Behind The Scenes

Inside the making of ESPN’s
Sunday NFL Countdown: Part 2

Part I of Front Row’s behind the scenes with Sunday NFL Countdown featured co-coordinating producers Amina Hussein and Greg Jewell guiding us through early parts of the week in the making of a three-hour NFL preview program.

Now in Part II, Front Row was granted access to the Saturday, Jan. 14, pre-production meeting between the producers, lead host Chris Berman and Countdown analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson, leading up to the NFL Divisional Playoff games the next day.

“These meetings allow us to find out which NFL topics our analysts are most passionate about each week,” said Jewell, who has worked at every level (production assistant, associate producer, feature producer, producer and coordinating producer) on Countdown since he joined ESPN in 1994.

“Besides, it doesn’t hurt to get the guys together in a room to talk football in a fun, free-flowing setting.”

On Sunday, Front Row captured the pre-show rehearsal with New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson, as he and the analysts took to the demo field to explain the “cut-back option” running play for Countdown, including a glimpse in the control room during live production.

The long hours taping and editing features, the meetings, the rehearsals — all are some of the necessary parts that combine to make Sunday NFL Countdown one of the best studio programs in sports.

In all, the two coordinating producers and a dedicated content production staff, numbering 40 and upwards, take pride in knowing each NFL Sunday, at 1 p.m. ET, they’ve been a part in creating a dynamic, three-hour live show for fans.

(L to R) Sunday NFL Countdown's analysts: Cris Carter, Keyshawn Johnson, Tom Jackson and Mike Ditka.
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