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Matt Leinart On What He Learned from Joel Klatt for FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff

“He said the studio show is this: prepare a mile wide and an inch deep…”

Ricky Keeler

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Matt Leinart

Since his football career ended in August 2013, Matt Leinart has been a part of the FOX Sports family as an analyst. Now, he is a part of FOX’s Saturday college football pregame show, BIG NOON KICKOFF , which began in 2019Over the last eight years or so, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner has had to work his way from the ground up and grow into a profession that he wasn’t sure he would be good at:

Leinart was a recent guest on The Sports Business Radio Podcast promoting the work he is doing with his new company, Hall of GOATS. He was asked about becoming a broadcaster and it was something he wanted to try once his playing career was over, but he didn’t know how good he would be:

“I hired my agent at the time because I knew it was something that I wanted to try. I didn’t know what I would do. I didn’t know if I would be any good at it, but I wanted to try to get in broadcasting, whatever that meant.”

“FOX is right down the street here in L.A. There were a couple USC people there. We made the connection. Super grateful and I started, did a couple random shows to see if I liked it. Didn’t really have a deal, a couple of one-off things. I think I showed potential. My role kind of grew there because FS1 launched the year before. We were still trying to figure out what shows to put on-air and getting teams in place.

One of Leinart’s good friends is Joel Klatt. Klatt was a part of FOX’s college football studio shows before becoming a color commentator with Gus Johnson. Once Klatt left the studio, Leinart got the chance to take that spot with Dave Wannstedt, Robert Smith, and Rob Stone at the time and he has enjoyed the atmosphere at FOX: 

“It’s been 8 years. I’ve grown and moved up the ladder and worked really hard. It’s such a great atmosphere there. It’s so much fun.”

As Leinart was looking for advice about how to be a good studio analyst, Klatt gave him a piece of information that has stuck with him over all these years:

“I sat with him and I said about the studio show, how do you prepare? He said the studio show is this: prepare a mile wide and an inch deep… If you are calling a game, you are only talking about that game, so you are preparing everything for that game with a couple bullet points here and there on college football. On a studio show, you are covering 100 games and 100 players and different storylines, but you are doing it in a much shorter time. That was the best advice. I’ve always used that advice. Prepare for everything.”

Preparation is key for Leinart and as a part of BIG NOON KICKOFF, he knows he not only has to prepare for FOX’s game of the week that the crew is on-site for, but also to talk about any topic in college football and he enjoys that challenge:

You are going to get exploited and exposed really quick if you don’t prepare and you don’t know what you are talking about. Some of it is just football so you can talk ‘ball because you have the experience and you’ve been in the locker room and played in big games, you can relate that way. There’s a lot of stuff going on in college football. A lot of moving parts. It’s not like the NFL where all you have is free agency, but for the most part, these teams stay intact for years,” said Leinart.

“There’s always people graduating or leaving for the NFL and there’s always new recruits coming in, so you are constantly changing. That to me is the fun part because it’s challenging in that regard to where you are constantly learning and constantly studying.” 

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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