Fox Sports will focus on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick when it broadcasts the NFC Championship Game at 2 p.m. Sunday from Atlanta (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, reporters Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews).
Studio analyst Howie Long said, “The 49ers are going to be a major challenge for the Falcons because the offense is so dynamic. Colin Kaepernick is a special quarterback who can make plays all over the field.”
CBS analyst Phil Simms said Kapernick “may be the most dynamic quarterback in the NFL. His arm is not good, it's special. ... He can throw it hard on a line, but his touch passes down the field have been spectacular … Forget the running, that arm alone is enough to make you a franchise quarterback.”
The 1 p.m. pregame show will include a report on how Kapernick has won over fans in San Francisco. A camera crew also has followed Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his family this week as he prepared for the biggest game of his 16-year career.
Simms, Jim Nantz and reporters Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots will call the AFC final, Baltimore at New England, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
Nantz noted that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is retiring on a high note: “His emotion is definitely a big part of what Baltimore's doing right now. And not only that, but he's fresh. I mean, he's made 30 tackles in the last two games. I think in some ways, he's looked better than he's looked in a couple of years.”
On the pregame show, Dan Marino will interview New England quarterback Tom Brady as he strives to make it to a record-tying sixth Super Bowl.
— The Thunder's TV ratings continue to improve, averaging a 9.4 in its last 10 games on Fox Sports Oklahoma, as the team builds on its NBA league in local ratings (8.1 average). Many fans are sticking around for “Thunder Live” postgame shows with Hall of Fame analyst Nancy Lieberman and either Dana Larson or John Rhadigan as host. In the last four games, the show has averaged a 4.3, including a 5.7 Monday night.
— The OSU and OU men's basketball teams will make appearances Monday on ESPN for its five-game Martin Luther King Jr. Day schedule. OSU plays at Baylor at 4:30 p.m. (Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe) and OU hosts Texas at 8:30 p.m. (Bob Wischusen and Stephen Bardo). OSU also will be ESPN2 at 1 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Texas Tech (Jon Sciambi and Fraschilla).
— ESPN2's begins its “Big Monday” women's schedule with No. 4 Duke at No. 3 Connecticut at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. (Pam Ward and Rebecca Lobo).
— ESPN's “College GameDay” will make its first stop of the 2013 season on Saturday, visiting Indianapolis for No. 13 Gonzaga at No. 8 Butler in the show's first visit to Butler University. Butler star guard Rotnei Clarke, a former Verdigris standout, is questionable with a neck injury. The show will include a tribute to the movie “Hoosiers,” which was filmed at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Host Rece Davis is joined by analysts Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps and Jalen Rose. “GameDay” airs at 9 a.m. on ESPNU and 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on ESPN, and the game is at 8 p.m.
— The NFL Network will showcase top college players with coverage of the East-West Shrine Game at 3 p.m. Saturday (Paul Burmeister, Mike Mayock and Charles Davis), Senior Bowl practices next week and the Senior Bowl game at 3 p.m. Jan. 26. OU cornerback Demontre Hurst is playing in the Shrine Game, and OU quarterback Landry Jones and offensive tackle Lane Johnson are playing in the Senior Bowl.
— NBC begins its NHL coverage at 2 p.m. Saturday with the Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings banner raising followed by the Kings hosting the Chicago Blackhawks. The lead team of Mike “Doc” Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire will call most of the 15 NHL games on NBC. NBC Sports Network also is airing 55 games.
— The Texas Rangers are scheduled to make three appearances on ESPN's “Sunday Night Baseball” schedule announced through July 21. They open the MLB season at Houston on March 31, host the L.A. Angeles and former Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton on April 7 and host Detroit on May 19. St. Louis has two appearances: at Philadelphia on April 21 and at Chicago Cubs on July 14. John Kruk will debut as an analyst this season, alongside Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and reporter Buster Olney.