The Bill Simmons Grantland endeavor continues to grow, and the latest addition is... Norm Macdonald?
The comedian has joined the staff of Grantland as a golf writer, a topic he's very familiar with (assuming you remember that the basis of his Twitter War with Rick Reilly last March was golf). Macdonald already has a pair of columns up on the site, one that focuses on the 2013 PGA Tour season, and one touching on getting back into sports betting after taking a couple of years off.
Well, the 2012 NFL regular season is in the books, and as expected, football remains king in the USA. The funny part about this is that despite the NFL thrashing every other program and network in the fall quarter, the overall ratings on broadcast TV (CBS, Fox, NBC) actually decreased to 19.3 million viewers from 19.8 million viewers versus 2011.
Despite that slight ratings drop (which translates to a roughly 2.5% decrease in ratings from 2011 to 2012), the NFL trounced everything in their path. 31 of the Top 32 programs aired in the fall were NFL games, with the one outlier being the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. Of course, the NFL games aired on Fox and CBS and Thanksgiving crushed the parade, ranking second and fourth overall respectively on the ratings chart.
Our friends at Ride the Pine captured this video from the Friday morning SportsCenter of Ed Werder filing a report on the latest involving former Eagles coach Andy Reid. Werder talks about a Chiefs delegation leaving Philadelphia and goes where few news reporters will ever go - cutting a joke about Andy Reid's prodigious figure...
"Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and his delegation that includes GM Scott Pioli has actually left Philadelphia and returned to Kansas City without Andy Reid in tow, now I don't know if that's because Andy Reid might put the plane over its weight limit..."
Ouch. I mean really, that's a low blow, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for humor and making terrible jokes at inopportune times, but Reid has had a tough year on and off the field and cracking jokes about his weight doesn't strike me as the best thing to do when reporting on his coaching future. Although I can imagine SportsCenter's ratings would go through the roof if reporters and analysts were allowed to freely make fun of people, the snarky humor should be saved for a much more appropriate and easy target - Rex Ryan's weird tattoo of his wife in a Mark Sanchez jersey.
UPDATE: Later on in the morning, Werder apologized on Twitter:
Bad attempt at humor on earlier SportsCenter. I know better & I’m sorry. Apologies to Andy Reid. Back to football news. Lots to cover
Thursday, SI.com reported retiring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was on the verge of joining ESPN to begin his television career. Lewis has always been highly thought of as a potential television star given his intensity, thoughtfulness, and vibrant personality. In fact, Lewis is such a wanted asset for the networks that he's found a television home even before his playing days have officially ended.
There are few athletes whose future media careers would warrant mainstream recognition and coverage within the sport - Ray Lewis is one of them. With Richard Deitsch of SI breaking the news, it put ESPN in the amusing situation of covering news about themselves.
ESPN.com published an article referencing the SI.com report and relaying the news of Ray Lewis signing with ESPN. An ESPN spokesman also declined comment when contacted by the ESPN.com news service.
So we have ESPN denying comment to ESPN about ESPN's hiring of Ray Lewis.
Brad Nessler was reading a promo for ESPN's coverage of the FCS championship game between Sam Houston State and North Dakota State when the above graphic aired on the screen. It's not as if the network's merely getting ahead of everyone else and hyping next year's Rose Bowl either, unless they're extremely confident that the Badgers and Cardinal are going to be back. No, this is just an unfortunate error on their part. Either that, or someone in Bristol's a massive Cher fan...
The National Football League didn't always dominate television sets and merchandise stands in America. Remember: Baseball reigned supreme in the U.S. sports hierarchy until only a few decades ago, and before that boxing was the nation's favorite sport.
NBC Sports Network will be taking an in-depth look at how the NFL has stolen the hearts of American consumers in a four-part series, debuting Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET, entitled Star-Spangled Sundays.
NBC has released a preview of the four episode documentary, produced by former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg and NFL Films:
KDOC is an independent TV station in Los Angeles that decided to broadcast a live New Year's Eve show this year.
In fact, the only worse idea in all of television would be the launching of ESPN Crossfire starring Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, Stephen A. Smith, Rick Reilly, and Rob Parker. (Crap... I just gifted Bristol that one...)
Watch this six minute montage of KDOC's New Year's Eve broadcast that features a cavalcade of awkward pauses, cringe-inducing transitions, audience members mocking questions off cuecards, Macy Gray acting weirder than even Jenny McCarthy, several f bombs, and an on-stage fight to end the evening. Ah, the joys of live television.
The almighty SEC was dealt a humbling blow in the Sugar Bowl as unfancied Big East champ Louisville dominated Florida from start to finish, winning 33-23. Louisville wasn't given much of a chance before the game and were placed as 14 point underdogs, making it the biggest upset in BCS history. (Yes, even bigger than Boise State!)
The Cardinals certainly played the disrespect card to a tee and Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong took the opportunity in his postgame interview to call out one of their biggest doubters, ESPN analyst David Pollack, by name. Strong dedicated the victory to Pollack, who said Louisville would lose by 15, but it would feel like 30.
The Sugar Bowl hasn't been kind to ESPN analysts, but at least Pollack avoided the fate that met Mark May a couple years ago when scores of Ohio State fans audibly chanted "Mark May sucks" in the postgame. Pollack certainly is a better analyst than that, and maybe in some weird way Strong's comments are a validation of his rising TV profile. To Pollack's credit, he took it on the chin on Twitter...
Still amazed about what Louisville just did. Their defense stepped up like they haven't all year. I was so wrong.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced on Wednesday that he'd be retiring after this season, is apparently close to joining ESPN as an NFL analyst, reports Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. Lewis is expected to be a key part of ESPN's Monday Night Countdown coverage, along with the half dozen or so other analysts that ESPN employs on Monday nights.
ESPN released its ratings for the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls - we discovered (see what I did there? anyone?) that Orange & Sugar Bowl ratings were up while Rose Bowl ratings were down versus last year. Let's explore, shall we?