Happy holidays from Sherman Report; See you next year

Sherman Report is taking a break to enjoy the holidays with the family. It also allows me to use my favorite picture of Santa. Paging Hank Haney: Looks like St. Nick is a bit across the line at the top.

Please check back on Monday Jan. 5 when we will see what looms for sports media in 2015.

Wishing the best for you and yours.

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Year in sports media: TMZ, not ESPN, breaks biggest stories; Simmons follies; NBA cashes in

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana looks back at the year in sports media.

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When I first launched Sherman Report in April, 2012, I initially was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough material on sports media to support a regular blog. I soon discovered just the opposite was the case.

There was so much news and content occurring, I had to make an executive decision. I couldn’t be The New York Times and run “all the news that’s fit to print” on sports media. I had to make choices about what I post, and that still covers considerable territory.

One thing is for sure: the world of sports media never is dull. It was another eventful year in 2014.

Here’s what stood out:

TMZ, not ESPN: The two biggest stories in sports in 2014 … Continue Reading

Terrible Bears still get Buck-Aikman on Sunday

Even though the Bears have been dreadful, Fox Sports still is sending its A-team to Soldier Field Sunday. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be on the call for the Bears-Detroit game.

It is interesting to note that Fox’s top crew is doing a game that will air in only 28 percent of the U.S. Meanwhile, Fox’s biggest game in terms of coverage area Sunday is Atlanta-New Orleans, which will be seen in 38 percent of the U.S. Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch will work that game.

Fox Sports spokesman Dan Bell said: “We have three games featuring three potential NFC playoff teams this weekend (also Green Bay at Tampa Bay) that the top crew could broadcast. This game was chosen because Detroit is one of the best teams in the NFL and is currently leading the NFC North; the … Continue Reading

Ben Finfer: The aftermath of the radio rant heard around the world

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on Ben Finfer, whose epic rant traveled far beyond a FM sports talk station in Chicago.

From the column:

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It was the rant literally heard around the world.

After learning that WGWG-LP 87.7, a.k.a. “The Game,” was shutting down while on the air in November, Ben Finfer unleashed his anger for all to hear.

“I had respect for my bosses until five minutes ago,” Finfer told listeners. “Who treats people like this?”

The 10-minute tirade quickly went viral. It got picked up by sites such as Deadspin and Big Lead and ran on outlets in New York, Washington, Toronto, and even London.

Indeed, the last thing Finfer ever expected was to be a story in the United Kingdom.

“I guess people love when you rip on bosses,” Finfer said. “I didn’t think it … Continue Reading

Tennessee-Jacksonville: Worst prime-time game ever?

Throw out the records when these two teams meet.

Really. Please.

Tonight’s Tennessee-Jacksonville has to be the worst prime-time game ever. Both teams are 2-12.

I don’t have the official data, but I can’t imagine there’s ever been a prime-time game this late in the season with two teams combining for a 4-24 record.

The rules mandate that each team plays on Thursday night. And the NFL wants to keep these short-week games intra-division affairs to maximize traditional rivalries.

Voila, Tennessee-Jacksonville in a battle for No. 1. The No. 1 draft pick, that is.

Good luck to Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in making this game interesting.

 

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Quenneville on ‘Road to Winter Classic’ debut: ‘Hey boys, I’m not (bleeping) happy’

Blackhawks president John McDonough wanted authentic and he got it.

The debut of “Road to the NHL Winter Classic” on EPIX featured footage of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wearing out the F-word during their 4-3 victory over Montreal.

“Hey boys, pucks are going through us like we don’t give a (bleep),” Quenneville said.

Later, Quenneville let them know where they stood with him during a languid segment of the game. “Hey boys, I’m not (bleep-ing) happy, he said.

The raw language is a trademark of the “Road to the Winter Classic” series. The behind-the-scene films, airing on consecutive Tuesdays at 9 p.m. through Jan. 6, follows the Blackhawks and Washington Capitals before and during their outdoor game at Nationals Park on Jan. 1.

All told, the first show featured 31 expletives, according to Greg Wyshynski’s “Puck Daddy” column for Yahoo! … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Harrelson pumped up about White Sox moves; won’t cut back schedule

Forget about Ken Harrelson working a reduced schedule of White Sox games in 2015. The team’s aggressive off-season has the veteran play-by-play man pumped up and ready to go the distance.

“(The moves) sort of convinced me,” said Harrelson, 73. “They said to check the schedule and see what games I wanted to do. I was looking (at missing some games). But now with this thing, it’s going to be a fun year.”

Harrelson had talking of cutting back to spend more time with his family; he now is a great grandfather. However, he couldn’t envision sitting at home watching games on TV, especially if the Sox live up to expectations.

“I know I’d miss being there,” Harrelson said. “It would be something I’d be sorry about. These opportunities don’t come every year. Next year will be my 40thContinue Reading

Is Gruden really done with coaching?

Perhaps watching the terrible Jay Cutler validated Jon Gruden’s decision to re-up with ESPN through 2021. Who needs that headache?

Mike Tirico broke the news during halftime of Monday’s game. The deal means Gruden is out of coaching through ESPN’s current contract for “Monday Night Football.”

Technically, that means Gruden can’t coach again until 2022, when he will be 59. By then, he will have been away from the sidelines since 2008.

Sure, Gruden could return after a 14-year absence. Dick Vermeil did it and won a Super Bowl after a long side trip to the booth. But it seems unlikely.

It still seems hard to believe that given Gruden’s passion and intensity for the game, he will have coached his last game at the age of 45. Then again, John Madden called it a career at 41.

Gruden obviously … Continue Reading

ESPN’s Monday Night crew obliterates Jay Cutler: ‘Whole nation witnessed what he is’

It was open season on Jay Cutler Monday night.

It is hard to remember the last time ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” crew went after a player harder and with such intensity. Then again, the Bears quarterback gave them plenty of ammunition.

During the game, Jon Gruden showed his disgust on several occasions. He knew it was going to be an ugly evening early on.

“I don’t know what can happen next, but this is hard to watch,” Gruden said. “The Bears look chaotic and disorganized on offense.”

When the Bears went to the locker room trailing 14-0, Gruden said: “One of the most disappointing first halves I’ve seen from anybody in a long time.”

During the second half, Gruden saw enough, pleading with Marc Trestman to make a change.

“If I’m Marc Trestman, I’m going to take a look at … Continue Reading