The absence of Tom Brady from training camp has had people buzzing this entire week. Most of the mainstream media speculation has centered on his health and what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are capable of without their quarterback.
That was until Friday when an internet theory that Tom Brady was fulfilling an obligation to FOX to appear on The Masked Singer started gaining steam. The theory has been fleshed out on reddit and shared by Kendall Valenzuela on The Fantasy Life Twitter account.
Pat McAfee took notice and talked about the theory on his show Friday afternoon. He noted that the details of Brady’s absence from Bucs’ camp work. He had a specific date he had to leave and was not able to tell the team when he would be back.
“What is something that has a beginning date that was planned, but doesn’t have an end date?” McAfee asked rhetorically.
The next season of The Masked Singer, a reality competition featuring celebrities in disguised competing in a karaoke contest, is set to debut in a month. McAfee says it isn’t hard to guess how FOX would dress Tom Brady if he were participating.
“He’s gonna have a goat head on him obviously.”
Part of the theory details the business relationship between FOX and Brady. When his playing career is over, the quarterback will start a ten-year contract with FOX that will see him in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt for the top NFL game on the network each week and have him serve as an ambassador for the network. The deal pays Brady $375 million and many believe this is the first of his duties under the terms of the contract.
“That seems, like, not possible, but maybe,” McAfee said. He noted that whether it was negotiations or a demand, FOX telling Tom Brady that they need him for The Masked Singer in the middle of the NFL preseason is hard to imagine.
“Fox has literally survived off the NFL, so I would love to hear the conversation between FOX and Tom Brady going ‘We’re paying you $375 million at some point, right? You’re gonna do The Masked Singer in the middle of training camp.’ That’s what would have had to have happened, right, for that to take place?”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect Tom Brady back in time to start the regular season. FOX has not said whether or not it has given Brady a date that it expects him in the broadcast booth.
Nick Saban Seems Destined For College GameDay Desk Next Season
“Saban isn’t washed, but he seems ready. That is good for ESPN, because College GameDay is certainly ready.”
You don’t know many bigger Alabama fans than me. I will own that. I suffered through multiple losing seasons while I was in college, so I have definitely enjoyed every second of the Saban era in Tuscaloosa.
Between the time I started following the school’s football team (let’s say 1988 when I was 7) and when I graduated from college (2003), Bama won a total of two SEC titles, one national championship and no Heisman Trophies. Since Nick Saban arrived, the Crimson Tide have won eight SEC championships, six national championships and four Heisman Trophies.
The man has nothing left to prove to anyone. Let people question his ability to compete in the portal and NIL era. Let them have their jokes about his two seasons in the NFL. Anyone making the argument that the discussion of the best college football coach in history doesn’t begin and end with him is not someone to be taken seriously.
Saban has spoken before about being driven by the idea that he could return to the poverty he grew up around in West Virginia at any moment. At 72 years old though, I think he is finally comfortable admitting that he probably isn’t going to outlive the contents of a bank account stacked with a literal decade’s worth of eight-figure paychecks. That is why I think Nick Saban is in his final year as the head coach at the University of Alabama.
This isn’t a sports site. It is a sports media site, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to write about this for BSM if it did not have a sports media tie-in. So, here it is. I think Nick Saban will still be around college football next year, but it will be as the newest member of the cast of ESPN’s College GameDay.
Look, I grew up in Alabama and went to the University of Alabama. I have thought about this a lot. If you want the unhinged, “Q is sending us messages on the pause screens of Amazon Fire Sticks” version, text me. JB will only let me to do the cliff’s notes here.
The non-media-related reasons I believe this is Nick Saban’s final season are brief. First, he went to Europe earlier this year and seems to have comeback a changed man. It’s almost as if he discovered there is a whole life he didn’t get to live. Second, he bought a home in Jupiter Island, FL for $17.5 million. For someone that has been manical about staying close to Tuscaloosa should he need to get back in the past, dropping nearly $18 million for a home near West Palm Beach feels significant.
The media-related reasons don’t just explain why I believe Nick Saban is retiring, but also why I think he is headed for College GameDay. I say this as someone that likes both Saban and Pat McAfee: I don’t think Nick Saban agrees to put up with Pat McAfee every week if there isn’t a larger goal.
You can tell me that it is just another opportunity to get in front of the age group he is trying to convince to come play for him, but that can be accomplished with a visit or two. Weekly appearances make me think something more is at play, like the goal isn’t just to be on McAfee’s show, but to build chemistry with him.
Saban’s interest in College GameDay is well-known. In his 2022 book The Leadership Secrets of Nick Saban, author John Talty revealed that in 2013, Saban set up a meeting with then-ESPN VP of Production John Wildhack to talk about life after coaching.
“If he wasn’t interested, he never would have done it in the first place,” Wildhack told Talty. “But I also didn’t think he was ready to step aside as being a coach.”
That was ten years and three national championships ago. Talty wrote that Saban had “zeroed in” on College GameDay as the right fit for him at ESPN. My guess is time and success have filled whatever hole drove him back to Tuscaloosa after that meeting.
This isn’t all just reading between the lines and deeming things “evidence” that may be meaningless. It also has to be said that Nick Saban would be dynamite on College GameDay.
Why has he enjoyed previously unknown success as a coach? He not only knows the game better than most, he is an elite teacher. Look at this clip from his coach’s show, where he explains how Alabama blocked a punt last week against Ole Miss.
Nick Saban is a nerd. He cannot hide his excitement to teach the audience how this play works. He gives detail without getting boring. He has a great sense of humor about a drive that started on Ole Miss’s 1 yard line and ended with Alabama kicking a field goal from the 23.
Saban isn’t washed, but he seems ready. That is good for ESPN, because College GameDay is certainly ready. I am not the first to say that it may be time to gently usher Lee Corso along and I am not the first to say that he is a legend who should get to decide for himself when he is done, but ESPN may see an opportunity to add unmatched star power and find a new coach for the show without cutting ties with Corso completely. I can’t imagine Nick Saban is eager to put on mascot heads each week.
ESPN would also get a leg up on Big Noon Kickoff by playing FOX’s game better than FOX. When that network launched its college football pregame show, one of the messages it wanted to get out to the media and fans was that the BNK panel had more and more recent national championships and Heisman Trophy wins than College GameDay.
Between Matt Leonard, Mark Ingram II and Urban Meyer, there are two Heismans and six national titles on Big Noon Kickoff. If we count Tebow’s Heisman for Meyer, that is three Heismans. Nick Saban outdoes the entire FOX panel on his own. Plus, he has a better relationship with Deion Sanders. That would sting for FOX.
Nick Saban is a competitor. It is hard to imagine him not wanting to compete until the day he dies. He told Pat McAfee last month that he is still having fun coaching and he laughs every time he has heard retirement rumors in the last decade. I never heard him say that he will definitely be Alabama’s football coach in 2024.
I don’t think Nick Saban regrets not retiring and leaving Tuscaloosa with Bryce Young and Will Anderson, but I think he knows that it’s no longer a given that every player of that calibre wants to wear crimson. He’s going to be 72 at the end of the month. Why wouldn’t enjoying the spoils of his success be more appealing at this point than trying to find the next Bama legends?
I think Saban’s coaching days are winding down, but I think ESPN has a plan to keep the greatest football coach at any level close to the sport.
Demetri Ravanos is the Assistant Content Director for Barrett Sports Media. He hosts the Chewing Clock and Media Noise podcasts. He occasionally fills in on stations across the Carolinas. Previous stops include WAVH and WZEW in Mobile, AL, WBPT in Birmingham, AL and WBBB, WPTK and WDNC in Raleigh, NC. You can find him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos and reach him by email at [email protected].
Carlo Jiménez To Be Named New Radio Voice of the Los Angeles Clippers
Jimenez follows in his predecessor Noah Eagle’s footsteps by being hired right out of college to become the Clippers radio voice.
According to sources, Carlo Jiménez will soon be named the new radio play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jiménez, 22, is a 2023 graduate from USC and a recipient of the Jim Nantz Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster. He replaces Noah Eagle, who moved to NBC Sports in a full-time capacity this summer.
Jiménez follows in Eagle’s footsteps being hired right out of college to become the Clippers radio voice. The rising broadcasting star is not only considered a strong game caller but he also possesses a strong social media presence, with over 64,000 followers on TikTok. Much of what he shares socially includes behind-the-scenes content of life as a sports broadcaster.
The young, talented new voice of the Clippers has experience calling USC football, baseball and women’s basketball, contributing his voice to broadcasts on the Pac-12+ Network. While at USC, Jiménez served as the sports director and play-by-play broadcaster for the school’s radio station KXSC.
Jiménez is of Mexican heritage. It is believed his hiring makes him the only Hispanic radio play-by-play voice on American broadcasts in the NBA.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Dan Le Batard Mourns Damian Lillard Trade, Calls Dan Patrick a ‘Dirty Trickster’
“I was not expecting for people to say this is a journalistic, objective guarantee.”
Following a blockbuster trade that sent All-NBA guard Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz mourned that the Miami Heat had lost the sweepstakes for the superstar player. For much of the summer, reports had indicated that the Heat were the frontrunners for Lillard, considering that he reportedly had the team at the top of his wish list upon requesting a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. Broadcasting the show from Miami, Fla. and growing up just outside of the city, Dan Le Batard was crestfallen that a deal never came to fruition. Moreover, he now had to address his discourse over the last few months on the hit digital program where he adumbrated that the Heat would end up with the guard.
Le Batard had appeared on The Dan Patrick Show earlier in the week and began his appearance with praise of Patrick, who is retiring upon the completion of a new four-year contract. The former ESPN SportsCenter anchor has had a long and distinguished career in sports media, highlighted by his choosing to leave the “Worldwide Leader” and build his own platform from scratch. While Le Batard admires what Patrick did, he emitted a much different tone to begin his abbreviated appearance on Friday.
“You are a dirty trickster that now, I resent deeply,” Le Batard said to Patrick. “….For 20 years basically, Dan Patrick – maybe not 20, but 15 years – he calls me when a [Miami] Dolphins offensive line coach does cocaine off his desk and sends a romantic video to an exotic worker in Las Vegas; or some such Miami calamity to talk about the Dolphins, usually only something they’ve done wrong. I go and I make a bunch of people at ESPN mad by never asking permission to go on your show and just doing it anyway.”
As he continued his soliloquy, Le Batard said that Patrick invited him on the show last week to discuss the Dolphins, who are 3-0 and considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender by many football experts. The interview was proceeding well until Patrick concluded by asking an unrelated question about another Miami sports team, the Heat, and their pursuit of Lillard.
“Dan Patrick calls me and tricks me into talking about the Dolphins for a while,” Le Batard said. “Then at the end, what does he do? He asks the question that makes me publicly a larger fool [and] more wrong than I’ve ever been about anything in front of a worldwide, intergalactic audience.”
Le Batard answered the question by guaranteeing that Lillard was coming to Miami, something that is partially true, according to Patrick. It is just that he will be visiting the city as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks rather than playing for the reigning Eastern Conference champion Heat. The entire occurrence has left Le Batard and the cast of his show moribund enough to hold a eulogy for the anticipation they had for Lillard to play alongside South Beach.
“I was wearing an actual Heat mouthpiece as I did so,” Le Batard said of his comments. “I was not expecting for people to say this is a journalistic, objective guarantee. You could barely understand me; I was muffling it through an actual Miami Heat mouthpiece.”
“You used to be a journalist; now you’re an entertainer,” Patrick replied. “You’re an entertainer.”
Le Batard did acknowledge that he is indeed an entertainer on his program and has had discussions about the role of genuine journalism in today’s sports media coverage with the cast of his show, along with ESPN featured commentator Stephen A. Smith.
“[I am] a sanctimonious, self-important entertainer who gets things profoundly wrong in a way that echoes from sea to shining sea,” Le Batard asserted.
“That should be the name of your show,” Patrick replied. “It’s a little wordy, but that should be the name of your show from now on.”
“Because of you, it’s going to be the thing on my tombstone,” Le Batard said.
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