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Pat McAfee Says ESPN Made Him Skeptical Of Analytics

Pat McAfee said on his radio show some shows are reaching too far when it comes to statistics in sports to prove certain points.

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Analytics and sabermetrics have taken a lot of the Neanderthal narratives out of college and professional sports. Still, those who rely on them as their bible, rather than simply to apply context, can oftentimes miss a bigger picture. Just ask Tim Kurkjian who was once told analytics were not kind to Tony Gwynn what he thinks about it all. Count Pat McAfee in among those who believe some broadcasts of numbers have gone too far.

McAfee called into question a graphic on ESPN detailing the completion percentage above or below expectation for the five first round rookie NFL quarterbacks. The host of the eponymous Pat McAfee Show said there are always numbers that can prove any narrative in sports you want. He made that point by recalling a time when ESPN content producer Paul Hembekides was providing stats to both McAfee and analyst Dan Orlovsky during a debate.

“I learned that whenever I was around like the best numbers guy around, Hembo, because I would say something and he would give me a stat and I would be battling Orlovsky and he would give Orlovsky a stat.”

There’s a phrase, “numbers never lie,” and ESPN famously had a show under that exact moniker. McAfee said when you introduce human elements into numbers and try to pass them off as 100 percent reliable, errors can run abound.

“If that numbers person is also sophisticated enough to dissect the play and say ‘hey, that should’ve been a completion or not,’ I respect that a lot,” McAfee said. “But anytime you have human judgement in something and then you say ‘no it’s analytics and numbers saying this,’ automatically you’re full of shit. You’re automatically full of shit and I don’t know how to break it to you.”

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Cris Collinsworth Wonders If Tom Brady Knows Broadcasting Is a Hard Job

“It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised.”

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Many in the sports media industry were surprised by the news that Tom Brady will join FOX Sports as the lead NFL analyst when he eventually decides to end his playing career. That includes the current lead analyst of NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts, Cris Collinsworth. 

“I’m a little surprised,” he said on the latest episode of The Cris Collinsworth Podcast. “There’s no amount of money they could throw at him that would have influenced him. He’s going to still be working weekends for half the year no matter what it is.” 

Collinsworth mentioned that he hears from most people and they ask him what the TV life is like when they are thinking about getting into the industry. Tom Brady was not one of those people. He hopes the GOAT knows what he is in for.

“It’s hard. I’m working on the airplane when I’m flying home from the other game. I’m working on the next game. It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised. I guess the money now has gotten to the point where it’s of interest to everybody.” 

While some might be unsure about how Brady will do in the FOX NFL booth with Kevin Burkhardt, count Collinsworth in as one of those people who think Brady will do a great job.

“I think he’ll be fantastic. Every conversation I have ever had with him about the game of football, you always go oh, I didn’t know. He’s always been pretty open and honest with us. He has a real personal side to the game…He’s got it all, but I’ve got to say I am surprised.”

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Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN

“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”

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The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.

The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.

Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.

Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.

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Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game

“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”

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The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.

Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.

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