The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers led by QB Ben Roethlisberger host Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers in what has become a heated AFC rivalry on “NBC Sunday Night Football.” Coverage begins with “Football Night in America,” Sunday at 7 p.m. ET with Bob Costas hosting live from inside the stadium. Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Andrea Kremer (sideline reporter) call the action from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann will co-host FNIA 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 the Dolphins-Chargers game in San Diego.
DUNGY ON THE MATCHUP: “These teams have played so much it feels like a division rivalry. San Diego has in the back of their heads that if they come in to Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers now, they may not have to do it again in January. This is a big, big early season game. Pittsburgh needs to right the ship now.”
HARRISON ON THE MATCHUP: “The Chargers are a one-dimensional team right now because they are struggling with the run but the Steelers make you a one-dimensional team anyway. They are going to take away the run so it’s on Philip Rivers shoulders to go out there and perform.”
COLLINSWORTH ON THE MATCHUP: “They played in two of the better games we saw last season and the Rivers-Roethlisberger battle always adds extra interest. That is quickly becoming one of the most dominant quarterback draft classes ever.”
CHARGERS VS. STEELERS: The Steelers have won six of the last seven times they have played including a 34-24 win in the AFC divisional playoffs last season and a bizarre 11-10 win in Week 10 in Pittsburgh, the first 11-10 score in NFL history. The Steelers hold a 21-8 edge in this series including wins in 14 straight games in Pittsburgh.
CHARGERS-STEELERS IN PRIMETIME: This is the Steelers second primetime appearance on NBC this season having defeated the Titans 13-10 in overtime in the opening Thursday night game. The Steelers travel to Baltimore to take on their division rival the Ravens in Week 12 on SNF. Since the NFL’s premier primetime package moved to NBC in 2006, the Steelers are 5-2 overall including wins in their last four primetime games. The Chargers are making their only scheduled 2009 appearance on “Sunday Night Football.” They are 6-2 overall on “Sunday Night Football” including a 52-20 thrashing of the Broncos on the last week of the season last year to secure the AFC West title.
“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” IS 3 FOR 3: After winning 9 of 16 Sunday night’s in 2006, 11 of 16 in 2007 and 13 of 16 in 2008, “Sunday Night Football” is a perfect 3 for 3 this season. SNF has been the No. 1 program across all of primetime television for three straight Sundays including this past Sunday while going up against season premiere programming on the other networks.
The “Sunday Night Football” season-to-date average of 21.3 million viewers is the best start to a season in SNF history.
“SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL EXTRA”: For the second straight season, the 17-game Sunday Night Football schedule will be available to fans on NBC Sports as well as streamed live on NBCSports.com and NFL.com.
The live coverage on NBCSports.com and NFL.com will once again come from NBC Sports’ broadcast of Sunday Night Football plus four additional camera angles and several new interactive features. Sunday Night Football Extra will employ a full HD-quality player using Microsoft Silverlight and Smooth Streaming that will help set new benchmarks for live streaming video cross-platform. The video player, the highest quality yet, will include full DVR and functionality allowing the user to pause and scroll back-and-forth even review plays in “slo-mo” — all while watching live video.
ROTOWORLD.COM’S WEEK 4 FANTASY SLEEPER PICKS: Rotoworld.com managing editor Gregg Rosenthal, who was named Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, picks his fantasy sleepers for Week 4.
1. Kyle Orton, Bears QB vs. Cowboys: Dallas’ secondary is suspect, and the Broncos passing game has made weekly improvements with Brandon Marshall rounding into form.
2, Glen Coffee, 49ers RB vs. Rams: Expect 20-25 touches for Frank Gore’s replacement because San Francisco has no other decent reserves.
3. Jerome Harrison, Browns RB vs. Bengals: The Browns offense needs a spark, and Harrison can take a short screen pass a long way.
4. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars WR vs. Titans: We’ll keep listing him until he lets us down. Tennessee’s secondary gives up a lot of explosive plays.
5. Josh Morgan, 49ers WR vs. Rams: He’s been quiet thus far this season, but his size and speed should give St. Louis problems on turf.
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH: The NFL and its players will support October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with its largest on-field presence and a national screening-reminder campaign. In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the initiative, called “A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives,” encourages annual mammograms for women over 40. TANYA SNYDER, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, and Cardinals WR LARRY FITZGERALD are national spokespersons for the cause.
2009 “NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” REMAINING SCHEDULE
Football Night in America begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET
Sun. Oct. 4 Week 4 San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun. Oct. 11 Week 5 Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Sun. Oct. 18 Week 6 Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons
Sun. Oct. 25 Week 7 Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
Sun. Nov. 1 Week 8 NO SNF GAME (Football Night airs 7-8 p.m.)
Sun. Nov. 8 Week 9 Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Sun. Nov. 15 Week 10 New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
Sun. Nov. 22 *Week 11 Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Sun. Nov. 29 *Week 12 Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Sun. Dec. 6 *Week 13 New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Sun. Dec. 13 *Week 14 Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Sun. Dec. 20 *Week 15 Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Sun. Dec. 27 *Week 16 Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Sun. Jan. 3 *Week 17 TBA