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Desmond Howard: I Had More To Say About Player Opt Outs Than College GameDay Would Allow

“If you watch the segment, I even mentioned that you guys are running right through that red light and I am sitting here playing by the rules.”

Ricky Keeler

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MLive.com

Before the New Year’s Day bowl games began, the main topic of conversation on College Gameday that had the sports world buzzing was the idea of players opting out of bowl games. The comments made by Kirk Herbstreit, David Pollack, and Desmond Howard were met with many criticisms to the point where Herbstreit had to go to social media to clarify some of his comments. Here is the full segment in case you missed it: 

Howard appeared on Keyshawn, J-Will, and Max (hosted by Alan Hahn and Harry Douglas on Monday) towards the end of Monday’s show (around the 30 minute mark). The former Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP mentioned that he had much more to say during that segment, but due to time constraints from producers, he wasn’t able to give a good portion of his take.

“If you watch the segment, I had a lot to say but I didn’t say it because as you guys know, we have producers and the producers are in our ears and I made the comment on-air that I am playing by the rules of the producer who is telling us to wrap-wrap-wrap but they kept going meaning Kirk, David, and Rece Davis because he just wanted to get further explanations of things that were being said. I had a lot more to say because I have strong opinions about this. If you watch the segment, I even mentioned that you guys are running right through that red light and I am sitting here playing by the rules.”

During the segment on KJZ, Howard wanted to make his opinion very clear to the point that it extended into the final commercial break of the show as he talked about what he hears from people he talks to in college football about the competitive spirit or lack thereof from some players.

“When you look at these kids nowadays and it’s not just the opting out, let’s go back to the transfer portal,” Howard said. “Those of us who do this for a living, we talk to coaches, you talk to coordinators, you talk to people in the program. They like to talk about how some of these kids, not all of them. The competitive spirit for some of these kids isn’t as strong and that’s why you see the transfer portal is now the cup runneth over so to speak.

“It’s crazy the amount of kids in the transfer portal because kids who don’t want to compete, they kind of feel entitled whether they were told this during the recruiting process or not that they were going to be starters…They don’t seem to want to stay there and compete, they jump ship a lot. The competitive spirit doesn’t seem to be there based on the people who are involved with these programs and the conversations we are having with some of them. That kind of trickles down to the bowls.”

As a former player, Howard says he is an advocate for players and he likes the fact that players can make their own decisions whether people agree with them or not because he hates they are being exploited.

“I understand why some players opt out. Do I agree with it every time? No I don’t always agree with it because I don’t think it’s great for the sport in certain circumstances. It just sets a bad precedent moving forward for a lot of these bowl games.”

Yes, College Gameday has a lot of stories and topics to get into in a three-hour span before games begin, but with the comments that were being made from the panel, you wonder if maybe they should have re-visited the player opt-out topic in another segment to allow more time to clarify statements. Still, at least Howard got the chance to say what he wanted to say on a different ESPN show. 

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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