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Is Tim Howard’s Future In Media?

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NBC’s Premier League coverage does not need saving but it will likely have an expert on the subject this season:

Tim Howard.

Before his World Cup heroics, the U.S. national team goalkeeper worked seven games for the NBC Sports Network as an English Premier League analyst, a coup for NBCSN since Howard is also the starting keeper for the Everton Football club. Given that NBC Sports executives liked what they heard from Howard — as well as the fact that his Q-rating has soared exponentially after his Secretary of Defense performance in Brazil — the network is keen to have him return to its Premier League production (which kicks off again in August).

“Ultimately, it depends on Tim,” said Pierre Moossa, the coordinating producer for NBCSN’s Premier League production. “We would love to continue to work with him. As an active Premier League player, he adds such unique aspects to our broadcasts but we appreciate and understand that his commitment to his club and country is top priority. When I last spoke to him prior to the World Cup, he seemed very open to working with us during the upcoming season and we will continue to look for various opportunities to include Tim in our broadcasts.”

Moossa said the goal last year for NBC Sports and Howard was to find broadcast opportunities that did not impact his normal preparation for Everton. He commentated on days only after Everton games, traditionally a day off for players in the league.

“We would reach out a couple weeks in advance and see if he was available and interested,” Moossa said. “We never wanted to be a distraction for him. We would speak the Wednesday the week of the show to review his prior telecast, to discuss his upcoming broadcast, and to finalize his travel logistics. We would then leave him alone till after his match.”

Moossa said the day before Howard’s debut telecast last Oct. 27 — he called Chelsea-Manchester City at Stamford Bridge with regular play by play announcer Arlo White — NBC Sports executives were nervous that Howard’s broadcast work could potentially be a distraction for him. But Howard saved a penalty and recorded a clean sheet that day against Aston Villa in a 2-0 win. The win became a pattern: Moossa said Howard’s teams had a 6-1 record for matches the day before Howard working as an analyst. Howard called six games in the booth including Liverpool-Manchester City last April, and was in the studio for Arsenal-Chelsea last Dec. 23.

“There were nerves in the beginning, which was completely understandable, but also a desire to know everything about his new environment,” said White, who worked with Howard along with fellow commentator Steve Bower. “Pierre and I both spent time with Tim in the week leading up to the first broadcast and he took a lot of information on board about the requirements of working on an NBC Sports broadcast. It was more than he was expecting I think, but he took it all in without a single complaint.

“The evolution of his broadcasting over the course of his first season was stark. He went from a softly spoken, rather shy presence, to a confident and sharp analyst in very little time. I remember early in that first game together, I stayed quiet during the first replay. We’d previously discussed that that was his time to speak and to break down what had just happened. There was silence. I didn’t want to force the issue as I wanted him to remain calm and collected. We had a chat about it at halftime, and the flow improved markedly in the second half. Later in the season, at a huge Liverpool game during the title run, he was confident, eloquent, punchy and made some very insightful observations.”

There are certain positions in sports that tend to make good broadcast analysts. Sports television producers like keepers for soccer broadcasts since they see the entire field unlike a midfielder or forward. They are also generally excellent communicators (Howard is one of the best interviews on the national team), and by the nature of their job, they must study opponents tactics and tendencies.

White said that Everton manager Roberto Martinez (who is currently working for ESPN as a World Cup analyst) told him in an interview last season that Howard would achieve whatever he wanted to after the conclusion of his soccer career because “he’ll listen and he’ll work hard.” How does Moossa evaluate Howard’s long-term potential as a broadcaster?

“Should Tim choose to make television his career after he retires, he will have a bright future,” Moossa said. “He seemed to have the same approach for our broadcasts as he would for a match. He would watch back and critique his prior NBC telecast. We would then review it together on a conference call. He was always looking for feedback. His tremendous work ethic, his eagerness to learn and his desire to improve will ensure his success in the broadcast booth. You could tell by working with him, that regardless of this being a side project, he would not settle for anything less than his absolute best.”

For more check out Richard Deitsch’s column on SI where this story was first published

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Damon Amendolara: Why Does Tom Brady Want To Call Games?

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving.”

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady is headed to FOX. According to Damon Amendolara, there is no question who is getting the better end of that deal.

The network’s interest in Brady has been well-known for months. Still, CBS Sports Radio’s morning man cannot believe it is actually happening. He said Tuesday morning that he can’t understand why Brady would want to pursue a media career after his playign days end.

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving,” Amendolara said. “I just always felt like Brady’s post-playing career was going to be pushing nutrition, pushing TB12 brand, pushing his apparel brand and doing kind of elite media work.”

A media career for Tom Brady is something Amendolara said he assumed would happen off-camera. He pointed to the Religion of Sport production studio Brady co-owns as an example of what he would expect Brady to want to be involved in.

Broadcasters work more Sundays during the NFL season than players do. No matter how good the games are, Damon Amendolara said that it is a grind he could not believe Tom Brady was willing to sign up for.

“They’ll get the number one games, but you still gotta do 17 or 18 of them before you get to the playoffs and not every one of them is a sizzler.”

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Ike Reese: ‘It’s Up To Us To Let Ray Didinger Stay Retired’

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

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Ray Didinger is feeling a lot of love from his WIP colleagues after announcing his retirement on Sunday. He will still be on the station through the end of the month, but on Monday, nearly the entire full-time air staff of the radio station was paying tribute to him.

Jon Marks and Ike Reese took time out of their afternoon drive show on Monday to replay Didinger’s announcement. Marks said that it was “as thoughtful as everything that he does.” He doesn’t doubt that Didinger is at peace with the decision.

Reese joked that it was good to hear PD Rod Lakin was not responsible for this. He also said that he was happy to hear that this was not a health-related retirement. According to the former Eagles linebacker though, that means it would be really easy for Didinger to want to abandon his plans if given the chance.

“We obviously know how much Ray Didinger means to us. And this WIP family, just like the Comcast Sports family I’m sure, is important to him,” Ike Reese said. “I’d imagine he would have a tough time saying no. That is why you leave it up to us to don’t bother him. Don’t put him in that position. Let him enjoy retirement.”

He knows that it will be hard for Didinger to not stay ready for a media appearance diuring the football season.

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

Both Marks and Reese said they hope that they would not hear from Didinger until at least the 2023 Eagles season and that Ray and his wife use that time to fully enjoy their new freedom.

Jon Marks reminded everyone that Ray Didinger is still an author with products to sell. If they really miss him, they can always go to a book signing.

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Mat Smith and Nate Jackson: ESPN Anger Over Nikola Jokic MVP ‘Is Garbage’

“He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has won the NBA MVP award for the second consecutive season. Jokic secured the award ahead of Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid.

ESPN NBA analysts Brian Windhorst and Tim Legler got the attention of Mat Smith and Nate Jackson on 104.3 The Fan in Denver Monday. Both Legler and Windhorst felt like Embiid was the MVP and sounded downright offended that he was not named the winner.

Legler said Embiid carried the Sixers and had a firm grip on the award from early February through the end of the regular season.

But Smith, who was filling in for Chad Brown on Monday, argued that the same things could be said for Jokic, adding that Jokic did more with less star power on the Nuggets roster. He didn’t understand how Embiid was Legler’s clear choice over Jokic.

“There’s so many different reasons why that specifically is garbage from Legler,” Smith said.

Jackson said Jokic is the Rodney Dangerfield of NBA players and made the point that it’s a continuation of a trend. For what ever reason, the national media overlooks the 27-year-old Serbian superstar.

“They don’t pay attention to it, they’re quick to write off this guy because they don’t appreciate his style of play,” he said. “He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

Windhorst explained he went with Embiid based on what advanced statistics were saying. Smith said Windhorst basically laid out why Jokic was most deserving of MVP.

“He just gave every reason why Jokic should win and said, ‘Well I voted for Embiid, and I’m not taking it back,'” Smith said. He added that it was puzzling why so many voters were against Jokic. “These guys don’t like Joker. He’s not likable nationally, and why that is I’m not sure.”

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