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GMFB’s Peter Schrager Gives His Insight Into Sean McVay Dilemma

“I don’t think he would ditch Stafford unless they had a really long conversation about that… It’s not about leverage and money.”

Ricky Keeler

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NFL Network

If there’s one person in the sports media world that might have the most knowledge about Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and his future plans, it would be FOX NFL analyst and one of the hosts of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Peter Schrager.

Last summer, Schrager hosted a podcast with McVay called The Flying Coach, part of The Ringer network, in which the two of them talked to different coaches around the league for the bulk of those episodes.

On Wednesday’s GMFB, Schrager was asked to give his take on the rumors that McVay could leave coaching to join the broadcast booth in the future:

“We did a podcast this summer that was 10 episodes of us interviewing other head coaches,” Schrager said. “Sean loved it. He had a bite at the apple at doing this and just talking and hosting. The TV stuff is very real. There is a place for him on TV in the future.”

“A lot of these networks are in a transitional phase. Al [Michaels] might have called his last game for NBC Sunday Night… Troy [Aikman], his contract with FOX is up in the air right now… Sean Payton is now in the pool, whether it be a studio show or whether it be in the booth. Amazon might have plans to, ‘here’s what our studio show will look like, here’s what our booth will look like.’ If Sean McVay enters the fray, you can tear it all down and start all over because I think McVay is the number one hire for all of these networks.”

Schrager acknowledged that the idea of doing TV in the future is appealing to McVay. However, in terms of maybe leaving the Rams in the immediate future, the current quarterback may be the one player that keeps the Super Bowl winning coach on the sideline for now.

“He’s fresh, he’s 36, he wants to do this thing and he’s coming off of a Super Bowl championship,” said Schrager. “So, there is this TV allure and there is this great pull to him where there are offers going to be made. He can make more money on TV than he is making right now coaching the Rams and it is a far easier job… It’s very appealing and I don’t think the door is shut on any of that stuff.”

“I will also say this, he helped lure Matthew Stafford there. He wanted Stafford. I don’t think he would ditch Stafford unless they had a really long conversation about that. The rest of the team, the organization, that’s whatever. It’s not about leverage and money. I think Stafford is the key piece. I don’t see him leaving until him and Stafford have a long talk… It won’t be decided this week or the next couple of weeks, but I think Stafford is the key point.” 

If I could recommend one listen for a podcast, it would be to check out the two-part episode that McVay and Schrager did with Troy Aikman as they dove into some broadcasting topics in addition to talking about the game. On Part one, McVay said it was easy to talk football in the production meeting with Aikman because he asks the right questions: 

“To Troy’s credit, there comes a level of respect when you can tell whether you are a coach or a player, the good ones, they’re all working at it. The production meetings are always the easiest to me when you are working with the guys that you can tell they are putting the work in and are asking the right type of questions. The week in preparation, there is a level of trust that exists, but there’s also a level of respect. I’m a fan of football and say how unique an opportunity it is to talk ball with Troy Aikman and Jimmie Johnson.” 

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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