Ryan Clark on the set of NFL Live (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has been on TV many times, but this week was different.
Appearing in a suit and tie instead of a uniform, Clark was invited to ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus for a four-day “internship” as a guest NFL analyst. In between appearances on SportsCenter, NFL Live and NFL32, Clark spoke to Front Row and discussed his experience as an analyst-in-training. continue reading…
Trey Wingo at the 2012 NFL Draft. (Allen Kee / ESPN Images)
NFL Live host Trey Wingo is no stranger to the NFL Draft.
He covered the event for the first time on a live ESPN web stream in 2000 before moving onto the ESPN Radio broadcast from 2001-03. Since 2004, Wingo has been a major figure in ESPN’s television coverage of the annual “NFL Player Selection Meeting.”
After doing pre-draft shows and interviews with players during Round 1 yesterday from the ESPN studios in Connecticut, Wingo drove the approximately two hours to New York City around midnight in anticipation of his weekend hosting role on ESPN’s main set at Radio City Music Hall. continue reading…
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Less than a full day into NFL Free Agency, ESPN has announced a major signing of its own.
Two-time Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl champion and 12-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewisis joining the company as a NFL studio analyst.
Lewis, who will have a prominent role on Monday Night Countdown and Sunday NFL Countdown, is visiting the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn., today as part of the EA Sports Madden cover vote. He is scheduled to appear on multiple programs throughout the day, including ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning (9:45 a.m. ET), SportsCenter (10 a.m.) and NFL Live (4 p.m.), where he will discuss his new ESPN role.
In the Front & Center podcast above, John Wildhack, ESPN’s executive vice president, production, talks about the addition of Lewis to ESPN’s NFL roster and what fans can expect from the future Hall of Famer as a broadcaster.
Last week, ESPN aired more than 120 hours of television and radio from the site of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, La.
With Studio E staples Mike & Mike In The Morning, NFL Live and NFL 32 producing remote shows from the French Quarter, there was just enough time to give one of ESPN’s most versatile Digital Center 1 workspaces a “refresh.”
In less than 48 hours on Jan. 29 and 30, Studio E was retrofitted with the latest-generation cameras, monitors and set lighting — a task made possible by the Super Bowl road shows and First Take’s flexibility.
“It is rare that we move NFL programming to any other studio, especially since a show like NFL 32 has a specific set built for them in Studio E,” said Sara Nasshan, a senior resource coordinator who handled the request to clear Studio E for two full days to accommodate a full camera replacement.
“The only live show in the studio was First Take, and their team was very flexible,” she said. “They agreed to move the show to Studio A on two dates to accommodate this work in Studio E. Smart timing and flexible show units help make moves like this happen.” continue reading…
A collection of ESPN’s Super Bowl champions on-set in New Orleans. (Tonya Malinowski/ESPN)
NEW ORLEANS — ESPN commentators offer their predictions for Super Bowl XLVII. Of the 35 ESPN commentator picks, 21 chose the San Francisco 49ers, while 14 selected the Baltimore Ravens as the anticipated winner:
Picking the 49ers:
Tedy Bruschi, NFL Live analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion, 28-27: “The difference is the 49ers’ offensive line. Frank Gore is the MVP.”
Frank Caliendo, comedian/impersonator and Sunday NFL Countdown contributor, 30-27: “Both teams — who have been known for their defenses — have been putting points on the board as of late, but I think the 49ers have a little more firepower — and I really just want to see how crazy [head coach] Jim Harbaugh goes if they win.”
Cris Carter, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, 31-27: “[Colin] Kaepernick’s going to run the ball a lot.”
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer, 28-24: “With power football in vogue in this Super Bowl, the 49ers will overpower the Ravens at the end. The 49ers are deep in talent and focused, but it still wouldn’t surprise me if they need overtime to get the win.”
Trent Dilfer, Monday Night Countdown analyst and Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV champion quarterback, 31-23: “As conflicted as I am having to pick between two of my former teams . . . Both move the ball. The Pistol [offense] allows the Niners to punch it in, while the Ravens are stuck kicking field goals.”
Mike Ditka, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, Super Bowl champion as player, coach, 28-24: “I like what Jim [Harbaugh] has done and how he’s built the team. If the 49ers do not get a pass rush, they will be in trouble but they have found a way to get it done all season.”
Herm Edwards, NFL Live analyst, 27-24: “The 49ers have too many options on offense that present problems for the Ravens. Even though Colin Kaepernick is young, sometimes being young and naïve in a game like this is a good thing.”
Merril Hoge, NFL Live, NFL Matchup and NFL PrimeTime analyst, 21-20: “The core of the 49ers, the offensive and defensive lines, is the best in football. Colin Kaepernick has brought focus to their offense, but it’s because they are so good in the trenches.”
Tom Jackson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst, 24-21: “In the critical area — the front line on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball — I think the 49ers have an edge.”
Keyshawn Johnson, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst and Super Bowl champion, 24-17: “No one’s figured out how to stop this Pistol offense. Defenses have struggled against this offense and Kaepernick.”
Chris Mortensen, NFL senior analyst and NFL32 co-host, 31-23: “Colin Kaepernick’s composure has been the biggest surprise for me this postseason, and I don’t think he’s going to lose it on the NFL’s biggest stage.”
Jerry Rice, NFL Live analyst, Hall of Famer and three-time San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champion, 24-17: “The Niners will have a better defense and Colin Kaepernick bringing so many different formations to the offense will present matchup problems for the Ravens.”
Ryen Russillo, co-host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo, 24-17: “San Francisco has been the best team all season and they will be the better team on Sunday.”
Adam Schefter, NFL Insider, 17-14: “Two throwback teams playing a throwback game in which two undrafted free agent kickers, David Akers and Justin Tucker, could decide the world championship.”
Mark Schlereth, NFL Live analyst, ESPN Radio host and three-time Super Bowl champion, 28-27: “Offensively, Colin Kaepernick — the dual-threat and read-option [QB] — will be too much.”
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…
From breaking news, to investigative stories, commentary pieces and rankings, a good recap of the year in sports can be seen in ESPN.com’s most viewed stories in 2012.
Millions of fans visit ESPN.com as their online destination for the latest news and insights, and the site looks to continue its lead in the Sports category in 2013, carrying over an average minute audience of 77,000 last year, 52 percent higher than its closest competitor (source: comScore).
“Our list of the most trafficked stories each year is a barometer of what resonates most with sports fans,” said Patrick Stiegman, editor-in-chief, ESPN.com. “2012 was no exception to the trends of previous years. Coverage of the NFL, popular with fans seemingly 24/7/365, as well as breaking news — unfortunately, sometimes tragic — from around the sports world proved to be the most widely consumed content on our sites.”
Editor’s Note: With this two-week series — the Front Row Forward/Rewind, 2013/2012 — ESPN’s Communications Department takes the pulse of content executives throughout ESPN for their views on what’s ahead across ESPN for 2013 and some of what transpired in 2012. The snapshots provide a look at where ESPN has been, where it’s going and how it plans on getting there.
Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer, NFL studio shows
Best off camera moment:
It was actually the night Mike Ditka suffered a minor stroke. As a show and as a family, we were all very concerned. I tried his cell phone when he was in the hospital. I thought I was going to get his voicemail but he picked up and said, “Seth, I’m alright.” For me, there’s no better moment than that this year. When I called around to everyone on the show, they were equally relieved and happy to hear the good news.
Favorite segment or interview:
The day after Veterans Day, Rick Reilly did a very touching piece for Monday Night Countdown about a father and son who, at their own expense, went to every NFL stadium this year and took Wounded Warriors to games. I had the chance to meet them in New Orleans at our Monday Night Football game. It was an amazing experience. So, Rick does this great piece and when it ends Coach Ditka interrupts Chris Berman during the bump. He tells Rick, “Have them get in touch with me. I’m paying for the rest of their trip.” It was just a great moment. A day later I got a note from the father and son asking me to thank Ditka because he was paying their expenses for the rest of the season.
Brian Dawkins on the NFL Live set. (John Atashian / ESPN Images)
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ESPN welcomed nine-time Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins to its team of NFL analysts this September.
A former safety for the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos, Dawkins now appears on Audibles (Thursdays, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN), NFL Live (weekdays, 4 p.m., ESPN), NFL32 (weekdays, 6 p.m., ESPN2) and SportsCenter.
In this Front and Center podcast, Dawkins discusses his transition to NFL analyst, the day the Philadelphia Eagles retired his No. 20 jersey and his plans for the future.
The NFL season kicked off this past week and the NFL Live team is just as excited as the fans.
In the video above, ESPN’s Trey Wingo, Herm Edwards and Mark Schlereth are on-set at the NFL Live promo shoot. The spot takes place at a “NFL resort” where the ESPN team is available to share football knowledge with “guests.”
Look for the ad next week.
ICYMI: Highlights from the past week on Front Row
•As the 50,000th episode of SportsCenter approaches (Thursday, July 13, 6 p.m. ET), ESPN Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Mark Gross addressed some of the most common SportsCenter-related topics and questions with Front Row.
•Fan Central released the first edition of its mailbag. The initial offering provides answers to some of the questions fans have submitted including Jon Gruden’s Twitter status, the return of DLHQ and more.
•Gerry Austin a former NFL official and the current Supervisor of Officials for Conference USA will join the MNF team to provide weekly insight on NFL rules and on-field enforcement. Austin also offers his perspective on the current NFL replacement officials.
•This week ESPN celebrated its 33rd birthday and announced the re-signing of six-time National Sportscaster of the Year Chris Berman, one of ESPN’s original anchors.
Row of Four Our favorites from across ESPN over the past week
Astute viewers may have noticed ESPN anchor Sara Walsh wearing some rather un-fashionable footwear on-air this week.
“I tried to really take advantage of some great weather and I overdid it on the running and ended up with a stress fracture,” said Walsh, who returns to the expanded, Emmy Award-winning Fantasy Football Now beginning Sept. 9 on ESPN2 (Sundays, 11 a.m. ET). “Turns out sitting on the couch is the safest form of exercise.”
Fear not though, the injury will not sideline Walsh, who has been getting reps on NFL Live and NFL Kickoff in addition to her SportsCenter anchor duties.
Front Row chased down Walsh — it wasn’t too hard — to get an injury update.
ESPN’s Sara Walsh
What’s the prognosis? How long will you be in the walking boot?
At least two weeks, but just between us and NOT my doctor, that boot is coming off at the beach this weekend. I have standards.
You had knee injuries as a student-athlete – how does this injury compare? This really doesn’t compare. I’ve fractured my foot before in college and just played through it for a few games. I actually considered running before I went in for the x-rays though, and therein lies my addiction to running.
Probably not ideal to have a bad wheel on the sprawling Bristol campus or, for that matter, working with some of the merry pranksters that populate ESPN?continue reading…