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Troy Aikman: I Am Not The Media

“I think the more availability we get as broadcasters for the game, the better it is for the coaches.”

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

For 20 years, Hall of Fame Quarterback Troy Aikman has been broadcasting games for FOX Sports and has become synonymous with America’s Game of the Week as the number one analyst with Joe Buck. However, broadcasting was not something that he always was interested in doing. 

On this week’s episode of The Flying Coach Podcast  with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and FOX NFL analyst/Good Morning Football co-host Peter Schrager, Aikman joined the guys for what is going to be a two-part interview to talk about NFL in the 1990s, the current culture of the league, production meetings, and much more.

“I had been asked for a number of years to go over to Europe and broadcast games for FOX and it just wasn’t something I was interested in,” Aikman said when asked how he ended up in the booth. “I didn’t think it was something that I’d really enjoy. I thought Deion Sanders would go into television. We thought Michael [Irvin] would, but that was kind of it. Really during that era, not many guys really talked about going into broadcasting when they got done playing.”

However, Aikman took the position alongside Cowboys broadcaster Brad Sham, who he had done a radio show with before and it helped him feel comfortable in the booth. One of Aikman’s worries was he would run out of things to say during a long game.

“When you prepare and you’re getting ready for a game, you find out there’s really quite a bit that you want to talk about. There’s not enough time really.”

Troy Aikman ended up joining FOX’s NFL coverage in 2001 as part of the number two broadcast team and would eventually take over in the number one spot when John Madden left for NBC. 

When Aikman is in the production meetings with coaches and players, it is, in his words, the most fun he has doing the job because it allows him to continue to learn the game. During those meetings, Aikman realizes that coaches are going to be tight-lipped with what they say, but he makes sure to tell them that his job is different from doing an interview with the media: 

“I always tell the coaches we are not the media. I think the more availability we get as broadcasters for the game, the better it is for the coaches. I am not looking to hammer anybody, but if I at least know what the plan was if it’s not going so well, I can at least say ‘this is not what they wanted to do, they were hoping to do this.’ It’s hard to tear down those walls that have been built for years.” 

In order to do a successful broadcast, the crew needs to have the trust of the coaches and players to make that happen. Troy Aikman realizes how important that is because the more research he does, the more open and comfortable coaches and players will be with him. 

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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