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Is Jeff Saturday The First or The Last?

I wonder if it changes the way analysts will discuss the game on TV. It would only make sense. The average NFL head coach salary is $6.6 million.

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I understand the pushback to ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday being hired as the interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

In a sport where it seems that glorifies being the first person in the facility and the last person to leave, that preaches as a coach you’re not working hard enough if you’re not sleeping on a couch in your office, for Saturday to skip the line to head coach of an NFL franchise is certainly concerning.

But, an aspect I think has gone unmentioned is the idea that if Jeff Saturday has any success during his eight-game audition as the Colts coach, it could open the door for other analysts to jump straight from TV to the league.

We all know and have heard the age-old adage that “the NFL is a copycat league”. It’s a league made up of people who are too afraid to step outside of conventional wisdom and thinking because it might cost them their job, until an innovate enters and blows up the whole thing. Everyone then follows that person’s lead, and the cycle repeats.

There are too many examples to point to. The most recent example, at least when it comes to coaching, is Sean McVay. The joke in the 2019 offseason was “If you’ve ever had a lunch with Sean McVay, you could be hired as an NFL head coach.”

So the same would likely hold true with Saturday, as well. NFL franchises have looked for head coaches in the same exact locations for decades. These are, for argument’s sake, the only places you can ascend to an NFL head coach from: College head coach, NFL offensive coordinator, NFL defensive coordinator. That’s it. That’s the list.

But, if Jeff Saturday can leap from Get Up to a 6-2 run as the Colts head coach — which, as a Colts fan, I view as likely as me waking up next to Kate Upton tomorrow — you can be assured that someone in an NFL front office is going to ask themselves if they need to consider thinking about another NFL television analyst as their new head coach. Good or bad, that’s just how the league operates.

Now, from a sports media perspective, I wonder if it changes the way analysts will discuss the game on TV. It would only make sense. The average NFL head coach salary is $6.6 million. Outside of Tony Romo and Troy Aikman, there aren’t a whole lot of NFL TV analysts making that much money. Make no mistake, I’m not questioning the motives of analysts on TV or believe they’re only fueled by dollars. I assume, and maybe I’m naive, that players turned analysts view their broadcasting careers as a way to stay involved in the game they love while making a decent amount of cash doing it.

But if the door has been opened by Saturday for, say Tedy Bruschi, Matt Hasselbeck, Rodney Harrison, Chris Simms or whatever NFL analyst with no coaching experience you’d like to include, wouldn’t that analyst at least consider coaching in the NFLa possibility now? Wouldn’t you believe that if you come across as a fiery, knowledgeable presence that the opportunity now exists that someone could hire you as an NFL head coach?

Do analysts now work harder to not criticize owners and GMs that could be viewed as potential landing spots? Do they now prepare more segments talking real nuts and bolts football? Getting deep into the Xs & Os and diagraming plays as a quasi audition for those NFL powerbrokers who are watching what the media says about them even when they say they don’t? I don’t believe it’s some slippery slope where everyone now finds themselves trying interview-by-proxy for NFL head coaching jobs, but I will find it fun to somewhat monitor if Saturday ascending to the top spot of a franchise changes the way others now cover the league.

Furthermore, do ESPN, NBC Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, Amazon Prime Video, and NFL Network now need to be leery of former players wanting to join their ranks with ulterior motives? There are always going to be stars stepping away from the game and looking for their next opportunity. Will any view media as an avenue to “cut the line”, like Saturday has been accused of? From the NFL’s perspective, there’s always been a natural progression of “player to assistant coach, assistant coach to coordinator, coordinator to head coach, head coach to fired coach, fired coach to TV analyst”. But now the applecart has been upset.

As I mentioned, the entire likelihood of the situation rests upon Saturday being successful, which I don’t see happening, but with the NFL’s propensity for copying what worked for someone else, coupled with the shear amount of former players working as analysts for the league’s media partners, I think you have to ask the question if Jeff Saturday is the first person to leap from analyst to head coach or if he’s the last one to do it.

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Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Podcast

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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