Trent Green is set for a homecoming this weekend to a place where things could have been much different.
The former Vianney High School quarterback is to be the analyst on CBS’ telecast of the Steelers-Rams game Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, the same building in which 16 years ago he was poised to be leading the revamped Rams in what became their storybook run to the Super Bowl title as more than a 200-1 preseason longshot.
But the chapter on Green in that storybook is short — he suffered a knee injury in an exhibition game, on a vicious hit by San Diego’s Rodney Harrison, and his season was done. Kurt Warner emerged from obscurity to replace him, became the talk of American sports with his league MVP performance and Green’s days were numbered with the club. He did make five starts the following season when Warner was hurt, throwing for 12 touchdowns and averaging 339 yards passing, but was traded to Kansas City the next spring.
Had the injury not occurred it could have been Green, who had been signed several months earlier, guiding fellow newcomers Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt along with holdover Isaac Bruce and the rest of the “Greatest Show on Turf.” And it might have been Green, not Warner, who currently is being talked about as a possible Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Now, more than a decade and a half later, with a trip looming back to the place where much of that magic unfurled, Green naturally thinks about what might have been. Who wouldn’t?
“You see former teammates who are up for the Hall of Fame. You wonder what would have happened if I never got hurt. Who knows? I could have been there 10 more years. I could have been there two more years. Who knows? But there are a lot of what-ifs.”
And a lot of good memories, too.
“That was a special team, a special time for the Rams,” he said. “A lot of close friends and teammates. I would have loved to have had that opportunity, but that wasn’t in the plans, and I’m glad I got an opportunity to continue my career in Kansas City and glad it worked out from a playing standpoint.”
Green had a stellar run with the Chiefs, starting all their games for the first five years after he arrived and throwing for more than 4,000 yards three times. He was selected for two Pro Bowls and in 2004 threw a league-high 556 passes, for 4,591 yards — No. 2 in the NFL — and still holds numerous team records.
He eventually ended up in Miami for a short time before ending his career in 2008 back with the Rams, for whom he played three games.
He had done some broadcast work while playing, including making Monday morning appearances with Dan Dierdorf on KTRS (550 AM) in 1999. Then he made the transition to the booth in 2009, when Fox hired him as an analyst for several game telecasts.
But he was replaced the next season by — you guessed it — Warner (who now is at NFL Network) as Green moved to radio to do the Thursday night NFL game nationally on the Westwood One network.
There’s another strange twist for Green.
He was broadcasting a playoff game in January 2014 for Westwood One, which was the finale for Dierdorf — who was retiring from his storied network NFL broadcasting career that included long runs on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” then at CBS.
In addition to knowing Dierdorf from those KTRS days, Dierdorf had covered quite a few of Green’s games with the Chiefs.
So when broadcast partner Ian Eagle said he wanted to say hello that day to Dierdorf and partner Greg Gumbel, Green was eager to do so, too. But unbeknownst to him, he would be the one hired by CBS to replace Dierdorf.
“I wanted to go down and congratulate Dan on a great career, just say ‘Hi,’ certainly not knowing I would be joining that booth a year later with Greg and a lot of people from that crew,” Green said.
Green’s broadcast career was taking hold. He also has appeared as a panelist on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” show as well as being an analyst on Chiefs exhibition game broadcasts.
CBS was happy to get him.
“Trent’s experience and knowledge of the game, success as an NFL studio analyst and radio broadcaster, combined with his contemporary take on today’s NFL, make him a perfect fit to an already deep roster,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said when he hired Green.
It’s funny how things work out. Green replaced twice by Warner. Green replacing Dierdorf.
And Green, who has settled in the Kansas City area, added another item to that list of twist last year when his son T.J. was the quarterback for Rockhurst High, which made it to the Missouri Class 6 championship game before losing 31-24 to CBC. That contest was played in the Dome, and it was as special a day for the father as it was for his son.
“To be back in the Dome, as a fan watching my son play on that field, was a cool experience for me and the rest of my family,’’ he said. “For years they were sitting up there watching me. It was kind of neat to be sitting up with them watching him.”
Now the elder Green is spending his time watching a lot of tape and doing his own homework.
He appears frequently on CBS Sports Network, as a commentator on the “NFL Monday QB” program that’s on at 5 p.m. Mondays and also is on CBS’ Sunday morning pregame programming. And he has a weekly radio appearance in Kansas City.
It’s a busy schedule during the football season.
“It’s pretty much seven days a week,’’ he said. “Tuesday through Friday is prep at home, either watching film and studying tape or reading articles and trying to learn rosters and depth chart and personnel.”
The after being at the site of the game he’s broadcasting for the weekend, he spends Monday “cramming all day” to prepare for his appearance on CBS Sports Network that day. “Then Tuesday around noon we have our first production meeting” for the next week’s game.
But he enjoys his new career.
“I’d much rather be on the field playing, I miss that aspect of it and I’m not sure when that will ever go away,” he said. “I still miss playing. But it’s been a good transition, it keeps me in the game and allows me to be the dad I want to be and the husband I want to be. So it has worked out well.”
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TV Movie Inspired by Skip Bayless’ Marriage In The Works
“Skip and Ernestine broke the news that a movie is currently in its final stages of approval with the network GAC.”
It appears a cheesy, Hallmark-style movie inspired by a book written by Skip Bayless and his wife will be headed to your TV screens in the future.
Bayless and his wife, Ernestine Sclafani Bayless, co-authored a book in 2019 called Balls: How To Keep Your Relationship Alive When You Live With A Sports-Obsessed Guy. The book has generally positive reviews on Amazon.
Skip has been married to Ernestine for 17 years, and Skip has opened up about how he prioritizes work over his marriage.
Talking on his podcast, The Skip Bayless Show, Skip and Ernestine broke the news that a movie is currently in its final stages of approval with the network GAC.
“By the way, from our book, it’s going to be a movie of the week at some point,” Ernestine said. “Right? I told you they’re making it a movie of the week on GAC.”
She added that “right now it’s in legal.”
GAC is a rival of Hallmark, but is known for its positive, family-friendly movies often with the cheesiest of storylines.
Could ESPN Spin-Off From Disney For Merger With EA Sports?
“EA Sports, the maker of popular sports video game franchises like the Madden and FIFA series, was near a deal with NBCUniversal for a merger. That fell apart due to a disagreement over the price and power structure of the new company.”
Right now, Disney is very happy to have ESPN amongst its many entertainment properties, but that could change. That was evident last week during the company’s upfront presentation to advertisers.
Still, rumors persist about Bob Chapek being willing to spin off the network as its own company. Dylan Byers of Puck News reports that one rumor making the round has Disney setting ESPN up for a merger with EA Sports.
EA Sports, the maker of popular sports video game franchises like the Madden and FIFA series, was near a deal with NBCUniversal for a merger. That fell apart due to a disagreement over the price and power structure of the new company. That leaves EA as a free agent and Disney, Amazon and Apple have all expressed interest.
A merger with the video game giant would make a lot of sense for ESPN. It would give that network a significant presence with the exclusive video game of the NFL. It would also position the network to be a major part of the revived college football video game, which is set to return to the market in 2023.
Byers writes that there is “some notable history” between Disney and EA Sports.
“In 2018, following the sudden resignation of ESPN chief John Skipper, then-Disney CEO Bob Iger tried to recruit [Electronic Arts CEO Andrew] Wilson to be the head of the sports network. Wilson passed and the job went to Jimmy Pitaro.”
Electronic Arts, EA Sports’ parent company, would be a smart acquisition for Disney. Electronic Arts already has a partnership to make the Star Wars video games. Acquiring the company would not only give ESPN a presence across all of EA Sports’ titles. It would also give Disney an in-house studio to develop new video games for its mega-franchises like Marvel and Pixar.
Wilson has been aggressive in the past about partnering with Disney. As recently as March, according to Byers, he was pitching the company on “a more meaningful relationship” than just marketing deals. Bob Chapek rejected that proposal. The difference between what was proposed then and what a future deal between ESPN and EA Sports might look like in unclear.
Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts
“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”
In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage.
Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.
“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.
“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”
Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion.
“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.”
When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone:
“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.”