Next Thursday night, Mike Greenberg will be in the lead chair of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage live in Cleveland, Ohio alongside Louis Riddick, Booger McFarland, and Mel Kiper Jr.
This week, Greenberg was on The Adam Schefter Podcast with Schefter to talk about his preparation for hosting the draft. He told Schefter that hosting Rounds 1-3, means he has to know more about this draft than anyone before it.
“I love the draft, but I usually know about 20 of the players intimately. This time around because I am doing the first 3 rounds, I set a goal of knowing 120 players intimately. That takes a lot of work. By the time we get there, I will have not only done notes, but watched tape on 120 players with the hope nobody sneaks in.”
Hosting the draft brings back great memories for Greenberg. Back in 1991, his first ever assignment as a sports reporter was covering the Chicago Bears draft that season. He told Schefter he got paid $20 to cover the event from 8 AM-midnight, but he would have paid $20 to cover it back then.
Being a part of the NFL Draft isn’t new for Greenberg. He was the co-host of ESPN Radio’s Draft coverage from 2004-2006 when it was at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, but he doesn’t expect that his radio experience will be anything like TV.
“It couldn’t be more different. You can’t see anything on the radio. There was nothing to do but us talk. In this case, we are seeing these great pictures of the crowd reacting, the players and their families reacting. You want to let that breathe a little.”
Part of Greenberg’s research was to watch some past drafts. The producer of the NFL Draft, Bryan Ryder, sent him two of them, one hosted by Chris Berman and one hosted by Trey Wingo so Greenberg can look at the mechanics of hosting. In fact, Greenberg looks at advice Berman gave him that has stuck with him about how to host the NFL Draft.
“We’ve exchanged a lot of notes and the most interesting piece of advice he gave me was I’ve approached this like an NFL show, from the NFL team point of view. Now that I have heard him say that, you can hear it philosophically [from the past coverage]. You have the power structure of the entire league being re-shaped while at the very same time, the wildest dreams of 32 young men and their entire families coming true. When he said that to me, it really crystalized in my mind.”
So, what is Greenberg’s goal for a successful draft coverage? He hopes he can help the other people at the desk shine.
“I am facilitating our coverage of the draft. If everyone feels like the coverage was really good, I got everything I wanted and they don’t remember who was sitting in the middle of it all, then I did a good job.”
AEW Dynamite Moving To TBS
“Wrestling hasn’t been seen on TBS since the network cancelled WCW Thunder in March of 2001.”
Hockey is coming to TNT. That means wrestling is moving to TBS. The network will be the new home of AEW: Dynamite starting in January.
AEW’s original TV show airs on Wednesdays. That will be the spotlight day of the TNT NHL package. The network will present hockey doubleheaders every Wednesday, leaving no room for wrestling.
TNT won’t be completely out of the AEW business. In a press release, WarnerMedia announced that Friday will still see AEW: Rampage airing on the network. The press release pointed out that Rampage has gotten off to a very hot start for TNT.
“Since its August 13 debut, AEW: Rampage has ranked as one of the top cable programs on Friday night. The second week of the show featuring the debut of CM Punk delivered the strongest ratings for the AEW franchise since the premiere of AEW: Dynamite.”
Wrestling hasn’t been seen on TBS since the network cancelled WCW Thunder in March of 2001. That changes on January 5.
Louis Riddick Explains How MNF Production Meetings Work
“Riddick expounded more on the production meetings with coaches, including one with a particular Bay Area play-caller.”
The Monday Night Football campaign is in full swing, and The Athletic’s Robert Mays had MNF analyst Louis Riddick on The Athletic Football Show to discuss his weekly routine for putting on a top-notch broadcast.
Riddick dove into the process each week and discussed which coach has impressed him the most during his time in the booth. Tuesdays are a rest and recovery day after traveling home — then the process starts on Wednesday.
“We kinda have a, from a booth perspective, between Steve Levy, Brian Griese, myself, and then Phil Dean the producer and Jimmy Platt, the director. Us five get together and just discuss the previous week’s game and whatever we want to bring up that is positive or negative,” Riddick described to Mays on the show.
The brain trust discusses play breakdowns, production, and situations that popped up during the game. Next up is choosing the important voices for the next game that they want to speak to.
“We give Phil the list of coaches and players that we think are important to talk to,” Riddick said. “He sends that into that team’s PR department, and then usually they say yay or no. Most teams are very, very good with giving us the players that we want because it’s better for them. They know the more we highlight them, the better it is for them.”
Riddick expounded more on the production meetings with coaches, including one with a particular Bay Area play-caller.
“I would say our meeting with [San Francisco 49ers head coach] Kyle Shanahan,” Riddick answered. “Before we did the Bills game down in Arizona because they had to move from Santa Clara because of what was happening was some of the best football conversations I’ve ever had in my life, quite honestly. From team building, coach-player relationships, X’s and O’s, the opponent, what he learned from his father, what he feels specifically that running backs need to have and why… It was fricken incredible, incredible.”
Riddick can be seen on Monday Night Football breaking down all the action throughout the 2021 NFL season. Listen to the full episode here.
Women in Sports Media Celebrate Kate Scott Joining 76ers
“The west coast native is heading east to continue pursuing her dreams, and she received a ton of support from the women throughout sports media this week.”
Kate Scott is breaking new ground, and the sports broadcasting community took notice.
Scott joined Lisa Byington as the only full-time female voices of NBA franchises when the Philadelphia 76ers announced her addition this week. She replaces longtime TV play-by-play voice Marc Zumoff.
“Being the voice of the 76ers is a dream come true,” Scott said to NBC Sports Philadelphia. “As a kid playing hoops alone in my driveway, I actually used to imagine I was Allen Iverson; the clock would wind down in my head, people would scream, ‘You’re too small! You don’t belong!’ But I’d fade away, hit the shot, and the crowd in my mind would go wild.
“To now get the opportunity to be the voice of that team is incredible, and I look forward to earning the respect and trust of the phenomenal city of Philadelphia, and 76ers fans everywhere, one call and one game at a time.”
Scott seemingly busts down barriers every year. She recently became the first woman to call Olympic men’s basketball as part of NBC Sports’ coverage of Tokyo 2020, where she covered both men’s and women’s games.
“Kate’s energy, passion, and tremendous knowledge of the game of basketball made her the ideal candidate to usher in a new era of 76ers basketball on NBC Sports Philadelphia,” Philadelphia 76ers President of Business Operations Chris Heck said. “We’re thrilled that she’ll call our city home and look forward to the lasting connections and memories she’ll make with the best fans in sports. Kate and Alaa [Abdelnaby] are a dynamic broadcast pairing that 76ers fans will enjoy watching on the call this season and beyond.”
The west coast native is heading east to continue pursuing her dreams, and she received a ton of support from women throughout sports media this week.