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New Book Details Groundbreaking History of The NFL Today

”It hit me how much The NFL Today back in those days meant to all of us and how much it impacted our lives.”

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CBS NFL Today in the 70s: Bottom row (l-r) Irv Cross, Jayne Kennedy and Brent Musburger. Top: (l-r) Jimmy the Greek and Jack Whitaker.

Nowadays NFL content is widespread, NFL fans have their pick of the litter of what network they want to watch to get their information on all things football. Guys like Adam Schefter and Jay Glazer give us live, up to the minute information about players, teams, and whatever else a fan or bettor may want to know.

But it wasn’t always that easy as author Rich Podolsky says in his new book You Are Looking Live: How The NFL Today Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting.

In this book, Podolsky details how the debut of The NFL Today way back in 1974 changed the way fans consumed sports. He sat down with Awful Announcing for an interview about the new book.

“Back in 1975, there were only three stations: CBS, NBC, and ABC, There was no cable. There was no ESPN; ESPN was six years away. There was no internet. There was no way to get more information about the NFL.“ he said.

The show was transcendent in many particular ways, it was the first NFL pregame show to be live and not recorded ahead of time. One of the four on the show was ”Jimmy The Greek” who was known for his sports betting columns across the country. Another was Phyllis George who was a Miss America model before becoming a pioneer for all women in sports media.

These two things were unheard of at the time, sports betting is just starting to get accepted in the world of sports media nowadays, and someone with little to no experience being on air on top of being a woman in the 1970s talking sports was unprecedented.

“When Phyllis passed away so suddenly, I started reconnecting with a lot of my old CBS cohorts.” Podolsky recalled. “As I was reconnecting with everyone, it hit me how much The NFL Today back in those days, back in the ’70s, meant to all of us and how much it impacted our lives.

Podolsky had personal ties to The NFL Today, as he wrote for the show back in 1977 as he detailed those years to be the “five of the happiest years in my life”.

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Matthew Berry Joins NBC Sports

Berry is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show.

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Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry, the fantasy football expert that helped to elevate the niche to mainstay programming surrounding the football season, is joining NBC Sports.

Berry, who left ESPN less than a month ago, is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show, sources told The New York Post. The show might go against Fantasy Football Now, his previous show that airs on ESPN2.

The show is also expected to be on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, as well as possibly on some NBC affiliates. Berry could also make appearances on Sunday Night Football.

NBC Sports declined comment.

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Sports TV News

NBC Pushing for Big Ten/NFL Primetime Pairing in Media Rights Deal

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

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Big Ten media rights negotiations are getting closer to being completed. The results could mean a minimum of $1.25 billion annual distribution for the conference’s soon-to-be sixteen members. One of the bidders in the process, NBC, has an interesting idea to make the Big Ten the “NFL of college football conferences.”

NBC has reportedly pushed the idea of combining Big Ten broadcasts with its existing Notre Dame coverage and would feature the Big Ten in its primetime window. With CBS, ESPN/ABC also bidding on coverage packages, such a series of deals would make the Big Ten the only college football conference that would be seen across all of the American broadcast networks. Something only few entities have done, like the NFL.

NBC is also pushing the allure of having primetime Big Ten football on Saturday night and primetime coverage of Sunday’s only NFL evening game with Sunday Night Football.

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

The Big Ten’s current media rights deals expire after the 2023 season.

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ESPN’s College GameDay Adds Peloton Instructor and Sports Reporter Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

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Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

Sims is a very popular Peloton instructor and a sports reporter. According to ESPN, Sims will be joining the show weekly with Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. The show is entering it’s 36th season.

Sims played college basketball at Liberty College, then worked with the WNBA’s New York Liberty as an in-arena host and sideline reporter for the last two seasons.

“Jess is a rising star who exudes personality and energy.  We’re looking forward to her adding to the excitement surrounding College GameDay each week throughout the season – both during the show and as we engage with students and fans on every campus we visit” said Lee Fitting, ESPN senior vice president, production.

“I am so excited to join the GameDay crew because the show not only celebrates all of the on-field action, but also highlights the passionate communities that surround the games,” said Sims. “This is such a great opportunity to get back to my roots in college sports and I can’t wait to meet incredible athletes and fans and explore these campuses and cities that eat, sleep and breathe their hometown teams.”

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