Super Bowl week is prime time for sports media reshuffles
PHOENIX — The reason Super Bowl week brings me back to my days of baseball coverage is because it’s like winter meetings with all the talk and rumors and movement.
Let’s go back to just a year ago in Los Angeles.
The game aired on NBC, and here are the top NFL announce teams at the time:
Fox: Joe Buck And Troy Aikman
CNB: Al Michaels And Cris Collinsworth
SCS: jim nantz And Tony Romo
ESPN: Steve Levy, Brian Griese And Louis Riddick Jr.
Now they are:
Fox: Kevin Burkhardt And Greg Olson
CNB: Mike Tirico and Collinsworth
CBS: Nantz and Romo
ESPN: Buck and Aikman
Amazon: Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit
And the beauty of Super Bowl week is when all the wheels really started to turn. Aikman was set to stay with Fox under a split deal with Amazon. If that had happened, Buck and Aikman would call the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Instead, ESPN, who had their eye on Michaels, stepped in and slipped Aikman and Buck after talks heated up for the first time ahead of the big game. Then the dominoes fell everywhere – even the Super Bowl-winning coach Sean McVay came on the scene with a potential offer of $20 million a year from Amazon.
The last offseason was the craziest in sports broadcasting history. Even before, the wheels were turning and small sliding doors — ESPN letting Tirico quit “Monday Night Football” for NBC in 2016 and Romo signing a landmark deal worth a total of $180 million in 2020 — led Amazon to step into image as a new bidder which loosens things up even more.
Not all of the same dynamics are there right now. But, as with winter meetings at their peak, the beauty of this week is that it’s when bold executives, broadcasters and agents start taking industry-changing actions.
This is very fun.
Mets Radio Youth Movement
It was important to WCBS and the Mets that Howie RoseThe new partners have Mets roots. It was actually something they wanted when Josh Levin left a few years ago, but they couldn’t find someone with those roots and felt Wayne Randazzo was the best choice, even though he didn’t bleed blue and orange as a kid. This time, however, with 29-year-old Randazzo’s replacement Keith RadAnd Patrick McCarthywho turns 28 in March, they found advertisers who were Mets fans and who they thought had the chops to be in the booth.
While I don’t think you want full circuits – and there’s no reason to think they will, to be clear – I think it makes sense to have people who care so much about the team than the people who listen to the radio. This gives a real shared passion.
McCarthy, the son of a former Mets radioman, To Mwill be the third person in the cabin, which is more akin to Eddie Colemanhis former role as Brad Heller, whom McCarthy replaces and who did not play-by-play. McCarthy was a Mets fan when his father broadcast their games, but changed his allegiance when his father moved to Philadelphia.
Both will have the chance to learn from Rose, who I profiled last week as he shared his battle with cancer. Rose is the epitome of local play-by-player radio. First, it nails the details of each call. Second, he knows the team’s history as well as anyone, having grown up as a Mets fan. Third, this background allows him to relate to the emotion of his listeners. So the Mets and WCBS got it right, looking for local advertisers.
This is the part you can predict. Now they just have to be good at broadcasting.
One more winner in last year’s broadcast shuffle
You know who had a good year among the lists in the top section? Brian Griese, who opted out of ESPN to become quarterbacks coach under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. How did that happen ?
Griese needs to garner a little, if not a lot, of rookie credit Brock Purdy resembling Joe Montana during this year. Purdy could end up going from Mr. Irrelevant as the final draft pick to Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Griese would have been a bit out of place had he stayed at ESPN – perhaps he would have gotten assignments on ‘extra’ MNF games – and now instead could be in position for potential coaching promotions. .
Phoenix’s plan is to have columns, notes, and hopefully news from you all week. We’ll wrap up with a review of the Super Bowl pre-game show and broadcast next Sunday.
We’re also going to have two podcasts this week. The first comes out Wednesday morning, with the CEO of Fox Sports Eric Shanks. The second, Friday, is expected to include a rare scheduled interview with the NFL’s second-ranking executive, chief media officer and chief business officer. Brian Rollapp. You can register here.