As we go into the second week of the 2012 London Olympics or the Games of the XXX Summer Olympiad, I thought I would take the opportunity on this middle Sunday to look ahead for the next set of Games on television.
We know that NBCUniversal will carry the Olympics through 2020, that’s two Winter and two Summer Games in that timespan. While the network has been served well by its current crop of announcers, some of whom date back as far back as 1988, it’s time to replace them with a new generation of hosts, play-by-play callers and analysts who can carry the network through 2020 and possibly beyond.
I’ll focus this post on the Summer Games since that’s what we’ve been watching for the last 8 days. I’ll do a Winter Olympics announcing post at a later date. I’ll start with hosts, then go by the glamor sports.
Bob Costas — Bob is 60 this year and while his youthful look betrays his age, he’ll be 64 in 2016 for Rio and 68 in 2020 at a site yet to be determined. ABC’s Jim McKay hosted his last Olympics in 1988 at age 65. Costas remains the best interviewer on sports television and should be allowed to host the Olympics on NBC for as long as he wants. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
Dan Patrick — Dan is just four years younger than Bob, but if Costas decides to leave, DP could step into his shoes as Primetime host.
Liam McHugh — For 2016, I would think this is where NBC could tap Liam McHugh and put him in Al Michaels’ place on Daytime. Al would be 71 in Rio and while he would still be very good at calling Sunday Night Football in four years, I would not put him in the host’s chair in Rio. McHugh has proven he can be very versatile hosting the NHL Postseason, the Stanley Cup Final, the Tour de France and the Olympics over a four month span. That is not easy, but Liam has made it look easy and that’s the sign of a very good host.
Bonnie Bernstein — ESPN’s Bonnie Bernstein is the best personality not to have an Olympic gig. This is like saying she’s the Best Golfer Not To Win A Major. She has proven as a substitute host for Dan Patrick and on Twitter that she can discuss multiple sports. And Bonnie’s also a former gymnast. Watching BBC’s coverage of the London Games, the network utilizes both studio and venue hosts. Making Bonnie a venue host at Gymnastics with Nastia Liukin as her analyst would work to one of her strengths. She was a five-time host of the NCAA Gymnastics Championship when she was at CBS. I would love to see her work an Olympic Games.
Ryan Burr — Ryan will be coming to the NBCUniversal family to work at Golf Channel and at NBC Sports Network. We could see him host on either MSNBC or NBCSN.
Michelle Beadle — Michelle’s done a great job thus far in London. She has shown she can talk Olympic sports and bring some humor as well.
Kelly Tilghman — I’ve liked her work on MSNBC. I can see her on future Olympics as well.
Let’s do this by sport.
BASKETBALL — If the NBA continues sending players to the Olympics, then NBC could continue utilizing Bob Fitzgerald from Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Chris Carrino. This is where NBC should tap Turner Sports for a Steve Kerr or even Reggie Miller for analysts.
If basketball becomes an Under 23 tournament as speculated, NBC may have to hire college basketball announcers. Borrowing Ian Eagle from CBS and YES to call games would be a good move. Jay Bilas from ESPN would forge a strong team with Ian throughout the Games. And NBC should still utilize Craig Sager as the reporter although he looks muted with a regular wardrobe.
On the women’s side, if NBC could get Doris Burke on loan from ESPN, that would be ideal. She could work men’s games too as she’s proven over the past few years. If NBC can’t get Doris Burke, why not former ESPN’er Stacey Dales or Fox Sports Net’s Debbie Antonelli?
BOXING — Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas are a very good team and should remain, but I’d love for NBC to bring in its old friend Jim Lampley with Larry Merchant and Emmanuel Steward from HBO to call one or two bouts a day. What could be better than that? And bring in Harold Lederman for judging analysis while we’re at it.
Host Fred Roggin should be replaced with boxing fan Brian Kenny of MLB Network.
CYCLING — If it’s not Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, NBC should go announcer-less.
DIVING — Can you believe Cynthia Potter has worked every Summer Olympics on network television since 1984? She’s been solid, but it’s time to bring in some new blood. 2000 gold medalist Laura Wilkinson who worked the Diving Trials for NBC Sports Network in June is a potential candidate.
GYMNASTICS — Utilizing a favorite word of Tim Daggett’s, the announcing on this sport over the last two Olympiads has been catastrophic. Normally, I like Al Trautwig, but his calls of gymnastics in 2008 in Beijing and this year in London is reaching John Tesh disastrous proportions in 1996. Al makes everything seems at life or death levels. In addition, his penchant to focus on crying gymnasts borders on creepy.
Tim Daggett’s constant talking and use of the word “catastrophic” is annoying. Elfi Schlegel has been reduced to short sentences. NBC needs to replace this team for 2016.
This is where NBC can utilize a venue host (see Bonnie Bernstein above) with an analyst. Nastia Liukin could fill that role very nicely. Bela Karolyi has proven to be Must See TV and should be one of the studio analysts. And if his wife, Marta retires, imagine the fireworks on the set between those two.
NBC is using Terry Gannon this year to call rowing. Why not have Terry call Olympic Gymnastics in 2016? He has called the sport for ABC and did it well. And having watched the World Feed this year through NBC’s Olympics Live Extra app, I’m very impressed with Shannon Miller from 1996′s Magnificent Seven Team. She’s been the sole analyst for Olympic Broadcasting Services and has done very well in explaining certain moves, the scoring system and their implications without sounding overdramatic. Terry Gannon and Shannon Miller would make an excellent team.
GOLF — Remember, golf makes its return to the Olympics in Rio in 2016, having made its last appearance in 1904. NBC/Golf Channel has an established team with Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo, Roger Maltbie, Brandell Chamblee, Frank Nobilo, Rich Lerner, the aforementioned Kelly Tilghman, David Feherty, the incoming Ryan Burr and so many others who could work this event.
Some people have asked me on Twitter if Dan would stop calling swimming to do golf. I think Dan could do both especially if the IOC (with the help of NBC) decides to schedule golf in the second week of the Olympics, so that it doesn’t interfere with swimming, tennis, gymnastics and other sports in the first week. This is where a venue host would come in handy, perhaps Kelly or Ryan with one or two of the many Golf Channel analysts. And we could expect Golf Channel to have a role in picking up the first two rounds of Olympic Golf with NBC coming in for the last two rounds.
SOCCER — NBC used its MLS crew, Arlo White and Kyle Martino on the men’s games along with JP Dellacamera, Glenn Davis, Steve Cangialosi and Allen Hopkins. I’d love to see English Premier League announcers Martin Tyler and Ian Darke on US TV calling some Olympic action.
Brandi Chastain despite Hope Solo’s complaints last week is doing well on women’s games and I would keep her in the booth.
SWIMMING — Dan Hicks has made this one of his signature sports along with golf throughout his career at NBC. I can’t see him leaving the sport unless golf is scheduled in the first week, but I don’t think that would happen. Rowdy Gaines has been a good salesman for swimming and he’s doing yeoman’s work to raise money for the sport to establish a training center. However, I’ve grown tired of his screaming and his voice raising over 50 octaves. This is where NBC could bring in a plethora of gold medalists to replace Gaines. This is also a sport that could utilize a venue host and it’s where Liam McHugh could go if NBC decides to keep Al Michaels in Daytime.
While Phelps has said he’s retiring, NBC would like to see him in Rio either as a swimmer or perhaps an analyst. If the network uses him on TV, I’d prefer to see him in the studio. At first thought, I felt putting Phelps on camera would be a bad move, but this was based on his interviews in Beijing where he looked uncomfortable. During his NBC interviews in London, Michael has looked more at ease, but that does not necessarily make for a good analyst. If he wants to go the TV route, putting him in the studio for short spurts might be best for 2016.
As for the races, I’d go with Amy Van Dyken to replace Rowdy. For the past year, Amy has been co-hosting Fox Sports Tonight with Rob Dibble on Fox Sports Radio and she’s been in London analyzing the Olympic swimming for FoxSports.com. Amy is not only funny, but she speaks her mind. She knows the mind of an Olympic athlete and I think she’d be perfect with Dan in calling the races.
TENNIS — This sport finally received some glamor treatment from NBC this year. However, it was treated badly with Pat O’Brien as the venue host. Not only did Pat demonstrate a huge lack of knowledge, he conducted awkward interviews as well. Brett Haber and Andrew Catalon did very well on the play-by-play and I liked Rennae Stubbs to want her to return in Rio. Justin Gimelstob was a weak link in the crew. I’d replace him with ESPN’s Darren Cahill or have John McEnroe call more matches.
TRACK & FIELD — There’s not much I would replace here. Tom Hammond is about as classy an announcer as you will find. Ato Boldon has become a very strong analyst. And NBC has brought back Craig Masback, long a staple of track coverage in the 1980′s and 1990′s. But for 2016, I think Lolo Jones would make for a good studio analyst. And Michael Johnson who has been on the last few Olympics for the BBC would work well too. Having Bob host Primetime from the Athletics venue would be a nice change of pace from being in the studio. And he could mix it up with Lolo and Michael.
Those are my suggestions. If you have some of your own, put them in the comments below.
Yes, Thursday Night Football’s sixth season kicks off on NFL Network this week with another 8 game schedule. It begins with a tasty AFC West matchup between old American Football League rivals Oakland and San Diego at the Stadium Formerly Known as Jack Murphy. In addition, it marks the debut of the new Thursday Night Football announcing team of Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock. Alex Flanagan returns to roam the sidelines.
Rich Eisen is back as the host of Thursday Night Kickoff pregame, Pre-Kick, halftime and postgame shows from the game sites. He’ll be joined by an expanded cast of analysts as well as a studio presence from Los Angeles hosted by Kara Henderson.
We have the particulars of the game that will be aired this Thursday on NFL Network.
Mike Mayock and Brad Nessler Make Thursday Night Football Debut
Deion Sanders Sit Down Interview with San Diego Quarterback Philip Rivers on Thursday Night Football Kickoff Pregame Show at 6:00 PM ET
Michael Irvin joins Thursday Night Football Pregame, Halftime and Postgame On-Location Team
MIKE MAYOCK’S KEY MATCHUP:
“What intrigues me the most is the matchup between the two quarterbacks.
I was at the Denver-Oakland game on Sunday. As the game went on, Carson Palmer got more comfortable. You could see him drive the football. I am intrigued to watch him develop. The Raiders have staked an awful lot of their future on Carson Palmer being a very good quarterback. As the game went on, I liked what I saw.
As far as San Diego, I have watched a lot of tape on Philip Rivers and their offense. I felt that they have been a half-beat off most of the year [before watching Green Bay tape]. The turnovers have been the killer for San Diego so far this year.
As we roll into this huge AFC West matchup on Thursday Night Football, it’s the quarterbacks in this division that ultimately will determine the winner. We have three teams at 4-4. I just can’t wait to watch Carson Palmer to see if he can get back to where he was 4-5 years ago and Philip Rivers to see if he can get back to where he was last year.”
– Thursday Night Football game analyst MIKE MAYOCK
PREGAME SHOW 1-ON-1 INTERVIEW:
- DEION SANDERS sits down for an interview with San Diego quarterback PHILIP RIVERS during Thursday Night Football Kickoff at 6:00 PM ET.
TEAMS: RAIDERS (4-4) CHARGERS (4-4) ANNOUNCERS Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Mike Mayock (game analyst); Alex Flanagan (sideline) PREGAME (6:00 PM ET) Thursday Night Kickoff
In San Diego: Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Stacey Dales, Alex Flanagan In Los Angeles: Kara Henderson, Kurt Warner, Sterling Sharpe, Jay Glazer
PRE-KICK (8:00 PM ET) Pre-Kick Show
Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan, Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Sterling Sharpe, Jay Glazer, Stacey Dales
HALFTIME Halftime Show
Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Stacey Dales, Alex Flanagan
POSTGAME Postgame Show
Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Stacey Dales, Alex Flanagan NFL Total Access Postgame Show
In-studio: Andrew Siciliano, Kara Henderson, Jamie Dukes, Willie McGinest, Kurt Warner Game Site: Stacey Dales, Steve Wyche
WHERE TO WATCH DirecTV – Channel 212 (SD/HD), DISH Network – 154 (SD/HD)
Verizon FIOS – Channel 88 (SD) 588 (HD), AT&T U-Verse – Channel 630 (SD) 1630 (HD)Check your local cable listingsNFL.com LIVE – live “look-ins” at select moments of game
NFL Mobile Live on Verizon Wireless
LOCAL OTA SIMULCAST* CBS Channel 5 (KPIX) FOX Channel 5 (KSWB)
Thursday Night Football
NFL Network begins its sixth year airing the Thursday Night Football primetime package. Presenting eight games in the key stretch of the 2011 season as teams fight for playoff berths and seeding.
In the 2011 debut of Thursday Night Football NFL Network travels to San Diego, CA where the Oakland Raiders (4-4) travel south to take on the division rivals San Diego Chargers (4-4). Quarterbacks CARSON PALMER of the Raiders and PHILIP RIVERS of the Chargers meet for the fourth time as starting quarterbacks and have brought out the best in each other, combining for more than 1,900 yards, 16 touchdown passes and only four interceptions in the three previous matchups (Palmer with Cincinnati).
This season marks the debut of new Thursday Night Football broadcast booth duo, BRAD NESSLER and MIKE MAYOCK. Veteran play-by-play voice, Nessler will serve as the play-by-play announcer and Mayock, in his seventh year with NFL Network, will serve as the game analyst and Alex Flanagan returns for her second season as the sideline reporter.
RICH EISEN hosts NFL Network’s Thursday Night Kickoff, Pre-kick Show, Halftime Show and the Postgame Show from the stadium. Eisen, a two-time Sports Emmy nominee in the Studio Host category, is joined by fellow Sports Emmy nominee STEVE MARIUCCI, a former NFL head coach with the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions who also served as Brett Favre’s quarterback coach in Green Bay; 2011 NFL Hall of Fame inductee MARSHALL FAULK, who won a Super Bowl XXXIV ring with the Rams, earned 2000 NFL MVP honors and three Offensive Player of the Year awards (1999-2001); 2011 NFL Hall of Fame inductee DEION SANDERS, a two-time Super Bowl winner who was 1994 Defensive Player of the Year and an eight-time Pro Bowler who holds the NFL record with 19 career return touchdowns; and making his Thursday Night Football debut, Hall of Famer and third-year NFL Network analyst MICHAEL IRVIN.
Additional coverage will be provided from NFL Network studios in Los Angeles with host KARA HENDERSON and analysts KURT WARNER, two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP quarterback; STERLING SHARPE, five-time Pro Bowl selection; and JAY GLAZER, NFL insider and senior writer for FOXSports.com.
NFL.com LIVE/Thursday Night Football at 8:00 PM ET features live “look-ins” of Raiders-Chargers, game highlights and instant analysis from NFL Network talent. From the NFL Network studios in Los Angeles, PAUL BURMEISTER, KURT WARNER, JAMIE DUKES, and BUCKY BROOKS provide expert analysis, commentary and fantasy information. STACEY DALES and STEVE WYCHE provide live reports from the stadium, while Brooks contributes ‘Instant Playbook’ analysis of key plays and drives from the exclusive perspective of the coaching tape immediately after the most important moments.
Following the game, hosts Henderson and ANDREW SICILIANO are joined by analysts WILLIE MCGINEST, Warner and Dukes on a postgame edition of NFL Total Access.
That will do it.
NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football is back with its fifth announcing crew in its six years of existence. Here’s hoping we’ll finally some consistency with Thursday Night Football now that the Matt Millen and Joe Theismann experience is over. This year, we’ll have Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock. I’ve felt Mayock should have been in the booth when Cris Collinsworth left after the 2008 season.
Alex Flanagan returns for her second year on the sidelines. For the pregame shows, NFL Network has assembled a slew of hosts, analysts and reporters. Rich Eisen will be the main host for Thursday Night Kickoff and he’ll be joined by Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and incessant yeller Michael Irvin. Stacey Dales joins the cast of reporters who will be setting the scene live from the game sites.
NFL Network adds Kara Henderson to the Thursday Night Kickoff crew by having her host segments from the Los Angeles studio with Sterling Sharpe, Kurt Warner and Jay Glazer. Is there enough time to get everyone in?
It’s an 8 game schedule that begins in Week 10 with a pretty good AFC West Division matchup between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers. On Thanksgiving Night, NFL Network also has a good game between San Francisco and Baltimore and in Week 15 on a Saturday night, NFL Network will air Dallas at Tampa Bay. But in Week 16, NFL Network has a potential #SuckforLuck game as the Indianapolis Colts could be very well in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes as they host the Houston Texans.
We have another long NFL Network press release and you can see it below.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL KICKS OFF NOVEMBER 10 WITH NEW ANNOUNCING TEAM OF MIKE MAYOCK & BRAD NESSLER
Veteran Broadcast Duo Makes Debut with Raiders vs. Chargers
Thanksgiving Matchup Features Harbaugh Brothers in First-Ever Meeting as Head Coaches with 49ers vs. Ravens
Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and ‘Thursday Night Football’ Newcomer Michael Irvin Hit the Road for ‘Thursday Night Kickoff’ Pregame Show from all Eight Stadiums
‘NFL.com/LIVE: Thursday Night Football’ Coverage Returns with Coast-to-Coast In-Game Look-Ins & Analysis from Kurt Warner, Jamie Dukes and Bucky Brooks
For the sixth season, the ‘Run to the Playoffs’ starts on NFL Network with the 2011 debut of Thursday Night Football November 10 at 8:00 PM ET featuring the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers. In all, fans get an additional eight nights of primetime NFL action over seven weeks (Weeks 10-16) featuring five division leaders and on Thanksgiving, a historic matchup in Baltimore pitting head coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh against each other as the San Francisco 49ers face the Ravens.
This season, Thursday Night Football is headlined by new booth announcing team Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock. Both are currently also calling college football games with Nessler lending his voice to primetime matchups on ESPN and ABC, while Mayock provides analysis of Notre Dame contests for NBC. Despite their college expertise, they are no strangers to the NFL broadcast booth as Nessler called the Raiders-Broncos Monday Night Football opening weekend game this season, while Mayock provided analysis on Seattle’s Wild Card playoff upset over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints last year. As the third member of the broadcast team, Alex Flanagan returns for her second season reporting from the sideline.
NFL Network and NFL.com’s 17-person coverage team on Thursday Night Football features analysts with more than 85 years of NFL coaching, front office and playing experience, 7 Super Bowl rings, 29 Pro Bowls and 3 Pro Football Hall of Famers.
The Thursday Night Kickoff pregame show brings those credentials together at 6:00 PM ET before each game. Host Rich Eisen is joined by Steve Mariucci and a trio of Hall of Famers — Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and Thursday Night Football newcomer Michael Irvin – live on the ground at the stadium with news, analysis and interviews leading up to kickoff. Thursday Night Kickoff also includes analysts Kurt Warner, Jay Glazer, Sterling Sharpe and host Kara Henderson weighing in from Los Angeles and on-site reporters Alex Flanagan and Stacey Dales setting the stage with pregame interviews from the locker room.
In addition to extensive NFL Network coverage, NFL.com delivers fans more analysis of Thursday Night Football via NFL.com/LIVE which presents a live show throughout the game featuring:
- “Live look-ins” at key moments of the game, plus highlights from earlier action
- Live reports from the stadium from NFL Network reporters Stacey Dales and Steve Wyche
- Expert analysis and commentary after each and every series of the game from Paul Burmeister, Kurt Warner and Jamie Dukes from NFL Network’s Los Angeles studios
- An ‘Instant Playbook’ of key plays right after they happen from NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks.
NFL.com will also provide post-game video from each contest, including highlights, analysis, locker-room access and press conferences.
Mike Mayock, Thursday Night Football Game Analyst
- First season providing NFL game analysis for NFL Network
- Second season as game analyst for NBC broadcasts of Notre Dame football
- Provided analysis for Seattle Seahawks’ 2010 Wild Card playoff win over defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints
- Highly regarded for expert draft analysis during NFL Network Scouting Combine and Draft coverage
- Previously provided ‘Instant Playbook’ on NFL.com during Thursday Night Football in 2009 and 2010
Brad Nessler, Thursday Night Football Play-by-Play Voice
- First season as voice of NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football live, primetime game slate
- Veteran broadcaster of major college football games for nearly 20 years on ESPN and ABC
- Has more than 50 college bowl games calls under his belt including the Bowl Championship Series title game in 2001 and 2005 and the 2011 BCS Sugar Bowl game (Ohio State vs. Arkansas)
- Called second game of Monday Night Football doubleheader on opening weekend this season featuring Raiders vs. Broncos
Michael Irvin, Thursday Night Kickoff, Halftime Show and Postgame Show Analyst
- 2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Three-time Super Bowl winner
- Five-time Pro Bowl selection
- 12-year NFL veteran wide receiver joins Thursday Night Football pregame, halftime and postgame show on location team
Stacey Dales, Thursday Night Kickoff & Thursday Night Football Reporter for NFL Network and NFL.com/LIVE
- Third season with NFL Network providing reports from team facilities across the league
- Contributes pregame and postgame interviews and reports for NFL Network and NFL.com from the stadium
Rich Eisen, Thursday Night Kickoff, Halftime Show and Postgame Show Host
- First on-air talent signed to NFL Network roster in June 2003
- Host of The Rich Eisen Podcast on NFL Network
- Two-time Sports Emmy nominee
- Sixth season as Thursday Night Football host
Steve Mariucci, Thursday Night Kickoff, Halftime Show and Postgame Show Analyst
- 2009 Sports Emmy nominee
- Six years of NFL head coaching experience, including four playoff trips and 1997 NFC Championship Game appearance
- Sixth season as NFL Network and Thursday Night Football analyst
Deion Sanders, Thursday Night Kickoff, Halftime Show and Postgame Show Analyst
- 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Two-time Super Bowl champion and eight-time Pro Bowl selection
- Former NFL Defensive Player of the Year
- Ranked No. 34 on NFL Network’s The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players
- Eight years of NFL broadcasting experience, sixth season as NFL Network and Thursday Night Football analyst
Marshall Faulk, Thursday Night Kickoff, Halftime Show and Postgame Show Analyst
- 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Super Bowl champion and seven-time Pro Bowl selection
- Winner of numerous NFL awards including NFL MVP (2000), Offensive Player of the Year (1999-2001), Pro Bowl MVP (1995) and Rookie of the Year (1994).
- Sixth season as NFL Network and Thursday Night Football analyst
Alex Flanagan, Thursday Night Football Sideline Reporter
- Multi-dimensional reporter and host for NFL Network
- Reporter for NBC telecasts of Notre Dame football and network’s Olympic coverage
- Second season as Thursday Night Football sideline reporter
Kurt Warner, Thursday Night Kickoff Analyst
- Super Bowl MVP and four-time Pro Bowl selection
- Two-time NFL MVP
- Second season as NFL Network and Thursday Night Football analyst and first season contributing to NFL.com/LIVE coverage
Sterling Sharpe, Thursday Night Kickoff Analyst
- Five-time Pro Bowl selection
- 16-year veteran NFL broadcaster and one of first analysts to join NFL Network’s roster at the Network launch in 2003
- Second season as Thursday Night Football analyst
Jay Glazer, Thursday Night Kickoff Analyst
- Second season as Thursday Night Football analyst
- NFL insider on FOX NFL Sunday since 2004
- Senior writer for FOXSports.com
Kara Henderson, Thursday Night Kickoff host
- Anchors pregame analyst team from Los Angeles prior to all eight games
- Co-host of NFL Total Access Monday through Thursday
- Ninth season as a host and reporter with NFL Network
Jamie Dukes, Thursday Night Football In-Game and NFL Total Access Postgame Analyst for NFL Network and NFL.com/LIVE
- 10-year veteran NFL offensive lineman
- Sixth season as NFL Network analyst for NFL Total Access and Thursday Night Football
Bucky Brooks, Thursday Night Football Instant In-Game Analyst for NFL.com/LIVE
- Third season providing in-game Thursday Night Football analysis for NFL.com, first season ‘Instant Playbook’
- Played five years in the NFL
- Pro scout for seven years in the NFL
Paul Burmeister, Thursday Night Football In-Game Host for NFL.com/LIVE
- Eighth season with NFL Network as a host of NFL Total Access, Around the League and other daily Network programming
- Fifth season as host of NFL.com/LIVE: Thursday Night Football coverage team
- Served as play-by-play voice of NFL Network’s telecast of Arena Bowl XXIV alongside NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner
Steve Wyche, Thursday Night Football Reporter for NFL.com/LIVE
- Fourth season with NFL.com as senior writer and NFL Network insider
- Third season as in-game reporter for NFL.com/LIVE: Thursday Night Football from the stadium
Thursday Night Football Programming Schedule on NFL Network:
6:00 PM ET Thursday Night Kickoff
(Game site: Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Stacey Dales, Alex Flanagan; In-studio: Kara Henderson, Kurt Warner, Sterling Sharpe, Jay Glazer)
8:00 PM ET Pre-kick Show
(Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan, Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Kurt Warner, Sterling Sharpe, Jay Glazer, Stacey Dales)
Thursday Night Football
(Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan)
(Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Stacey Dales, Alex Flanagan)
11:30 PM ET Postgame Show
(Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, Stacey Dales, Alex Flanagan)
12:00 AM ET NFL Total Access Postgame
***NFL.com/Live begins at 8:00 PM, continues until the end of the game***
(In-studio: Paul Burmeister, Kurt Warner, Bucky Brooks, Jamie Dukes; Game site: Stacey Dales, Steve Wyche)
NFL Network 2011 Thursday Night Football Schedule
Week 10: Thursday, November 10 at 8:00 PM ET
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers
Week 11: Thursday, November 17 at 8:00 PM ET
New York Jets at Denver Broncos
Week 12: Thursday, November 24 at 8:00 PM ET
San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens (Thanksgiving)
Week 13: Thursday, December 1 at 8:00 PM ET
Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks
Week 14: Thursday, December 8 at 8:00 PM ET
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 15: Thursday, December 15 at 8:00 PM ET
Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons
Week 15: Saturday, December 17 at 8:00 PM ET
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 16: Thursday, December 22 at 8:00 PM ET
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
In accordance to the NFL’s long-standing policy dating back to 1987, all NFL Network games will be carried on over-the-air television in the city of the visiting team and in the city where the game is played if it is sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff.
Fans with NFL Mobile on Verizon Wireless will also be able to watch all eight NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football games live on their phones, giving them the ability to watch NFL Network wherever they are. NFL Mobile is available on most Verizon handsets at no additional cost to subscribers with a data plan.
I told you this was long. Another press release post is coming up.
Reported by various media outlets, but finally announced officially by NFL Network, we get two of the worst kept secrets that the channel’s signature nightly show, NFL Total Access will get two sets of duos to host the show. Rich Eisen, the show’s original host, will concentrate on NFL GameDay Morning, NFL GameDay Highlights, the Thursday Night Football pre, post and halftime shows as well as the Rich Eisen Podcast.
Taking his place will be four people, Andrew Siciliano, host of DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel, and Kara Henderson, an original NFL Network reporter, who comes out of the cold and into the studio to form one co-anchor team. Andrew and Kara will host NFL Total Access from Monday through Thursday.
Then on Friday and Saturday, Scott Hanson, the host of NFL Network’s RedZone, will team up with a Fang’s Bites fave, Lindsay Soto.
All will be joined by NFL Network’s growing team of analysts who will either be in studio, or join them from home thanks to cameras installed in their houses. I kid you not.
And I notice that reporter Steve Cyphers, formerly of ESPN, joins NFL Network. That’s a good addition. Steve is a good writer and did a very good job when he was on College GameDay.
Also, this is not mentioned in the press release, but I’m glad to see Stacey Dales getting a bigger role as a reporter for NFL Network. More Stacey on TV is good for America.
Let’s get details of this whole new NFL Total Access reboot from NFL Network.
Co-Hosts Andrew Siciliano and Kara Henderson Provide Viewers a Fast-Paced, Look at the Latest News & Headlines from around the NFL
NFL Network’s Daily Show of Record Gets New Look for 2011 Season with Updated Graphics, Segments & New Voices
New Look NFLTA Adds “Home Cams” for Analysts to Pair with “Team Cams” at All 32 Club Facilities
As NFL Network’s first studio show to launch on November 4, 2003, NFL Total Access established itself as the most comprehensive source of daily NFL news and information.
This season, the one-hour show airing Monday – Saturday at 7:00 PM ET, gets a new look and feel with two co-hosts, more analyst contributions, both in-studio and on remote, and reporters weighing in from around the country. Monday through Thursday, the team of Kara Henderson and Andrew Siciliano cover all the news, press conferences and interviews from practices around the league, while Friday and Saturday, Scott Hanson and Lindsay Soto get viewers ready for Sunday’s matchups with final injury reports and analyst picks.
This season on NFL Total Access viewers can expect to see and hear more from NFL Network analysts including Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Sterling Sharpe, Mike Mayock, Steve Mariucci, Kurt Warner, Brian Billick, Charles Davis, Heath Evans and Rodney Harrison. Whether in-studio or via remote from newly installed “home cameras,” NFL Total Access analysts go one-on-one with each other for more opinions and debates on the leagues’ hottest topics.
Reporters and insiders including Jason La Canfora, Albert Breer, Steve Wyche, Michael Lombardi and new addition Steve Cyphers will continue to contribute stories and updates from across the league.
Social media continues to play an important role in the show’s pace and direction as viewers have the ability to weigh in on ‘instant debates’ between NFL Network analysts via text, voting on who had the best argument. Additionally, fans are encouraged to share their thoughts with show hosts via Facebook and Twitter, with select comments being read live on-air.
“The growth of NFL news has been the driving force in NFL Network’s evolution over the last eight years and what NFL Total Access was built upon,” said NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger. “From the network’s debut in 2003, innovation has played a central role what we do. Our focus on technology and social media looks to create interaction between our in-studio personalities and fans like never before, while continuing to provide the ‘total access’ into the NFL that fans crave.”
During Monday’s show, Sanders and Davis went toe-to-toe on a variety of topics including Peyton Manning being the most important player in the NFL, if Carolina’s success lies on the shoulder of Cam Newton and who needs the win more in the Week 1 matchup between AFC North rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Reporter Steve Wyche provided insight on the significance of Manning to the Colts and Indy’s history of backup quarterbacks. Green Bay’s Charles Woodson became the first team cam guest on the new-look NFLTA from Packers Cam.
In addition to the new faces in-studio, NFL Total Access debuted new technology, utilizing an interactive touch screen panel to highlight the latest headlines collecting hits on NFL.com and other NFL websites, as well as new graphics and music that complement the new fast-paced, interactive show format.
In his first role with NFL Network, Siciliano brings 16 years of broadcasting experience, both in television and radio to NFL Total Access. Prior to NFL Network, he was the host of Fox Sports Net’s Final Score on Fox Sports Net, as well as holding radio hosting gigs for Fox Sports Radio and ESPN 710 Los Angeles. In addition to NFL Network, Siciliano continues his duties with DirecTV, as host of the Red Zone Channel on NFL Sunday Ticket.
“It’s an honor to join such an experienced and respected team of analysts, hosts and reporters here at NFL Network and NFL.com,” said Siciliano. “Over the years, NFL Network and its production team have established NFL Total Access as a trusted source of NFL news by viewers, team personnel and players. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Kara and the rest of the NFLTA production team this season and beyond.”
As one of the first on-air personalities to join NFL Network, Henderson has covered NFL games and various league events since 2003. From the anchor desk to feature interviews and field reports, Henderson’s multi-dimensional ability as a sportscaster has made her a valuable asset to NFL Network’s production team and has equally established her as a respected journalist among players and front office personnel.
To view segments from Monday’s show please click on the following:
The Great Debate
The most important player in the NFL, Cam the savior, and Steelers or Ravens in Week 1? Deion Sanders and Charles Davis debate
Boom or bust?
Charles Davis and Deion Sanders debate who will make the biggest impact for the Pats this year, WR Chad Ochocinco or DT Albert Haynesworth
Interview with Packers CB Charles Woodson
Get the latest on the defending NFL champions from cornerback Charles Woodson, including this year’s team philosophy on Packers Cam.
Peyton Manning has started every game for the Colts since 1998, but his backups have never been particularly strong. Can Kerry Collins pick up the slack? Steve Wyche reports.
NFL Total Access remains a cornerstone of NFL Network’s fall programming lineup, airing Monday – Saturday at 7:00 PM ET. Additionally, weekday shows returning for the 2011 season include:
- Around the League LIVE (Monday at 1:00 PM ET; Tuesday – Friday at 5:00 PM ET)
- Up to the Minute (Mondays at 6:00 PM ET)
- The Coaches Show (Mondays at 6:30 PM ET)
- NFL Replay (Tuesdays at 8:00 and 9:30 PM ET; Wednesdays at 8:00 PM ET)
- Playbook (Thursday and Friday at 8:00 PM ET)
- Sound FX (Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET).
New to the Fall 2011 programming grid are:
- NFL Fantasy LIVE (Tuesday – Friday at 2:00 PM ET)
- No Huddle (Wednesdays at 10:00 PM ET)
- The Rich Eisen Podcast (Thursdays at 4:30 PM ET)
- A Football Life (Thursdays at 10:00 PM ET)
That’s a rather long press release, but NFL Network is known for some long releases.
Even though I posted a version of the talent roster last week, NBC Sports sends us this release today so I’ll do them the favor of posting it now.
I’m a bit busy again today so links may not get posted. I’ll do my best to get them up sometime during the day.
Anyway, here’s the NBC press release listing the entire talent roster for the Winter Olympics which as you know starts Friday.
NBC ANNOUNCES TALENT ROSTER FOR VANCOUVER OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES – 53 COMMENTATORS IN ALL
Costas Returns for 9th Olympics, 8th as Primetime Host
Michaels Returns to Olympics After 22 Years, 30 Years After ‘Miracle on Ice’; Carillo Again Anchors Late Night Show
Button and Collinsworth Serve As Olympic Correspondents
NBC Talent Roster Has Won 16 Olympic Medals Including 7 GoldNEW YORK - Feb. 9, 2010 - Bob Costas leads a lineup of 53 NBC Olympic commentators who will broadcast more than 835 hours of Vancouver Olympic Winter Games coverage - the most total hours ever for a Winter Olympics - when the Games commence on Feb. 12. The lineup returns many of the network’s signature Olympic hosts, play-by-play commentators and analysts.
NBC Universal Olympic commentator notes:
- The roster includes 18 Olympians who have won a combined total of 16 Olympic medals (seven Gold, six Silver and three Bronze). Team NBC would have been seventh in the Torino medal count; ahead of Sweden and just behind Norway.
- Bob Costas, a 20-time Emmy Award winner, serves as primetime host for the eighth time and works his ninth overall Olympics for NBC; Al Michaels, who will serve as daytime host, makes his NBC Olympic debut and works his fifth Games overall after a 22-year absence and 30 years removed from his legendary “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” call; Mary Carillo, who serves as both late night host and Olympic correspondent, works her 10th Olympic Games and seventh with NBC; and Cris Collinsworth, also serving as an Olympic correspondent, makes his third Olympic appearance for NBC.
- Olympic correspondent Dick Button has more experience at the Olympics than any NBC commentator, appearing at his 17th Olympic Winter Games and his second for NBC. Button won gold for the U.S. team in men’s figure skating at the 1948 and 1952 Winter Olympics.
- Eight commentators are making their NBC Olympic debut: the aforementioned Michaels; hockey analysts Mike Milbury, Ed Olczyk and Jeremy Roenick; Olympic freestyle gold medalist Jonny Moseley; two-time curling World champion Colleen Jones; Olympic skeleton silver medalist Lea Ann Parsley; and Olympic short track silver medalist and four-time Olympian Andy Gabel.
- The commentator roster includes seven Canadians: Sandra Bezic, Todd Brooker, Don Duguid, Colleen Jones, Tim Ryan, Elfi Schlegel and Tracy Wilson.
- The 53 commentators will cover more than 835 total hours of coverage on six NBCU platforms – NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC and Universal HD, as well as NBCOlympics.com – the most in-depth coverage in history for a Winter Olympics.Following is a rundown of NBC’s Olympic talent:
- The 2010 Vancouver Olympics will be Bob Costas’ ninth for NBC Sports and his eighth as primetime host. After serving as late night host in 1988 from Seoul, Costas has won acclaim and Emmy Awards for his work as primetime host from Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens, Turin and Beijing. Costas, who has the longest tenure of the network’s sports announcers, joined NBC in 1980.
- Al Michaels, one of the most renowned commentators of all-time and whose legendary “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” call at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics 30 years ago stands as the most famous call in sports history, will work his first Olympic broadcast assignment in 22 years. He last covered hockey and hosted the Closing Ceremony at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics for ABC. Michaels will serve as host of NBC’s live weekend and weekday daytime coverage from Vancouver.
- Mary Carillo will host NBC’s late-night coverage for the second time, reprising her role from Beijing. Carillo will also serve as an Olympic correspondent in her 10th Olympic games and seventh for NBC.
- Bill Patrick will serve as hockey host in Vancouver, his second appearance as a full-time Olympic host.
- Fred Roggin, the sports director at KNBC-TV, NBC’s owned-and-operated station in Los Angeles, will work as curling host, his sixth Olympic assignment for NBC. Roggin hosted CNBC and MSNBC’s curling coverage from Turin.OLYMPIC CORRESPONDENTS:
- Cris Collinsworth: A 10-time Emmy Award winner and currently the analyst for NBC “Sunday Night Football,” Collinsworth will serve as an Olympic correspondent, providing on-the-scene reports throughout Vancouver. This will be his third Olympic assignment and first Winter Games. He joined NBC’s Olympic coverage at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics proving his versatility as a commentator and receiving critical praise while working as a reporter for track & field. In 2008, he provided on-the-scene reports throughout the Beijing Summer Games.
- Dick Button: Two-time Olympic gold medalist and Emmy Award-winner Button will serve as Olympic correspondent in Vancouver, his second Olympic assignment with NBC. Vancouver will mark the 17th Olympic Winter Games he has attended in some capacity, including winning gold for Team USA in men’s figure skating in 1948 and 1952. Button made his television debut during CBS’s coverage of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley. In 1962, he moved to ABC Sports where he served for more than 40 years as a figure skating analyst. He joined NBC for the 2006 Turin Olympics.SPORTS DESK REPORTERS:
- Lester Holt, weekend anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and co-anchor of NBC’s weekend edition of “Today,” returns for his fourth Olympic assignment. Emmy Award-winner Jimmy Roberts will work his sixth Olympic Games. NBC News’ Peter Alexander returns for his second Olympic Games. Alex Flanagan, NBC Sports’ sideline reporter for Notre Dame home football games, returns for her second Olympic assignment, along with three-time Olympian, Dwight Stones, who will serve on NBC’s team for his ninth Olympic Games and 10th overall.SPORT BY SPORT:
- ALPINE SKIING: Play-by-play commentator Tim Ryan returns to NBC for his ninth Olympics and his sixth Games serving in this role. Also returning is Todd Brooker, a three-time World Cup downhill champion who previously worked as an analyst for both the Torino and Salt Lake City Games. Returning to NBC for the first time since Salt Lake in 2002 is 1984 Olympic giant slalom silver medalist Christin Cooper, who will serve as an analyst. Former U.S. Ski team downhill racer Steve Porino again serves as an on-course reporter, his third Olympic assignment with NBC.
- BIATHLON/CROSS COUNTRY: Al Trautwig, a sportscasting veteran for over two decades, returns to NBC for his eighth Olympic assignment and 13th Olympics overall as the play-by-play commentator. Working alongside Trautwig in his second Olympic broadcast assignment is former U.S. Biathlon team member Chad Salmela.
- BOBSLED/LUGE/SKELETON: Returning to NBC for his eighth Olympic assignment, Bob Papa will serve as the bobsled/luge/skeleton play-by-play commentator. Lewis Johnson, reporting from his sixth Olympic Games, will work alongside Papa as a reporter in all three disciplines. Serving as analysts are: former U.S. National Bobsled team member John Morgan (bobsled); three-time Olympian Duncan Kennedy (luge); and Olympic silver medalist Lea Ann Parsley (skeleton).
- CURLING: In his sixth Olympic assignment with NBC, Fred Roggin, sports anchor at KNBC-TV, NBC’s owned-and-operated station in Los Angeles, and winner of 28 regional Emmy awards, will serve as host. Andrew Catalon, a sports anchor from NBC’s affiliate in Albany, N.Y., returns as a play-by-play commentator in his second Olympic assignment and first winter Games. Serving as analysts are two-time world champions and native Canadians Don Duguid and Colleen Jones. Reprising her role as curling reporter, Elfi Schlegel, who is also from Canada, returns for her 10th Olympics.
- FIGURE SKATING: Tom Hammond, working his ninth Olympics, will serve as figure skating play-by-play commentator. Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist, member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, and one of the most recognized male figure skating stars in the world, will serve as an analyst. Working alongside Hamilton are analysts Sandra Bezic, a former Olympian and Canadian pairs champion, and Tracy Wilson, who was part of the first Canadian ice dance team to earn an Olympic medal in 1988. Andrea Joyce, who returns for her sixth Olympic assignment with NBC, will serve as a reporter.
- FREESTYLE SKIING: In his second Olympic assignment with NBC, Todd Harris, will serve as the play-by-play commentator for freestyle skiing. Joining Harris in his Olympic broadcasting debut is Olympic moguls gold medalist Jonny Moseley, who will serve as an analyst. In her second Olympic appearance and her first time covering freestyle skiing, Tina Dixon, a former professional snowboarder, will provide reporting. Harris and Moseley will also handle ski cross duties.
- HOCKEY: Veteran broadcaster Bill Patrick will host all hockey coverage in Vancouver, his second Olympic broadcast assignment with NBC. Mike “Doc” Emrick (sixth Olympics and third with NBC) and Kenny Albert (third Olympics, all with NBC) will serve as play-by-commentators for both men’s and women’s hockey. Analyst Ed Olczyk (first Olympics), inside-the-glass reporter Pierre McGuire (second Olympics) and studio analyst Mike Milbury (first Olympics) will reprise their NHL on NBC “Game of the Week” roles in Vancouver. Joe Micheletti (game analyst), making his sixth Olympic appearance, and former NHL all-star Jeremy Roenick (studio analyst), making his Olympic broadcasting debut, will bolster the men’s hockey roster. Micheletti will also serve as a reporter for both men’s and women’s hockey. Olympic gold medalist Cammi Granato returns to NBC for her second Olympic appearance as women’s hockey studio analyst. Reprising her role from Turin, AJ Mleczko will serve as women’s hockey analyst.
- SHORT TRACK: Ted Robinson, working his seventh Olympic Games and his sixth with NBC, returns as play-by-play commentator for short track speed skating. Making his NBC broadcasting debut is Olympic silver medalist and four-time Olympian Andy Gabel, who will work alongside Robinson as an analyst. Andrea Joyce will serve as a reporter.
- SKI JUMPING: In his fourth Olympic assignment, Matt Vasgersian reprises his role from Torino as ski jumping play-by-play commentator. Working alongside Vasgersian is four-time national champion Jeff Hastings, who will serve as an analyst for his seventh Olympics and third with NBC.
- SNOWBOARDING: Pat Parnell will serve as lead play-by-play commentator for snowboarding, a role he served in Torino as well. World champion and former U.S. Olympian Todd Richards returns as an analyst in his second Olympic broadcast assignment. Tina Dixon will serve as a reporter.
- SPEED SKATING: Dan Hicks, host of NBC Sports’ Emmy Award-winning golf coverage, will serve as the lead play-by-play commentator for speed skating, his eighth Olympic assignment for NBC. Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen, serving as an analyst, returns for his fourth Olympic assignment. This is the duo’s third Olympic speed skating assignment as a broadcast team. In her second Olympic appearance, Andrea Kremer will provide reporting.UNIVERSAL SPORTS AT THE VANCOUVER GAMES:As previously announced, Universal Sports will present Universal Sports at the Vancouver Games, delivering five hours of live daily news and information as well as continuous news and results updates throughout the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Universal Sports’ talent roster for Universal Sports at the Vancouver Games includes a cast of celebrated Olympians, renowned commentators, Olympic insiders and veteran journalists.
Veteran sports host and anchor Terry Gannon will host Vancouver Olympic News Center daily at 10 a.m. ET from the Olympic Broadcast Center in Vancouver and will be joined by sports journalist/anchor Lindsay Soto. Gannon will also host The Vancouver Figure Skating Hour daily at 2 p.m. ET.
Emmy Award-winning NBC Sports reporter and host Jimmy Roberts will anchor Meet the Olympic Press, a daily roundtable discussion featuring veteran Olympic reporters including, among others, NBCOlympics.com’s Alan Abrahamson, Phil Hersh of the Chicago Tribune, Vicki Michaelis of USA Today, and John Powers from the Boston Globe. Reporter Stacey Dales will be in and around Vancouver with updates, and Olympic swimming gold medalist and television personality Summer Sanders will do the same from Whistler.
Universal Sports’ roster of expert analysts includes Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and Olympic silver medalists Paul Wylie and Peter Carruthers on figure skating; Gold medalist Picabo Street and two-time Olympian Jeremy Bloom on skiing; NBC Sports action sports analyst Kenan Harkin on snowboarding; and former U.S. Nordic Combined Team Coach Tom Steitz on the Nordic sports. These insiders will examine the personalities behind the athletes, describe the pressures of Olympic competition and explain how storylines are impacted by training technology, state-of-the-art equipment and weather conditions.
In addition, Craig Hummer, a member of NBC’s broadcast team for the past three Olympic Games, will serve as the anchor of Universal Sports’ daily show, based at Universal Sports’ facilities outside of Los Angeles.
Play-by-Play: Tim Ryan
Analysts: Todd Brooker and Christin Cooper
Reporter: Steve Porino
Play-by-Play: Al Trautwig
Analyst: Chad Salmela
BOBSLED:Play-by-Play: Bob Papa
Analyst: John Morgan
Reporter: Lewis Johnson
Host: Fred Roggin
Play-by-Play: Andrew Catalon
Analysts: Don Duguid and Colleen Jones
Reporter: Elfi Schlegel
Play-by-Play: Tom Hammond
Analysts: Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Tracy Wilson
Reporter: Andrea Joyce
Play-by-Play: Todd Harris
Analyst: Jonny Moseley
Reporter: Tina Dixon
Host: Bill Patrick
Play-by-Play: Mike Emrick and Kenny Albert
Game Analysts: Ed Olczyk and Joe Micheletti
Studio Analysts: Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick
Reporters: Pierre McGuire, Joe Micheletti and Mike Milbury
Host: Bill Patrick
Play-by-Play: Mike Emrick and Kenny Albert
Game Analyst: AJ Mleczko
Studio Analysts: Cammi Granato
Reporter: Joe Micheletti
Play-by-play: Bob Papa
Analyst: Duncan Kennedy
Reporter: Lewis Johnson
Play-by-Play: Ted Robinson
Analyst: Andy Gabel
Reporter: Andrea Joyce
Play-by-Play: Bob Papa
Analyst: Lea Ann Parsley
Reporter: Lewis Johnson
Play-by-Play: Matt Vasgersian
Analyst: Jeff Hastings
SNOWBOARDING:Play-by-Play: Pat Parnell
Analyst: Todd Richards
Reporter: Tina Dixon
Play-by-Play: Dan Hicks
Analyst: Dan Jansen
Reporter: Andrea Kremer
SPORTS DESK REPORTERS:Peter Alexander
UNIVERSAL SPORTS:Vancouver Olympic News Center Hosts: Terry Gannon and Lindsay Soto
Vancouver Figure Skating Hour Host: Terry Gannon
Figure Skating Analysts: Kristi Yamaguchi, Paul Wylie, and Peter Carruthers
Meet the Olympic Press Host: Jimmy Roberts
Meet the Olympic Press Panelists: Alan Abrahamson - NBCOlympics.com, Brian Cazeneuve - Sports Illustrated, Helene Elliott - Los Angeles Times, Tracee Hamilton - Washington Post, Phil Hersh - Chicago Tribune, Vicki Michaelis - USA Today, John Powers - Boston Globe, Amy Shipley - Washington Post
Skiing Analysts: Picabo Street and Jeremy Bloom
Snowboarding Analyst: Kenan Harkin
Nordic Sport Analyst: Tom Steitz
Reporters: Stacey Dales and Summer Sanders
Universal Sports Host (Westlake Village, Calif.): Craig Hummer
Nice to see Fang’s Bites faves Stacey Dales, Lindsay Soto and Summer Sanders getting some work at the Olympics. Too bad they won’t be widely seen as they’ll be on Universal Sports, not the main networks of NBC. Oh well.
Anyway, thanks to the NBC Sports PR Department for sending this release.
Time to hand out the 3rd Annual Fang’s Bites NFL TV Awards. If you’re a new reader, you can take a look at how the inaugural and 2nd annual versions played out. Let’s get to them without further delay.
Best Play-by-Play: There’s no one better when it comes to NBC’s Al Michaels when there’s a big game, big moment or big play. He always rises to the occasion. Plus, whenever there’s a lull, he’ll mention the point spread. Al broke in a new partner, Cris Collinsworth and didn’t miss a beat. The man can pretty much retire this award.
Best Game Analyst: Phil Simms of CBS impressed me quite a bit this season. He studies the game film and seems to store gems for the game. In addition, he’s not afraid to admit he’s wrong. Simms doesn’t draw attention to himself. He lets the game come to him and Phil meshes quite well with partner Jim Nantz. First time Phil get the analyst award and it’s much deserved.
Best Studio Show: NFL Gameday Final on the NFL Network wins this for the second year in a row. No other show can show as many highlights as Gameday Final and Rich Eisen, Deion Sanders and Steve Mariucci have formed a very nice chemistry. They have fun together and have formed a good studio team. It’s a great show and in some ways, has surpassed what ESPN’s old NFL Primetime used to do.
Best Studio Host: Rich Eisen of NFL Network has become a very good studio host and this season surpassed two-time winner James Brown of CBS. Unfortunately, JB had a chance to win again, but the last couple of weeks when he’s had the opportunity to press Bill Cowher on his job opportunities, JB backed off. Rich does a great job whether he’s doing the pregame show for Thursday Night Football or hosting NFL Gameday Final. The man steps up time and time again, and he even had time to hang in the Courtyard by Marriott lobby.
Best Studio Analyst: Returning after a year’s absence, Howie Long, Fox NFL Sunday. Howie remains strong on the desk for Fox. He breaks down a defense quite well and his commentaries during the “Fired Up” segments were well done. Nice to have Howie back after Bill Cowher won this award for the 2008 season.
Most Valuable Network: Once again, Fox Sports for winning the ratings in the NFL during a record season for viewing. It outpaced CBS in the pregame battle and in the afternoon. In addition, Fox’s ratings were better than NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The overall winner is the NFL as all of its TV partners in both broadcast and cable TV saw record ratings this season. But Fox is the MVN.
Call of the Year: It’s from Week 1. Screamin’ Gus Johnson. Brandon Stokley. Need I say more?
Best NFL Insider: Adam Schefter of ESPN snatches this award from Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. Adam had some nice scoops this season and it was nice to see after he had gotten into a contract dispute with NFL Network. Adam was all over the Mike Shanahan-to-Washington story and he formed a nice one-two insider team with Chris Mortensen. So for this year, Adam takes the award.
Best Announcing Team: I’m going with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth of Sunday Night Football. I know Collinsworth can baffle people with his analysis, seeing things that America can’t see, but he does make valid points and I am impressed how he has made the transition into John Madden’s chair quite nicely. Al is Al. Just look at my statements on Al above.
Most Improved Presentation: Monday Night Football on ESPN. In the inaugural awards, I gave MNF the Worst Game Coverage Award. It took three seasons for ESPN to get this right, that fans didn’t want to hear interviews with celebrities or have non-players in the booth. By hiring Jon Gruden to join Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski, ESPN finally has an announcing team to challenge the top teams on the other networks. In addition, ESPN had tremendous fortune to air the first Green Bay-Minnesota game which set a cable primetime ratings record. After complaining about Monday Night Football the last few seasons, I have a mere few about the series this year.
Best Game Coverage: Monday Night Football, ESPN. This is an upset over the other networks, but the production was quite good. ESPN does need to put its distracting scoreboard on top of the screen instead of the bottom, but that’s a minor complaint. If ESPN ever got in the Super Bowl rotation, its production of the game would be right up there with Fox and NBC which won the first two years of these awards.
Best Feature: C’mon, Man! on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown. I really enjoyed this week after week. The team of Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter and Tom Jackson picked the biggest headscratching plays of each week and end them with a “C’mon, man!” I laughed each time and found myself tuning for the feature at 8:20 p.m. every Monday. Here’s an example of “C’Mon, Man!” from Week 13.
Rookie of the Year: Stacey Dales of the NFL Network. Stacey joined NFL Gameday Morning this season and after a bit of a shaky start, she became quite a good co-host of the four hour show with Spero Dedes. In addition, she formed a nice chemistry with Steve Mariucci and Michael Irvin during their segments. Nice to see Stacey get a good gig after being dumped by ESPN earlier in the year.
Worst Play-by-Play: Dick Stockton of Fox has gotten progressively worse each year and is showing tremendous signs of slippage. He used to be on the “B” announcing team for both CBS and Fox for their NFC packages. Fox did a good job in taking him off the “B” team and he’s now calling the 4th best game for Fox after Joe Buck/Troy Aikman, Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa and Thom Brennaman/Brian Billick. He’s shown signs of confusion and miscalled plays. It’s sad to see from one of the better announcers.
Worst Game Analyst: Matt Millen of the NFL Network. The man has no credibility after his tenure as Detroit Lions GM. He can break down a play like he used to every once in a while, but ever since he came back to TV, Millen is actually gunshy. He won’t criticize. He can’t see trends and he and Bob Papa really didn’t mesh all that well in the booth. Not impressed at all.
Worst Studio Host: Stuart Scott is not needed on Monday Night Countdown. ESPN likes a gameday presence for Monday Night Football, but to be honest, things can be handled better from Bristol. If ESPN wants to give Stuart a presence on Monday Night Football, give him the sideline reporter position.
Worst Studio Analyst: (tie) Steve Young and Matt Millen again on Monday Night Countdown. I desperately wanted to give this to Michael Irvin of the NFL Network, but he grew on me during his time on NFL Gameday Morning and actually enjoyed him. Without Emmit Smith to make him look good, Steve Young became victim of “Running at the Mouth” Disease. He talked and talked and talked in hopes something would stick. Then teamed with Matt Millen this season, they became Tweedledee and Tweedledum on the set. Combined with Stuart Scott, they easily became the Worst Studio Team hands down.
Worst Studio Show … In the World!: This goes to Football Night in America on NBC and it is a rather precipitous fall. Two years ago, I gave FNIA the Most Improved Studio Show Award for bringing in Keith Olbermann. Last year, NBC brought in Dan Patrick in hopes of renewing the chemistry Dan and Keith had on SportsCenter. While some of it came back and they remain a rather formidable pair, NBC decided to tweak the show again this season. Bob Costas went to the game sites, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison were brought in to replace Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber. While I like Tony and Rodney, Football Night in America is supposed to be about the highlights. Instead, we’re fed interviews, features and the highlights have gotten shorter and shorter. Plus, I don’t want to hear how cold Costas is in December. I’m not impressed. Bring back the highlights.
Worst Game Coverage: NFL Network again! This network is supposed to be a showcase for the league, but its presentation for Thursday Night Football is next to pedestrian. Replays are sometimes not clear or shown from too far away. Or sometimes, replays are too long and we miss actual plays. The game is directed by former Monday Night Football helmsman Craig Janoff, but the production gives credence as to why he was removed when ESPN took over ABC Sports. I hope the production improves next year.
And that concludes this year’s awards. Debate away or attack me like you usually do when I post the awards.
Because I’ll be leaving my house at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to be at a jobsite, I won’t be able to provide linkage while I’m there so to help tie you over, I’ll do some now. I’ve already done the Primetime & Late Night Viewing Picks for Tuesday and expect to see that at 9 a.m.
Starting with USA Today’s Michael Hiestand, he has some quotes from the Erin Andrews appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show taped last week and to be aired on September 11.
Dan Levy of On the DL reviews the weekend in sports media for the Sporting News.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says time is running out for former tennis prodigy Donald Young.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times talks about the Tennis Channel’s difficulty in getting carriage in the Big Apple for the US Open.
Jerry Barmash of the New York Examiner writes about former WCBS TV sports anchor Chris Wragge now making his mark on the news side.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says golf and exhibition football were ratings winners on Sunday.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer talks about Sunday Night Football being a ratings hit in the exhibition season.
John also has a preview of the next episode of Hard Knocks.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the jettisoning of popular Rams analyst Jim Hanifan to pre and postgame shows has ruined a good first 8 months for a new sports radio station.
Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (AL) News wonders if SEC fans will welcome ESPN’s announcing crews this season.
Jon writes about Fox Sports’ extending its deal with the Cotton Bowl.
Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News writes that Fox plans to make the Cotton Bowl a primetime affair for the first year of a new four year contract starting in 2011.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman talks about Stacey Dales joining the NFL Network this season.
Wayne Friedman of Mediapost says the NFL should be worried about several key markets that will experience blackouts of local games, especially in Jacksonville which may not see any home games this season.
Maury Brown in the Biz of Football talks about the waning hours of Versus on DirecTV as the two try to hash out an agreement before the midnight deadline and several college football games that will suddenly have a smaller audience if the channel is by the satellite provider.
The Sports Media Watch has some ratings news and notes.
Christy Hammond of the Sports PR blog looks at the New Jersey Devils using social networking to promote Martin Brodeur Day.
Joe Favorito says look for ESPN/Marvel tie-ins with the Disney purchase of the famed comic book company today.
The 38 Cliches blog has some thoughts from Sunday’s Blue Jays-Red Sox game.
Ok, I’ll end it there. Gotta sleep now.
The fact that Michael Irvin, the Playmaker was joining NFL Network has been reported everywhere from the Dallas Morning News to O Globo in Rio de Janeiro. But to have Fang’s Bites fave Stacey Dales as a co-host of the expanded NFL Gameday Morning? That’s a surprise and welcome in these parts as well. After Stacey left ESPN last year over a contract dispute and her unhappiness of not being flown 1st Class like her fellow ESPN talent, I was wondering where she would surface. Well, nice to see that she will be on a high profile position at NFL Network.
Check out the release:
NFL NETWORK ADDS HALL OF FAMER MICHAEL IRVIN TO NFL GAMEDAY CAST
‘Playmaker’ Joins Analyst Lineup of Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Warren Sapp and Steve Mariucci on NFL Sundays
Stacey Dales Also Joins “NFL GameDay Morning” – First Pregame Show On-Air Sundays Expands to Four Hours
NFL Network welcomes another All-Pro talent to its star-studded Sunday analyst roster with the addition of Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin. Irvin, a five-time Pro Bowler, joins Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders, Warren Sapp and Steve Mariucci as part of the Network’s all-encompassing Sunday coverage dubbed NFL GameDay beginning Sunday, September 13.
In addition, Stacey Dales joins the NFL GameDay lineup as co-host of NFL GameDay Morning with Spero Dedes, reporting the latest news and information to kick off each football Sunday. NFL GameDay Morning, the first NFL pregame show on the air Sunday mornings, expands this season to four hours from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM ET.
Irvin will join Faulk, Mariucci, Sapp, Dales, Dedes and insider Jason La Canfora on NFL GameDay Morning. Following the afternoon games, he will recap and analyze the action on NFL GameDay Highlights with Sanders and host Rich Eisen at 7:30 PM ET.
“Michael is a proven NFL analyst,” said NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger. “His personality, work ethic and football IQ fit right into our great team here at NFL Network.”
No stranger to the NFL Network broadcast team, Irvin served as a guest analyst on the network’s coverage of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction ceremony for the past two years. Previously, Irvin served as an NFL analyst for ESPN (2003-2007).
A 2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Irvin spent his entire 10-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys where he won three Super Bowl rings and tallied 750 receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns.
Dales joins NFL Network after seven years as an analyst and reporter for ESPN and ABC, where she covered a variety of sports including college football, men and women’s college basketball and the NBA. Prior to her broadcasting career, Dales played five seasons in the WNBA and was a member of the Canadian team for the 2000 Summer Olympics.
NFL Network is the place for football fans to get all their NFL information Sunday before kickoff, between the action and after the games conclude. NFL GameDay Morning, the first NFL pregame show on the air Sunday mornings, goes straight to the stadiums for the latest news, reports and breaking stories from radio play-by-play announcers and analysts from all NFL teams.
NFL GameDay StatZone follows NFL GameDay Morning at 1:00 PM ET with up-to-the-minute scores, statistics and news accompanying audio from Sirius NFL Radio’s “Around the League” program. After the conclusion of the early afternoon games at 4:00 PM ET, NFL GameDay Scoreboard takes viewers around the league for post-game press conferences and game highlights in addition to, statistics and news during the late afternoon games. Fran Charles hosts, alongside Tom Waddle and Jamie Dukes. NFL GameDay Highlights with Irvin, Sanders and Eisen follows at 7:30 PM ET.
NFL GameDay Final caps off all of Sunday’s action at 11:30 PM ET with Eisen, Sanders and Emmy-nominated analyst Mariucci giving viewers highlights, insider commentary, on-field interviews and postgame press conferences from all the games of the day in an comprehensive 90-minute package.
NFL GameDay Schedule
9:00-1:00 PM – NFL GameDay Morning (HD)
1:00-4:00 PM – NFL GameDay StatZone (HD)
4:00-7:30 PM – NFL GameDay Scoreboard
7:30-8:30 PM – NFL GameDay Highlights (HD)
11:30-1:00 AM – NFL GameDay Final (HD)
(* All times ET)
NFL Network is trying to be the Network of Record on Sundays during the NFL season. Can’t say I blame them.
Let’s give you some links on this Saturday. I have some work to do, but I’ll get the linkage out of the way first.
Rarely do I start the links with Barry Horn, but I’m going to today. He writes in his weekly column that the NFL is back with the Scouting Combine, all of it on NFL Network. Late yesterday, Barry broke the news that Emmitt Smith would not be returning to ESPN.
The Star-Telegram has the TV schedule for the Texas Rangers.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman wonders if the lovely Stacey Dales pulled the wrong move like Trev Alberts did (remember him?).
Patricia Babcock-McGraw of the Chicago Daily Herald says Stacey’s leaving ESPN smacks of a diva. Ok.
Can Inman of the Contra Costa (CA) Times says Jon Gruden has become must see TV on the NFL Network.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News reviews the week in blogging and includes a link to Fang’s Bites! Thanks, Tom.
Christopher Bryne in the Eye on Sports Media blog has part 3 of a guest column written by a WWE techie who helped to put on a road show for our fine men and women serving in Iraq.
Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette talks with ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla who will be in town to call the BracketBusters game between Northern Iowa and Siena on ESPN2.
Dave Zaleski of the Muncie (IN) Star-Press says some are questioning the value of ESPN’s BracketBusters.
Jon Lafayette of TV Week writes that Infiniti has signed on to be the exclusive sponsor of Big Ten and SEC basketball.
The always lovely Lisa Guerrero writes for the Los Angeles Times that Alex Rodriguez not only cheated on baseball, but on all of us.
Laura Nachman writes that a Philly sports radio personality named his son after Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels.
Patricia Sheridan from the Toledo Blade talks with NBC/MLB Network’s Bob Costas.
Joe Lemire of Sports Illustrated says MLB Network is off to a great start.
The Inside Track girls of the Boston Herald catch up with one of their favorite subjects, former NESN hottie Hazel Mae now of the MLB Network.
KTAR.com says the Arizona Diamondbacks will have 150 games carried on Fox Sports Arizona this season.
Joe Favorito says the next generation of virtual signage could be right on the back or front of a shaven head. Really! Joe says College Baseball Opening Day missed a big branding opportunity.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon’s money is locked in Stanford Financial. Darren wonders if there’s a Stanford Financial jinx. Darren has a clarification on where Damon and teammate Xavier Nady have their money invested in Stanford Financial. Darren says New Jersey Nets guard Eduardo Najera is happy to have taken his money out of Stanford Financial several months ago.
Jim Williams of the DC Examiner writes that college basketball, hockey, NASCAR and lacrosse dominate the weekend viewing.
Russell Adams of the Wall Street Journal writes about ESPN launching various local sports websites to provide what local newspapers can’t.
Eric Benderoff and Eric Gwynn of the Chicago Tribune say the new ESPN Chicago site will be staffed mostly by freelance writers.
Dave Davies of the Chico (CA) Enterprise-Record talks with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Mindi Bach who hails from the Chico area.
Lois Weinert of the Green Valley (AZ) News & Sun talks with former ABC and CBS Sports and current Fox Sports Arizona broadcaster Gary Bender.
Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun says Flames voice Peter Maher looks fondly toward his home of Campbellton which is where today’s Hockey Day in Canada broadcast is based for CBC.
Daniel McHardie of CBC.ca says Don Cherry made a surprise visit to the Campbellton Middle School.
And there you have it. Plenty of links for today.
Last year, I had an entry, Five Women Who Can Make Me Stop Flipping The Remote. Every once in a while, I notice people doing a Google search for the women on that list will stop on that page and look at what I came up with. If you don’t want to click on the link above, the list from last year is as follows:
1. Giada De Laurentiis – Food Network
2. Erin Andrews – ESPN
3. Tina Cervasio – formerly of NESN, now of MSG Network
4. Nigella Lawson – Food Network
5. Stacey Dales – ESPN/ABC
A very strong list. But I figured it was time to revise the list after watching some college football and the Food Network today. It’s a completely new list so there are no carryovers from last year. As I did in 2007, I go in reverse order.
5. Trenni Kusnierek – FSN Wisconsin
Trenni is looking like she’s smirking here. I don’t know the circumstances behind the pic, but it’s what I could find because she’s not listed at the FSN Wisconsin website. She’s the sideline reporter for the Milwaukee Brewers games and also does freelance work for the Big Ten Network. Her work is quite strong and she’s well liked by BTN to possibly do some work during college basketball season. We certainly hope we see more of her.
4. Aida Mollenkamp – Food Network
Who can resist that smile? The host of Ask Aida on Food Network answers questions on recipes, ingredients, food, you name it. Get rid of her tool tech guru on the show and it would be perfect. The show is great to watch and she can certainly whip up Pasta Bolognese in no time. And I’m getting hooked on the show every Saturday. And it’s just before Everyday Italian with last year’s number one Woman Who Can Make Me Stop Flipping The Remote, Giada!
3. Robin Meade – CNN Headline News
Host of Morning Express with Robin Meade, mornings on CNN Headline News, this is the show I turn on every morning before I go to work. She just doesn’t make me stop the remote, she’s the first face I see as I get ready to leave my house. And it’s not a bad thing at all. The news is presented very well on Morning Express and whenever Robin is on vacation or is on assignment, the very capable Christi Paul substitutes for her so the show doesn’t miss a beat. In my opinion, Morning Express is the best morning news program on TV.
2. Heidi Watney – NESN
Sideline reporter on NESN for Red Sox games, Heidi replaced the lovely Tina Cervasio this year after the Jersey girl decided to return home. While Heidi hasn’t made Red Sox Nation forget about Tina yet, she is very lovely and when she’s on with Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe on the NESN multi-sponsored pregame show, ratings for their segment go up (ok, I have nothing to base this on, I’m just saying). There are rumors that NESN will cut her loose after this season, but I certainly hope she’s given at least another year.
1. Charissa Thompson – Big Ten Network/Fox Sports/FSN
I keep using this picture for Charissa, we really need a new one, but that’s ok, it will suffice. Charissa’s star is rising at Fox. Last year, she hosted the FSN Baseball Report and did the sidelines for the Big Ten Network. I still maintain that Fang’s Bites was one of the first blogs to sing her praises before she began to get notices. And this year, Fox made her as one of the hosts on Best Damn Sports Show Period and added NFL sideline duties to her resume. She’s getting more notice and for good reason, being compared to Erin Andrews. I’ll be honest, I think she’s better than Erin and I feel that by the end of next year, she’ll surpass Erin in popularity. You heard it here first.
And that’s the list for this year.
Yes, I’ll watch the NCAA Women’s Tournament, but when Stacey Dales is on, that’s when I’ll pay attention. Granted, she knows her basketball and I gave her my award for Best Studio Analyst in the 1st Annual Fang’s Bites College Basketball TV Awards, but let’s face it. She’s a hottie.
I like her work and I like to watch her. I’ll put up with sometimes boring NCAA Women’s Tournament games just to get my Stacey fix. Yes, the George Washington-Cal game was an exciting buzzer beater game tonight, but right now, there is not a compelling reason to watch Iowa State-Rutgers, except for those occasional studio cut-ins.
I only have one good picture that I have found off the internet. If you want to send me one to post on the site, feel free. In the meantime, I post this picture again.
Now that the 2007-08 College Basketball regular season and the Conference Tournaments are over, it’s time to hand out the 1st Annual Fang’s Bites College Basketball TV Awards. Just as I did with the College Football TV Awards and the NFL TV Awards, I’ll give you Best and Worst, no real fancy names for these awards. You’ll notice this is ESPN heavy as ESPN covers the sport quite well, but there are mentions of other networks.
Best Play-by-Play Announcer – Dan Shulman, ESPN. He has quietly become a go-to guy for the Worldwide Leader. Not only can he rise to the big moment, but he also allows his color analyst whether it be Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas or Len Elmore to be themselves, and he’s also not afraid to challenge them when necessary. Plus, Dan’s very good. In TV, the play-by-play man has to be a traffic cop and be the point guard, distribute and be the team player. Shulman does it very well. He’s so good that ESPN has put him on the NBA as well. I would prefer him to remain on college basketball and MLB solely, but ESPN wants him to be one of its big time players and I don’t blame the network at all. Dan Shulman is one of the best at what he does. Honorable mention, Sean McDonough – ESPN, Verne Lundquist – CBS, Tim Brando – FSN/Raycom, Tom Hammond – Raycom.
Best Game Analyst – Jay Bilas, ESPN. He has had quite a fast ascension at ESPN. I can remember him doing the A-10 Championship and other smaller conference games. Now, he’s doing Big East games, filled in for Dick Vitale on the Saturday night games and can also be a very good studio analyst. Bilas is concise. He used to have a tendency to overanalyze, but being teamed with Sean McDonough and Bill Raftery on Big Monday, he has learned to condense his thoughts and work well in a three man team. There’s a reason why CBS signed him to do the NCAA Tournament the last couple of seasons. He’s very good and thanks to working with McDonough and Raft, he’s learned to loosen up and show more of a sense of humor. I can see Jay taking over the #1 spot eventually either on ESPN or CBS. Honorable mention, Clark Kellogg – CBS, Len Elmore – ESPN, Mike Gminski – FSN/Raycom.
Best Announcing Team – I think you know where I’m headed on this one. Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery, ESPN. Raft is colorful. Jay has learned to roll with the punches and Sean is a very good traffic cop especially when Jay and Bill argue. They can make the most boring game enjoyable. I’m not a Big East fan, but I can watch when these guys are on. Honorable mention – Tim Brando/Mike Gminski – FSN/Raycom, Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery – CBS.
Best Studio Show – College Gameday, ESPN. There really isn’t any other show to go up against this, although it’s a very weak cousin to its football counterpart. Just last season, it started to go on the road just like during college football season. The magic isn’t quite there. It’s not the fault of the cast of Rece Davis, Hubert Brown, Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps, they just don’t compare to Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso. Plus, seeing the show on center court of various arenas doesn’t have the same feel as when the show is at the large football stadia. However, if you want information on college basketball, there’s no better show than College Gameday. Plus, Rece Davis is a very good host. And that brings us to ….
Best Studio Host – Rece Davis, ESPN. There used to be a time when I couldn’t stand Rece Davis, but now, I feel he’s one of the best hosts ESPN has. Along with Chris Fowler and Karl Ravech, Rece is part of a very deep bench at ESPN and he does a great job in making his analysts better. He knows how to get answers from his studio crew and he shows the right humor especially when he’s working with Digger Phelps. As I mentioned in the College Football Awards, Rece would be a natural fit on the football side if Chris Fowler ever left ESPN. He’s a very good host and very good at what he does. Honorable mention, Greg Gumbel – CBS.
Best Studio Analyst – Stacey Dales, ESPN. I love Stacey Dales. She does a fantastic job whether it be on the sidelines, analyzing games or sitting in the studio. She holds her own whenever she works with Digger on Big Monday. I like the way she works and she can break down a zone defense with the best of them. Stacey will work the Women’s Basketball Tournament for ESPN, but she finished doing the ACC Tournament where she worked quite well with Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale. When the sideline reporter is used as second analyst … well, we’ll get to that in a second, but Stacey does a great job in the studio. Honorable mention, Tom Brennan – ESPN, Hubert Davis – ESPN.
Best Insider – Andy Katz, ESPN. There are times when Andy comes up with stuff that makes me scratch my head, but he is connected and he got the scoop that Coppin State would be in the play-in game this Tuesday.
Best Game Coverage – Raycom. You thought I was going with ESPN, didn’t you? The guys at Raycom whether it’s the ACC or the SEC do a great job. After watching what Raycom did when it covered the tornado that hit Atlanta during the SEC Tournament or its coverage of Duke-North Carolina in its ACC syndication package, I’m convinced that its game production is comparable to CBS and ESPN. In fact, sometimes Raycom does it better. For those who can watch either conference through the regular syndication package or through ESPN Full Court, just watch and you’ll see what I mean. Raycom is one of the best at broadcasting basketball.
Most Valuable Network – ESPN. College Basketball is one of the first sports ESPN covered when it began in 1979. Along with Australian Rules Football, tennis and college football, this was the sport that ESPN got to cover regularly and does it very well. I don’t know why the network can’t take the same approach it does with this sport and carry it over to the NFL or the NBA, but that’s a subject for another day. I’m not afraid to praise ESPN when it does something well and college basketball is something it does very well. Honorable mention, CBS, Raycom.
Best Sideline Analyst – Doris Burke, ESPN. Doris is one who can coach if she so chooses. In fact, I think she was using TV to try to get a coaching job, but now that she’s firmly entrenched at ESPN, I think she’s now comfortable doing games. She can be a studio analyst, she can call games or she be the second analyst on the sidelines. Doris has the respect of coaches around the game because she has played the game and can break down a play just like coaches can. She’s very good and she can call both a men’s and women’s game without breaking a sweat. Honorable mention, Stacey Dales – ESPN.
We’ve given out our best awards, now it’s time to give out the Worst.
Worst Play-by-Play – Barry Tompkins, FSN. Here’s a guy who mispronounces names. He sometimes forgets where he is. I just shake my head whenever he’s assigned to a game. The PAC 10 makes some strange decisions like staying with FSN as its main rightsholder when it should be distributing its games like the ACC does. FSN could do itself much better than allow Barry Tompkins to call games. Tompkins used to do the French Open for ESPN and he butchered names so often that the late Johnny Carson called him out on the Tonight Show. Whenever he calls a game, I have to go to the internet to get the rosters because I know Barry will make mistakes. Barry Tompkins, Worst Play-by-Play by far. Dishonorable mention, Brent Musberger – ESPN.
Worst Analyst – I really don’t have one the regular season. When I do the NCAA Tournament Awards, perhaps I’ll have one, but not for the regular season.
Worst Announcing Team – Brent Musberger/Steve Lavin, ESPN. It’s not Lavin’s fault that Musberger is losing it. Just scroll down for some bizarre moments involving this team. Brent can really go off on a tangent when a game is in blowout mode. And some of Brent’s comments are totally out of left field. And during the UCLA-Cal game, Brent failed to notice several key moments including a shot that went over the backboard and a foul that wasn’t called just before it. Brent used to be very good, but that’s no longer the case. Steve tries his best when teamed with Brent, but sometimes, he gets dragged down by his partner. And when Erin Andrews is with them, the banter gets much worse. Dishonorable mention, the PAC 10 crews – FSN.
Worst Studio Show or Lack Thereof – FSN. It really should have a studio show. For the conferences it covers, the ACC and the PAC 10, FSN should make the effort to produce one, but instead relies on halftime interviews at game sites. What is that? For all of the money that FSN spends on each conference, you would think it could produce a decent halftime show, but it doesn’t. Shame on you, FSN.
Worst Studio Analyst – Doug Gottlieb, ESPN. Is there a team that Doug likes? Is there a conference that Doug likes? Does Doug like anyone in general? Yeah, he played for the legendary Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State, but it seems like Doug has this proverbial chip on his shoulder and wants to get back at every coach, every player, and every conference that is not in the Big 12. And Doug doesn’t seem to show any respect to former Vermont coach Tom Brennan whenever they’re teamed together. Doug is pretty good on ESPN Radio, but he takes a “no prisoners” approach on television and it’s quite annoying. He always seems angry. It works for Charles Barkley, but it doesn’t work for Doug Gottlieb. Try going to Hedonism III and loosen up, Doug. Dishonorable mention, Seth Davis – CBS/Sports Illustrated (a very close second).
Worst Game Coverage – PAC 10, FSN. First, the games are at 11 p.m. ET on Thursdays. Second, FSN is supposed to be able to draw from its parent, Fox Sports, but its game coverage looks as if it’s produced by some local cable access company. It feels as if I’m watching three camera, one replay machine coverage. The PAC 10 deserves much better.
Most Bizarre Moment I – Bruce Pearl feeling up Erin Andrews at the Tennessee-Memphis game.
Most Bizarre Moment II – At the Illinois-Wisconsin game, Erin does a report, has her name chanted by the student section and then Brent Musberger says he wants to go to the Playboy Mansion with her. What?
Most Bizarre Moment III - Brent repeats what Steve Lavin said, and they proceed to talk about MySpace, YouTube, steroids, Rocky and the blue dress. You can’t make this stuff up.
There you have it. Let me know what you think.
We’ll have an NCAA Tournament edition for both CBS and Westwood One Radio during the Final Four.
Time for some links today. Let’s get to them.
First, David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch was supposed to be a guest on Entercom-owned WRKO Friday morning. He has been critical of sister station WEEI and Program Director Jason Wolfe. For some strange reason, WRKO officials put the kybosh on his guest spot at the last minute. Scott has his reaction to the developing story and the lovely Jessica Haslam of the Boston Herald who does a great job covering all things Entercom in Boston has her take on her blog. It’s one thing to reject a guest before he/she comes on, like in the discussion process, but it’s another to invite him/her and then cancel the appearance at the very last minute. Very strange.
Neil Best of Newsday tells us he’s not going to blog this weekend, but also gives some weekend thoughts.
Over to CNBC’s Darren Rovell who writes that there’s a shot that the NFL Network could get wider carriage thanks to two big games on its schedule.
Onto the weekly Saturday media columns now.
Jerry Garcia in the San Antonio Express-News writes an open letter to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Time Warner Cable Chief Programming Officer Melinda Witmer about resolving the NFL Network dispute.
Barry Horn in the Dallas Morning News says local viewers will be able to watch the Green Bay-Dallas game Thursday night even though it’s on the NFL Network and he also talks with ESPN College Gameday analyst Lee Corso.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit about today’s Kansas-Missouri game.
Now to other sports media-related stories today. Rick Dean of the Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal says ESPN did not have the Kansas-Missouri Border War on its radar back in September.
Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star talks with former Kansas coach Glen Mason, now of the Big Ten Network and ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit about the Border War.
David Knox of the Birmingham News talks with Alabama alum Rece Davis, the excellent college football studio host for ESPN.
Jeff Yates of the Wilton (CT) Bulletin writes that ESPN has been in town to shoot a documentary on the town’s soccer campaign to honor the memory of a soldier killed in Iraq.
In an editorial, the Saginaw (MI) News says no one wins in the Big Ten Network vs. Cable dispute. In another editorial, the Baraboo (WI) News Republic says the debate over BTN along with the NFL Network won’t end any time soon.
Up to Canada where Herb Adami of the Ottawa Citizen says viewers of a Senators PPV game were treated to some video and audio problems.
That will do it for now. I’ll have NFL Picks coming up later.
I haven’t done a Hot Chick entry in a while. I figured it was time. Starting at 5 and going down to #1
5. Stacey Dales – ESPN
Doing the sidelines this season on college football broadcasts on ESPN along with her work on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, Stacey is a joy to watch. Not only does she look great, she can talk zone defenses, man-to-man, moving picks and traveling violations with the best analysts out there. She can describe a defensive rotation to me any day.
4. Nigella Lawson – Food Network
Nigella Bites is one of the best cooking shows, bar none. Every time her show is on, I have to stop and watch. I could be doing the most important thing for work or myself, but it will have to wait until the segment or the episode itself is over.
Plus, when she licks the spatula or puts her finger in her mouth to taste one of her concoctions, it’s like sex with food. I’m not kidding.
3. The extremely lovely Tina Cervasio – NESN
Her work on the sidelines for the past two seasons on Red Sox broadcasts has been nothing short of excellent. Her features have been very good, plus she has been getting information from Manny Ramirez that other reporters have not. The pictures posted below come from her website.
There hasn’t been a day where she doesn’t look good. As a subscriber to DirecTV, I can remember her work from the early days of NFL Sunday Ticket and as an update anchor on WFAN. She’s come a long way and I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets a network gig down the road.
2. Erin Andrews – ESPN
What list would be complete without Erin Andrews? I do think Tina is way better as far as reporting goes. Erin is hot, no doubt about it.
Everyday Italian is one of those shows you just stop, watch and wait for Giada to make one of her classic expressions when she tastes food. Her smile is infectious. She’s gorgeous. Plus, when she spreads chocolate on a Biscotti, it’s like watching an artist at work. And of course, there’s Giada’s Weekend Getaways where we get to watch her ride a jet-ski or swim in a pool. I can go on, but let’s get to some pics.
Let’s give you some more links today. It’s just so hot in my office, I’ve got to finish this set and I’m getting out of there.
In his Watchdog blog, Newsday’s Neil Best says it’s nice to have Mike and the Mad Dog back together again on WFAN. They’ve been apart due to their vacations since June.
Over to the Sports Media Watch blog where we find out that The Content Factory has apparently hired former ESPNer Michael Irvin who was inducted into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame this past weekend. Irvin joins Dan Patrick who has already been hired to do a show for the company. The question is, can Irvin carry his own show? I was not a fan of his work at ESPN where Michael seemed to yell every time Chris Berman went to him on NFL Countdown. I hope Michael won’t be yelling on his radio show.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders if Tiger Woods is worth the price of endorsement for some companies including American Express which is actually dumping him in. Tiger does make a lot of money, but Rovell questions if Woods has enough bang for the big bucks he’s being paid.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the radio and TV calls of Alex Rodriguez’ 500th homer and Barry Bonds’ 755th home run. Sandomir praises former Pawtucket Red Sox announcer Dave Flemming who called Bonds’ homer on KNBR and current Red Sox announcer Dave O’Brien who had the call on ESPN2. Jim Williams in his Watch This! blog in the DC/Baltimore and San Francisco Examiners says Frank Robinson will be on hand representing MLB during the Bonds Watch tonight.
TBS Sports has announced a new online broadband channel on MLB.com called “The Hot Corner”. This starts in September in anticipation of TBS’ extensive postseason coverage. It will include a pre-game show for the playoffs. And Paul Gough of the Hollywood Reporter has written a story on this new channel.
Starting Thursday, PGATour.com will offer broadband coverage of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, OK. For the first and second rounds, the website will have simulcasts of TNT’s coverage, plus coverage of select groups of players. On the weekend, CBS’ coverage will not be available online, only the coverage of select groups. The site for online coverage is here.
R. Thomas Ulmstead of Multichannel News reports on a very interesting clause in the NHL’s contract with Versus. Both parties can pull out after this coming season if the channel doesn’t reach certain distribution levels. Ulmstead says it appears Versus isn’t interested in ending its deal and will continue with a planned three year extension into the 2010-11 season. We’ll see how this develops.
From the Oakland Tribune, Andy Altman-Ohr writes that the Bay Area media will have Friday’s Bill Walsh memorial service covered like a blanket.
Keith Jarrett of the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times says while conferences like the ACC and SEC are paid handsomely by the TV networks to air their football and basketball games, smaller conferences like the Southern Conference (SoCon) have to pay to get their games broadcast.
Doug Smith of the Toronto Star has a suggestion for the CBC when it comes to airing Raptors games (scroll down). Hire Fang’s Bites fav, Stacey Dales (yes, she’s Canadian).
Those are your links for now. Primetime and Late Night Viewing Picks coming up
Here’s one who is not in Sports Broadcasting right now, Thea Andews who was on ESPN2′s Cold Pizza and ESPN Hollywood. She’s currently free-lancing for Entertainment Tonight. She did some work at the Triple Crown last year. Would like to see her there again.
One who’s in Sports Broadcasting, Stacey Dales who is mostly seen during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on ESPN, but she’s done other work for the network as well.
Both were nominated by others. Will certainly take your suggestions throughout the weekend.