The NFL and the NFLPA released new protocols today for dealing with Covid-19. Both the league and the players are making it clear that life will be much more difficult for the unvaccinated. The protocols were updated for players, coaches, and the media.
Media members that are not vaccinated will see their access to games severely restricted according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. They will not have access to the press box, field, sidelines or locker rooms. Those that are vaccinated will be able to do in-person interviews with players for the first time since early 2020.
Unvaccinated players and coaches will not be able to gather outside of the team facilities or outside of team-organized travel. They will also be under heavier scrutiny regarding their activities away from the field. That likely will play a large role in how the media covers teams and what kinds of questions coaches and players can expect before and during the regular season.
Vaccinated individuals will only have to test for Covid every two weeks. The unvaccinated are still subject to daily testing. Anyone found to be positive will go into a mandatory five day isolation.
The NFL is still asking players, coaches and the media to observe social distancing practices. Those will play a role in the ability to work in-person.
Mike Greenberg A Candidate To Host NBA Finals
“If the network chooses Greenberg, it may solidify him as the face of ESPN.”
ESPN is in need of a new host for its coverage of the NBA Finals. Last week, Outkick reported that Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan have emerged as candidates to be the new host of NBA Countdown. It sounds like that may not mean they would automatically host the league’s biggest games.
Andrew Marchand reports in his SportsClicker Newsletter that Mike Greenberg has emerged as a candidate to lead studio coverage of the NBA Finals. Duncan is a potential host as well. So is Cassidy Hubbarth.
If the network chooses Greenberg, it may solidify him as the face of ESPN. Sure, Stephen A. Smith makes more money and is at the center of a bigger show, but making Mike Greenberg the host of the NBA Finals in addition to the NFL Draft would make it clear that he is the one the network wants at the center of its most-watched events.
Jay Rigdon of Awful Announcing doesn’t believe that Greenberg will end up with the job. The optics aren’t great after the way Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols left their roles at ESPN.
“After the PR disaster this past summer, with one Taylor leaving the network after it was revealed Nichols had accused ESPN of giving Taylor hosting duties because Taylor is Black and Nichols is not, handing that gig to a white dude would set ESPN up for a massive (and, to be honest, fairly justified) backlash,” he writes.
Al Michaels Move To Amazon Seems More Likely
“All of this means 2021 could be the final season for the Michaels-Chris Collinsworth booth.”
The rumors swirling around Al Michaels and Amazon are more and more likely to be true.
Reports surfaced earlier this year that Amazon may tab Michaels as the lead play-by-play voice on Thursday Night Football when it takes over the property next season. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand posted a piece today that makes it all but certain.
“Amazon will hire Al Michaels as its lead play-by-player,” Marchand wrote. “On the official Clicker Probability Scale, we have this at 90 percent, so we expect it to happen. One of our sources put it at 95 percent. No one we spoke to was pessimistic about Amazon Al becoming a reality. It’s not a done deal, but I’d put money on it.”
Those same rumors still tied Michaels and NBC together for their playoff game, and Marchand is convinced that’s the route each side is taking. He previously reported in June that Amazon would pursue Michaels.
The plan is for Michaels to call Amazon’s 15 regular-season games and then jump over to NBC for their Wild Card Game broadcast. With the move, Mike Tirico slots into Michaels’s role as NBC’s lead NFL play-by-play voice. Tirico joined NBC under the notion he’d eventually succeed Michaels.
All of this means 2021 could be the final season for the Michaels-Cris Collinsworth booth. Michaels started at NBC in 2006 after he was traded from ESPN to NBC for the “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” character. A trade NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol was glad to make.
“We earn nothing from those rights,” Ebersol said at the time. “They’ve had no value in the United States.”
Michaels worked with the legendary John Madden for his first few seasons before his pairing with Collinsworth in 2009. Michaels goes down as just the third broadcaster ever to do Super Bowl play-by-play for NBC, joining Dick Enberg and Curt Gowdy.
ESPN Announces New Studio Show ‘NBA Today’ Hosted By Malika Andrews
”NBA Today will provide in-depth, comprehensive daily coverage of all aspects of the NBA”
ESPN has announced a new studio show, called NBA Today hosted by Malika Andrews. In a corresponding move, the last episode of The Jump is set for October 8th.
Andrews will be joined on the new program by analysts Kendrick Perkins, Chiney Ogwumike, Vince Carter, and Zach Lowe. Additionally, ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski and Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne will be among several contributors to the new show.
Along with her new hosting role, Andrews will continue to work as a sideline reporter for NBA live event coverage.
NBA Today will premiere October 18th, a day prior to the NBA’s opening night. The show is scheduled to air Monday thru Friday at 3pm ET. This will be a year long show dating at least to the end of the season, with an on site show slated for the upcoming 2021-22 NBA Finals.
”NBA Today will provide in-depth, comprehensive daily coverage of all aspects of the NBA” said Dave Roberts, the ESPN Senior Vice President of NBA and Studio Production.
”Through the contributions of our wide array of NBA reporters, the show will be both newsy and timely with an eye towards the biggest games around the league that day.” said Roberts about the new show.
ESPN has made a number of key changes to their NBA coverage since Roberts took on a new role with the company. Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor’s exits specifically generated a lot of reaction. The arrival of a new daily NBA program with a mixture of analysts and insiders should do the same.
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