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Jeff Saturday Cannot Believe Sam Acho Has Faith In Bears

“Fellow NFL analyst Jeff Saturday almost fell out of his chair when responding to the spicy hot take on Wednesday’s Get Up.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Kevin Tanaka / Sun Times

Andy Dalton’s hair matches his seat right now in the Bears quarterback room: red hot. Justin Fields impressed most pundits enough with his play over the weekend for many to conclude he should be the Bears starting quarterback. 

Don’t loop new ESPN hire Sam Acho into that group. He believes the Bears are “ready to go win a Super Bowl” with the Red Rifle. Fellow NFL analyst Jeff Saturday almost fell out of his chair when responding to the spicy hot take on Wednesday’s Get Up.

“They don’t have a good offensive line,” Saturday said. “Andy Dalton is a statue in the pocket; there is no way they are a better football team with Andy Dalton at the helm as opposed to Justin Fields.”

Saturday expanded further by diving into Fields’ background as proof to why it will be hard to break him mentally should he experience a rocky rookie season.

“As far as can you ruin a guy,” Saturday explained on the show. “Can you do that kind of stuff? You ain’t going to ruin Justin Fields bro. He was at Georgia, and they played Jake Fromm over him. What’s he do? He goes to Ohio State and throws like 70 touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions.”

Acho had a retort ready for his co-worker, albeit uber specific and not necessarily apples-to-apples to the Bear’s current situation. All while Saturday chirped, “Just say you’re right, you’re right!”

“I’m at the hall of fame with my friend,” Acho said, referring to Saturday’s longtime teammate Peyton Manning. “What was his record his rookie year? They were 3-13. That’s not very good.”

Saturday immediately jumped on the point by saying the Manning-led Colts didn’t have the same defensive firepower as this Bears team. In a dead period for sports coverage, Acho and Saturday made for a lively pairing on the Get Up set.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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