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ESPN E60 Special, ‘Whitney’s Anthem,’ Remembers Iconic Super Bowl National Anthem

Houston’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” took place shortly after the United States launched Operation Desert Storm.

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It’s hard to believe, but singer Whitney Houston passed away a decade ago. And as the Super Bowl approaches at the end of the week, Houston’s performance of the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXV (finishing the 1990 NFL season) is regarded as one of the most iconic ever.

On Feb. 11, the 10-year anniversary of Houston’s death, ESPN plans to revisit the performance with a special E60 titled Whitney’s Anthem and take a deeper look at why that moment is still so iconic to this day.

ESPN released a trailer for the special on Monday:

Houston’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” took place shortly after the United States launched Operation Desert Storm and much like George W. Bush’s first pitch at Yankee Stadium in 2001 at the World Series, the Grammy winner captivated a nation and united a hurting and divided nation for a brief moment before the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants kicked off.

Those close to the singer, as well as those involved with the game or played in the game, and additional voices such as the NFL executive who nearly rejected Houston’s version of the National Anthem, will be featured in the 30-minute special. Among those interviewed include Al Michaels, Chris Berman, Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly, Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks, and Chris Connelly.

Hosted by Jeremy Schapp, the show is being produced by Russell Dinallo and Simon Baumgart. The E60 special will be accompanied by content across ESPN programming. Schapp will appear on the ESPN Daily podcast on Feb. 11, while ESPN.com will run a written piece on the episode. Outside the Lines and SportsCenter will also air clips from the show.

You can catch Whitney’s Anthem on Friday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. on ESPN and watch via streaming on ESPN+ and the ESPN app. The special will also air multiple times across ESPN networks.

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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