Coming off encouraging ratings for last spring's Stanley Cup Finals, the NHL is hoping to continue that momentum as the new season opens this weekend. For the second year in a row the league gets things started in Europe. The Tampa Bay Lightning play a pair against the New York Rangers in Prague, while the Ottawa Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins twice in Stockholm. Games are Saturday (airing in local markets) and Sunday (noon and 2:30 pm/ET, Versus).
Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo by David Podwika/ WireImage.com
Sunday Night Football 's got a major match-up that should set the early-season pecking order in the NFC. With both teams 2-0, the Dallas Cowboys visit the Green Bay Packers (Sept. 21, 8:15 pm/ET, NBC). Tony Romo & Co. are coming off a high-scoring win against the Eagles on Monday, while Green Bay's new QB Aaron Rodgers is quickly making Cheeseheads forget about Brett Favre. Still, SNF's Al Michaels expects a surreal experience to be at Lambeau Field without Favre. "I think about when you go to Chicago after Michael Jordan leaves, or in hockey the analogy would be when you went to Edmonton after Gretzky got traded to the Los Angeles Kings; Pete Rose leaves Cincinnati and goes to Philadelphia, it's probably along those lines," Michaels says. "But that era's gone, and the new era is here. There's so much excitement now in Green Bay."
Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys by Scott Boehm/Getty Images Sport
The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles racked up big points on Monday Night Football, helping set a record for the most-watched cable telecast ever. The game - an explosive 41-37 win for the Cowboys - delivered 18.61 million viewers for ESPN. That tops the old record, held by a MNF game from last season. The New England Patriots victory over the Baltimore Ravens drew 17.52 million viewers on December 3, 2007.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers' super-hyped debut as a starting quarterback put both the Green Bay Packers and ESPN in the winning column. Brett Favre's successor led the pack to a 24-17 win against the Minnesota Vikings, drawing 12.50 million viewers to Monday Night Football. The game was the night's top show - broadcast or cable - and surpassed July's Home Run Derby as the most-watched cable telecast of the year.
Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch by Bennett Raglin/ WireImage.com
NASCAR's "regular season" ended Sunday, and the 12-man field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup is set. The 10-race postseason begins with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sunday, Sept. 14, 2 pm/ET, ABC).
The dozen drivers in contention for the 2008 title are: Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth. The Chasers will present a special "Top 12" on Late Show With David Letterman on Tuesday (Sept. 9, 11:35 pm/ET, CBS).
Aaron Rodgers by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The 39th season of Monday Night Football begins tonight with a doubleheader and a few new visual treats. In the first game, Aaron Rodgers makes his much-anticipated debut as a starter for the Packers when Green Bay hosts the Minnesota Vikings (Sept. 8, 7 pm/ET, ESPN). In the nightcap the Denver Broncos travel to the Oakland Raiders (10:15 pm/ET).
Brett Favre by Jon Roselli/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
The 2008 NFL season gets into full swing Sunday and the Brett Favre story will surely be a hot topic. The NFL's greatest statistical quarterback makes his debut as a member of the New York Jets Sunday against the Miami Dolphins (Sept. 7, 1 pm/ET, CBS - click here to see if your local affiliate will have the game). Prior to the game, on CBS' The NFL Today, Dan Marino sits down with Favre for a one-on-one interview (noon/ET).
Venus Williams by Chris McGrath/Getty Images; Serena Williams by Al Bello/Getty Images
As expected, the Williams Sisters are set to meet in the U.S. Open quarterfinals Wednesday. Following their fourth-round victories on Labor Day, Venus and Serena will play under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium (Sept. 3, 7 pm/ET, USA Network).
Fourth-seeded Serena advanced to the quarters with a straight-set win over France's Severine Bremond. No. 7 Venus had an equally breezy triumph against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.