As expected, Kevin Burkhardt is the new lead NFL play-by-play voice for Fox Sports.
According to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, Burkhardt will replace Joe Buck as Fox’s top play-by-play announcer. Though there was some speculation that the network may seek a flashier outside hire for the role, such as Al Michaels, Fox Sports executives always seemed to prefer an internal move. And once Michaels agreed to a deal with Amazon, Burkhardt’s path was clear.
Still to be determined is who Burkhardt’s broadcast partner will be. All signs point to Greg Olsen, who teamed with Burkhardt last season and has long been viewed as a rising star analyst, also moving up from the No. 2 to the No. 1 crew.
Fox has not yet made an official announcement regarding Burkhardt, likely waiting until his partner is also officially settled upon. Then, as ESPN did with Buck and Troy Aikman and Amazon did with Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit, the network will announce its new No. 1 NFL broadcast team.
Burkhardt and his analyst partner will be on the call for two of the next three Super Bowl telecasts, which Fox has the rights to. That’s quite a showcase for a broadcasting duo which has plenty of experience, but might not be as familiar with the larger mainstream audiences that watch the Super Bowl — or even the 4:25 p.m. ET game each NFL Sunday.
Also yet to be determined is whether or not Burkhardt will maintain his role hosting Fox’s postseason Major League Baseball coverage. He has hosted the network’s pre- and post-game studio show since 2015, with analysts Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Frank Thomas.
Buck called the World Series for Fox along with his NFL obligations. In October, that sometimes required him to be in the baseball booth rather than with Aikman on an NFL broadcast. The Fox MLB postseason show has been popular with fans and critics, so the network may not want to break that up. But there will likely be scheduling conflicts some weeks.
Speaking of Buck, he had kind words for his successor on Twitter.
For Burkhardt, getting the No. 1 Fox NFL gig is the culmination of a long career that began calling minor league baseball and working at WGHT in New Jersey, followed by a stint at WCBS. That led to a job at WFAN, where he eventually became the station’s New York Jets reporter.
From there, Burkhardt moved to SNY, where he was a popular sideline reporter and studio host for New York Mets broadcasts. And that was the springboard for Burkhardt to Fox, where he’s now one of the network’s prominent sports voices.
NFL Explains How World Cup Effected 2022 Schedule
“We didn’t strategically deploy any of our games to either go really strong or go a little less strong, because we knew there was going to be soccer that day.”
This will be the first year that the World Cup will be contested during the NFL season. It isn’t a challenge professional football is used to in America. That is why Mike North, the NFL’s vice president of broadcast scheduling, told Richard Deitsch that it was important to do some homework.
“Very early in the process we got with our broadcast partner at Fox and we knew that there weren’t going to be any windows where Fox was not going to be able to broadcast an NFL game,” he said.
The real effect had to do with the NFL’s international schedule. Five games will be played outside of the United States borders this season. North said he wanted to understand the potential schedule for the World Cup so he could create the best atmosphere for the international contests.
“I’m not sure we’re doing the right thing for the fan in Germany if we’re playing in Bayern Munich’s stadium while the German national team is playing a World Cup game; I’m not sure we are doing the right thing for our fans in Mexico if we were playing a game in Mexico on a day when the Mexican national team was playing. So we were certainly aware of the World Cup schedule and worked very closely with our friends at Fox to make sure we were aligned on how we were going to approach it.”
North said that he wasn’t worried about football beating fútbol. He just wanted to understand what he was putting his teams up against.
“We didn’t back out of any of our windows. We didn’t strategically deploy any of our games to either go really strong or go a little less strong, because we knew there was going to be soccer that day.”
FIFA moved the World Cup to the final two months of the year in 2022. To play the games any earlier would have meant players would have been dealing with extreme heat in Qatar.
The first match will be played on November 21. The final is scheduled for December 18. That overlaps with weeks 11 through 16 of the NFL season.
Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”
Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.
Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.
King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.
“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”
Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.
King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”
Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7
“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.
“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”
Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.
Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.
Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.