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ESPN Reveals NFL Coverage Plans

Jason Barrett

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ESPN’s commentator team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters return for MNF’s 46th season (10th on ESPN). Schedule release. What to watch for:

  • MNF will introduce a new show open, as well as new graphics, animations, and a new shield logo.
  • After successful testing in the preseason, MNF will add Pylon Cam to its regular season game coverage. The system uses four custom-molded goal line pylons that house four cameras each to offer brand new perspectives around the goal line. It is the latest in the MNF history of innovative production enhancements and was first deployed and tested during the College Football Playoff Championship in January and then further developed for this season.
  • The MNF production will also feature a new booth backdrop; weekly telecasts will utilize four Dreamcatchers, six Sony 4300 cameras in high frame rate 1080p, one Sony 4300 in high frame rate UHD 4k at the high end zone, and two iMovix Phantom cameras in high frame rate UHD 4k on the goal lines.
  • In celebration of Frank Gifford’s life and longtime contributions to MNF, the No. 16 he wore as a Giants player will be placed on all of the MNF production trucks this season. Tirico and Gruden will also wear No. 16 lapel pins during games, and Gifford’s voice will be featured in the new MNF show open.

Sunday NFL Countdown – New two-hour, more fast-paced show; increased role for Matthew Berry
The 2015 season marks the 30th anniversary of Sunday NFL Countdown (11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, ESPN), which debuted in 1985 as NFL GameDay. Host Chris Berman, analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson, host/reporter Wendi Nix and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter kick off the show’s fourth decade with a more fast-paced, whip-around two-hour format. Details:

  • Senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry will have a more prominent role on the show.
  • The new show open pairs remade music by Chase Holfelder with messages voiced by Kai Greene.
  • ESPN will have a camera at every NFL game on Sundays.

NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition – ESPN’s popular weekday show is added to Sunday lineup
Debuting September 13 and leading into Sunday NFL Countdown, the new one-hour NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition (10-11 a.m., ESPN) will provide fans with up-to-the-minute information on Sunday’s slate of NFL games. Trey Wingo will host with NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick.

ESPN Fantasy Field Yates joins Fantasy Football Now; New Fantasy Football Kickoff on Tuesdays

  • The two-hour Fantasy Football Now (Sundays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on ESPN2) pregame show returns with NFL Insider/reporter Field Yates joining Robert Flores, Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck, Sara Walsh and Stephania Bell.
  • The new 30-minute Fantasy Football Kickoff (Tuesdays, 3-3:30 p.m. on ESPN) show with Berry, Flores and Hasselbeck airs throughout the season.

More ESPN NFL Studio – Expanded NFL roles for Suzy Kolber and Josina Anderson

ESPN Radio

  • For the third year, ESPN Radio broadcasts out-of-market NFL games, beginning September 13. Commentators include play-by-play announcers Marc Kestecher, Bill Rosinski and Ryan Ruocco, and analysts Herm Edwards, Shaun O’Hara and Bill Polian.
  • A new fall football-themed weekend lineup kicked off September 5.
  • ESPN Audio podcasts ESPN Fantasy Focus Football, ESPN Fantasy Football Weekly andESPN DFS Podcast offer fans dedicated fantasy football coverage.
  • ESPN Radio shows travel to select NFL cities and Monday Night Football games as part of its annual Fall Football Tour, including Mike and Mike at the New York Jets facility on September 11.
  • Mike and Mike and other shows welcome weekly guests – Cris Carter, Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Ron Jaworski, Steve Young and more – to discuss the NFL.

ESPN Digital and Print
ESPN.com’s NFL coverage starts with an industry-leading group of 32 NFL Nation team reporters, which provides a 365-day stream of news, analysis, game coverage, predictions, interviews, fantasy insight, as well photos, videos, and social elements surrounding each NFL club. Their work and faces are featured daily on shows like SportsCenter, NFL Live and NFL Insiders. Other NFL coverage staples:

  • 32 for 32: A new daily feature each morning featuring one must-read nugget for each team. This is the NFL fan’s daily cheatsheet on the biggest names and storylines throughout the league.
  • Football Power Index: Designed to be a predictive measure of power, the FPI makes its NFL debut this season. The addition of Brian Burke, founder of the popular website Advanced Football Analytics and a leading voice in NFL analytics, will allow ESPN Stats & Info to do even more with football analytics. Each week, FPI will be used to highlight the most overrated and underrated teams.
  • Top Names for News: A new joint column from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen each Thursday, plus John Clayton’s Inside the Huddle both in column and video form throughout the week.
  • An NFL ‘Front Office:’ Hall-of-Famer Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Mark Dominik, Herm Edwards, and more, debate key personnel issues during the season.
  • The Insiders: Mike Sando, Field Yates, Matt Williamson, Adam Caplan and others deliver deep breakdowns daily.
  • Power Rankings: Nothing is clicked on or argued over more. This drops every Tuesday in conjunction with SportsCenter. #ESPNRANK – a preseason countdown of the top 100 players in the NFL – is also a popular feature this season.
  • ‘This Guy’ for Monday Night Football: Jon Gruden calls the game, and he previews MNFevery week for ESPN Insiders.
  • The Hot Read: Elizabeth Merrill, Jim Trotter, Ashley Fox, Greg Garber, Kevin Van Valkenberg, Seth Wickersham and others offer weekly enterprise reporting throughout the season.
  • Kiper & McShay: Mel Kiper’s Big Board and Todd McShay’s Top 32 run throughout the season, and their mock drafts start in December and run through April. Kiper’s Grades and Todd’s Best Picks won’t only live online, but feed days of post-draft TV programming, including a signature show.
  • espnW: NFL coverage on espnW includes features from Kate Fagan, Jane McManus, Sarah Spain and others.
  • com: Senior writer Bill Barnwell and staff writer Jonathan Abrams regularly cover NFL topics for Grantland.com.

Sports TV News

Pedro Martinez TV Career Only Thing He ‘Never Imagined’

“And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.”

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As the Major League Baseball season comes to a close and preparations for the playoffs begin, MLB Network and TNT analyst Pedro Martinez joined The Press Box podcast to discuss his time as a television analyst.

When asked what he liked about working in television, Martinez didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“I think it’s a platform and the opportunity I have to bring to the audience what I know, what I think, what I understand and broadcasting gives me the opportunity to continue to have that communication with the people, the young athletes and fans. At the same time, I’m able to continue to learn and transmit some of the things that I would love to show everybody by playing but my body doesn’t allow me, but my mind does.

“This is a great way to bring the right information to the people, but I take advantage of the platform to communicate with my fanbase, the player’s fanbase, and the voice behind the players and the situations that come up, I can actually teach the audience some of the things that I understand from my point of view.”

A media career was never in the cards for Martinez. At least that’s what he thought during his playing career.

“I swear to god, it’s the only thing I never imagined. I never thought I would like being in front of a camera,” Martinez said. “And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.

“You learn so much just by having access to information, having access to so many other different things. A lot of people would be surprised how much you can dig into and I think for everybody else, if they knew the kind of information we have access to, they’d be intrigued to come do what we do.”

He then said one of the things he would have never picked up on was how many pitchers tip their pitches, but due to all of the information, video, and relationships broadcasters have make that information readily available. He added his work in television has enabled more relationships with baseball players from his home country, the Dominican Republic.

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith and Malika Andrews Get Heated Over Ime Udoka Coverage

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Malika Andrews

On Friday’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith continued his stance regarding the public leaking of information surrounding Celtics’ Head Coach Ime Udoka relationship with a team staffer. He also went further by sharing his dismay that Udoka was seemingly the only person punished for the violation of company policy.

“Only he is in violation of the company policy?” Smith asked. “The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?” 

Before the end of the show, ESPN NBA Today host Malika Andrews called in the program and wanted to address Smith’s comments.

“Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews said. “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we are not here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”

Smith would replay saying that his intention was not blame anyone outside of the Celtics coach.

“First of all, let me be very clear, I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka,” Smith stated. “The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”

Andrews tried to jump back in for further commentary but Smith stopped that and noted he didn’t appreciate being interrupted on “my show”.

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

Andrews did thank Smith for clarifying his stance at the end of the segment. ESPN has removed access to the video from its YouTube channel by making it private.

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Rich Eisen on Tom Brady Joining FOX: ‘I Gotta See It to Believe It’

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow.”

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Is 2023 the year we see Tom Brady in the broadcast booth for FOX? Rich Eisen isn’t so sure.

“I still gotta see it to believe it, I’ll be honest with you, man. I know it’s a great chunk of change and it’s a lot of money. I don’t know,” the NFL Network icon said on the most recent edition of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.

Tom Brady has taken his foot off the gas in 2022 in a more public way than fans are used to. He voluntarily missed eleven days of training camp and has announced that he will not be available to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesdays during the season.

Eisen says if Brady is looking for a less demanding career, broadcasting isn’t the best option.

“It is a lot of work. And I’m not saying Brady’s not up for it, but if he’s been grinding for 23, 24 years, it’s still a grind in its own way.”

FOX signed Brady to a ten-year deal reportedly worth $375 million to start after he retires. He will be in the network’s top broadcast booth and also serve as an ambassador for the network’s coverage of the NFL.

Eisen says there is a much better model for Brady’s media career in his old rival Peyton Manning.

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow,” Eisen said. “Peyton Manning could be making that much money in the booth himself, right? Instead, he’s got his own production company and he’s doing the games, but not all of them, only 10 of them. And he’s doing them from his basement and he’s got the rights to the games!”

He added that Tom Brady “write his own ticket like that” if he chose to do something similar to what Manning has done with Omaha Productions.

Brady has not had much to say about his deal with FOX since the news became public. In June, he told Dan Patrick that he knows his first season in the booth will come with a lot of growing pains.

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