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Tony Dungy Objects To NFL’s Sportsbook Deals

“The league has now created relationships with seven sportsbook operators, including FanDuel, DraftKings, Fox Bet, BetMGM, Caesars Entertainment, PointsBet, and WynnBet.”

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Courtesy: The Rich Eisen Show

The NFL is slowly but surely embracing legalized sports betting, but one of its most prominent voices isn’t too excited about the league getting cozy with the vice. NBC’s Tony Dungy discussed the leagues relationship to sports betting on an open media call this week.

The NFL has now created relationships with seven sportsbook operators, including FanDuel, DraftKings, Fox Bet, BetMGM, Caesars Entertainment, PointsBet, and WynnBet.

“I don’t know why the NFL changed its stance. My objection is just personal. I don’t think we should encourage people who are watching the NFL to gamble. Especially young people,” Dungy said. 

The seven new business partnerships will be a boon for the league as it recovers from the pandemic losses of 2020. Despite playing a full schedule of games, attendance restrictions hamstrung the league throughout the country last season.

“I’ve got boys,” Dungy continued. “I want them to enjoy the game for what it is … It’s a great game. And I know people gamble. I know it’s legal. I just don’t want to see the NFL promoting it. That’s just my personal opinion. I know a lot of people don’t agree with that.”

Dungy’s NBC teammate, Mike Tirico, agreed that the league and media partners need to be careful around the newly-accepted vice.

“The fact that it’s now legalized may legitimize the process a little bit,” Tirico said. “But I do think it can have an influence on younger fans. We need to be wise to that in general.”

Dungy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2016 and has worked on NBC’s Football Night In America since 2009. The wildly popular pregame show has positioned Dungy as a conscious of sorts for the league. Although, that consciousness isn’t enough to stop the tidal wave of sports betting money coming the NFL’s way.

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Mike Golic Responds to Negative Comments on Drew Brees’ Broadcasting

“Unfortunately, you get judged early and then you get tagged with that.”

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Drew Brees made his NFL playoff broadcasting debut in the broadcast booth last weekend. The future Hall of Famer was alongside Mike Tirico, a legend in his own right, for the Raiders-Bengals Wild Card game.

But an NFL playoff game draws a lot more attention than a regular-season contest and Brees received some criticism for being “vanilla” with his color commentary.

Responding to the heavy negative feedback online, former ESPN personality Mike Golic shared his thoughts with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch on his sports media podcast regarding Brees’ first year in the booth.

Golic stated that it’s harder to make the transition from the field to the broadcast booth in today’s industry than in the past because people are much more hypercritical today.

“When Drew started doing the Notre Dame games, people would tweet at me, ‘What do you think?’ I said listen, I’m not judging a guy when he just starts,” Golic told Deitsch, via Awful Announcing. “He’s a walk-in Hall of Famer. But he’s now in a different world of learning timing and everything that goes with a TV broadcast, which he’ll learn.”

Golic continued on Brees’ upcoming career journey.

“He’ll learn in time… your first and then your hundredth is a different person. But unfortunately, you get judged early and then you get tagged with that. ‘You’re supposed to be great at this.’ Man, that’s unfair but, you know what, unfair or fair, that doesn’t come into play. You’re gonna get that opportunity and you’re gonna be judged immediately on it.”

Brees will no doubt continue to be in the NBC booth for high-level games. But his improvement and overall performance will surely be something to keep an eye on.

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ESPN’s MegaCast Draws Over 23.1 Million Viewers for MNF Wild Card Weekend Debut

The Cardinals-Rams playoff game became the most-watched Monday night NFL game during ESPN’s Monday Night Football era.

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The first Monday night Wild Card playoff game proved to be a successful one. In fact, it became the most-watched Monday night NFL game during ESPN’s Monday Night Football era (2006 – present).

ESPN’s MegaCast presentation (across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes) recorded 23,150,000 viewers for the Los Angeles Rams’ blowout victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The audience peaked at 27.9 million viewers while the Rams led 21-0 in the second quarter (from 9:30 – 9:45 p.m.).

The game puts a bow on top of a season during which Monday Night Football finished the regular season with its best viewership since 2010, up 16% from 2020 and 13% from 2019.

As part of ESPN’s MegaCast, NFL Super Wild Card with Peyton and Eli continued its massive success that viewers have grown accustomed to. The “ManningCast” was again one of the network’s most-watched alternate telecasts, with the duo’s most recent shows now among ESPN’s nine most-watched alternate broadcasts. The audience on ESPN2 for the Wild Card game registered 1,419,000 million viewers.

The successful debut adds to an entire season of bests for ESPN. During the 2021-22 season, including the Monday Night Wild Card debut, ESPN delivered two of the four most-watched NFL Monday night games and three of the six during this era of MNF (2006 – present).

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NBC 2022 Winter Olympics Broadcast Teams Will Not Go To Beijing

NBC’s Olympic broadcasters will work remotely from the network’s Stamford, Connecticut facility.

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NBC Sports

On Wednesday, NBC announced that Olympic gold medalist and Alpine skiing legend Lindsey Vonn is joining the network’s coverage for the Beijing Winter Games. Unfortunately, any excitement over an Olympic star getting into broadcasting and providing analysis was soon undercut by a reminder that the world is still dealing with a global pandemic that is preventing life from returning to normal.

As reported by USA Today‘s Christine Brennan, NBC has decided not to send any of its Olympic broadcast teams to China and the announcers will cover their respective events remotely due to COVID-19 concerns.

Most of NBC’s Olympic announcing teams were already going to broadcast remotely from the network’s Stamford, Connecticut facility. But the original plans were for broadcasters to be on-site for figure skating, Alpine skiing, and snowboarding. That has obviously changed with the Omicron variant causing breakouts throughout the world.

Host Mike Tirico will still travel to Beijing for the opening ceremony on Feb. 4 and the initial few days of the Winter Olympics. But he’ll return to the U.S. to host NBC’s Super Bowl coverage on Feb. 13.

“We’ll still have a large presence on the ground in Beijing and our coverage of everything will be first rate as usual,” NBC Sports senior VP of communications Greg Hughes told Brennan. “But our plans are evolving by the day as they are for most media companies covering the Olympics.”

Viewers who have watched any sporting event with broadcasters working remotely have noticed the difference in how the action is called. Announcers can’t get a feel for how the reaction of the crowd influences the event. And in some cases, watching from a monitor rather than the usual on-site broadcast position can inhibit proper view of a play.

So NBC’s Olympics coverage will certainly suffer from broadcasters not being on-site, especially for the events mentioned above in which spectators can be a factor. That could make some showcase moments feel less compelling at times. But the excitement of an Olympics and standout athletic achievements should still be enjoyable to watch, regardless of where the announcers are situated.

The Beijing Winter Olympics begin Feb. 3 with broadcast coverage on NBC, USA Network, and CNBC, and streaming on Peacock, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app.

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