In recent years, broadcast networks have been trying to outdo each other by stockpiling former players and coaches as studio analysts. NBC has six regulars, while Fox and CBS each have five on their studio teams. It’s gotten to the point where the analysts are battling for air time. For NBC’s six-hour pregame show (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday), NBC has recruited 16 broadcasters. Combined with five announcers assigned to the game, NBC will have a crew of 21 working Sunday. NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol joked that he’d liked to add another personality to give him 22, or the equivalent of two football teams. Among recent recruits are two former Super Bowl coaches who recently left their teams — Colts coach Tony Dungy and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren — former Lions president Matt Millen and Patriots strong safety Rodney Harrison. The pregame show will be a mix of interviews, celebrities, features and analysis. President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, who will be the halftime performer, will be interviewed. Journey, John Legend and Faith Hill will perform, and Jennifer Hudson will sing the national anthem. The first hour will be NFL Films’ season recap, "Road to the Super Bowl.” "You look for a mix,” NBC executive producer Michael Weisman said. "We have to appeal to the hardcore football viewer who watches ‘Football Night in America’ and ‘Sunday Night Football’ all year. Then there’s an audience that is less familiar with football and we have an obligation to tell them some of the back stories.” Similar to its Olympic coverage, NBC is pledging to keep its feature stories short and to the point. Among the features planned are segments on coach Ken Whisenhunt, quarterback Kurt Warner, and receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals, and coach Mike Tomlin, strong safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. Patriots coach Bill Belichick will analyze the teams, and Harrison will provide tips on how to contain Fitzgerald.
Super Bowl XLIII: Madden, Michaels on the call
Following NBC’s pregame hoopla, viewers should be treated to solid play-by-play from Al Michaels and John Madden, the NFL’s best broadcast duo. Andrea Kremer, Alex Flanagan and Bob Neumeier will be reporters. Madden will be calling his 11th Super Bowl and Michaels his seventh. The pair will be working their third Super Bowl together, having broadcast two for ABC — Tampa Bay’s 48-21 victory over Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII and Pittsburgh’s 21-10 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL. They hope there will be many more to come. "I’d like to be back in three, six, nine, 12, 15 years,” Michaels said. "You can’t do enough of these. This is the essence of why any of us get into this business.” Said Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders to a victory in Super Bowl XI, "It doesn’t get any better than this. These are always the biggest years you do when you end up with a Super Bowl.” The pair will have the opportunity to introduce the surprising Arizona Cardinals to a huge national TV audience, annually the year’s biggest. "Nobody could have anticipated the Cardinals in the Super Bowl,” Michaels said. "We know about the Kurt Warner story and Larry Fitzgerald has become a megastar almost as fast as anybody that I can recall. I can’t wait. This is going to be a lot of fun.”