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Hard Knocks Ratings Disappoint In 2020 Debut

“Maybe the realities of Covid-19 have just made training camp less interesting.”

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HBO can’t be happy with the numbers the new season of Hard Knocks put up in week one of the 2020 season. The new season, which features both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, got off to a slow start according to Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal.

If the network was expecting their behind-the-scenes look at NFL training camps to resonate the way The Last Dance did earlier this summer with a sports-starved public, boy were they disappointed. Maybe the numbers aren’t a surprise though.

First, there are a lot more options now for sports fans. Hard Knocks kicked off its new season just one day after the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs began. There was also NBA basketball and Major League Baseball to compete against.

Alex Sherman of CNBC posed a different theory. Maybe the realities of Covid-19 have just made training camp less interesting.

It will be hard to avoid Covid-19 storylines this season. That could give the 2020 edition of Hard Knocks less of an “inside access” feeling this season. Every show everywhere is talking about Covid-19.

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Tony Romo on Criticism: ‘You’re Always Evolving’

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

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Tony Romo isn’t too worried about the criticism he received this season for his work on CBS.

The network’s top NFL analyst was once the toast of the broadcast industry. This year though, he was the subject of plenty of complaints. The former Cowboys’ QB says that is because he is still trying to define himself in his new career.

“I mean, the ability to adapt and learn, if you never try to change at all — I just think like the best players in the world aren’t afraid of failure,” he told Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

Plenty of sports talk radio hosts laid into Romo for his performance during the playoffs. Even his broadcasting mentor, Dick Ebersol, questioned his commitment to the craft, although Ebersol later walked back those comments.

Tony Romo seems to hear the criticism. He says that he isn’t going to insist on continuing to do the things the audience tells him are not working.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

For all of the complaints though, Romo says there are still plenty of people that think he is doing a good job.

“You don’t always get it right, but I do think more often than not, just the people that come up to you all the time. I mean, it’s quadruple from my first 2-3 years, of how many people come up to me on the street and want to talk about it and how they loved it and stuff. So it’s really rewarding for that.” 

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Stephen Nelson: Joining Dodgers Booth ‘Different Challenge Than I’ve Ever Had’

“If you grew up a fan of sports in Southern California, you had Vin Scully…Jaime Jarrin…Chick Hearn…Ralph Lawler…Every single night you could listen and watch broadcasting greatness.”

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MLB Network Intentional Talk co-host Stephen Nelson is joining the Los Angeles Dodgers television booth, and is slated to call at least 50 games for the franchise on Spectrum SportsNet LA in 2023.

Nelson will work games when lead play-by-play announcer Joe Davis is on assignment for national games as the lead announcer for MLB on FOX and is the network’s number two NFL announcer.

In an interview with Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Nelson was cognizant of “the weight and responsibility” that comes with working for the Dodgers.

“It’s a different challenge than I’ve ever had,” Nelson said. “If you grew up a fan of sports in Southern California, you had Vin Scully, you had Jaime (Jarrín), had Chick Hearn or you’re listening to Ralph Lawler on the Clippers. Every single night you could listen and watch broadcasting greatness … even though they weren’t teaching a class directly, I still went to their school.”

The 33-year-old Nelson will be the only Asian American play-by-play broadcaster working Major League Baseball, and he’s proud of that distinction.

“It means everything to me,” Nelson said. “To be in a position where I can help further pave the way for the next wave of AAPI broadcasters or minority broadcasters — because if you look around the sport, and sports in general, it’s pretty embarrassing, to be frank. That’s something that I do not approach lightly at all. It’s a massive responsibility.”

In 2022, Nelson worked as a play-by-play announcer for AppleTV+’s Friday Night Baseball franchise, mostly on the outlet’s “West” games, alongside Hunter Pence, Katie Nolan, and Heidi Watney.

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Greg Olsen Can Leave FOX For Another Network

“When Tom Brady is ready, that chair is his.”

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Greg Olsen

Now that Tom Brady’s playing career is officially over, plenty of people are talking about what comes next. He has a contract from FOX on the table that will put him in the network’s top NFL booth when he is ready. What that means for Greg Olsen remains unclear.

Olsen has won plenty of fans this season. Last week, he told ESPN 1000 that he is a “big boy” and he “knew what he signed up for” when he was elevated to the top slot at the network alongside Kevin Burkhardt. When Tom Brady is ready, that chair is his.

Plenty have speculated that FOX could go with a three-man booth. That way the network gets the benefits of both Brady’s star power and Olsen’s ability to dissect a game.

There is another option for Greg Olsen though according to Andrew Marchand. The New York Post writer reports that Olsen can opt out of his contract at FOX and join another network if he is offered a job.

Olsen cannot take just anything. He can only pursue a job in another network’s top booth if offered. That spot is locked up for every network with an NFL TV deal currently, but it won’t be forever and Greg Olsen has proven his worth to the broadcasting world this season.

“He could end up being this generation’s Cris Collinsworth, having a long, lucrative career, despite not having played quarterback or for the Cowboys or in New York,’ Marchand writes. “People love an underdog — especially if the person delivers.”

While Tom Brady will eventually be Kevin Burkhardt’s partner, it will not happen on February 12th. FOX is sticking with Burkhardt and Olsen to call Super Bowl LVII.

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