From Tom Jones | Poynter <[email protected]>
Subject Who is the best of the NFL media?
Date September 7, 2023 11:30 AM
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
The NFL kicks off the 2023 season tonight as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions. Here’s the football media to watch this season. Email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser ([link removed]) .
[link removed]
[link removed]


Before we get started today, a quick programming note. I’m going to take a few days of vacation, but my colleagues will continue producing The Poynter Report while I’m gone. I’ll return on Sept. 18. Now onto today’s newsletter.

** Who is the best of the NFL media?
Amazon Prime and NBC Sports’ Al Michaels, shown here in December of 2022. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Today, let’s take a break from all the serious political drama and media controversies and get down to what’s really important in this country:

The start of the NFL season.

The NFL kicks off the 2023 season tonight as the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions.

So to commemorate the start of football season, here are my rankings and thoughts on the best of NFL broadcasting and media.

** Best play-by-play announcer

You could make an argument that the A teams for each network that carries the NFL have never been this strong. In fact, I will make that argument.

This is the golden age of A-team broadcasters: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (ESPN), Jim Nantz and Tony Romo (CBS), Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen (Fox), Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth (NBC), Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit (Amazon Prime). I’d take any team from this group to call any game and be perfectly content.

So, top play-by-play guy? I’ll stick with Michaels, who is the best of all time. He was criticized a bit last year for seemingly not being into every game and not having great chemistry with Herbstreit. I think a lousy Thursday night schedule had a lot to do with that. (The Herbstreit chemistry thing remains a work in progress.) This year’s schedule figures to be more competitive, and that should spark Michaels’ enthusiasm — or at least change the narrative among viewers. Michaels will again show he’s the best in the business.

[link removed]

** Gain confidence, clout and connections as a leader

When we surveyed Leadership Academy for Women in Media alumni earlier this year about how the program impacted them over the long term, three themes emerged: confidence, clout and connections.

Join a cohort of more than 550 leaders in news and media who have transformed their careers — and created a ripple effect in the journalism industry. Apply for the 2024 women’s leadership academy by Sept. 8, 2023.

Learn more ► ([link removed])

** Best game analyst
CBS Sports’ Tony Romo, shown here in 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)

For several years, CBS’s Tony Romo was the hot new kid in town — the darling of fans and media critics. And then as always happens, the pendulum swung the other way and now Romo is everyone’s chew toy. He has gotten a rap for not being prepared.

I’m not sure that’s true, but I think the pendulum swings back the other way again and he will be recognized for just how good (and fired up) he is at calling games.

Don’t be surprised if he goes out of his way to show his preparation and goes back to things that made him a media darling, like predicting plays before they happen. Plus, he’s at his best when the quarterbacks are the stars of the game and he, a former QB himself, can focus on what makes them so good. He works for CBS, which concentrates on the AFC. And the AFC is loaded with the league’s best QB’s: Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence and new New York Jets’ QB Aaron Rodgers. So Romo will be my comeback broadcaster of the year.

** Best pregame show

The problem with long-standing pregame shows at Fox and CBS is that they are full of old guys. The young one on “Fox NFL Sunday” is Michael Strahan, who hasn’t played since 2007. To its credit, CBS’s “The NFL Today” is adding the newly retired J.J. Watt, but the most recent former player aside from Watt is Nate Burleson, who hasn't played in a decade. This isn’t to say old guys don’t have something to say. Heck, Fox’s Terry Bradshaw, who is 75, remains probably the most relevant voice on the Sunday pregame shows. But the point is they tend to rely on the same personalities and, worse, the same formulas for their pregame shows. Feels like we’ve been watching the same shows since, well, forever.

In the end, none of the pregame shows are special, but NBC’s “Football Night in America” before “Sunday Night Football” seems to be the most vibrant. They have a major advantage of being able to show highlights from earlier in the day, but they make the most of it.

** Actually …

Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina had a shoutout for a nontraditional pregame show: “The Other Pregame Show” on CBS Sports Network. Traina wrote, “The Sunday NFL pregame shows, for the most part, are the same across the board. ‘TOPS’ stands out for being a little different. … (it’s) loose. It’s fun. It doesn't take itself so seriously like the rest of the pregame shows.”

** Most underrated (play-by-play)

Ian Eagle, CBS. Just as good as any of the A-team announcers.

** Most underrated (analyst)

Mark Sanchez, Fox. He’s best known for his infamous “Butt Fumble.” (Here’s the hilarious clip ([link removed]) if you’ve never seen it.) But he has also developed into a respectable announcer, who isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself in between telling viewers what’s going on.

** Must-see interview of the week
ESPN’s Pat McAfee, shown here in April. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

Pat McAfee and Aaron Rodgers might annoy some people, especially Rodgers, but their weekly chat on McAfee’s show is a must-listen for football fans and reporters alike. It’s always interesting, constantly entertaining and often news-breaking. Rodgers gets so relaxed around McAfee that he’s liable to say anything. Now that McAfee is moving over to ESPN, the interview will get even more attention.

** Best show

NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” This weekday morning show has found the secret sauce: charismatic co-hosts with perfect chemistry, a wonderful mix of news and analysis and, best of all, it’s stress-free. There aren’t over-the-top, performative, made-for-TV arguments. It’s just a fun time with plenty of humor and irreverence and just a really likable panel of Peter Schrager, Kyle Brandt, Jamie Erdahl and Jason McCourty. This is the show that NFL players watch.

Now on to other media thoughts, links and tidbits …
ESPN’s Mina Kimes, left, shown here at an NFL media event during Super Bowl week in 2020. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
* Speaking of the NFL, ESPN has signed Mina Kimes to a new deal that, according to New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand ([link removed]) , is worth a little more than $1.7 million per year. Kimes appears on various shows, including “Around the Horn,” but most notably analyzes the NFL for the network. Kimes probably had options to go elsewhere, but ESPN was smart to re-sign her. She is among the most talented of ESPN’s talent.
* In a bit of a surprising move, HBO’s “Real Sports” will end after this season. It has been on the air since 1995. Host Bryant Gumbel told Deadline’s Peter White ([link removed]) , “Since Day 1 at Real Sports, we’ve consistently tried to look beyond the scoreboard and focus instead on the many societal issues inherent in the world of sports. In the process we’ve had the opportunity to tell complex stories about race, gender, class, opportunity and so much more. Being able to do so at HBO for almost three decades has been very gratifying. I’m proud of the imprint we’ve made, so I’m ready to turn the page. Although goodbyes are never easy, I’ve decided that now’s the time to move on.” The magazine show has had more than 300 episodes and has won 37 Sports Emmys.
* If you read only one thing today, make it this piece from CNBC’s Alex Sherman: “Disney’s wildest ride: Iger, Chapek and the making of an epic succession mess.” ([link removed])
* A $12,000 helicopter ride, $208,980 worth of luxury black-car travel, a $2,500 set of DJ equipment. Those are just a few of the examples in this story from The Washington Post’s Will Sommer: “Project Veritas audit accuses ‘untouchable’ founder of improper spending.” ([link removed])
* Mediaite’s Colby Hall with “Tucker Carlson and Megyn Kelly’s Conspiracy Theories Show How Unhinged Right Wing Media Has Become.” ([link removed])
* NewsNation announced it will hold a town hall with Republican presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence on Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. Eastern. It will be hosted by “On Balance” anchor Leland Vittert, and take place in front of a live studio audience along with a remote audience of undecided, independent and Republican voters located in Iowa.
* Nieman Lab’s Sarah Scire with “The New York Times finds a match with the word game Connections.” ([link removed])
* New York Magazine’s Lane Brown with “The Decomposition of Rotten Tomatoes.” ([link removed])
* Media Nation’s Dan Kennedy with “The Globe announces expanded regional coverage of Greater Boston.” ([link removed])
* Here’s an unusual topic that I didn’t expect. The Associated Press’ James Martinez with “Tennis ball wasteland? Game grapples with a fuzzy yellow recycling problem.” ([link removed])
* The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta wrote the profile that helped push Chris Licht out the door at CNN. His latest piece is a much lighter fare: “The Thrill of Defeat. My life has been shaped by watching the Detroit Lions lose. Who will I be if they start winning?” ([link removed])

** More resources for journalists
* Poynter will honor Anderson Cooper at the Bowtie Ball ([link removed]) in Tampa, Florida, on Nov. 18. Learn how to get first dibs on tickets ([link removed]) during a donor pre-sale event Sept. 5-10.
* Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Media ([link removed]) (Mar., May & Sept. 2024) — Apply by Sept. 8, 2023 ([link removed]) .
* Power of Diverse Voices: Writing Workshop for Journalists of Color ([link removed]) (Nov. 15-18) (Seminar) — Apply by Sept. 15 ([link removed]) .
* Subscribe ([link removed]) to Poynter’s Friday newsletter, Open Tabs ([link removed]) with Poynter managing editor Ren LaForme, and get behind-the-scenes stories only available to subscribers.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) .
[link removed]
I want more analysis of the news media to help me understand my world. ([link removed])
GIVE NOW ([link removed])

ADVERTISE ([link removed]) // DONATE ([link removed]) // LEARN ([link removed]) // JOBS ([link removed])
Did someone forward you this email? Sign up here. ([link removed])
[link removed] [link removed] [link removed] [link removed] mailto:[email protected]?subject=Feedback%20for%20Poynter
[link removed]
[link removed]
[link removed]
[link removed]
[link removed]
© All rights reserved Poynter Institute 2023
801 Third Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
If you don't want to receive email updates from Poynter, we understand.
You can change your subscription preferences ([link removed]) or unsubscribe from all Poynter emails ([link removed]) .
Screenshot of the email generated on import

Message Analysis