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Henry Abbott: Bill Simmons Is ‘Supertalented Guy, Difficult Teammate’

Abbott appeared on the “Straight Fire with Jason McIntyre” podcast.

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Courtesy: AP

TrueHoop founder Henry Abbott appeared on Straight Fire with Jason McIntyre last week and expounded on the article he wrote last year surrounding Bill Simmons. The two worked together for years at ESPN after the network bought TrueHoop and Abbott went in-depth on their working relationship in the article.

“Bill’s fine. I don’t know, maybe he’s really mad at me because I wrote that piece,” Abbott said on the podcast. “He’s not the devil. A thing that frustrates me is a lot of talk without a lot of evidence.”

Abbott went more in-depth about the goal he set when he started writing the article last June.

“Bill Simmons was trending nationally, and the two positions were either he’s a terrible racist, or he’s the most wonderful human in the history of the planet. Like, have any of you f*cking met that guy? Like he is neither of those things. Like this is all incorrect. Trust me; it’s far from my collection of these are the worst things I could say about Bill. It was just kind of a summary of what my experience was like working for him for over a decade.”

The TrueHoop founder stuck to his brand with a basketball comparison ready for Simmons.

“I think he’s a super talented… This is a common NBA theme. Supertalented guy, difficult teammate, hard to get along with. Not really interested in team success right and pretty skilled at getting what he wants. It wasn’t the case that he was some sort of all or nothing hero or villain, he’s just kind of selfish.”

Simmons has not reached out to Henry Abbott about the piece, but the basketball blogging pioneer has no regrets about writing it and would welcome another opportunity with a big brand under the right circumstance.

“The dream for me and I think everyone I know in this business is to have a boss you really respect,” Abbott said about working for another large company. “You want a boss who makes your work better. If you can get that, greatest thing in the world. If you can’t, be your own boss.”

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Ariel Helwani To Produce Content For BetMGM

“Helwani noted how much he enjoys MGM properties every time he goes out to the Nevada desert for a big fight.”

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Courtesy: BetMGM

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani announced on his Substack that he is joining BetMGM as a content producer. Helwani is cooking up content for the service leading up to UFC fight cards while having access to the sports book’s treasure trove of data for his analysis.

“I’m working with great people each and every day. This is the dream. But there was one more partnership I was looking to secure,” Ariel Helwani wrote in his announcement post. “As you all know, sports gaming has exploded in America, and, of course, it’s a massive part of the way people talk about and consume combat sports.”

Helwani has put on a bunch of different hats since leaving ESPN, including new roles with SB Nation, BT Sport, and The Ringer.

“So, I wanted to partner with a gaming company, too,” Helwani continued. “To provide content for and to share content leading up to events. This was big for me. And, truth be told, there was only one entity I wanted to team up with and only one that I actually spoke to: BetMGM.”

Ariel Helwani noted how much he enjoys MGM properties every time he goes out to the Nevada desert for a big fight. He also mentioned one key relationship that threaded his time at ESPN with this new role, his connection to BetMGM COO Ryan Spoon.

“Spoon was the digital content chief at ESPN during my time there,” Helwani wrote. “He’s a great guy. Very non-corporate, which is my style. I enjoyed working with him very much.

“Well, late last year, he announced that he would be leaving ESPN to become the new COO of BetMGM. I found this move to be fascinating on many levels, but it also told me that if Ryan was willing to leave a great gig at ESPN for BetMGM, BetMGM was a special place to be.”

Like so many ESPN ex-pats before him, Ariel Helwani is leveraging his brand just fine during a fresh stage of his career.

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All-22 Camera Returning To NFL Game Pass

“As of Sept. 23, the service hasn’t returned. Many buyers purchased Game Pass under the guise that All-22 would be included.”

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Courtesy: NFL

Media members in and around the NFL can soon rejoice. 

Pro Football Talk is reporting that All-22 film capabilities are returning to NFL Game Pass today. All-22 is exactly what it sounds like; the viewer can see all 22 players on the field during any given play. The camera view from each end zone is one of the many angles NFL coaches use to break down film of their teams and opponents.

The service has not been accessible on Game Pass for months now, and it has hampered the media at large from diving into their NFL analysis.

“We are targeting the end of Week 1/early Week 2 for coaches film to be available,” an NFL spokesperson told PFT earlier this month via email. “The team has a demo scheduled for mid-week next week and will deploy accordingly.”

As of Sept. 23, the service hasn’t returned. Many buyers purchased Game Pass under the guise that All-22 would be included. So far, those promises aren’t being kept. Users were also upset about search functions being removed from the website.

They’ve been through this song and dance before with the new version of Game Pass. PFT also reported on an All-22 re-launch date in early August.

“According to the league,” Mike Florio wrote last month. “The goal is to return the all-22 film to Game Pass service by the start of the regular season. The technical interface to Game Pass has changed, and it could be a technical issue associated with the transition. Whatever the reason, the all-22 film will be back in time to watch the film from the 272 regular-season games to be played in 2021.”

Nearly a month into the 2021 NFL regular season and Game Pass is still having issues with its interface. With most media members still barred from locker rooms, reviewing film is one of the ways some reporters supplement their coverage.

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NFL Considers Monday Night Wild Card Weekend Game

It seems that a Monday night wildcard weekend game seems to be a go for the NFL.

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NFL has some new plans to change their ”Super Wild Card” idea from last year that included six total games. Now, they want to have one of their games on Monday of Wild Card Weekend, according to Ian Rapaport.

It seems as if the NFL is trying new methods of different days to try and raise the viewership of the Wild Card Weekend, as ratings were down across the board last season.

This does present some logistical issues for the NFL that some sports media members have pointed out. It could result in one or more teams having to play Monday night and then having a Saturday game turnaround the following week.

Warren Sharp of NBC Sports and The Ringer had some stats that would assume that if this was the case, that the team playing on short rest would be at a distinct disadvantage.

NBC Sports’s Peter King has said that this is not the first time the NFL has discussed this move to another primetime game on Wild Card Weekend, as they talked about the possibility all the way back in February.

However, there were some scheduling issues due to college football’s national championship game being on the same day. This issue no longer exists with the expanded season to 17 games, so it seems that a Monday night Wildcard Weekend game seems to be a go for the NFL.

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