One of the new voices that you will hear as an analyst on FOX’s NFL coverage this season is former USC and eight-year NFL veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez will be the color commentator with Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) and Laura Okmin (sideline reporter) when their season begins with 49ers vs. Lions in Week 1.
On the latest episode of the Green Light with Chris Long podcast (52 minute mark), Sanchez was asked how about the opportunity to go from doing studio work with ESPN to now being a part of the game action for FOX. He said he was nervous, but became comfortable very quickly.
Even more interesting is that Sanchez revealed that he wasn’t exactly a broadcasting free agent when the opportunity to leave ESPN came his way. He had two years on his contract at Disney, but still auditioned for multiple networks.
“I auditioned for CBS, auditioned for FOX. Boom, negotiations started with FOX,” Sanchez told Long. “I called everybody at ESPN and said this is the direction I’m going and they were great. They wished me the best and I was very appreciative to them because I knew they had prepared me for this moment…This was the right move for me.”
To prepare for this season, Sanchez says he has been watching great color commentators past and present and trying to learn how their strengths could work within the context of his personality.
“Watching old Madden clips, watching old Gruden clips. Watching Phil Simms, Tony Romo. You pick little things that you love about each of them. At the end of the day, I got to be me. I got to have fun doing it…I’m a little self-deprecating. Hopefully I have good insight on something, but I want the game to be fun.”
The other part of preparation was that Sanchez had Kugler at his house this summer to talk about their expectations for each other and they watched a Jaguars-Jets preseason game that Kugler called with Mark Brunell in which Sanchez was playing QB for the Jets.
Sanchez knows the expectations that comes with this job and that he sometimes is going to have to call out a bad performance from a player and he hopes they don’t take it personally:
“I think there is a fine art to it. Some guys are better at it than others. At the end of the day, you really got to criticize the performance and not the person. Once you start getting into the person, that’s a little out of bounds. The other thing is I try not to take anything personally as a player. Hopefully, these guys do the same thing.”
In addition to calling NFL games, Sanchez will also be doing some studio work for FS1. It will be interesting to watch the next chapter of his career as he goes from quarterback to studio analyst to taking on a new challenge and calling games from the booth.
Marcus Spears: I Would Put Mike Greenberg In The Hospital
“I love him, he’s my brother, but I would try and saw him in half because he has that stank arrogance of a quarterback.”
Dan Patrick had ESPN’s Marcus Spears on his show Tuesday and presented him with a topic that was very interesting.
Let’s be real, we all want to hit our co-workers from time to time, and Dan Patrick presented Spears with this hypothetical scenario for three of his fellow co-workers at ESPN.
“If I gave ya a free shot, would it be at Keyshawn Johnson, Ryan Clark, or Dan Orlovsky?” said Patrick.
“Dan Orlovsky, and I would try and saw him in half DP,” Spears replied. “I gotta be honest with you.”
“I love him, he’s my brother, but I would try and saw him in half because he has that stank arrogance of a quarterback. That comes off and sometimes you just want to let him know, you really aren’t an athlete.”
Dan Patrick then took the question up a level by adding a fourth option to the mix.
“What if I threw Greeny (Mike Greenberg) in there, would you choose him?”
Spears replied, “Yeah, I would want to see how long he would be in the hospital.”
The answer caused Patrick to bust out in laughter, which in turn made Marcus Spears laugh.
It will be interesting to see how the challenge and answer play out on the NFL Live and Get Up sets. Marcus Spears is one of the most likable personalities at ESPN. Certainly, there will be no bad blood. It will be curious if anyone has a challenge to throw back at him though.
Viewership Growth Continues For First Take, Get Up
The success of both shows has lead to ESPN being the top cable network from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m in the key demographic of 18-34 year olds.
ESPN is seeing growth in two of their signature morning shows. Get Up, with Mike Greenberg and First Take featuring Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim Rose are both seeing a rise in audience.
Get Up‘s audience is up a significant 27% percent compared to 2020. November was the most-watched month in the history of the show according to Nielsen. This is the ninth consecutive month that the show has shown year-over-year growth.
First Take is doing well in its own right, up 19% compared to 2020. The show has shown year-over-year growth in 6 out of the last 7 months.
The success of both shows has led to ESPN being the top cable network from 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m in the key demographic of 18-34 year olds.
“Get Up and First Take continue to bring top level information, insight and entertainment for our fans. Making the four hour block appointment television,” said David Roberts, ESPN senior vice president, NBA & studio production. “Beyond the 8 a.m.-12 p.m. viewership success, segments from both shows also perform extremely well with fans across social and digital channels, expanding their reach in meaningful ways.”
There was some question as to how First Take would do following Max Kellerman’s removal from the show back in August, but it seems that the format of rotating panelists on the show alongside Smith and Qerim Rose has been a success.
Robert Griffin III Book To Expose Washington Football Team
I want you to take this journey with me, as I walk you through one of the most dysfunctional franchises in all of sports.”
Robert Griffin III has a new book coming, and the topic is one that has been in the news as of late.
Griffin announced Surviving Washington on Twitter. The book is focused on the issues he had with the Washington NFL team at the beginning of his pro career. It’s set for an August 2022 release.
“Now, every experience that I’ve ever had has made me a better husband, a better father, and a better player. But I want you to take this journey with me, as I walk you through one of the most dysfunctional franchises in all of sports,” Griffin said in a video announcing the book. “I’m going to tell you the truth about what happened in that playoff game in 2012 against Seattle. I’m going to detail the medical mismanagement that I received during my time in Washington. I will open your eyes to the sexual harassment that permeated the walls of that building, and give you a deep dive into a power struggle between one of the most powerful coaches in all of sports and an owner that many of you want gone. They say, ‘The truth will set you free,’ so here it is, unfiltered. Pre-order now.”
Robert Griffin III said that signing with ESPN didn’t mean his playing days were over. He ever said that he would consider a return to Washington if that is what kept him in the NFL. That is obviously not likely to be happening anymore after openly blasting the owner. It could also rub NFL Comissioner Roger Goodell and other team owners the wrong way as they try to make the investigation into Washington’s corporate culture go away.
If Robert Griffin III is ending his playing career with the release of this book, it isn’t exactly bad news for ESPN. The former QB won rave reviews as a college football game analyst this season. He has also done well with studio coverage of the NFL. Surely the network would find a way to use him more.
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