breakdowns, we will give Patriots-Giants the blanket coverage no one else can.”

NFL.com’s extensive coverage features a comparison between the 2007 Patriots and the 1972 Miami Dolphins team which won Super Bowl VII after a perfect 14-0 regular season. Highlights include a position-by-position look at the two teams, a series of “Can’t Miss” Patriots video clips from 2007, a photo gallery linking corresponding members of the teams, and a “Moment in Time” capsule offering a pop culture-themed look at 1972 vs. 2007.

Following are highlights of NFL Network’s Patriots-Giants coverage:

  • A record six-hour Total Access pregame show, beginning Saturday at 2:00 PM ET.
  • Pregame talent includes Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Adam Schefter and Scott Hanson on location with Fran Charles, Jamie Dukes, Rod Woodson, Jim Mora and Terrell Davis from NFL Network studios. Sterling Sharpe and Brian Baldinger host Playbook segments and Mike Mayock has a sit-down interview with Bill Belichick.
  • A special one-hour Who Is… discussing Who Is Perfect?
  • A special one-hour edition of Playbook featuring Patriots-Giants matchups.
  • Live coverage of Patriots press conferences all week
  • A special countdown clock popping up in all NFL Network programming, counting down to the game kickoff – will appear approximately 1,200 times prior to kickoff.

The 65.5 hours of coverage is in addition to game previews, analysis and interviews on NFL Total Access, Point After, and Put Up Your Dukes.

The schedule of programming is as follows (all times ET):

Tuesday, December 25

1:30 AM — NFL Replay: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots – Week 16 (HD)

10:30 AM — NFL Replay: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots – Week 16 (HD)

12:00 Noon — NFL Replay: Philadelphia Eagles at N.E. Patriots – Week 12 (HD)

1:30 PM — NFL Replay: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots – Week 16 (HD)

3:00 PM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys – Week 6 (HD)

8:00 PM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys – Week 6 (HD)

Wednesday, December 26

2:00 AM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys – Week 6 (HD)

11:00 AM — NFL Replay: Washington Redskins at New England Patriots – Week 8 (HD)

1:00 PM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at New York Jets – Week 1 (HD)

8:00 PM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts – Week 9 (HD)

Thursday, December 27

2:00 AM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts – Week 9 (HD)

11:00 AM — NFL Replay: New York Jets at New England Patriots – Week 15 (HD)

1:00 PM — NFL Classics: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots – Week 14 (HD)

8:00 PM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens – Week 13 (HD)

Friday, December 28

2:00 AM — NFL Classics: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens – Week 13 (HD)

9:00 AM – America’s Game: The Super Bowl Champions 1972 Miami Dolphins (HD)

10:00 AM — NFL Replay: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys – Week 6 (HD)

11:30 AM — NFL Replay: New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts – Week 9 (HD)

1:00 PM — NFL Classics: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots – Week 12 (HD)

12 Midnight — NFL Classics: Philadelphia Eagles at N.E. Patriots — Week 12 (HD)

Saturday, December 29

6:00 AM — NFL Replay: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys – Week 6 (HD)

7:30 AM — NFL Replay: New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts – Week 9 (HD)

9:00 AM – NFL Replay: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots – Week 12 (HD)

10:30 AM – NFL Replay: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens – Week 13 (HD)

12 Noon — Playbook: Special – New England Patriots vs. New York Giants

1:00 PM — Who Is…: Special — Who is Perfect?

2:00 PM – Total Access on Location: Path To Perfection – Pregame (LIVE)

5:00 PM – Total Access on Location Presented by Sears – Pregame (LIVE, HD)

8:00 PM – Saturday Night Football: New England at New York Giants (LIVE, HD)

11:30 PM – The Home Depot Postgame Show: Live from Giants Stadium (HD)

It’s Beginning To Look Like . . . Panic?

(This afternoon’s links are again delivered by guest blogger Bob Ekstrom. Contact him at [email protected])

For those of you kind enough to take time from your last-minute shopping to check out what’s new in the world of Boston sports, thanks for dropping in. We didn’t get to some fine columnists north and west of the city this morning, so we’ll take you there now.

Patriots

The tone continues to be decidedly negative across the Pats’ fan base this afternoon, as it was all morning. On WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, guest hosts Paul Perillo and Butch Sterns have spent the mid-day hours talking Patriots Monday callers off the ledge after yesterday’s poor second half. And the print media has been stoking the fire as well.

Up north, Ian Clark suggests that if the Patriots are tired of humble pie, they may not want to turn the ball over three times after halftime any more. Tom King has Brady & Co. leaving nothing under our trees with a bad finish against the 1-14 Dolphins. Jennifer Toland says the Pats’ half-hearted effort was good enough to stay perfect. Alas, Russ Charpentier throws a wrench into the fretting we so love by offering us virtually nothing of negative value. And a happy holiday to you too, Russ.

Eric McHugh has the Patriots coming up a little short of the green in their march on the record books, but David Heuschkel has them within an easy chip shot. King has more on the Patriots closing in on their historic quests. Jeff Jacobs has the Pats’ beat going on. Rich Garven gives us his weekly rundown of milestones accomplished. Toland also checks in on Troy Brown’s return, while Heuschkel reflects on Lawrence Maroney’s career day.

Odds & Sods

We had a bad link in Stephen Harris’ Bruins Notebook this morning, so let’s bring it again.

There’s a few presents left around the tree for us all on this Christmas Eve afternoon. Joe Sullivan brings us a nice story from the past. Mike Loftus has the Bruins’ Bobby Allen home for the holidays. Here’s a feel-good piece from Shawn Courchesne about Theresa Deleston’s influence on her son, UConn safety Dahna Deleston. And we’ll close with something for the tree from Tim Weisberg.

Thank you again for dropping in and from each of us at BSMW, enjoy a healthy and happy Holiday. We’ll see you back here on Wednesday morning.

A Tale Of Two Halves

(This morning’s links are brought to you by Bob Ekstrom. As always, he can be reached at [email protected])

Okay, I get that being the Goliath of the most lopsided matchup in NFL history means you probably need to play only one good half of football anyway, but one has to wonder where the rule ends and the exception begins with our 15-0 New England Patriots. Are they still the Pats of October, or have they, in their quest for immortality, atrophied into the team we saw for three quarters against the Eagles, or 59:16 in Baltimore, or the enitre time the offensive unit was on the field against the Jets? Are they now the team that cast us into football purgatory – and showed us what it’s like to be a Dolphins fan – for two painful quarters in an albeit lopsided 28-7 win last night?

At the risk of pulling a Felix Unger, who usurped his sportswriting housemate’s opinions when the latter feigned a tooth extraction and Unger interpreted for him, let’s get it straight from the experts. We’ll start with Scott Benson over on Patriots Daily, who has some morning-after thoughts on the game. Also there is Karen Guregian, who has the spirit this fine Christmas Eve as she recounts all the good in yesterday’s performance and reminds us there’s no ‘L’ in “Win’. Shalise Manza Young says that, if you like beauty, yesterday’s four TD first half was something to behold. Then there’s Douglas Flynn, who is thankful Brady’s health didn’t go the way of his stats. And, even if you’re among the lucky ones not commuting into work this morning, you’ll still want to catch Boston Metro’s Chris Price as he brings us his weekly Ten Things We Learned after yesterday’s game.

Unfortunately, this one didn’t end at halftime. Christopher L. Gaspar has the Patriots leaving us at the threshhold of history with a flat second half. Mike Reiss puts forth the proposition that yesterday’s sloppy seconds were intended for some probing eyes in attendance. Michael Felger smells something funny after yesterday’s final gun and thinks the Pats’ offense might have stepped in it.

Jackie MacMullan tries to convince us that winning is more important than the individual records in reach for Brady and Moss. Her energies would seem better spent on Steve Buckley, who tells us records are important to these Patriots. Robert Lee has Tom Brady thinking too much about Randy Moss’s chances for glory. Jim Donaldson says it’s really all about 19-0 in the Pats’ locker room, while Lenny Megliola has some players reveling in their chase for the history books.

With two consecutive 100-yard games, Lee says this is Lawrence Maroney’s tyme to shyne. Flynn has more on David Ortiz’s newest hero. Karen Guregian’s Patriots Notebook has the Foxborough crowd appreciative of Troy Brown for at least one more time. Manza Young has more on a geeked-up Troy Brown.

Tony Massarotti strikes two nerves with me when he touches on Stephen Gostowski and Brandon Meriweather in his best and worst roundup.

Celtics

Right now, the Celtics look to be in the Patriots’ October state of mind with another impressive performance at home in a 103-91 win over the Magic last night. Marc J. Spears has the recap, including four C’s hitting 21 points or better. Mark Murphy says the balanced scoring attack took the magic out of Orlando.

Steve Bulpett features Rajon Rondo, one of last night’s stars with his 23-point, 6-assist effort. Scott Souza says threes were wild yesterday at the TD Banknorth Garden.

In Spears’ Celtics Notebook, Marc reports on Santa Rivers coming a little early this year. Over on Full Court Press, Kevin Henkin airs a few year-end grievances.

Bruins

Guess who Boston’s lone loser was yesterday? No, you don’t need the caption above to tell you it was the Bruins. Yesterday in Pittsburgh, the B’s went down for the fourth straight time – sorry, but BSMW doesn’t give style points for OT losses – and second in four days to the Penguins, 4-2. Stephen Harris takes one for the home town in bringing you the action from Mellon Arena.

Now that they’ve gone winless for a week, Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins officially on Christmas holiday after yesterday’s game. Harris’ Bruins Notebook provides the latest medical report, where the B’s have lost 124 player-games due to injury.

Odds & Sods

Rob Bradford plays an early Scrooge with his account of Big Papi saying good friend Johan Santana will not be coming to Boston this Christmas, or any other time.

Check out the very humble Roger Clemens mailing in yet another denial, this one against the visual backdrop of a personal banner. The video is so clear that the asterisk after his 300-win tag line appears visible until further inspection reveals it to be nothing but a Yankees logo. Oh, well, same difference.

As with every Monday, Christmas Eve or not, we’ll be back about mid-day with more links we just can’t get to. For those of you who can’t join us, on behalf of the entire staff at BSMW, have a healthy and happy Holiday tomorrow and thanks for getting us nationally recognized this year. And we still have a week to go!