Nearly 20 years after being named head coach of the Oakland Raiders, it appears Jon Gruden will join the franchise for a second stint. Gruden hasn’t coached since being fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, after which he joined ESPN as an analyst on Monday Night Football.
“My understanding is they’re interviewing candidates this week and they’re going to let everybody know sometime early next week or whenever they make their decision,” Gruden said in an interview with Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.
Asked specifically if he was a candidate, Gruden said, “Well, I think I am being considered, yes. I hope I’m a candidate.”
Much like we saw Scott Frost unprecedentedly coach UCF in a bowl game after taking a new coaching job with Nebraska, Gruden also has previous engagements he’d like to fulfill. ESPN has Saturday’s Wild Card Game between the Titans and Chiefs, which will be called by Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden. Should Gruden be able to remain in the booth for the game? Will the soon to be rival Chiefs and their head coach want to discuss their gameplan during the week with Gruden?
In response to whether or not calling the Chiefs Titans game could be an issue, “They played my brother (Jay) on Monday Night Football once too, so there will be some awkward moments and we’re probably going to laugh a little bit about it, but that’ll be cool,” Gruden told McDonald. “If I have to sit in the truck with my eyes closed, so be it.”
Earlier this season Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen joined Fox during the Panthers bye week while Olsen was still on IR. He was added to the team of Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis for the Rams Vikings broadcast. Much to Olsen’s surprise, his presence on the telecast upset the Vikings and their GM, so much so that they tried to get him moved to a different game.
“For anyone who has ever been in those broadcast production meetings, if you’re spilling your deepest, darkest game-plan secrets to the broadcast crew, that’s kind of on you,” said Olsen, who has been in production meetings before. “We’re not getting anything that’s really going to give you much insight on how to beat them.”
Fox limited the amount of pre-game access Olsen had and he did not attend a practice, walkthrough or production meeting.
“The notion that I’m going to gain an unfair advantage is crazy. We have scouts at every game across the league. I’m going to have enough trouble on my hands broadcasting a game, let alone looking for little nuances on the sideline,” said Olsen
Gruden hasn’t yet been named the next head coach of the Raiders, but all signs point to it happening very soon. The Chiefs being aware that Gruden will soon be their division rival might look to limit the information they give the ESPN broadcast team. If the Vikings didn’t want Olsen to be in on their meetings, odds are some of the Chief’s front office would prefer if Gruden kept his distance.
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 [email protected].
WWE Moving Smackdown From FOX to USA in 2024
“Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four primetime WWE specials each year too. Those will run on NBC.”
All good things must come to an end. That is the case with the relationship between the WWE and FOX. Smackdown will leave the network next year and return to USA Network in a new media rights agreement.
Several reports from earlier this year have indicated that FOX was unlikely to renew the deal.
A five-year deal worth a reported $287 million per year between the WWE and NBCUniversal begins in October 2024. It will put Smackdown on USA, where it ran from 2016 until 2019, and has a total value of more than $1.4 billion.
Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four prime time WWE specials each year too beginning during the 2024-25 season. Those will run on NBC.
“It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership,” Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment, said in a statement. “With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”
This does not mean all of WWE’s media rights are accounted for. The company is still in discussions for a new deal for Raw, which it expects to reach next year.
USA has enjoyed a more than 20-year relationship with Raw. It has been the anchor of the network’s Monday night programming and is routinely WWE’s most-viewed TV product.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock is also the home of WWE Network. The addition of Smackdown should strengthen the company’s position with the WWE.
Ourand reports that while the signs seem to indicate that WWE will exclusively be doing business with NBCUniversal, nothing is decided. Disney and Amazon have both met with TKO Holdings about acquiring some WWE programming and the companies have discussed the potential for Raw to move to a different night as part of a new deal.
ESPN Decision Not to Show Nick Chubb Replay ‘Out of Respect to the Viewers’
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb.”
The decision made not to show a replay of Nick Chubb’s injury on ABC’s Monday Night Football broadcast has been met with scrutiny. The network did not offer a detailed explanation for the decision.
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb,” an ESPN spokesperson said when asked by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch how the decision was made.
The spokesperson added that the decision did not come down from network brass. It was made onsite by the Monday Night Football production crew.
On the broadcast, Troy Aikman revealed that the injury was “as bad as you can imagine” after Joe Buck told the audience that he had been informed that the network had decided not to replay the interview.
While some members of the public praised the decision, some sports media professionals have had the opposite reaction, including Dan Patrick, who said ABC had a duty to the viewers to show a replay to put the sport and the event in context.
Marcellus Wiley has ‘No Love & No Respect’ for Stephen A. Smith’s Ethics
“I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
Marcellus Wiley doesn’t want to hear Stephen A. Smith caping for Shannon Sharpe. He said its hard to overlook the hypocrisy of the ESPN star saying it is unfair to see Sharpe “pushed out” of Undisputed when he did the same thing to Max Kellerman on First Take.
Smith said that he has no ill-will towards Kellerman but did not like hosting First Take with him. He claimed that his ultimatum to ESPN management that one of them had to go was about the show not resonating with audiences the way it used to.
“He got Max fired. Put off the show,” Wiley said. “It’s hard to say. Stephen A felt threatened point blank. Ain’t no way around it.”
Wiley says that part of Stephen A. Smith’s problem with Terrell Owens is that Owens touched a nerve with his joke that Kellerman sounded Blacker than Smith. Wiley said that for whatever reason, it is something Smith remains sensitive about.
He also took Smith to task for claiming that he knows the story behind Sharpe’s ouster from FS1 but cannot tell it. Wiley says Smith has a more compelling story to tell and that people just want to hear him own up to why Kellerman had to go.
“I still got love for Stephen A,” Wiley said. “At the same time, you know me, I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
He added that for all of the talk about Kellerman never being the right fit for First Take, he can remember working with Kellerman on ESPN Los Angeles and hearing Smith call to try and convince Kellerman to move to New York to join First Take.
“Grandma always said ‘can’t makes sense out of nonsense.’ Let me say this. Stephen A gets a salute from all, especially me, because I respect his work ethic. But right now, and a lot of people are seeing it right before our very eyes, no love and no respect for your ethics.”