NFL on ESPN: Quality up from previous years; Still several potential clunkers

ESPN can’t help but be envious of NBC. The quality of the Sunday games always are better than Monday night; Seattle and Denver are scheduled for only one ESPN game compared to three on NBC

The lack of the flex option also leaves ESPN in the danger zone. Last year, it got stuck with 0-8 Tampa Bay vs. Miami in November, and 4-11 Atlanta at San Francisco for its season finale.

Still, ESPN has to be pleased with its 2014 schedule. The quality seems to be better than in recent years.

Best games: Philadelphia at Indianapolis in week 2; New England visits Kansas City in week 4. Seattle travels to Washington in week 5 when the Redskins still should be relevant. Carolina at Philadelphia in week 10 could be intriguing.

The NFL also will subject Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden … Continue Reading

What will ESPN do with Keyshawn Johnson? NFL analyst arrested in domestic violence incident

ESPN has another situation on its hands.

Yesterday, it was disclosed that Keyshawn Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor spousal battery. Here’s the report.

Obviously, this is a major problem for the analyst on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. ESPN has strict “zero tolerance” policies in place. In 2010, the network first suspended and then severed ties with Around The Horn panelist Jay Mariotti when he was arrested on domestic violence charges.

It should be stressed that no two situations are the same. That also goes for the people involved.

First things first, the network has to sort out the details of exactly what happened and let the legal process play out. At some point, though, ESPN will have to make a decision on Johnson’s fate with the network.

Obviously, more to come.

 

 … Continue Reading

ESPN 30 for 30 Soccer Stories debuts: The tragedy at Hillsborough

ESPN 30 for 30 is doing a special soccer series leading up to the World Cup. The debut is tonight with Hillsborough (8 p.m. ET), the story of an unthinkable tragedy at a soccer game where 96 fans died in 1989.

This is an interview Keith Olbermann did with director Daniel Gordon last night.

Here is the summary on ESPN’s 30 for 30 site:

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“Hillsborough” is a comprehensive account of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, a tragedy that occurred during an FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The film focuses on the events that unfolded before, during and after the horrifying afternoon that led to the deaths of 96 people as well as the injuries to several hundred more and the traumatization of countless lives.

Beginning on the fateful … Continue Reading

It’s Awesome, babee! Vitale, CBS, Turner excited about first big day of NCAAs

I got this tweet last night.

If it is possible to hear someone’s voice via Twitter, it would be Dickie V’s. He comes through loud and clear, no matter the medium.

CBS and Turner were just as excited about the first full day of the tournament, if a bit more restrained. Day 1 pulled in the biggest overnight numbers in 23 years.

Looks like it could be a big tournament for all. Looking forward to more tweet from Vitale.

Here is the official rundown:

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CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ exclusive second-round coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV on Thursday, March 20 delivered the highest rating for the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament in 23 years (since the tournament expanded to four telecast windows for the entire day in … Continue Reading

FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s new site launches today; What is behind fox logo?

Nate Silver’s long awaited debut of FiveThirtyEight happens this afternoon. It’s no coincidence.

Silver’s site will be crunching the numbers for the NCAA basketball tournament. Today is the one day of the year when everyone really cares about those numbers.

The site is a huge initiative for Silver and ESPN. His unique analytics will cover a broad spectrum from politics to entertainment to weather. Sports will account for about 30 percent of the content.

Silver explained his vision for FiveThirtyEight in an interview with Joe Coscarelli of New York Magazine. He talks about the fox logo.

Can you explain the mythology behind the new fox logo?
The fox logo comes from a quote which was originally attributable to an obscure Greek poet: “The hedgehog knows one big thing and the fox knows many little things.” The idea being that we’re a

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New 30 for 30: When Big East was a beast

The latest 30 for 30, Requiem for the Big East, is one big trip down memory lane. Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Ewing, Mullin, Thompson, Pearl Washington, Rollie, Louie….Great stuff.

Ben Koo at Awful Announcing did a review. He writes:

Requiem For The Big East was interesting, well made, insightful, well paced, funny, and sad. It’s significant enough of a story that if you’re not a college basketball fan, it’s still compelling enough of a story to warrant the investment in watching. The film leaves you with a strong taste of “those were the days” and that says a lot considering for many including myself, we didn’t live through those days. Despite that, the storytelling is so dynamic that the tinge of nostalgia resonates regardless. With that in mind, Requiem For The Big East clocks in as one

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Musburger takes high road on ESPN move: ‘Happens all the time in corporate life’

You could make the argument that if Brent Musburger was 47 instead of 74, he still might be ESPN’s lead voice for college football.

But Musburger knows how the game works in broadcasting. He once was the young guy moving up the ladder at CBS. Much younger in fact than 47. Along the way, some veteran announcers were moved aside to make way for him.

Now it is his turn to be on the other end with ESPN wanting to promote Chris Fowler.

That’s likely why Musburger took the high road in an interview with Richard Deitsch at SI.com yesterday. He addressed ESPN moving him from its lead voice on college football to lead voice on the new SEC Network.

“I’m going to be 75 in May. You can take someone who is 75 and tell them, ‘Hey, it’s been

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Chris Fowler: Named new voice of college football for ESPN; will continue to host GameDay

Chris Fowler’s ship has come in.

If anybody deserved a shot to have it all at ESPN, it is Fowler. He has excelled in all of his roles, but especially as host of College GameDay.

However, at age 51, Fowler wanted more. As much as his studio work is admired, he knows to go down as a true voice of college football, like Keith Jackson and Brent Musburger, he needs to be on the call for the big games. Now he will get his chance, doing double duty for the pregame show and then in the evening for the primetime game. It will culminate with him and Kirk Herbstreit working the new college football playoff games.

Basically, the fall now will have Fowler running a marathon at a sprinter’s pace. Good thing he is in good shape.

Here is … Continue Reading