The NFL will officially be back Thursday night and the new ESPN booth of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick will be back in action on Monday night to call the second game of a doubleheader featuring the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos (10:15 p.m ET, ESPN). It will be their first game together as the official broadcasters of Monday Night Football
The trio did call last year’s week 1 game between the Broncos and Raiders.
On Monday, Levy, Griese, and Riddick appeared on The Adam Schefter Podcast for the first time as a trio. As Levy pointed out, the microscope should be on ESPN because of the amount of great games that appear to be on the schedule as of right now.
“I’ve heard executives at our place say that this is the best Monday Night Football schedule in over a decade. We are set up, by the people we have that you will see on television and behind the scenes especially, for success. We have been put in a position to succeed by a lot of smart people that work at the very top of our place.”
Levy feels that the transition to the booth won’t fully take effect for him until next week when the three of them have the sole game on the Monday night slate when the Las Vegas Raiders open their new stadium against the New Orleans Saints.
During this opening weekend of the NFL, there will be an emphasis on what goes on from the players in terms of raising awareness for social justice and what teams decide to do. As Levy points out, it is a message you he hopes can tie into the game.
“There will be opportunities I think in the broadcast and it might be once or twice a quarter to have an opinion and to tie that into the football on the field and the feelings of the players. Getting the players, coaches, GM’s, hopefully ownership and getting those messages out there and combining that with our own personal messages.
“The interesting part will be to manage that. I think there’s a part of the population that probably just wants to be entertained for those 3 hours on Monday night but there’s probably a greater majority I think that wants to know certainly what Louis has to say on the topic and Brian and I will not be able to stay silent. There’s a fine line there.”
Riddick did mention how ESPN has been a network willing to have those conversations about social justice and knows that he has the platform to be an inspiration to many people watching him every Monday night.
“It’s real. It’s traumatic. I would never try to run from it. I can’t run from it anyway because I am one of the people that has experienced forms of being treated unequal or unfairly at different points in my life. Having the platform that I have now I think it inspires people that are African-American or minorities to never give up hope that you can achieve something significant in your life. I take that very seriously.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of changes to broadcasts and many zoom meetings with players and coaches, Riddick mentioned how he embraces that challenge because it is something we are all doing in society.
“It’s going to be so unorthodox in many ways because it has to be. What a great opportunity to really put on display without making it about you, the broadcaster. To be a part of this in a year where there are so many eyes and so many varying opinions to accept and step up to the challenge of doing something. I want that challenge.”
Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys
The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.
Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.
Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:
Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.
NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer
“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”
According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.
Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.
The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.
The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options.
A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.