The NFL’s new wave of fast-paced offenses promises to keep ESPN’s MNF production team busier than ever. (Allen Kee / ESPN Images)
The NFL continues to get more and more fast-paced. No-huddle, up-tempo offenses are quickly becoming the norm.
Factor in the early success of the high-powered spread offense that Chip Kelly has brought from the University of Oregon to the Philadelphia Eagles, and this trend seems sure to continue.
Teams are getting to the line of scrimmage faster and running more plays. For fans, that potentially means more action, excitement and scoring. For the folks who televise the games, it means something else entirely. continue reading…
NFL’s free agency period begins next Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET and the buzz surrounding who will go where is beginning to simmer over.
In an effort to gain some perspective on how free agency affects coaches and general managers, Front Row queried ESPN analysts Bill Polian (former GM of Buffalo and Carolina and former President and Vice Chairman for Indianapolis) and Herm Edwards (former Kansas City and New York Jets head coach).
Additionally, in the SportsCenter video above, former Cleveland and Jets coach Eric Mangini shares his own free agent recruiting story involving Brett Favre.
ESPN’s Herm Edwards (Don Juan Moore/ESPN Images)
On evaluating players during free agency: H.E.: You always look at the guy’s age and his production. And obviously, if he’s coming off injury, that was a concern. Players make most of their money in their second contract. If you’re getting a guy after his second contract, you’re very hesitant of paying a veteran player — because he’s going to want a long deal.
If you get him when he’s 31 and you look at his shelf life, he might only be a two-year fix, and you don’t want to be caught with a guy for four years when he only really has two good years left. It hurts you on the salary cap. If you cut him, the money goes on your cap and now you lose the player and you still have the money so that affects your football team down the road. There has to be a plan and you can’t panic. And the organizations that go about free agency in that way — that have a good plan — they never get themselves in a bad way.
B.P.: In free agency, you’re looking to fill a need. In free agency, you’re absolutely looking at the finished product. Those players are not going to get any better than they are now at 26 or 27. They’re at their peak. They’re not going to get better. They are what they are. So as I looked at free agency as a general manager, what I’m looking for is the finished product. Whereas with the draft, no matter where you take them, they’re not the finished product.
Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher (l) caught up with former rival and NFL analyst Darren Woodson in the ESPN newsroom during a guest analyst appearance in Bristol this week. (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Even in the offseason, the Washington Redskins linebacker does not like a lot of down time.
Just 10 days after the Redskins’ season ended in a 24-14 NFC Wildcard Playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Fletcher visited ESPN and appeared on various NFL shows to lend his insights.
“I really just enjoyed learning about everything that goes into producing a show,” he said.
Becoming an NFL television analyst “would be the ideal transition” as a post-playing career option, Fletcher said Thursday. He enjoyed his two-day stint on-air and appeared on SportsCenter, NFL Live and NFL32 to help ESPN bring fans more insights into the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games this weekend. continue reading…
Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, the first and only Buffalo Bills player to have his number (No. 12) officially retired by the franchise, visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus recently to talk football and to promote his new book, The Playbook for Dads.
Kelly visited all of the usual stops on the Bristol “Car Wash,” even trying out his producing skills for a segment of SportsCenter Top 10.
Kelly met with Front Row to talk about the inspiration for his book and to reminisce about some of his former Buffalo teammates, his days playing in the USFL, and his favorite Monday Night Football appearances.
He also reflects on his relationships with ESPN analysts Bill Polian: The former Bills GM had a unique “three-point stance” negotiating tactic with one of Kelly’s agents; Steve Young: In the old USFL, former Houston Gamblers QB Kelly and his L.A. Express counterpart Young played in a epic game few people saw; and Chris Spielman, Kelly’s former Bills teammate with whom he shares a personal bond.
Imagine getting married in your favorite sports venue with your wedding party wearing team colors. Of course, your cake and even your invitations would include the team logo.
Or perhaps you just have a creative game costume or a special chant to cheer on your team?
Maybe you’ve built up a remarkable consecutive game attendance streak or developed a team-themed charity fundraiser.
Those are just some examples of the creative and compelling stories that emerged from the Hall of Fans submission process this summer. Over the past month, more than 1,500 remarkable fans shared their inspiring stories.
Today, the Hall of Fans has named 10 finalists for this unique honor. Each finalist will campaign for one of three spots in the inaugural class.
The three fans with the most votes on Aug. 31 will be inducted into this newly created institution in a special September ceremony on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus. continue reading…