NBC Presents Live Football/Poker vs. Super Bowl Pre-Game

February 1, 2005 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I)

News Release

New York – Feb. 1, 2005 – NBC Sports will broadcast the only live football on Sunday afternoon with regional coverage of two AFL games – the Philadelphia Soul at Chicago Rush and Dallas Desperados at New York Dragons – beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analyst) and Lewis Johnson (reporter) will call Philadelphia/Chicago and Bob Papa (play-by-play), Ray Bentley (analyst) and Otis Livingston (reporter) will call Dallas/New York.

"Each year, the pre-game show seems to get longer and longer," said Glenn Parker, studio analyst for the AFL on NBC. "You have two weeks of hype, which is then reiterated for six hours. This is a chance for football fans to watch live, great football to whet their appetite for the big game."

Parker is one of 13 players to appear in at least five Super Bowls (4- Buffalo Bills; 1- N.Y. Giants). He named winning the NFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl in 2001 with the Giants as his favorite Super Bowl memory. "Seeing the looks on people's faces making their first trip to the Super Bowl, guys like Lomas Brown, was as exciting as it gets," Parker said.

Orlando Predators quarterback Joe Hamilton will join Parker and Al Trautwig in the studio as this week's guest analyst. Hamilton, the 1999 Heisman Trophy runner-up while at Georgia Tech, helped lead the Predators to an opening game victory over the Colorado Crush last Sunday.


To accommodate the thousands of Philadelphia Eagles fans attending the Super Bowl in football-mad Jacksonville, Fla., NBC will air the Philadelphia-Chicago game in Jacksonville and Orlando instead of the previously scheduled Dallas-New York game. Last week, the AFL on NBC earned a 3.4 (game 1) and 3.7 (game 2) overnight rating in Jacksonville, up 28% from a 2.9 last year (3-6 p.m.).


Following football, NBC Sports will present an unprecedented poker challenge, the inaugural "Poker Superstars Championship," the grand finale of the all professional, invitation-only poker tournament, in which the winner will walk away with $1 million, at 4 p.m. ET. The tournament offers the largest-ever poker pot on network television.

NBC Sports again will incorporate a "Countdown to Kickoff Clock" throughout the broadcast to assist viewers.

Last year, poker made its network TV debut on NBC opposite the Super Bowl pre-game programming. The event garnered a 2.3 national rating, making it the highest-rated poker show in history.

Eight elite professionals – Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, T.J. Cloutier, Barry Greenstein, Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and Chip Reese – posted $400,000, a record high buy-in, to compete against their top peers in a game of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em for a total purse of $3.2 million. Collectively, this group has more combined wins, earnings and notoriety than any other group of players in the history of poker. Their combined poker earnings top $100 million.

"With eight of the most compelling figures in the history of poker playing for $3.2 million, and poker continuing to gain in mainstream popularity, this event should be the most watched poker program of the year," said Jon Miller, Senior Vice President of Programming, NBC Sports.

Matt Vasgersian calls the action, while Erick Lindgren, 2004 player of the year, offers analysis. Professional poker player Evelyn Ng provides reports and interviews players as they are eliminated.

• Discuss this story on the Arena Football League (1987-2008) message board