Former NFL official Gerry Austin, who just completed his first season as ESPN’s Monday Night Football Rules Consultant, is no stranger to Super Bowl games in New Orleans.
Austin worked for the NFL from 1982-2007. During that 25-year span, he was a part of three officiating crews that called the Super Bowl, two of which were played at the Superdome, site of this weekend’s Ravens-49ers game.
Austin was a side judge for Super Bowl XXIV (San Francisco versus Denver) and the referee for Super Bowl XXXI (Green Bay versus New England). continue reading…
Commentators Everaldo Marques (L) and Paulo Antunes on the set during ESPN’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVII (Don Juan Moore/ESPN Images)
As we all know, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens go head to head in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. this Sunday at 6:30pm.
But did you know that ESPN International will air the Super Bowl around the world in more than 162 countries and territories?
ESPN Brazil, in particular, has enhanced its NFL coverage in a country where about 90 percent of sports fans are futebol — or soccer — fans.
ESPN Brazil has been covering American football since 2005 and it has been growing in popularity ever since. Super Bowl XLVII marks the fourth consecutive year ESPN Brazil has covered the big game: Their on-air and production crew this year is the largest to date to make the trip north.
ESPN Brazil’s New Orleans’ team includes on-air journalists Everaldo Marques, play-by-play announcer and host of Semana NFL and The Book is on the Table (a rules-of-the-games series on NFL, NBA, MLB, and other big United States sports leagues), analyst Paulo Antunes and sideline reporter André Kfouri.
“In Brazil, American football fans watch all games. They don’t follow just one team,” Marques said. continue reading…
A collection of ESPN’s Super Bowl champions on-set in New Orleans. (Tonya Malinowski/ESPN)
NEW ORLEANS — ESPN commentators offer their predictions for Super Bowl XLVII. Of the 35 ESPN commentator picks, 21 chose the San Francisco 49ers, while 14 selected the Baltimore Ravens as the anticipated winner:
Picking the 49ers:
Tedy Bruschi, NFL Live analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion, 28-27: “The difference is the 49ers’ offensive line. Frank Gore is the MVP.”
Frank Caliendo, comedian/impersonator and Sunday NFL Countdown contributor, 30-27: “Both teams — who have been known for their defenses — have been putting points on the board as of late, but I think the 49ers have a little more firepower — and I really just want to see how crazy [head coach] Jim Harbaugh goes if they win.”
Cris Carter, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, 31-27: “[Colin] Kaepernick’s going to run the ball a lot.”
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer, 28-24: “With power football in vogue in this Super Bowl, the 49ers will overpower the Ravens at the end. The 49ers are deep in talent and focused, but it still wouldn’t surprise me if they need overtime to get the win.”
Trent Dilfer, Monday Night Countdown analyst and Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV champion quarterback, 31-23: “As conflicted as I am having to pick between two of my former teams . . . Both move the ball. The Pistol [offense] allows the Niners to punch it in, while the Ravens are stuck kicking field goals.”
Mike Ditka, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, Super Bowl champion as player, coach, 28-24: “I like what Jim [Harbaugh] has done and how he’s built the team. If the 49ers do not get a pass rush, they will be in trouble but they have found a way to get it done all season.”
Herm Edwards, NFL Live analyst, 27-24: “The 49ers have too many options on offense that present problems for the Ravens. Even though Colin Kaepernick is young, sometimes being young and naïve in a game like this is a good thing.”
Merril Hoge, NFL Live, NFL Matchup and NFL PrimeTime analyst, 21-20: “The core of the 49ers, the offensive and defensive lines, is the best in football. Colin Kaepernick has brought focus to their offense, but it’s because they are so good in the trenches.”
Tom Jackson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, 24-21: “In the critical area — the front line on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball — I think the 49ers have an edge.”
Keyshawn Johnson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst and Super Bowl champion, 24-17: “No one’s figured out how to stop this Pistol offense. Defenses have struggled against this offense and Kaepernick.”
Chris Mortensen, NFL senior analyst and NFL32 co-host, 31-23: “Colin Kaepernick’s composure has been the biggest surprise for me this postseason, and I don’t think he’s going to lose it on the NFL’s biggest stage.”
Jerry Rice, NFL Live analyst, Hall of Famer and three-time San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champion, 24-17: “The Niners will have a better defense and Colin Kaepernick bringing so many different formations to the offense will present matchup problems for the Ravens.”
Ryen Russillo, co-host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo, 24-17: “San Francisco has been the best team all season and they will be the better team on Sunday.”
Adam Schefter, NFL Insider, 17-14: “Two throwback teams playing a throwback game in which two undrafted free agent kickers, David Akers and Justin Tucker, could decide the world championship.”
Mark Schlereth, NFL Live analyst, ESPN Radio host and three-time Super Bowl champion, 28-27: “Offensively, Colin Kaepernick — the dual-threat and read-option [QB] — will be too much.”
NEW ORLEANS — This is the perfect city for an on-location shoot for ESPN2′s quirky afternoon show, SportsNation.
The local crowds and funky vibe of the city add an extra level of excitement to what is already a high-energy show. The Super Bowl also brings many athletes and celebrities to the host city, so guests such as Eli Manning and Bill Romanowski took some time to head to SportsNation’s French Quarter set.
Front Row spent some time chatting with the cast and crew of the show, including host Marcellus Wiley, coordinating producer Whit Albohm, associate producer Danny Corrales and senior project coordinator Jeremy Frankel, to learn what it takes to produce SportsNation on the road.
ESPN.com writer Jeffri Chadiha is in New Orleans for coverage of Super Bowl XLVII. (Don Juan Moore/ESPN Images)
Click HERE to listen or visit iTunes to download the podcast and be sure to SUBSCRIBE to the Front & Center podcast. Also, make sure to check out the ESPN Radio app, available for the iPad.
Jeffri Chadiha has been covering Super Bowls every year since the late 1990s, when he reported on the 49ers and Raiders beats for the San Francisco Examiner.
He’s in New Orleans this week contributing to ESPN’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVII. While he considers every Super Bowl assignment a privilege, Chadiha admits that every year it’s a challenge to find unique stories to tell.
“I always believe, especially in today’s media age, that you have to be different in everything you do. You can’t be predictable. You can’t try to follow the pack,” Chadiha says in the above Front & Center podcast.
You’ll see that he and ESPN.com colleague Elizabeth Merrill found fresh ways to tell great stories tied to the NFL’s biggest stage in their Lost Heroes Of The Super Bowl project.
In this Front & Center podcast, Chadiha discusses — among other things — the reporting process during Super Bowl Week; his perspectives on the Harbaugh brothers; and his Hot Read feature for ESPN.com regarding “sideline chaos.”
When San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss declared himself the best ever to play the position during Super Bowl XLVII Media Day on Tuesday, ESPN was in a unique position to react to those comments.
ESPN.com’s NFL page
After all, Jerry Rice — a Pro Football Hall of Fame member who many consider the NFL’s greatest player, regardless of position — is an ESPN analyst. Hall of Fame finalist Cris Carter, a mentor to Moss and a former teammate, is also an ESPN analyst.
This morning’s inclement weather in New Orleans, site of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII, threw off some of ESPN’s scheduled production plans, but the network’s dedicated team on the ground worked hard to make sure ALL the shows went on with as little disruption as possible.
In the video above, staff from ESPN’s operation and production units talk about the adjustments they made Wednesday when the inclement weather touched down in the French Quarter.
The KIA NBA Countdown crew (L-R) Michael Wilbon, Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons. The group — minus Magic — will be in New Orleans tonight as ESPN presents an NBA doubleheader. (Scott Clarke / ESPN)
ESPN is taking KIA NBA Countdown — its NBA pre-game show – on the road for the first time this season. The destination?
It’s New Orleans — Jackson Square to be specific, where ESPN this week is presenting 120 hours of programming leading up to Super Bowl XLVII.
Analysts Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and Michael Wilbon will be on site for Countdown at 7:30 p.m. ET, which precedes ESPN’s NBA doubleheader: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns. The crew will be back throughout the evening for halftime and post-game segments.
Front Row had the chance to catch up with Countdown coordinating producer Amina Hussein — the former CP for Sunday NFL Countdown — who is at the helm of several exciting changes to Countdown this year, the latest of which is a trip to the Super Bowl host city.
Aren’t you supposed to be done with football now?
[Laughs] As a fan I am never done with football. Being from the Bay Area, it’s exciting to have a Bay Area team in the big game, even if it’s not the Raiders.
How did the decision to take KIA NBA Countdown to the Super Bowl happen?continue reading…
Here’s a graphic showing the results of Twitter voting on ESPN’s NFL programming. (ESPN)
NEW ORLEANS — Four members of ESPN’s newly-formed social media integration unit are here to help engage fans through Twitter, Facebook and other platforms in unique ways.
Front Row spoke with Steve Braband and Jason Romano of the social media group to discuss their plans for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII.
What is your team’s ultimate goal for Super Bowl week? JR: Our goal is to engage fans through social media and give them a place to voice their opinion on topics that will be discussed on our ESPN shows.
Where can fans go to interact with ESPN during Super Bowl week? JR: Fans should follow @ESPNNFL, the Twitter feed that encompasses all of ESPN’s NFL studio coverage. This will be one-stop shopping for all things NFL in New Orleans this week.
ESPN SOCIAL FAST FACT: ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown debuted live Twitter voting on Jan. 6 during the NFL playoffs. Within minutes, more than 20,000 fans answered this question: “Who will have a bigger game today, Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson?” RGIII captured 52 percent of the vote.