Strong comments from Milbury, Jones on illegal hits in NHL

Maybe because it is hockey, but Mike Milbury and Keith Jones don’t get enough credit for their studio work for NBC and NBC SN.

Both are extremely candid and passionate about the game. When they talk, hockey fans should listen. Such as last night, when they came down hard on illegal hits in hockey, and how some players, coaches and league executives still don’t get it.

Costas special: Playing for Dallas Cowboys in wake of Kennedy assassination; ‘People booed us’

Bob Costas and NBC Sports Network has an interesting sports angle on the 50th anniversary of that awful day in Dallas. The Cowboys had to endure the wrath of the country.


The rundown from NBC Sports Network

STAMFORD, Conn. – November 11, 2013 – Fifty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Bob Costas looks back at the time leading up to and following the Nov. 22, 1963 tragedy through the eyes of the 1963 Dallas Cowboys and 1963 U.S. Naval Academy quarterback Roger Staubach on the one-hour Costas Tonight Special – No Day For Games: The Cowboys and JFK. The show debuts Wednesday, November 20 at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Ten former Cowboys players and personnel, including Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Bob Lilly, Hall of Fame quarterback Staubach, linebacker Lee Roy Jordan, tight end Pettis Norman and three-decade player personnel chief Gil Brandt, were interviewed for Costas Tonight, as well as Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and presidential historian Michael Beschloss. This edition of Costas Tonight, which combines present-day interviews, archival footage, and NBC News coverage from November 1963, was produced by NBC Sports Group and co-produced and written Andy Greenspan.

“For a league that has no presence in Los Angeles, the Dallas Cowboys are as close to Hollywood as it gets,” Costas says in the opening of the show. “But half a century ago for the Cowboys of 1963, it was fear – not football – that was on their minds.

“As symbols of the city where the President was murdered,” he continued, “the Cowboys soon found some of the nation’s anger directed towards them.”

Following are highlights from the special edition of Costas Tonight:


Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns, Nov. 24, 1963

Lee Roy Jordan: “We were the team from Dallas, Texas. We were connected with killing the President of the United States.”

Dan Rooney on NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s decision to play games as scheduled: “He said that [White House Press Secretary] Pierre [Salinger] felt that Jack would have thought we should play. He would have wanted it that way for the nation.”

Bob Costas on the team 24 hours after the assassination: “The Cowboys were headed to Cleveland where they discovered that, to many people around the country, the city of Dallas and anything that represented it was being held liable for the tragedy.”

Gil Brandt (Cowboys executive from 1960-89) on the team’s trip to Cleveland: “Everybody was told, ‘Go out and have dinner if you want, but don’t say you are from Dallas.’”

Pettis Norman: “I felt totally lethargic on how I would approach this game.”

Bob Lilly: “You’ve got your game face on by Sunday. That means a chip on your shoulder. And I didn’t have a chip on my shoulder that day. And I didn’t have my game face on.”

Browns owner Art Modell told public address announcer Johnny Holliday not to use the word “Dallas” throughout the game. He was to use “Cowboys” instead.

There were no player introductions prior to the game.

Cowboys players were told to wear their helmets and parkas at all times.

The teams combined for nine turnovers in the Browns’ 27-17 victory.

Bob Lilly (postgame): “We could have quit our season then, it would have been fine with me.”


In 1962, Navy sophomore Roger Staubach threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores in a 34-14 victory in the annual Army-Navy game – earning the Midshipmen a locker room visit from President Kennedy.

The following season, Staubach and Navy were 8-1 heading into the Nov. 30, 1963 Army-Navy game.  Staubach, who would win the 1963 Heisman Trophy, was slated for the cover of the Nov. 29 issue of Life Magazine with the photo caption “The Greatest College Quarterback.” After the assassination, the cover was changed to a JFK portrait.  Staubach shows Costas his early copy of the magazine with Staubach’s photo on the cover.

The Army-Navy game was postponed and played on Dec. 7, 1963.

Roger Staubach: “We thought the game could be postponed forever or cancelled. But then it came back that the Kennedy family really wanted it to be played…The game was played a week later than it was scheduled. It was so emotional. No pep rallies, no bonfires. But everybody kind of let their emotions out in that game…It was eerie. You didn’t know what to expect.”

Navy, the second-ranked team in the country, won 21-15 after stopping Army on the four-yard line as time expired.


The Cowboys drafted Roger Staubach in the 10th round in 1964.  After serving his Navy commitment, Staubach joined the team for the 1969 season at age 27.

The Cowboys franchise had its first winning season in 1966.

Bob Lilly on Cowboys prior to 1966: “Everywhere we went for the next couple of years, people booed us when we ran out on the field.”

Beginning in 1966, Dallas posted an NFL-record 20 consecutive winning seasons (through 1985), playing in five Super Bowls and winning two over the span.

Staubach won 85 of 114 starts for the Cowboys in an 11-year career. In the postseason, he led Dallas to two Super Bowl victories and was named MVP of Super Bowl VI.

Pettis Norman: “When Dallas starting winning, that was a transitional thing for this whole city. And it began to wipe away a lot of the negative things that people felt about Dallas.”

Roger Staubach on Cowboys’ winning helping rehabilitate Dallas’ image: “I think it had a lot to do with how people felt about Dallas. They learned more about Dallas.”

Bob Costas:  “After bearing a measure of the nation’s anger for a crime that took place in their city, the Dallas Cowboys had become a phenomenon: America’s Team.”


More Notre Dame: NBC SN signs on to cover 12 Irish home hockey games

It appears as if college hockey is going to be a big winner as all these cable networks scramble to air live programming. Earlier this week, NBC SN announced it would air five Big Ten game this year.

Today, the network stretches its exclusive relationship with Notre Dame to hockey.

Here are the details NBC SN:


NBC Sports Group and Notre Dame announced a three-year agreement to annually telecast 12 Notre Dame Hockey home games on NBCSN. In addition, NBC Sports Live Extra will live stream all 12 games telecast on NBCSN and eight additional Notre Dame Hockey home games.

NBCSN will present more than 20 college hockey games this season including 12 Notre Dame home games, five Hockey East games and five Big Ten games. The network’s 2013-14 college hockey schedule is highlighted by more than 10 appearances by pre-season Top 15 teams. NBC Sports Live Extra will live stream more than 30 college hockey games this season.

“We are excited to begin our third season of college hockey on NBCSN, which will feature more Top 15 teams than ever before,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming NBC Sports and NBCSN. “In addition to presenting 12 Notre Dame home games, we are also proud to deliver five Hockey East games and coverage of Big Ten hockey’s inaugural season.”

The 2013-14 NBCSN college hockey schedule will feature 12 appearances by No. 7 Notre Dame, and two appearances for No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 5 Minnesota. In addition, No. 6 North Dakota, No. 10 Michigan, and No. 13 New Hampshire will also play games on NBCSN.

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2013-14 college hockey season begins tonight at 8 p.m. ET with Western Michigan at No. 7 Notre Dame, live from Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind. The game will also be available online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

*All rankings based off USA Today/USA Hockey Men’s College Hockey Poll


Friday, October 11 Western Michigan – Notre Dame 8 p.m.
Friday, October 25 Massachusetts – Maine 8 p.m.
Friday, November 1 Northeastern – Boston College 8 p.m.
Friday, November 8 Minnesota – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 15 Merrimack – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 22 North Dakota – Boston University 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 6 Massachusetts – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 7 Massachusetts – Notre Dame 6:30 p.m.
Friday, December 13 Colorado College – Wisconsin 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 10 Alabama Huntsville – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 17 Lake Superior State – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 18 Penn State – Michigan State 6:30 p.m.
Friday, January 24 Northeastern – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 25 Northeastern – Notre Dame 7:00 p.m.
Friday, January 31 Boston University – Massachusetts 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 1 Wisconsin – Michigan 6:30 p.m.
Friday, February 7 Maine – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 Maine – Notre Dame 8 p.m.
Friday, February 14 Boston University – New Hampshire 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 15 Wisconsin – Ohio State 8 p.m.
Friday, February 21 Boston University – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 1 Penn State – Minnesota TBD

*All times listed are ET and subject to change.


Friday, October 18 Michigan Tech – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 9 Minnesota – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 16 Merrimack – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
Friday, November 29 Alabama Huntsville – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 30 Shillelagh Tournament 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 Alabama Huntsville – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 18 Lake Superior State – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 22 Boston University – Notre Dame 7 p.m.

*All times listed are ET and subject to change.


Big night for Blackhawks, NBC SN; Chills from Stanley Cup video

Update at 6 p.m ET:

NBC SN just filed the final numbers, and they are huge:

NBCSN’s coverage of last night’s game between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks to start the 2013-14 NHL season was watched by an average of 935,000 viewers, making it the most-watched season opener on cable on record (data available since 1993), and the second-most watched regular-season game ever on NBCSN.

Due to the lockout, last year’s season began in January on NBC with regional coverage. Last year’s inaugural Wednesday Night Rivalry game between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers (1/23/13, 956,000) is the only NBCSN regular-season matchup with more viewers than last night’s game. NBCSN began its NHL coverage in 2005-06.

Last night’s game peaked with 1.045 million viewers from 10:45-11 p.m. ET, and posted a 0.51 HH rating. Chicago delivered a 7.32 rating, the highest ever for a regular-season game in that market on NBCSN, which was also the most-watched cable channel in Chicago during the game.


The Blackhawks picked up right where they left off in June; delivering big numbers for NBC SN.

Last night’s game did a .7 overnight rating, the highest ever for a NHL opener ever on NBC SN (including when it was OLN and Versus). The network obviously was ecstatic to pull such a big number for a hockey game on Oct. 1.

As usual, Chicago was the driver. The area did a whopping 7.15 rating (an estimated 254,000 homes), its highest ever for a regular-season game.

Of course, it wasn’t just any regular-season game. Another Stanley Cup banner, the second in four years, was raised at the United Center.

This video surely will give you chills if you’re a Blackhawks fans. It never gets old.

For the latest in sports media, follow me at Sherman_Report.




Michelle Beadle’s quick ride: From studio host for 2012 Olympics to likely being out at NBC

With The Crossover being cancelled, Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead reported Michelle Beadle could be negotiating a way out at NBC. It seems like executive producer Sam Flood no longer is a fan. Neither Beadle nor her agent are talking.

This morning, Richard Deitsch of wrote: 

Under this backdrop, I emailed NBC Sports last Thursday to ask what was next for Beadle in the wake of her show’s cancellation. Here was the nice, neat response from your friendly neighborhood NBC Sports spokesperson: “We expect her to remain a part of the shows she’s done for us in the past such as Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown horse racing, and potentially adding some other assignments within our sports and entertainment properties. Michelle also continues as a correspondent for Access Hollywood.”

Interestingly, there was no mention in the NBC official statement about Beadle playing a role in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. If you remember, she was the studio host for NBC Sports Network during its massive coverage of the 2012 London Games. It was a huge assignment and she got strong reviews for marathon duty.

In fact, Beadle was one of the prime faces for NBC during those Games. When the network did its big media preview prior to the Summer Olympics, with all the top NBC executives on hand, who played the host? None other than their new star, Michelle Beadle.

Now, less than 16 months later, Beadle could be on her way out. My, how quickly things change.


For the latest in sports media and more, please follow me on Twitter at Sherman_Report.


NBC SN ‘adjusts’ schedule; Failure of Beadle show big blow to network

NBC SN send out a release this afternoon with this headline:


Talk about burying the lede.

The official release makes no mention of Michelle Beadle’s show, The Crossover, being canceled. That’s kind of a big deal since Beadle was brought over to be one of the main faces of NBC SN. Her show didn’t even make it nine months.

Instead, the release says:

“With NBCSN televising three weeknight NHL games each week plus pre- and post-game shows beginning with the October 1 start of the season, NBCSN has adjusted its late-afternoon weekday schedule to create vertical programming blocks around its core sports.”

Keep in mind that there isn’t a sports show out there that isn’t doing at least 50 percent on NFL these days, and that included The Crossover. Obviously, if the show was generating ratings, there wouldn’t have been a need for NBC SN to “adjust” the schedule.

The failure to make Crossover work is a blow to NBC SN, which has struggled to establish studio shows. I’m sure the folks at ESPN are getting a good chuckle over this one.

Here’s the official release:


With NBCSN televising three weeknight NHL games each week plus pre- and post-game shows beginning with the October 1 start of the season, NBCSN has adjusted its late-afternoon weekday schedule to create vertical programming blocks around its core sports.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 30, NFL studio programming will be presented in a 90-minute block beginning at 5 p.m. ET.  On weekdays with a live Premier League match, that game will be followed by Premier League Goal Zone.

Following is a summary NBCSN’s new late-afternoon weekday programming schedule:

NFL Programming

  • Pro Football Talk will be preceded by NFL programming each weekday. On Mondays without a live Premier League match, Pro Football Talk expands with a 90-minute program.
  • NBCSN will air an additional Fantasy Football Live on Tuesdays. Fantasy Football Live, in conjunction with Yahoo Sports, will air at 5 p.m. ET on Tuesdays and Thursdays, followed by Pro Football Talk at 5:30 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation at 6:30 p.m. ET on evenings when NHL Live, NBCSN’s pre-game show starts at 7 p.m. ET.
  • Football Night in America: Coach’s Clicker will air on Wednesdays and with an encore presentation on Fridays at 5 p.m. ET, followed by Pro Football Talk at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Premier League Programming

  • NBC Sports Group’s Premier League Goal Zone expands on weekdays, primarily Mondays at 5 p.m. ET, following Premier League fixtures.

NHL Programming

  • NBC Sports Group’s 2013 NHL regular-season coverage begins Tues., Oct. 1 with NHL Face-Off as the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks host the Washington Capitals. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with NBC Sports Group’s pre-game show, NHL Live.
  • New NHL programming to be announced tomorrow on 12 noon ET conference call.

Typical Weekday Programming Schedule – without a Premier League Weekday Fixture (all times ET, subject to change):

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
5 p.m. 5 p.m. 5 p.m. 5 p.m. 5 p.m.
Pro Football Talk Fantasy Football Live Football Night in America: Coach’s Clicker Fantasy Football Live Football Night in America: Coach’s Clicker Encore
5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m.
Pro Football Talk Pro Football Talk Pro Football Talk Pro Football Talk
6:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.
New NHL Program Fantasy Football Live



NBC SN cancels The Crossover; What’s next for Beadle?

Earlier this week, I did a post on how Michelle Beadle planned to do more promotion for her show, The Crossover.

No need.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times just did a tweet saying her show has been cancelled.

Indeed, even with some heavy promotion for the initial launch of the show last winter, it never caught on. Beadle’s appeal, which made her a star at ESPN, hasn’t transferred over to NBC SN.

So it’s back to the drawing board for Beadle and NBC SN. The network made a considerable investment in her, and she does have a track record. Finding the right vehicle is another story.

Clearly, it wasn’t The Crossover.




Michelle Beadle: ‘Realize we’re on network that is struggling and we don’t get a lot of promotion’

You don’t hear much from Michelle Beadle these days, at least on the sports side. Her move to NBC Sports Network has been a struggle.

The first version of her show, The Crossover, was blown up; bye-bye Dave Briggs. Now going solo, she plays to a fraction of the audience that once watched her daily at ESPN.

Beadle did a chat with the guys at Sports Media Weekly last week, and Sports Business Daily published some of the highlights.

“I love what we’re doing now, but then again I’m not an idiot. I realize we’re on a network that is new and struggling and we don’t get a lot of promotion. So I kind of battle with that every day. Do I fight the good fight and promote the show on my own? Do I just give up and act like a whiny person? It’s interesting, but we have such a good crew and they work hard.” She added, “I look at Twitter now and I think, ‘You know what, I’ve got more followers on Twitter than the network gets viewers. There’s got to be a way to turn that into eyes on the show.’ So that’s kind of where I am now. I hate it because it’s going to be so self-promoting, but I’m starting to realize if you don’t do that then it’s hard to complain after the fact.

I’m not sure why people in the media are so shy about promoting themselves and their content. She hardly is alone there.

Isn’t that one of the great reasons for using Twitter?

Beadle has more than 800,000 followers. Tweet away about the show, Michelle.



Yet another NFL show: Dungy, Harrison featured on NBC SN’s ‘Coach’s Clicker’

There really is no end in sight.

Here are the details from the latest serving to the NFL smorgasbord.


NBCSN will launch a new, weekly half-hour NFL studio show– FNIA Coach’s Clicker – on Wednesday, Sept. 11, that dovetails off of Football Night in America, the most-watched pre-game show in sports. FNIA Coach’s Clicker will debut each week at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison providing an in-depth Xs-and-Os preview of the upcoming week’s biggest games, including the Sunday Night Football contest. Liam McHughwill host the new program from the famous Studio 8H at NBCUniversal’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York City.

Derived from the weekly coach’s clicker segment on Football Night in America, FNIA Coach’s Clicker will look ahead to the upcoming week by providing in-depth breakdowns of teams, one-on-one matchups and schemes that will factor into the outcome of biggest games. Dungy and Harrison will take viewers inside the film room to take apart offenses, defenses and special teams by utilizing highlights, graphics and Coach Dungy’s clicker. NFL insiders Mike Florio and Scott Pioli will appear weekly to provide viewers with relevant news and notes about the upcoming week’s slate of games.

The premiere episode of FNIA Coach’s Clicker will focus on the Week 2 Sunday Night Football contest between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, as well as other games. While the program debuts each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET, its first encore will occur later that same night at midnight ET. That airing will follow the weekly debut of Emmy Award-nominated NFL Turning Point, NBCSN’s weekly show co-produced by NFL Films which reviews the most-critical moments of the previous week’s biggest games.

“Every week, FNIA Coach’s Clicker will provide the deepest dive on the biggest games of the week,” said Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “Tony, Rodney and Liam will take NFL fans inside the film room to break down the most critical Xs-and-Os elements of the upcoming week. While NFL Turning Point looks back at the most critical moments of the previous week’s biggest games, FNIA Coach’s Clicker will look ahead.”

The coach’s clicker segment on Football Night in America and now FNIA Coach’s Clicker utilize an actual clicker that is identical to the one Dungy used to communicate Xs-and-Os strategy with his teams during his 13-year head coaching career.


Tony Dungy on impact of King’s speech in sports: “We’ve made a lot of progress; not quite there yet, but it’s coming”

Tony Dungy ranks among top people in all of sports when it comes to making an impact that goes beyond games. So it is quite fitting to hear his comments about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous speech.

Turns it out made quite an impression on a 7-year-old boy in Michigan.

Here is what Dungy said during an interview with Carolyn Manno today on Sports Dash With Yahoo! on NBC SN:


Carolyn Manno: “We are celebrating the 50-year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, a moment in history that helped shape modern America. Super Bowl-winning coach and current NBC NFL analyst Tony Dungy joins us now on the phone. Tony, what do you remember about that moment?”

Tony Dungy: “Carolyn, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 7 years old, and I just remember sitting there watching on television, black and white TV, and seeing an African-American man captivate the whole country. For me, growing up in a little small town in Michigan, it was a thrill, but it also got me to think about dreaming.”

CM: “What do you remember about your father’s reaction, Tony?”

TD: “My dad was a schoolteacher who had fought in World War II. He had taught in segregated schools before I was born. I think there was a pride factor in him, too, and a sense that we were making progress and that maybe his children would get some of the benefits that he didn’t have growing up. I know he was thrilled by it.”

CM: “It’s been 50 years since Dr. King’s speech, Tony, and 10 years since the NFL imposed what is known as the Rooney Rule — essentially Steelers chairman Dan Rooney pushing the league to require teams to interview minority candidates every time there’s a coaching or GM vacancy. As you look at the landscape, what are your thoughts on where things stand right now?”

TD: “Well, I think we have made a lot of progress in sports in general, and in the NFL in particular. My first encounter with the NFL was with the Steelers; I played there and Dan Rooney was the chairman at that time. I just remember Dan being at the forefront of trying to make things right, and telling me as a young coach, ‘We want you to be yourself. Be who you are. We want you to climb the ladder.’ He just gave me a lot of help throughout my career. I think that was Dr. King’s dream, that we get to the point where we don’t need the Rooney Rule, where things just flow naturally and we are judged by how well you do the job. That’s coming, and we’ve made a lot of progress; not quite there yet, but it’s coming.”

CM: “You mention everyone who has influenced you, and you have certainly been a mentor to many in the league. You met with Michael Vick in prison after he pleaded guilty to dog-fighting charges, you reached out to Chip Kelly after Riley Cooper used a racial slur; how has what Dr. King stood for impacted your ability to counsel others?

TD: “I was blessed to come up at a time where I had so many people helping me. I look back and Dan Rooney and Chuck Noll jumpstarting my career and being able to dream as a young coach in the league now about being a head coach. When I got to that position in 1996 in Tampa, that was one of the things I wanted to do, to help other young minorities get that opportunity, and to me it’s been really fun watching the careers of these guys take off. It’s been a blessing to me to be able to help Mike Tomlin, Leslie Frazier, Jim Caldwell, Lovie Smith, Herm Edwards get to that head coaching pinnacle. It’s been great for me, something to give back and to keep that vision of Dr. King alive.”

CM: “Still there were head coaching vacancies and GM vacancies at the end of last season that weren’t filled, only filled by white candidates. What progress should we expect in the next 10 years; where do we need to go from here, in your opinion?”

TD: “I think in all of the areas – coaching, general managers, staff, high-ranking positions – we just have to live up to what Dr. King was saying — judge by the content, the character, what guys have done through experience. That’s what we are hoping for and we have made tons of progress in that area. We just have to keep going.”