Friday's NFL: ESPN+ bringing back 'NFL PrimeTime' after 14-year absence

Detroit News wire services
ESPN+ is bringing back the popular highlights show beginning on Sunday.

ESPN’s 40th anniversary has become a perfect time for reunions. Only this one will last throughout the remainder of the NFL season.

ESPN+ is bringing back “NFL PrimeTime” with Chris Berman and Tom Jackson beginning Sunday after a 14-year absence. It will air on the streaming service on Sunday nights from 7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. EST and will be available on demand until Wednesday night.

ESPN had Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann back for “SportsCenter” on Sept. 6, but that was a one-night only affair.

“NFL PrimeTime” was a staple of ESPN’s coverage of the league from 1987 to 2005, when the network aired Sunday night games and it was the only outlet to get extended highlights. It went off the air in 2006 when NBC took over the rights for “Sunday Night Football” and ESPN started airing “Monday Night Football.”

Berman and Jackson did a Sunday night version of highlights from 2006 to 2015 but it didn’t have the same feeling or length as “PrimeTime.”

Berman said he has been in lengthy discussions with ESPN’s brass about possibly returning. Not only does it celebrate a milestone anniversary for the network, but it also comes as the NFL celebrates its 100th season.

More: Patriots' Antonio Brown not placed on exempt list, eligible to play Sunday

“I know how I hear all the time from fans that they wish the show was back. They say how they miss the highlights, Tom’s analysis and the music,” Berman said during a telephone interview. “There are many ways to get highlights now but this has the storytelling and the analysis. We’ll have new viewers but will have plenty of old ones as well in a 21st Century format. That’s kind of interesting when you think about it.”

ESPN+ general manager Russell Wolff said the return of one of the network’s most beloved shows on a new platform is a great combination.

With the show available until Wednesday it will include highlights of the Sunday and Monday night games when they conclude.

PrimeTime marks ESPN+’s third NFL offering. Peyton Manning is doing a series called “Peyton’s Places,” which takes a look at key moments in NFL history as the league celebrates its 100th season. Manning will also be part of the second season of “Detail,” which analyzes key players during the season.

Bowlen lawsuit

Pat Bowlen’s two oldest daughters have put themselves at risk of being disinherited by challenging their late father’s trust, which is in charge of selecting the next controlling owner of the Broncos, a franchise valued at more than $2.5 billion.

Beth Wallace and Amie Klemmer filed a lawsuit in Arapaho County Court challenging the validity of the trust, which includes a no-contest clause, on the grounds that their father lacked the mental capacity and was under undue influence when he signed his estate planning documents in March 2009.

Dan Reilly, a lawyer for the Patrick Bowlen Trust, said in a statement that it is “sad and unfortunate that Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Bowlen Klemmer have elected to contest their father’s plan and attack his personal health,” adding the lawsuit was the “latest effort in their public campaign to circumvent Pat Bowlen’s wishes.”

Pat Bowlen died in June at age 75 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, two months before his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Pat Bowlen put the trust in place in hopes one of his seven children would succeed him in running the team he purchased in 1984. In addition to the two daughters he had with his first wife, Sally Parker, Pat Bowlen had five children (Patrick, Johnny, Brittany, Annabel and Christianna) with his widow, Annabel.

Wallace, 49, announced in early 2018 she wished to succeed her father, and the trustees responded by declaring she was “not capable or qualified.”

Personnel dept.

Disgruntled Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick has requested and received permission to seek a trade, but coach Brian Flores said the 2018 first-round pick is expected to have a significant role for the team against the Patriots.

... Giants coach Pat Shurmur said go-to wide out Sterling Shepard will miss Sunday’s game with a concussion and Cody Latimer is questionable with a calf injury.

... Fourth-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will miss the first game of his NFL career when the Jaguars play at Houston Sunday.

... Falcons offensive tackle Matt Gono will miss his second consecutive game with a back injury.

.. Former Ravens receiver Torrey Smith announced his retirement from football.