NFL Matchup is a National Football League (NFL) preview show that airs every week during the regular season and playoffs. In 2006, the official name was State Farm NFL Matchup; it has also been known as the "Edge NFL Matchup" or other variations based on the current sponsor. As of 2017 it is known simply as the "ESPN NFL Matchup", and it is produced by NFL Films.
|Starring||Sal Paolantonio, Matt Bowen and Greg Cosell|
|Country of origin||USA|
|Running time||30 min.|
|Original network||ESPN (1993-)|
|Original release||September 5, 1993 –|
During 2008-2009 NFL season, it aired every Sunday during the season on ESPN at 3:00am ET, then re-aired at 7:30am ET. As of 2017, it is aired on ESPN2 at 8:30AM ET on Saturday, then re-aired on Sundays at 4:00AM ET and 6:30AM ET on ESPN. For the 2018 season, it is shown on ESPN2 on Saturdays at 1:00AM, and still re-aired on ESPN at 4:00AM and 6:30AM on Sundays. Additional special airtimes take place during the playoffs and for other specially scheduled NFL games.
Unlike Sunday NFL Countdown, NFL Primetime, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Insiders, and NFL Live, NFL Matchup gives fans an in-depth look at the NFL by breaking down the strategy and tactics—the "X's and O's", after the symbols commonly used by coaches to diagram plays—of every pro football game. The program's analysts do this through the exclusive use of team-supplied coaching footage, the same video coaches and players use each week to prepare game plans and strategy.
Since the 2004 season Sunday NFL Countdown and SportsCenter correspondent Sal Paolantonio has served as the host. Alongside him were Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge. Jaworski, who also appears on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, joined ESPN in 1990 after a 17-year career as a quarterback, most notably with the Philadelphia Eagles. The show fits Jaworski style of breaking down the X's and O's of the football gridiron game.
Hoge joined ESPN in 1996, where he serves as an analyst on NFL Live and ESPNews Football Friday, as well as NFL Matchup. He is a former fullback and an eight-year veteran, serving five of those years as a starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Television tape was used until 1994, when game film was used.
The program converted to a high definition presentation for the 2011 season, though some game footage camera angles (which are mainly used internally by coaching staffs, and rarely by television networks during game broadcasts except in a few circumstances) remained provided to ESPN by the NFL in 480i standard definition for a short while after. With Jim Rome is Burning, which ended at the end of January 2012 never converting to HD, NFL Matchup was both the final ESPN program to convert to HD and the last still utilizing some SD presentation outside of rare SportsCenter highlights still in that format.
After both Jaworski and Hoge were laid off by the network in April 2017, ESPN NFL insider Louis Riddick and Greg Cosell, the original co-creator of the show, were named the new co-hosts of the program.
For the 2018 season, Riddick was replaced by Matt Bowen.
- Sal Paolantonio: (Host, 2004–present)
- Matt Bowen: (Analyst, 2018–present)
- Greg Cosell: (Analyst, 2017–present)
- Chris Berman: (Host, 1984–1987)
- Merril Hoge: (Analyst, 1998–2016)
- Ron Jaworski: (Analyst, 1990–2016)
- Suzy Kolber: (Host, 1999–2003)
- Mark Malone: (Host, 1998)
- Charles Mann: (Analyst)
- Chris Myers (–1997)
- Louis Riddick: (Analyst, 2017)
- Steve Sabol: (Analyst, 1984–?)
- Allie Sherman: (Analyst, 1984–1992)
- Stuart Scott: (Host, –1998)
- Phil Simms: (Analyst)