My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University reviews the year in sports media. It never was dull.
Wow, that was fast. At this time a year ago, we had no idea Manti Te’o was mourning a fake girlfriend; that Keith Olbermann would be in again at ESPN and Michelle Beadle out at NBC; and that a new sports cable network would trot out an 81-year-old Regis Philbin as an example of new and innovative programming.
Yes, 2013 has been quite a year for sports media. Some ups, more than a few downs, and many in-betweens. Here’s my review.
Fox Sports 1: Easily, the biggest story of the year in sports media, and it figures to have an effect on the landscape for many years to come. As you would expect, Fox came out blazing … Continue Reading
I was really surprised, and even depressed as someone who has a book coming out next year, to hear the news about disappointing sales for League of Denial.
Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Daily reports:
“League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth,” the heavily hyped book on the NFL’s response to concussions, has dominated conversations since its early October release. What it has not done is dominate book sales.
Since its release on Oct. 8, the book has sold fewer than 10,000 print copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, placing it well outside the top 200 books sold. “League of Denial” sold 3,300 copies in its first week, which made it for that week the No. 1 sports and recreation seller, according to Nielsen. Currently, it ranks 19th in that category for the year, with
… Continue Reading
ESPN vice-president Marcia Keegan, who oversees Outside The Lines, has read the charges that ESPN isn’t committed to solid journalism. She begs to differ.
“Sometimes, the people who make those criticisms aren’t paying attention,” Keegan said. “We put through the time, effort and resources into covering the tough stories. We do tell the stories that need to be told.”
Now Keegan and OTL can make their points while holding broadcast journalism’s highest honor. Today, ESPN will receive the prestigious duPont Award for OTL’s series stories on youth football. It is the first time the network has won the duPont.
The duPont committee from Columbia University said: “This important investigation added to the growing body of coverage about concussions and football with stories that graphically illustrated the problems and featured exclusive interviews with those involved in the controversies.”
It is … Continue Reading
NBC should thank Detroit. The Lions’ loss to Baltimore opens the door for Chicago-Green Bay to moved to prime time for NBC on the last Sunday of the season.
The flex rules for week 17 give the NFL (not NBC!) until Monday to make a decision. NBC, though, definitely will have input. The idea is to ensure Al Michaels and Co. have a meaningful game for the grand finale.
What could be better than a winner-take-all Bears-Packers game for the NFC North title in frigid Soldier Field? Throw in the likely return of Aaron Rodgers, the league’s oldest rivalry, and you’ve got plenty of storylines to satisfy Bob Costas.
Detroit’s loss dropped the Lions to 7-7, behind the Bears (8-6) and Packers (7-6-1). If the Bears beat Philadelphia; Green Bay defeats Pittsburgh; or the Giants beat Detroit on Sunday, the … Continue Reading
The Bears weren’t very good when I was a kid growing up in Chicago in the early ’70s. The Abe Gibron era left something to be desired.
As a result, I gravitated to another team. In 1972, I actually started to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, pre- “Immaculate Reception.” Mainly, I liked their uniforms and this new young quarterback named Terry Bradshaw. It doesn’t take much more than that when you’re 12.
Officially, I like to think I was an early rider on the Steelers’ bandwagon. Soon I had plenty of company for a team that was beloved beyond the city borders of Pittsburgh.
Gary Pomerantz revisits those Steelers in a terrific new book, Their Lives Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Steelers, Then and Now. He tells the story of how the dynasty was built and then revisits … Continue Reading
On a recent New York Times bestseller list that featured Bill O’Reilly, Malcolm Gladwell, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Sarah Palin, and even the ubiquitous Ron Burgundy, there was the name of Colin Cowherd.
Cowherd’s new book, You Herd Me!, checked in at No. 11. Pretty good company for a first-time author.
Cowherd’s appearance on the list speaks to the power of sports talk radio. Nothing like a little promotion on the ESPN brand.
However, it also says something about his following. While he definitely can be polarizing, I had several people tell me they were looking forward to getting his book.
If you like Cowherd’s radio and TV shows, you’ll like his book. It is essentially the written version of his on-air routine taken, he says, to a level he can’t do on radio.
Cowherd, with assistance from Tim Keown, … Continue Reading
The Heisman Trophy winner will be revealed Saturday. Strike the pose, Jameis Winston.
There doesn’t seem to be much suspense this year, but that hasn’t always been the case. Take last year, for instance, when Johnny Manziel beat Manti Te’o. As I remember, it wasn’t a sure thing going into that Saturday night.
Usually, the run-up to the Heisman features the voters disclosing their choices in columns or on air. Polls are taken, predicting the winner.
This year, though, is different.
The Heisman Trust is mandating that voters don’t reveal their selections until after Saturday night’s show on ESPN. The reason is obvious: It wants to keep the suspense for viewers until the winner is announced.
Several writers said they couldn’t go along with the edict. Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com wrote a strong column on why he won’t be voting … Continue Reading
It seems incredible that one of the best baseball writers of all time isn’t a member of the BBWA. And that means Roger Angell also doesn’t have a Hall of Fame vote.
“I was hoping to be a member for many years, but it never seemed to be within reach,” Angell said yesterday after receiving the J.G. Spink Award, the highest honor given by the Hall of Fame to a baseball writer.
Angell, 93, wasn’t complaining. That wouldn’t be his style. Rather, he was pointing out that he just wants to be a member of the club.
Yes, Angell isn’t a daily baseball writer or a columnist for a newspaper and website. But surely the magnitude of his writing on baseball merits his inclusion in the BBWA. Obviously, the rules needed to be adjusted a long time ago to get … Continue Reading
No matter where you are, when you watch your favorite team on your regional sports network, you should think of Jim Corno.
Corno, the president of Comcast SportsNet Chicago who died Tuesday at the age of 66, was a true pioneer in local sports TV. When he joined SportsVision in Chicago in 1984, it was a struggling pay network that reached few homes. He transformed the station into a huge outlet that eventually became the template for regional sports networks throughout the country.
White Sox and Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf knew how much Corno meant to him. He summed up his impact on sports TV:
“How do you best remember someone like Jim Corno? The average fan may not immediately recognize Jim’s name, but I think perhaps no one else in this city has done more over the past four … Continue Reading
In keeping with the Mike Ditka day theme today at Sherman Report, I thought I would share my interview with Seth Markman. ESPN’s senior coordinating producer for its studio shows has had an up close view of working with Ditka on Sunday NFL Countdown since 2004.
Here’s my Q/A:
Why has Ditka lasted 20 years as a network TV analyst?
It’s because he really is an icon. There’s so much weight on every word he says. It’s rare to have a Hall of Fame player and a Super Bowl-winning coach. That just doesn’t happen. He can speak to anything that goes on in the game.
You have to travel with him to understand how beloved he is, not only in Chicago but around the country. It’s unlike anyone I’ve been around.
The bottom line is that he’s still good at … Continue Reading