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Matt Leinart On What He Learned from Joel Klatt for FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff

“He said the studio show is this: prepare a mile wide and an inch deep…”

Ricky Keeler

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Matt Leinart

Since his football career ended in August 2013, Matt Leinart has been a part of the FOX Sports family as an analyst. Now, he is a part of FOX’s Saturday college football pregame show, BIG NOON KICKOFF , which began in 2019Over the last eight years or so, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner has had to work his way from the ground up and grow into a profession that he wasn’t sure he would be good at:

Leinart was a recent guest on The Sports Business Radio Podcast promoting the work he is doing with his new company, Hall of GOATS. He was asked about becoming a broadcaster and it was something he wanted to try once his playing career was over, but he didn’t know how good he would be:

“I hired my agent at the time because I knew it was something that I wanted to try. I didn’t know what I would do. I didn’t know if I would be any good at it, but I wanted to try to get in broadcasting, whatever that meant.”

“FOX is right down the street here in L.A. There were a couple USC people there. We made the connection. Super grateful and I started, did a couple random shows to see if I liked it. Didn’t really have a deal, a couple of one-off things. I think I showed potential. My role kind of grew there because FS1 launched the year before. We were still trying to figure out what shows to put on-air and getting teams in place.

One of Leinart’s good friends is Joel Klatt. Klatt was a part of FOX’s college football studio shows before becoming a color commentator with Gus Johnson. Once Klatt left the studio, Leinart got the chance to take that spot with Dave Wannstedt, Robert Smith, and Rob Stone at the time and he has enjoyed the atmosphere at FOX: 

“It’s been 8 years. I’ve grown and moved up the ladder and worked really hard. It’s such a great atmosphere there. It’s so much fun.”

As Leinart was looking for advice about how to be a good studio analyst, Klatt gave him a piece of information that has stuck with him over all these years:

“I sat with him and I said about the studio show, how do you prepare? He said the studio show is this: prepare a mile wide and an inch deep… If you are calling a game, you are only talking about that game, so you are preparing everything for that game with a couple bullet points here and there on college football. On a studio show, you are covering 100 games and 100 players and different storylines, but you are doing it in a much shorter time. That was the best advice. I’ve always used that advice. Prepare for everything.”

Preparation is key for Leinart and as a part of BIG NOON KICKOFF, he knows he not only has to prepare for FOX’s game of the week that the crew is on-site for, but also to talk about any topic in college football and he enjoys that challenge:

You are going to get exploited and exposed really quick if you don’t prepare and you don’t know what you are talking about. Some of it is just football so you can talk ‘ball because you have the experience and you’ve been in the locker room and played in big games, you can relate that way. There’s a lot of stuff going on in college football. A lot of moving parts. It’s not like the NFL where all you have is free agency, but for the most part, these teams stay intact for years,” said Leinart.

“There’s always people graduating or leaving for the NFL and there’s always new recruits coming in, so you are constantly changing. That to me is the fun part because it’s challenging in that regard to where you are constantly learning and constantly studying.” 

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Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.

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Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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Sports TV News

Leafs Nation Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs Channel, Is Going Off the Air

“Thank you for your viewership. As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

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The Toronto Maple Leafs launched Leafs TV, a team-specific specialty channel in 2001 and rebranded it as Leafs Nation Network in 2017. However, after nearly twenty-one years on the air, it will fade to black at the end of August.

“Thank you for your viewership,” the channel told viewers who have tuned in recently. “As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

The news was confirmed to the Sun. Staff said they had been informed of the news a few weeks ago however few jobs are expected to be lost, of any, as many of the LNN duties will be moved to the digital format.

Leafs TV was part of the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise sale in 2011 to Bell-Rogers communications (worth $1.32 billion). With that sale, Leafs TV began to become a “redundant” channel focusing mainly on classic games and interviews once Rogers made a 2014 deal to become the dominant NHL network, grabbing the majority of live programming.

“Leafs TV was a big bargaining chip at the time of the (Rogers-Bell sale), but they’ve come to see that (lack of game broadcast presence) doesn’t work,” a source told the Sun.

A statement from MLSE on Tuesday read in part: “With new and increasing opportunities to share content on its digital platforms, subscribers to the Leafs Nation Network were informed earlier this month that the channel would cease being broadcast on Sept. 1. Maple Leafs game day and practice coverage will continue to be shared across the team’s digital platforms, combined with exciting new content on the team’s social and digital channels. The team will continue to produce live Marlies home games with details being shared in the weeks ahead about where those broadcasts will be made available.”

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith Says He Wants Mike Francesa on First Take

Russo smiled and chirped back, ““You can’t beat me, you’re never gonna beat him.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Mike Francesa

Stephen A. Smith seems to be looking to debate every major media personality with big opinions and he has set his eyes on Mike Francesa.

Smith was on First Take on Wednesday with weekly guest Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and chastising Russo for being upset with Aaron Rodgers calling out his wide receivers. That’s when Smith brought up the former WFAN tandem of Mike and the Mad Dog.

“The thing that disappoints me about you,” Smith said to Russo, “you’re upset with honesty. You are not only hosting your own radio show, you have your own channel.”

Smith continued, “You are one of the pioneers if not THE pioneer with Mike Francesa, who, by the way, I got to get him on this show one day too, with you. You understand what I’m saying? I mean it would be my honor to have Mike Francesa too.”

Russo smiled and chirped back, ““You can’t beat me, you’re never gonna beat him.”

Smith returned once more with “I ain’t scared. I’m never gonna beat him, but I’ll try, damn it.”

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