The 2015 NFL season kicks off tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New England Patriots. To help get you in the mood, we caught up with NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen to discuss his show, leaving ESPN and why he runs the 40-yard dash in a suit. Eisen also tells us his favorite meals, TV shows and admits his love for Jon Stewart.
In addition to being the face of the NFL Network, Eisen hosts The Rich Eisen Show weekdays from noon-3 p.m. ET on DirecTV channel 229. The show is also syndicated via Premiere Radio Networks, airs on Fox Sports Radio and is available on the NFL Now app.
TVNewser: You are getting ready to celebrate the first anniversary of The Rich Eisen Show. How’s the show doing these days?
Eisen: The show is doing great. The lights still work. And apparently, with the phone lines lighting up every day, so do the microphones. Our affiliate group is over 190 strong and now includes Sirius/XM Radio with the guest list getting more and more diverse by the day. For instance, on the very first day of the first NFL week of the season, we had both the Captain of the New York GiantsEli Manning and Captain America himself Chris Evans call in to the program. With us launching in the first week of October last year, I can’t wait to be in the chair every single day of the NFL season to take fans along for the ride.
TVNewser: You were the first anchor added to the NFL Network staff when it launched in 2003. Was it a tough decision to leave ESPN for a start-up network?
Eisen: Not really. By the time I left ESPN in 2003, SportsCenter had become a far different show than the one I initially joined in 1996. Thanks to the proliferation of information being consumed on mobile devices and the internet, management changed SportsCenter from being a show where highlights and storytelling ruled the day to a show where analysts ruled the day. In other words, with the growing assumption that people tuning into the show had already seen the highlights, SportsCenter went from a show about WHAT happened to a show about WHY something happened, with a debate between analysts attached. The role of host had changed entirely, so I asked to do other things in addition to SportsCenter. When that was mostly refused by management in charge at the time, moving out to Los Angeles to be the tip of the spear of a new channel devoted to the NFL became a no-brainer.
TVNewser: You famously run the 40-yard dash every year at the NFL Scouting Combine. It’s impressive, but why do you wear a suit?
Eisen: I wear a suit for two reasons. One, it’s my uniform. The Combine athletes run in theirs and I run in mine. Secondly, no one should be subjected to me wearing spandex. Heck, I should never subject myself to that.
TVNewser: You and ESPN’s Adam Schefter both went to Michigan for undergrad and then Northwestern for a master’s degree. So, if a young person out there wants to be an NFL broadcaster… is UM followed by Northwestern basically the road map to success?
Eisen: It’s not a bad roadmap whatsoever. That said, the number of ways to create content and distribute it these day are far greater than the time when Adam and I ran that journalism gauntlet in Ann Arbor and Evanston at the time. I’m sure if Adam had a website on which to blog and I had a YouTube account through which to post my broadcasts and stories on-line back in the day, we would have jumped at those chances. Thankfully it all worked out.
TVNewser: Ok, what’s your favorite meal in the country. Exact restaurant and order, please.
Eisen: On the East Coast: Rao’s. Meatballs, peas and prosciutto. Chicken parm. And toss in a slice of steak to boot. On the West Coast: Craig’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, whitefish grilled with olive oil, sauteed spinach with a cup of marinara sauce on the side.
TVNewser: What non-sports TV show are you currently watching?
Eisen: With Game of Thrones on a break, my wife, Suzy, and I have started re-watching Deadwood on HBO on Demand. It’s truly one of the greatest shows of all time. We hope the rumored movie reboot of the show is actually happening. I also already desperately miss Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Watched him every night. He’s a genius.
Credit to AdWeek who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Return of Bob Iger Puts Pac-12 ‘Not Exactly In A Great Place’
“I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12.”
The Pac-12 is currently in a media rights negotiation with partners for its next TV deal after the departure of USC and UCLA. The conference has remained committed to the stance that it feels it can match the dollar amount given to the Big 12 from FOX and ESPN. However, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post isn’t so confident.
During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Marchand said the recent return of Bob Iger as Disney CEO, coupled with recent layoffs from Amazon, could spell bad news for the PAC 12’s quest to match what the Big 12 received.
“Do I still think they can get the same number as the Big 12? I do, but you start thinking about where this is going and that’s not exactly a great place to be if you’re the Pac-12. They might get the number, but the idea that they’ll get a lot more than the Big 12 — which I’ve already said is not gonna happen — I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12…I think there’s some rough waters out in the Pacific.”
Marchand said if the University of California Board of Regents won’t allow UCLA to join the Big Ten as expected, the conference would then set its sights on Washington and Oregon, which would continue to decimate the Pac-12.
Ray Didinger Thought NFL Films Was Joking When Approached About Upcoming Special
“I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”
Philadelphia media icon Ray Didinger has a career story worth telling, and that’s why NFL Films will be focusing on it for an upcoming edition of NFL Films Presents…
Didinger, who worked for more than two decades at NFL Films working his way up to the role of senior producer, told Dom Giordano on 1210 WPHT on Tuesday that he was actually surprised when producer Chris Barlow approached him with the idea.
“When NFL Films told me they wanted to do this, I thought they were joking,” Didinger said. “When (Barlow) sent me the email and said we want to do a show about you (and Tommy McDonald), I thought he was just pulling my leg.”
Didinger stated that he was fortunate to have the chance to have his story told. He’s looking forward to fans being able to check out the show, which airs at 12:30 a.m. on Friday on FS1.
“It really turned out well,” he said. “I saw the rough cut of it, and it’s really neat.”
“NFL Films, they are the state of the art in sports cinematography there’s no question about that,” he added. “I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Kay Adams: Pat McAfee Has Built ‘The Dream’
“it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”
Many in sports media respect what former NFL punter Pat McAfee has accomplished in his media endeavors. You can add FanDuel TV host Kay Adams to that list.
“I’m just blown away by the success and by the leverage he has,” Adams said on the My Other Passion podcast. “It is uncanny, it is aspirational, and it is self-made, so it is a beautiful thing. I — of course — watch what he does. I don’t want to be just like him but I do think he is so disruptive.
“He has such a chip on his shoulder. It drives him but I almost wish I could see it relieved a little bit. He’s thriving, he’s happy, and I think the thing that sticks out to me about him is that he’s truly grateful. Truly is grateful for everything he has, his opportunities. He’s worked his ass off for it.”
Adams pointed to McAfee’s recent spat with the NFL over use of the league’s logos as an indicator of not only his success but his influence in the sports landscape.
“He is true to himself but he mostly leads with gratitude, which I think is the epitome of success. But he’s out there show you what can be done. He’s the first, but will he be the last to have that sort of platform? That sort of swing? What he does with the NFL the other week, I’m paying attention to that.
“Because I want to see: is the NFL going to bend the knee to Pat McAfee? Does the NFL care what he says? But it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”
The NFL did eventually “bend the knee” and reversed course on limiting McAfee’s use of league trademarks.