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Sports TV News

Greg McElroy Recruited to ESPN by Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler Over Beers

“I love football strategy. I love football theory and not having that in my life would be insanely difficult. I’m so grateful for ESPN.”

Ricky Keeler

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Greg McElroy
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While ESPN College Football analyst Greg McElroy was a senior at Alabama in 2010, he was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which goes to the top senior scholar-athlete in football. Even though McElroy did not win the award, it ended up leading him closer to the career he has now.

McElroy was a guest on the Gramlich & Mac Lain podcast and said that after not winning the award, he was at an happy hour event after the gala, had a beer, and ended up meeting some notable ESPN personalities who asked him to talk about Auburn before the national title game that year. 

“Those that were also at the bar were Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. Lee Fitting and Michael Fountain were also there. After a couple of beers, we were sitting there and saying you just played a good game against Auburn, why don’t you come to Phoenix and talk about it? A first-hand perspective of competing against Auburn.”

“It went really well. They said you were very prepared, we really enjoyed your takes, everything you said about Auburn and we think our viewers gained something from this. Would this be something that you would consider coming and doing now? I said no, I really need to scratch the NFL itch.”

McElroy played for only 3 seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals. While his career didn’t last long, ESPN kept asking him every year about when he was ready to join the network. Then, while he was in Cincinnati, the SEC Network was about launch and that’s when McElroy decided to become an analyst:

“After year 3, they said we are about to launch the SEC Network, do you want to be a part of that? I had just torn my PCL. I was under contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. I knew that I could grind out maybe 2-3 more years, but I’d be better off going and pursuing something I knew I could hopefully do for 30 years. It was a difficult decision to leave the game at that point, but I knew I still had a piece of the game with me in going back to the level of football I aligned with the most.”

For McElroy, he is just happy to have some form of football in his life. He did think he would miss being a quarterback, but he has a home to talk about the strategy of the game.

“I love football strategy. I love football theory and not having that in my life would be insanely difficult. I’m so grateful for ESPN.”

Even though McElroy would have loved to have defeated Auburn in the Iron Bowl, it ended up launching the former Crimson Tide QB into a successful career as an analyst. 

Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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