Well before Super Bowl XLIX kicks off on Sunday, NBC will have more than six hours of pregame coverage to satisfy all sorts of fans, be they avid or fringe. The entire broadcast begins at noon ET sharp, with NBC padding its already stacked sports team of veteran journalists and analysts with a number of high-profile guest analysts and co-hosts.
Emmy-winner Bob Costas and “Football in America’s” trio of Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison will spearhead the majority of the coverage. That core will also include former Pittsburgh Steeler receiver and Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward, NBC Sports host and journalist Josh Elliot, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio and MMQB founder and NFL reporter Peter King.
Interviews with key figures from the AFC’s New England Patriots and the NFC’s Seattle Seahawks will be peppered throughout the pre-game coverage. Costas, known best for his candid and forthright style, pre-taped interviews with New England quarterback Tom Brady as well as head coach Bill Belichick, and while the content hasn’t leaked its possible both will touch on the recent Deflategate scandal that swarmed around the team following the AFC title game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Carolyn Manno, also a regular reporter for “Football Night in America,” along with former Patriots and All-Pro receiver Randy Moss will be stationed at each team’s hotel, and former quarterback Doug Flutie will also contribute. This week, the fire alarm at the Patriots hotel was pulled in the middle of the night twice, and the players could shed some extra light and viral sound bites on the incidents.
Former figure skating champions Tara Lapinski and Johnny Weir should provide some lighthearted candor and a few punchlines as they attend a live tailgate party at host site University of Phoenix Stadium and spend some time with the wives of both Patriots and Seahawks players.
Lapinski and Weir were a big hit when they hosted pre-race festivities for the Triple Crown races last year, and for their work at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and both figure to repeat that magic at the Super Bowl.
At 4 p.m., "Today" co-host and former White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie will interview President Obama in a live broadcast. Last year, when FOX covered the game, Obama spoke with “The O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly and the cantankerous sit down touched largely on the Benghazi embassy attacks and health care issues. Obama didn’t make a prediction for last year’s matchup of the Denver Broncos and the Seahawks, but maybe that could change.
The pre-game coverage will wind down around 6 p.m., when pop star Idina Menzel sings the national anthem and the teams stroll out to the 50-yard line for the ceremonial coin toss, which determines the first possession of the game.
The game is scheduled to kick-off at roughly 6:30 p.m. ET with the “Sunday Night Football” booth tandem of Al Michaels as the play-by-play announcer and Cris Collinsworth as the color analyst.