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ESPN Announces XFL Broadcast Crews

“This talented group of voices, combined with the many on-field production innovations we have planned for this season, will provide fans with unprecedented access to all facets of the XFL.”

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ESPN is preparing for the third iteration of the XFL, and today announced its broadcast crews for the upcoming spring football league.

“Each ESPN team brings extensive expertise and their backgrounds in college football make them incredibly informed about the players who will be stars at the pro level in the XFL,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Steve Ackels.

“This talented group of voices, combined with the many on-field production innovations we have planned for this season, will provide fans with unprecedented access to all facets of the XFL.”

The league and network jointly announced last week the schedule, as well as the networks games would air on. ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, and FX will be the linear television home of the XFL, while each game will be streamed on ESPN+.

Team One
Play-by-play: Tom Hart
Analyst: Greg McElroy
Reporter: Katie George
Field Analyst: Cole Cubelic

Hart has served as the voice of SEC Saturday Night games on the SEC Network. Meanwhile McElroy could be auditioning to be ESPN’s number two college football analyst, according to a report this week. George works as the sideline reporter for ABC/ESPN college football broadcasts, and Cubelic is an analyst for the SEC Saturday Night games, in addition to teaming with McElroy for a sports radio show on WJOX in Birmingham.

Team Two
Play-by-play: Matt Barrie
Analyst: Joey Galloway
Reporter: Tiffany Blackmon
Field Analyst: Eric Mac Lain

Barrie is the co-anchor of the weekday Noon ET SportsCenter, and has worked as the play-by-play voice of ESPN’s college football broadcasts on Thursdays. Galloway has been with ESPN since 2011 as a college football studio and game analyst. Blackmon joined ESPN in 2021 and is a college football sideline reporter. Mac Lain played collegiately at Clemson and is a studio analyst for the ACC Network.

Team Three
Play-by-play: John Schriffen
Analyst: Tom Luginbill
Reporter: Stormy Buoantony
Field Analyst: Harry Douglas

Schriffen has announced college football, basketball, baseball, and softball since joining ESPN in 2020. Luginbill is a noted college football recruiting analyst and was a quarterback coach in the original XFL, winning the title in 2001. Buonantony is the co-host of VSiN Final Countdown and also works as a sideline reporter for ESPN’s college football broadcasts. Douglas recently launched a new ESPN Radio show, Fitz & Harry, and continues to host digital shows for ESPN after playing in the NFL for a decade.

Team Four
Play-by-play: Lowell Galindo
Analyst: Sam Acho
Reporter: Taylor McGregor
Field Analyst: Ian Fitzsimmons

Galindo serves as the lead anchor for the Longhorn Network, as well as play-by-play broadcasts for Texas football and basketball games. Acho played in the NFL for nearly a decade and joined ESPN as a contributor to studio shows in 2021. McGregor is a college football sideline reporter for ESPN, and the lead Cubs reporter for Marquee Sports Network. Fitszimmons hosts Freddie and Fitzsimmons on ESPN, and has worked the sidelines for college football coverage on ESPN Radio since joining the network in 2009.

Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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Sports TV News

Michael Irvin Removed From NFL Network Super Bowl Coverage

“I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds.”

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A complaint from a female to NFL Network has caused the network to remove Michael Irvin from its Super Bowl coverage.

NFL Network did not comment on the nature of the complaint or the allegation of any impropriety by Irvin, simply stating Irvin would not be a participant in coverage of the event from Arizona.

“Michael Irvin will not be a part of NFL Network’s Super Bowl LVII week coverage,” said NFL Media Vice President of Communications Alex Riethmiller in a statement.

Irvin claimed the interaction happened during a brief moment Sunday after having dinner and drinks with former Cowboy defensive back Michael Brooks.

“This all happened in a 45-second conversation in the lobby,” Irvin told The Dallas Morning News. “When I got back after going out … I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds. We shook hands. Then, I left…That’s all I know.”

Irvin, 56, admitted he didn’t recall the conversation between him and the female but called the interaction “just a friendly conversation”. He defended himself by saying “There was definitely nothing physical”.

The report from The Dallas Morning News added that Glendale police officials do not know about any incident regarding Irvin.

A report from Front Office Sports claims ESPN executives are “poised to pull the plug” on Irvin’s scheduled appearance on First Take from Radio Row Friday.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer has been with NFL Network since 2009, and in August of last year signed an extension to remain with the cable channel.

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Sports TV News

Pro Bowl Lowest Rated Since 2006

While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues.

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The NFL completely revamped its Pro Bowl format for the 2022 season, and the changes did not garner more viewers.

An average of 6.28 million viewers tuned into the event across ABC, ESPN, and DisneyXD Sunday for the first 7-on-7 event. That number is a decrease of 6% compared to last year and is the lowest-rated Pro Bowl since the 2006 event saw just 5.96 million viewers. That figure excludes the 2021 Pro Bowl, which was a “virtual” event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest-rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues, with the MLB All-Star Game seeing an average viewership of 7.51 million. The 6.28 million who watched the Pro Bowl is a virtual tie with last season’s NBA All-Star Game.

The Pro Bowl Skills Challenge — now produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions — did see a large increase in viewership compared to last year. More than 1 million viewers tuned into the Thursday night primetime event, which is the second-best figure on record. That audience is a 23% increase compared to last year’s event.

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