ESPN often opens a game or coverage of a major event with a “tease,” a two-to-three minute prelude serving as an a mood-setter and customized for special events or telecasts.
Tonight, the tease for ESPN’s NFL Draft telecast (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) will introduce fans to the top prospects in this year’s class, while also reminding them of one of the great stories from last year. continue reading…
Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden (L) with former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck during Gruden’s QB Camp in 2012. (Tim Casey/ESPN Images)
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For top college quarterbacks moving onto the National Football League, visiting Jon Gruden’s QB Camp has become an annual rite of spring.
The Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl-winning coach personally prepares detailed lesson plans for every player.
Last year, Gruden mentored Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and others, arguably the most successful class of rookie quarterbacks in NFL history.
He helped prep each of them for the jump to the NFL.
(To the delight of fans, Gruden also introduced “Spider 2 Y Banana” into the lexicon.)
Gruden’s QB Camp series presented by Corona Extra is back for a fourth year this spring, beginning Thursday, April 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) and continuing throughout the month with segments on SportsCenter and NFL studio shows across multiple ESPN networks.
Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden with former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck during Gruden’s QB Camp in 2012. (Tim Casey/ESPN Images)
The SportsCenter specials will offer a first-hand look at some of this year’s top prospects leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, which ESPN will again televise April 25-27. continue reading…
Rookie QB Russell Wilson has rewarded Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s faith in him. (Credit: Ric Tapia/iCoN sMi/CorBis/ESPN The Magazine)
Every year since 1998, ESPN The Magazine has recognized an elite group of emerging athletes to watch in the year ahead — athletes dubbed “NEXT.” They are competitors not only on the cusp of stardom, but on the verge of transcending their sports. Some of these athletes who fit this description include four young NFL quarterbacks who already have made significant impacts on their respective teams: Russell Wilson (Seattle), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis), and Robert Griffin III (Washington).
Front Row spoke with The Mag’s Senior NFL Writer Seth Wickersham, who explores this subject at length in “Pass or Fail,” in ESPN The Magazine’s “NEXT” issue — featuring 20-year-old NBA star Kyrie Irving on the cover — currently on newsstands, and also on ESPN.com.
NEXT Issue cover
How did you approach this story on the rise of the NEXT generation of QBs?
Like most, it arose from observing, reporting, and thinking about football, and two dominant themes emerged. First, it’s become obvious that teams need a great, not almost great, quarterback to win a Super Bowl. The past 10 years is all the proof you need. And second, this season, more than any other in years, coaches seemed not only willing but perhaps eager to roll the dice on young quarterbacks rather than experience a Groundhog Day of sorts with good-but-not-great starters, betting on the high ceiling as opposed to the high floor. That’s why many young quarterbacks were starting.
This has become the Year of the Young Quarterback. But as with Tom Brady in 2001 and Aaron Rodgers in 2008, behind every young quarterback is a coach who had the guts to not only start him but support him through the inevitable bumpy patches. I respected the risks that [Seahawks coach] Pete Carroll and [49ers coach] Jim Harbaugh. . .took in backing their young quarterbacks, so I decided to highlight the decision, as opposed to exclusively focusing on why the young quarterbacks are playing well.
According to the Chinese calendar, this is the Year Of The Rabbit.
According to the great ABC sitcom Happy Endings, this is the Year Of Penny.
And if you’re a regular reader of Front Row — and we hope you are — this might seem to be the Year Of The Badger. We’ve had a lot of Wisconsin football content lately, but save your conspiracy theories.
Saturday could reveal if Wisconsin is a team of destiny.
As posted on Front Row earlier this week, College GameDay analyst Lee Corso makes his 200th headgear pick tomorrow as the Badgers visit Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. Saturday on Front Row, we’ll have more on Corso’s record as a GameDay seer.
And as you can see from the video above, Wisconsin is featured in ESPN’s Year Of The Quarterback series — but so are several other schools.
Also on Front Row this week:
*In this video, ESPN The Magazine catches up with Kevin Durant, who discusses the summer that made him a YouTube sensation — and then sinks a trick shot from the outer limits.
*Check out some highlights from the first episode of Pardon the Interruption, which turns 10 tomorrow. Monday, check out Front Row for a PTI Trivia Quiz on the eve of the show celebrating its birthday with that evening’s episode.
*ESPN.com ranked the top 500 players in the NBA. The top 10 might surprise you.