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PL Download: Palace and proud

Year: 2015
Runtime: 2:40
Scheduled to air: Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. ET

The atmosphere at Selhurst Park is unlike almost any other in the Premier League. Don’t miss an extended look at the burgeoning success of Crystal Palace on Premier League Download on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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    PL Download: Sir Alex Ferguson exclusive

    Year: 2015
    Runtime: 45:02
    Originally aired on: NBCSN

    NBC Sports’ Rebecca Lowe sits down with Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s legendary former manager to discuss his new book, the difference between being a good leader and a good manager and his 26-plus years with Manchester United.

    Into the fire

    Tom Zbikowski had it all. The Chicago native was a star safety at Notre Dame and a professional boxer. His heavy hits, daring return skills and big-play ability made him a rare two-time captain and helped him play five seasons in the NFL with two teams.

    But under the surface, Zbikowski was a man waging war against himself. Drugs, an addiction to alcohol and a hard-partying lifestyle made living past 30 years old unlikely, until Zbikowski decided to get clean and change his life, for the better.

    After completing rehab, Zbikowski emerged a new man, but one without purpose. That is, until he found hope and direction in a place his family had called home for years, the Chicago Fire Department.

    Now, Zbikowski is an assistant football coach at a local high school with dreams of being head coach at the university that made him a star. Until then, he’s just as happy rushing into the fire to save lives the same way he once did to score touchdowns.

    PL Download: Talking tactics

    Year: 2015
    Runtime: 22:19
    Originally aired on: NBCSN

    NBC Sports Premier League analysts Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe recently sat down to discuss the season thus far. First, they analyze Jurgen Klopp’s early impact at Liverpool, as well as Arsenal’s up-and-down form. Plus, Martino and Mustoe take a look at Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy’s incredible goal-scoring run, Wayne Rooney’s struggles and, of course, the issues Jose Mourinho is facing with Chelsea.

    Bournemouth: Together, Anything Is Possible

    Nearly every club’s promotion to the Premier League is a journey filled with moments of glory and conquest. Some instances transcend regular sporting achievement, however, and cross over into legendary status, creating stories that tug on the heartstrings. AFC Bournemouth’s unlikely rise to the Premier League is one such story.

    In this latest edition of Premier League Download, Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett travels to the south coast of England to hear the stories of those who have been part of Bournemouth’s remarkable rise up the ranks of English football.

    Just seven seasons ago, the Cherries were bankrupt and in danger of dropping out of the Football League altogether. Now, after three promotions under 37-year-old manager Eddie Howe, Bournemouth have made it to the top flight for the first time in their 125-year history.

    Inside the Mind of Jose Mourinho

    He’s known as one of the greatest leaders in sport. A charismatic leader who has won league titles in four different countries, Jose Mourinho is arguably the greatest manager currently occupying the technical area in the modern game.

    But what is the Chelsea boss like off of the pitch? What are his true motivations? And what are the secrets to his success?

    Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett sat down with Mourinho to discuss these topics and more. From his overall managerial philosophy, to how he approaches his relationships with his players, to how he deals with defeat, Bennett gets a rare level of access to the coach known as “The Special One,” and takes a glimpse inside the mind of the manager, and the man, Jose Mourinho.

    Hornets nest in top-flight

    After last place finishes in their two previous Premier League campaigns, as well as an eight-year absence, the Hornets buzz back to top-flight this season. Watford are a small club, located just outside the limits of London, but they are proud of their long history.

    Vicarage Road, where the Hornets play, has an intimate feel and is located in a neighborhood, like an old-time park. Opponents admit to being uncomfortable there, because of the passion of the Watford supporters.

    The club may be best known for its most famous supporter — rock legend Elton John — the club’s honorary life president and former chairman.

    Fine Canaries

    Norwich City return to the Premier League this season after they were relegated after the previous campaign. The club was a founding member of the Premier League and is now co-owned by celebrity chef Delia Smith. The club is famous for its bright yellow kits and is nicknamed the Canaries.

    Norwich earned their way back to the English top-flight by winning the Championship play-offs last season. The club, which is now led by a rising star of a manager named Alex Neil, was founded in 1902 in Norfolk, a county in the east of England. The team draws from the surrounding area, giving it greater-than-expected fan support at Carrow Road, a stadium that first opened in 1935 and seats more than 27,000.

    MORE: Joe Posnanski visits Carrow Road and introduces Norwich City

    The club has signature moments outside the Premier League, as well, including a win over Bayern Munich in the 1993 UEFA Cup, the only win by an English club over the German giants at the Olympiastadion.

    Bourne identity

    Located on England’s south coast, Bournemouth play in the 11,700-seat Vitality Stadium, the second-smallest venue in the history of the Premier League. But while their home park is small, their ambitions are not. The Cherries earned their place in the top-flight on their own merit, winning last season’s Championship for their third promotion in six seasons, all of which have come under the direction of 37-year-old manager Eddie Howe.

    “It’s one of the great Cinderella stories in the history of English football,” NBC Sports lead PL play-by-play announcer Arlo White said.

    Bournemouth are also relatively new to success, having played in the bottom two divisions of English football until 1987.

    “When you look at the scale of where they’ve come, to where they’re just about to go into arguably the best league in the world, it’s an astonishing achievement,” said former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon.

    The past three decades haven’t been sailing faster than the wind, either. The club was nearly liquidated in the 1990s, but the club’s then-chairman raised enough financial support from the club’s fans to save the team.

    “There’s so many clubs the same size as Bournemouth that, quite frankly, some of them have gone out of business,” said Robbie Mustoe, the NBC Premier League analyst. “It really has been a very, very short, successful period for them.”

    Varsity Letterman

    Before he became a staple of late-night TV, David Letterman was just a kid from the north side of Indianapolis — Broad Ripple to be exact — who grew up in the shadow of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As a child he revered motor sports, and this later grew into a full-blown obsession with sports in general.

    This appreciation for sport was something that Letterman regularly worked into his late-night routine over the years. His shows often used sports and sports’ greatest personalities to connect with a broad audience, and it also helped keep Letterman relevant for over 30 years of broadcasting. But most importantly, it allowed sports fans to see a lighter side of their favorite athletes and helped remind everyone that it is, after all, just a game.

    With Letterman’s final show airing Wednesday night, some top NBC SportsTalk writers take a look back at their favorite Letterman sports moments from their various areas of expertise.

    POSNANSKI: ‘Me and you’ sports fan Letterman was five-tool host

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRbUweUnMrU&w=420&h=315%5D

    Dale Earnhardt’s “Top 10 Reasons It Took Me 20 Years to Win the Daytona 500” (1998)

    The joy and jubilation Dale Earnhardt showed after winning the Daytona 500 in 1998 is memorable, but what stands out about his appearance on David Letterman was how much fun he had presenting the Top 10 list (Category: Reasons it took me 20 years to win the Daytona 500). Fans often saw the serious side of Earnhardt and this appearance with David Letterman showed Earnhardt smiling, laughing and even showing off his Daytona 500 leather jacket — truly a person enjoying winning the sport’s biggest race. Where else would you see Earnhardt even mention the Spice Girls? Earnhardt’s best reaction came after he said the No. 2 item on the list and sheepishly bowed his head, shrugged his shoulders and grinned. Check it out.

    Dustin Long

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL20VgJ7JM8&w=420&h=315%5D

    Terry Forster goes from ‘fat tub of goo’ to taco chef (1985)

    In June of 1985, for reasons that remain lost in 1985, David Letterman decided that Braves reliever Terry Forster was a good target for some jokes. It’s crazy to imagine a talk show host singling out a lefty specialist from a non-marquee team today — would Jimmy Fallon lampoon Randy Choate today? Would he even know who he is? — but Letterman did in ’85, calling Forester a “fat tub of goo.” This enraged Forester at first but he eventually cooled down and, a few weeks later, actually came on Letterman’s show to talk about sandwiches, potential lawsuits, his weight, drinking beer in the bullpen and the Braves’ poor 1985 season. Then he made beef and chicken tacos. Seriously.

    Craig Calcaterra

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKd1aQRv_U8?t=45s&w=560&h=315%5D

    Dave’s Mom as Olympic correspondent (1994 and 1998)

    Letterman’s Winter Olympic correspondent in 1994 and 1998 proved one of the show’s most popular guests. Dave’s Mom, Dorothy Mengering, was 72 when CBS sent her to cover the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, for the Late Show. In her reporting, Dave’s Mom offered cocoa to Nancy Kerrigan (twice), sampled cross-country skiing and asked Hillary Clinton if she could take care of Letterman’s speeding tickets. Dave’s Mom reprised her role in Nagano, Japan, in 1998.

    Nick Zaccardi

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBfqxUfkiLo&w=560&h=315%5D

    Peyton Manning’s First Late Show Appearance (1997)

    In 1997 Peyton Manning was already a household name even before entering the NFL. One of the top players in the college game while at Tennessee, Manning made his first of many Late Night Show appearances while in New York in 1997 leading up to the Heisman Trophy ceremony. It was the first time America got to see Manning show a lighter side of his personality by cracking some jokes and one-liners that had David Letterman laughing and joking that Manning had his own writers. Letterman also invited Manning to be the first college quarterback to participate in his running feature of non-traditional quarterback skills competitions. Manning was on target with his pass, but Letterman more than held his own.

    Kevin McGuire

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNhoUnDL280&w=560&h=315%5D

    Steve Nash works as NBA Finals reporter (2009)

    Maybe my favorite thing about David Letterman’s shows — and I loved a lot about his shows — were the segments when they put funny people in unusual settings and let the comedy happen. Like sending 2009 Steve Nash to the NBA Finals (after casually asking if he’d ever been to the Finals) and having him talk to people. Including Robert Horry.

    Kurt Helin

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIh3hyFFqAQ&w=420&h=315%5D

    Bobby Knight Explains Why He Tossed That Chair (1987)

    Bobby Knight’s reputation precedes him. He is one of the most surly and angry sports personalities that you’ll come across. The reason he eventually got fired by Indiana, where, 15 years later, he’s still a legendary figure? Because he grabbed the arm of a student and lectured him about manners when the student allegedly said, “Hey, Knight.” He’s a curmudgeon of the highest order. And David Letterman, in all his glory, made Knight funny as the latter talked about the infamous chair throwing incident back in 1987. My personal favorite? When he got Knight to admit that the three-point line was created by “a bunch of slow white guys.” Letterman, the G.O.A.T.

    Rob Dauster

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWQ5SLKLzeM&w=560&h=315%5D

    Top 10 Thoughts Going Through Luis Suarez’s Mind During ‘The Bite’ (2014)

    One of the stories of the 2014 World Cup was Luis Suarez being banned from the tournament for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s final group game. If this was the first time Suarez had been banned for biting, you could say “the guy needs anger management classes” and let it slide. But this was in fact the third time he had bitten an opposition player on the pitch. David Letterman sat up and took notice of this. With the U.S. in full World Cup fever, Letterman gave his “Top 10 thoughts going through Luis Suarez’s mind at that moment” and with a little help from Arnold Schwarzenegger it became an absolutely hilarious bit. Combining the comic genius of Letterman and the bizarre actions of Suarez resulted in this superb four-minute segment.

    Joe Prince-Wright

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    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HN36GDjFSU&w=560&h=315%5D

    Will Power talks earthquakes and Helio’s hair on his Letterman debut (2014)

    Will Power never had the opportunity to make an appearance on David Letterman after losing the IndyCar championship at the last race three years in a row. But the 2014 series champion finally made his Letterman debut last fall as the last IndyCar driver on his show, and showcased some of his usually crazy and humorous wit in talking not so much about finally winning the championship, but surviving a 6.0 magnitude earthquake the night before the second-to-last race of the year in Sonoma. Power wasn’t concerned about racing as much as he was about surviving, and also wondering why his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves still managed to have perfect hair. Check out the clip.

    Tony DiZinno