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The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz Announces Retirement

“I learned a long time ago I could write a critical column and still have a working relationship with people if they believed you were being fair.”

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Jeff Schultz
Courtesy: The Athletic

After a 42-year career in sports journalism, Jeff Schultz has announced his retirement from the medium, revealing the news in his final column penned for The Athletic published on Wednesday morning. Within the piece, he explained how it is likely his final column anywhere, although he has learned “never to say never in sports, or in life.” At this time though, he feels he is making the right decision and following through on something he considered since the end of 2021 when his contract with The Athletic was expiring.

The Athletic has been great. The job has been great,” Jeff Schultz wrote. “And to you, the readers, from those who followed me from a newspaper to a website, to even those who I think was always out to get your favorite team or athlete, thank you. I learned a long time ago that the passion of sports fans cuts both ways and that should never be squashed. I can’t imagine sports without debate.”

The venerated reporter received his start in the industry covering a high school football game for the Santa Monica Evening Outlook. Out of college at California State University, Long Beach, he worked at the Los Angeles Daily News where he worked as a staff writer for four years before transitioning to a senior role at the San Jose Mercury News upstate.

In 1989, he began a 29-year stint with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where he covered various sports teams in the city, including the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons. Schultz left the outlet in 2018 to join The Athletic as a senior writer focused on Atlanta sports, something he referred to as a difficult decision but a change he made because of his belief in the outlet’s product.

“The interviews, the reporting, the writing, cultivating relationships, building sources, earning trust – I could do that stuff forever,” Jeff Schultz explained. “I learned a long time ago I could write a critical column and still have a working relationship with people if they believed you were being fair.”

Aside from the wear and tear that comes with trying to conjure ideas for future columns, Schultz realizes that he has missed too much time with his family and friends. Being away from sportswriting, he wants to focus on his family and will continue to sit on the boards of two non-profit organizations related to recovery and mental health initiatives.

When news breaks, Schultz remarked that he will miss trying to uncover information, having conversations from people on both sides of the stories and the adrenaline rush that comes with the job. Conversely, he will not miss arriving early and staying late to cover contests with a game credential. Nonetheless, Schultz is undecided if he is leaving sports and writing for good, but at the moment, he is content with concluding this part of his career.

Schultz has been part of The Athletic from its inception in 2018 and hoped that the outlet would last at least two years upon its launch. Five-and-a-half years later, he recognizes that changes have been made, including its ownership by The New York Times Company, and averred that there will be more alterations down the road. Earlier in the year, The Athletic laid off 4% of its newsroom and became the primary source for sports news when The New York Times eliminated its sports department.

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Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit Return As Commentary Team for ‘NCAA Football 25’

“I’m so excited to FINALLY announce that I’m part of @EASPORTSCollege
. I’m proud to be a partner and one of the voices of the game once again.”

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An image of Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler
Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

NCAA Football fans rejoice — the game’s longtime voices Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will return for its newest iteration, NCAA Football 25. The pair confirmed the news today via their X accounts:

The pair were finally able to reveal their involvement as more news came out about the game starting today. Multiple news items about the game were reported, including the participation of all 134 Division I football programs, and that college football players could opt into the game for NIL purposes. According to The Athletic’s Chris Vannini, players will receive $600 and a free copy of the game for opting in. Those who fail to opt in will be replaced by a generic avatar.

The last NCAA Football game was released in 2013 and started the conversation of whether players should be paid for their participation. EA Sports then stopped putting out versions of the game, despite critical and commercial success. Fan projects like College Football Revamped strived to bring the game into modern times — but now it’s no longer needed. College Football 25 will be revealed in earnest this May, with a release date slated for the summer.

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Joy Taylor and Taylor Rooks to Launch New Podcast

“This show is a space for us to be honest about our experiences, our emotions, and the way we view the world.”

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Joy Taylor and Taylor Rooks podcast logo
Courtesy: Two Personal Podcast

Fox Sports 1’s Joy Taylor and Thursday Night Football’s Taylor Rooks are teaming up for a new podcast, Two Personal, which will debut on March 6. The description of the new content says it will take on subjects beyond the world of sports such as mental health, discrmination and other social issues. The two friends plan to share things they would normally talk about only in private.

“Joy [Taylor] and I have navigated our careers together as sisters in sport, but Two Personal allows us to expand and share our private thoughts and conversations with our listeners,” said Rooks. “This show is a space for us to be honest about our experiences, our emotions, and the way we view the world. There is infinitely more to us than what we have allowed the public to see, and I’m thrilled to be in a place where I feel ready to bare my full self and give an honest look into who I am completely.”

“I am so excited to launch Two Personal with Taylor [Rooks]” Joy Taylor said. “We have spent our careers in sports and now have created an opportunity to show a different side of ourselves. The authentic, raw and exposing side of our experiences and personalities outside of sports. We can’t wait to bring our girl talk to the world!”

The podcast is scheduled to drop a new episode each Wednesday on YouTube and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Report: Amazon Prime Video Paying $120M to Stream NFL Playoff Game

NBCU wanted to keep the game, however, the report says Amazon has a clause in its agreement for ‘Thursday Night Football’ which allows it to have first choice.

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Amazon Prime Video Logo

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Amazon and the NFL have reached agreement on a $120 million deal for Prime Video to have exclusive rights to stream an NFL playoff game at the end of the 2024 season.

Amazon had passed on the opportunity to air the game this past season. It subsequently aired on Peacock in a deal which was valued at $110 million. The AFC Wild Card round matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs made sports media history, garnering an average minute audience (AMA) of 23.0 million viewers, making the contest the most-streamed live event in the history of the United States.

NBCUniversal also revealed that the contest reached 27.6 million total viewers and peaked at an average of 24.6 million viewers during the second quarter. Engagement with the playoff game accounted for the largest internet event in history with 30% of internet traffic prioritizing the game at this time.

NBCU wanted to keep the game, however, the report says Amazon has a clause in its agreement for ‘Thursday Night Football’ which allows it to have first choice.

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