If there’s one person in the sports media world that might have the most knowledge about Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and his future plans, it would be FOX NFL analyst and one of the hosts of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Peter Schrager.
Last summer, Schrager hosted a podcast with McVay called The Flying Coach, part of The Ringer network, in which the two of them talked to different coaches around the league for the bulk of those episodes.
On Wednesday’s GMFB, Schrager was asked to give his take on the rumors that McVay could leave coaching to join the broadcast booth in the future:
“We did a podcast this summer that was 10 episodes of us interviewing other head coaches,” Schrager said. “Sean loved it. He had a bite at the apple at doing this and just talking and hosting. The TV stuff is very real. There is a place for him on TV in the future.”
“A lot of these networks are in a transitional phase. Al [Michaels] might have called his last game for NBC Sunday Night… Troy [Aikman], his contract with FOX is up in the air right now… Sean Payton is now in the pool, whether it be a studio show or whether it be in the booth. Amazon might have plans to, ‘here’s what our studio show will look like, here’s what our booth will look like.’ If Sean McVay enters the fray, you can tear it all down and start all over because I think McVay is the number one hire for all of these networks.”
Schrager acknowledged that the idea of doing TV in the future is appealing to McVay. However, in terms of maybe leaving the Rams in the immediate future, the current quarterback may be the one player that keeps the Super Bowl winning coach on the sideline for now.
“He’s fresh, he’s 36, he wants to do this thing and he’s coming off of a Super Bowl championship,” said Schrager. “So, there is this TV allure and there is this great pull to him where there are offers going to be made. He can make more money on TV than he is making right now coaching the Rams and it is a far easier job… It’s very appealing and I don’t think the door is shut on any of that stuff.”
“I will also say this, he helped lure Matthew Stafford there. He wanted Stafford. I don’t think he would ditch Stafford unless they had a really long conversation about that. The rest of the team, the organization, that’s whatever. It’s not about leverage and money. I think Stafford is the key piece. I don’t see him leaving until him and Stafford have a long talk… It won’t be decided this week or the next couple of weeks, but I think Stafford is the key point.”
If I could recommend one listen for a podcast, it would be to check out the two-part episode that McVay and Schrager did with Troy Aikman as they dove into some broadcasting topics in addition to talking about the game. On Part one, McVay said it was easy to talk football in the production meeting with Aikman because he asks the right questions:
“To Troy’s credit, there comes a level of respect when you can tell whether you are a coach or a player, the good ones, they’re all working at it. The production meetings are always the easiest to me when you are working with the guys that you can tell they are putting the work in and are asking the right type of questions. The week in preparation, there is a level of trust that exists, but there’s also a level of respect. I’m a fan of football and say how unique an opportunity it is to talk ball with Troy Aikman and Jimmie Johnson.”
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.