Chris Fowler is echoing his college football broadcast partner, Kirk Herbstreit, when asked about the NFL. Both are adamant that they love being on Disney’s top college football broadcast, but in an interview with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch published on Monday, Fowler says he would be happy to do more NFL games in the future.
“It interests me in that I love football and that I always have. I have preferred college over the NFL throughout my career as I have much more experience doing it,” Fowler told Deitsch. “But I have always been a fan of the NFL, and it is football at the highest level. There are a lot of things about it that intrigue me. But that doesn’t mean I am going to take over Monday Night Football. Because I didn’t. I am very happy doing what I am doing. I am living the dream. The NFL is a massively important property to my company – the most important. So the landscape ahead may change and there may be opportunities and I would never close myself to any opportunity, especially one that is really rewarding and fun.”
Two weeks ago, Brian Giuffra of The Big Lead spoke with Kirk Herbstreit, who admitted that he “had an absolute ball” and “was blown away” by how much he enjoyed calling NFL games.
In a column for The Big Lead on Monday, Giuffra wrote that the two statements taken together along with ESPN’s future plans for the NFL seem significant.
“The end of that statement, when paired with the change in tenor from Herbstreit and Andrew Marchand’s report that Disney/ESPN are trying to steal Sunday Night Football away from NBC, is a significant indicator to me that Herbstreit and Fowler are, at minimum, positioning themselves to be the future face of ESPN’s NFL coverage.”
ESPN has struggled to find consistency in the Monday Night Football booth in recent years. It is possible Fowler, Herbstreit and ESPN envision a future with the top college football play-by-play team pulling double duty each week even if the network doesn’t add any other NFL inventory.
Mike Mulligan: Idea Shohei Ohtani Used MLB Media to Increase Price is ‘Pretty Wild’
“I think that’s been reported or that’s the conspiracy theory, right?”
When Shohei Ohtani inked a 10-year contract reportedly worth a record $700 million to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, it sent the baseball world in a state of shock and euphoria. Mike Mulligan and David Haugh speculated on such as well and reacted to the events of the previous few days on Monday morning.
Specifically on Friday, social media users noticed a private jet flying from Anaheim to Toronto, prompting people to assume that it was Ohtani traveling to the country to officially sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. It turns out that the plane transported Shark Tank investor and entrepreneur Robert Herjavec and his children back from a vacation in Southern California, much to the disappointment of fans who were hoping that it was Ohtani making his decision.
Instead, Ohtani announced the news of his agreement with the Dodgers on Instagram on Saturday afternoon, completing a protracted pursuit to land the two-time American League MVP that reports say lasted over a year.
Moreover, it brought inaccurate reports to light from several venerated members of the media who have been covering MLB for many years. MLB Network insider Jon Morosi in particular confirmed that Ohtani was on the plane, but later issued an apology for promulgating misinformation.
“It was a crazy Friday in Major League Baseball media,” Haugh said on Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score. “I wonder how much Ohtani’s agents worked and manipulated the process behind the scenes; maybe fed some respected reporters some bad info to get the Dodgers thinking that the Blue Jays were going to be all in.”
According to an in-depth story from Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated, the Dodgers were uncertain whether or not the team would land Ohtani on Friday night. It also claims that the team saw the report of the private jet flying to Toronto and decided to go all-in by increasing their offer. Although much of the remuneration is expected to be deferred, Ohtani is now projected to make $11.7 million per month, $432,099 per game and $50.01 per second under this new deal.
“I got to tell you the idea that they used national baseball writers to jack up the price is pretty wild,” co-host Mike Mulligan said. “They fed information to people that they were headed to Toronto. I think that’s been reported or that’s the conspiracy theory, right?”
The discussion on the Chicago sports radio program continued to surmise as to why the Chicago Cubs did not land Ohtani. The team had been reported as being involved in the bidding process, although much of the information surrounding the free agency has been shrouded in secrecy. As a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Mike Mulligan is familiar with having to verify information.
At the moment, the Dodgers have yet to officially announce the deal that Ohtani is signing with them, which could indicate that the deal is pending the completion of a physical. Once everything becomes official, the Dodgers will officially have a lineup featuring three players that have won a combined five Most Valuable Player awards, along with plenty of depth up and down the roster.
“I think that the Dodgers always seemed to be the team that he was going to land on,” Haugh said regarding Ohtani earlier in the segment. “It seemed inevitable from the beginning. We built up our hope here; it seemed a little bit remote all the time. You kind of knew it, but it was fun to dream a little bit because of how good he is.”
“I just think that the Cubs probably stopped bidding on this; I’m guessing $550 [million] tops, something like that,” Mike Mulligan added. “That was one of the rumors. It starts going up and you kind of must know at that point that if you jump in and you pay more than the next guy, you’re going to get him.”
CBS Sports Producer Defends Army/Navy Halftime Show
“They’re doing their pre, halftime and postgame jobs just like we would.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen faced off for their annual matchup – the 124th such occurrence of the signature contest – and broadcast by CBS Sports. Army extended its win streak to two games over Navy, but the day was about much more than the game on the gridiron.
Outside of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., ESPN College GameDay was situated and featured guest picker and New England Patriots general manager and head coach Bill Belichick. Additionally, there were the traditional ceremonies that took place inside the stadium featuring the Army cannon that has become synonymous with the game itself, fired at kickoff and during other momentous occurrences during the matchup.
The matchup was televised on CBS Sports featuring play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler, analyst Gary Danielson, and sideline reporter Jenny Dell on the call. On Monday morning’s edition of Boomer & Gio on WFAN and simulcast on CBS Sports Network, a caller expressed their opinions of the broadcast – not during play itself, but rather pertaining to halftime.
“Now halftime is all about pomp,” the caller said. “…Why did CBS Sports bring the counterfeiters, those three jabronis; why did they have them talk and not let us show the viewers the actual halftime?”
Appearing on the halftime program Saturday included host Adam Zucker with analysts Rick Neuheisel and Brian Jones. The presentation that was televised on CBS Sports seemed to perturb this caller though, as he would have rather seen what was taking place inside of the stadium. Instead, the panel discussed the game at hand and performed the task that was assigned to them by the company, and in so doing was subject to the vitriol of viewers missing out on the on-site festivities.
Luckily for Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, the program had CBS Sports producer Stephen Waldron on the line, who was asked by Giannotti to answer the question from the caller.
“I would say they’re definitely not jabronis,” Waldron explained, “and I didn’t watch the game, so I can’t comment on it.”
Esiason is a member of The NFL Today and will be on the road for the AFC Championship game in January to determine one of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, Nev. He compared the jobs of members of College Football Today to what they are doing on the NFL broadcast, simply fulfilling the roles and parameters thereof assigned to them.
“They’re doing their pre, halftime, and postgame jobs just like we would,” Esiason said.
Mike Felger: Being 2nd Chair in Sports Radio ‘Sneaky Hard’
“I’m just used to running my mouth and setting the pace, and that sort of thing.”
Morning drive on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub will have a new co-host alongside Fred Toucher starting in January, and speculation continues to swirl about who will replace longtime co-host Rich Shertenlieb.
The Boston Herald last week reported the latest in the station’s search for a new morning co-host. Kendra Middleton, a familiar voice in the mornings, has interviewed, and other current station talent like Jim Murray and Rob “Hardy” Poole are believed to be getting consideration.
Mike Felger, co-host of Felger & Mazz on The Sports Hub, has been jokingly suggested as the next co-host. But Felger said in a digital video reported on by the Herald that it would certainly be a challenge, and that he and Toucher would have success.
“I think it would go well,” he said. “What is a sneaky hard spot is to be in the second chair, to be in the Mazz chair, the B chair, because listening is harder than talking… that would be the only discomfort.”
Felger added that it would be an adjustment.
“I’m just used to running my mouth and setting the pace, and that sort of thing,” he said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional 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, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
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