How 'Sunday Night Football' Reached No. 1

How 'Sunday Night Football' Reached No. 1

With 7:30 left in the second quarter of an otherwise forgettable October game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, Cris Collinsworth said the name that had been on Fred Gaudelli's mind for at least five days.

The Steelers were trailing 14-3 at that point, and the game was threatening to go slack. At least that's how it felt to Gaudelli, the producer of NBC's Sunday Night Football and one of the most highly regarded talents in sports television. The Bengals had just scored a touchdown after forcing and recovering a Ben Roethlisberger fumble. In response, Pittsburgh, one of the worst running teams in the league, had decided to keep it on the ground. Jonathan Dwyer for 11 yards. Jonathan Dwyer for five yards.

And that's when Collinsworth noticed something happening along the Steelers' offensive line that casual viewers probably missed.

"Willie Colon inside," the color analyst said, "doing a nice job." Gaudelli, working the dials in a truck parked outside Paul Brown Stadium, had been waiting for this.

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