posted by Bill Hofheimer on December 2, 2013 4:51 PM
Mike Tirico sits down with New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. (Chris Wondoloski/ESPN)
Coaches often talk about dividing the 16-game NFL schedule into quarters – four-game stretches for each month of the fall season.
If that’s true for broadcasters, ESPN is kicking off its home stretch and arguably most exciting four games of the season tonight when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (9-2) visit Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (10-1) on Monday Night Football (8:25 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN).
CenturyLink Field (Chris Wondoloski/ESPN)
Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call this matchup of the NFC’s top teams with sideline reporter Lisa Salters from CenturyLink Field. The Saints enter the game with a nine-game MNF winning streak while the Seahawks have won seven straight on Mondays. continue reading…
posted by Jennifer Cingari on November 20, 2013 11:30 AM
(L-R) Show co-hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson on the set of “SportsNation.” (ESPN)
As seen in the video above, one lucky fan in yesterday’s SportsNation audience took home a customized Seattle Seahawks Edition Xbox One. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson joined co-hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley in ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center to promote the highly anticipated new Xbox One.
If you’re a fan of SportsNation, you probably have noticed the frequent incorporation of video games, consoles and culture into the show. There’s the giveaways, as when each member of the studio audience received a copy of “Call of Duty: Ghosts”; there’s the annual SportsNation/Madden Cover Vote campaign; and once, Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley went to E3 2013 to report on the expo’s happenings.
Front Row sat down with Coordinating Producer Whit Albohm to talk about the connection:
SportsNation frequently incorporates the video game industry on the show. Why does it work? continue reading…
posted by David Scott on October 28, 2013 9:38 AM
Some of what you may have missed over the weekend and what’s coming up from ESPN:
1. The World Series is tied 2-2, meaning this crew will be heading back to Boston for more Baseball Tonight at the World Series after tonight’s Game 5.
Pre-show meeting with the Baseball Tonight World Series crew (Photo by Nick Davis)
2. ESPN’s newest NFL analyst, Mark Brunell, makes his debut today on SportsCenter (1 p.m. ET) and NFL Live (4 p.m.). The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback spent the majority of his 19 NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars – earlier this month he was inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars – and also played for the Packers, Redskins, Saints and Jets. In addition to his analyst work, Brunell is currently coaching high school football at Episcopal School in Jacksonville.
posted by Bill Hofheimer on September 23, 2013 3:17 PM
Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate’s (81) catch in the end zone beat the Packers on a controversial call by replacement officials. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Mike Tirico (Allen Kee/ESPN Images)
The most famous plays in NFL history all have names: “Immaculate Reception,” “Miracle at the Meadowlands” and “The Catch.” So do the infamous ones.
Tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup – the Oakland Raiders versus Denver Broncos (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN) – marks the one-year anniversary of the “Fail Mary,” one of the strangest and most unforgettable plays in NFL history.
In last year’s Week 3 MNF game played on Sept. 24, the the host Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers 14-12. On the final play, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone that receiver Golden Tate and Packers defender M. D. Jennings both got their hands on while attempting to gain possession. The two officials near the play initially gave separate signals of touchdown and time out, before ruling the players had simultaneous possession, resulting in a Seahawks game-winning score.
The controversial outcome took place under the cloud of the NFL officiating lockout, which coincidentally ended just days later. Front Row spoke with MNF’s Mike Tirico to get his thoughts on the “Fail Mary” and what he remembers from calling the game that night in Seattle.
What are your memories from the “Fail Mary” game? continue reading…
posted by Hannah Worster on September 7, 2013 10:30 AM
George Grande and Bill Rasmussen in 2012
At about 7 p.m. local time some 34 years ago today, ESPN debuted from its work-in-progress Broadcast Center in Bristol, Conn.
For all the planning involved in the conception of the first all-sports television network by founder Bill Rasmussen, the opening moments on air Sept. 7, 1979 were ad-libbed.
“Everybody at the networks at that time was using teleprompters. I said, ‘We don’t need teleprompters,” said George Grande, who with co-anchor Lee Leonard (who welcomed audiences to “sports heaven”) launched the network’s programming with the first SportsCenter. “We wanted [anchors] who knew sports, who understood sports, who could ad lib about the stories of the day. As long as I ran SportsCenter, we never used them.”
For Grande, Leonard, Chris Berman, Bob Ley, Tom Mees and several other pioneering SportsCenter anchors, working without teleprompters was “a red badge of courage.”
Grande, who helped Front Row commemorate 50,000 SportsCenter episodes last year, is a former USC baseball player who also served as an intern for Vin Scully and was a CBS News colleague of Walter Cronkite before joining ESPN. continue reading…
posted by Allie Stoneberg on September 5, 2013 3:49 PM
In anticipation of the NFL season, ESPN’s NFL hosts, analysts and insiders predicted the eight divisional winners, AFC and NFC wild cards, Super Bowl matchup, Super Bowl XLVIII champion and NFL MVP for 2013.
Of the 35 total predictions, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos are favorites to be crowned Super Bowl champion with eight votes each, followed closely by Atlanta (seven) and San Francisco (four).
New England is heavily favored to win the AFC East, with Ron Jaworski the lone ESPN analyst to not pick the Patriots (picked the Miami Dolphins). Other popular division champion picks include the Denver Broncos (AFC West), Houston Texans (AFC South) and Green Bay Packers (NFC North).
For NFL MVP, it’s no surprise quarterbacks lead the voting, with Peyton Manning garnering eight votes and Colin Kaepernick, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan each with five.
For the complete list of commentator predictions, click here or see chart below. continue reading…
posted by Mac Nwulu on August 12, 2013 3:30 PM
The sixth edition of ESPN’s Face to Face with Hannah Storm series (tonight, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2) will feature long-form interviews with four NFL stars – Vernon Davis, Clay Matthews, J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson.
Front Row caught up with Storm, a SportsCenter anchor – and successful film director/producer – to share her impressions of the stars on the upcoming show.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis: continue reading…
posted by Sheldon Spencer on January 18, 2013 3:56 PM
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)
London Fletcher has played 15 NFL seasons without missing a game.
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…
posted by Carrie Kreiswirth on January 2, 2013 9:40 AM
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.
How did this story change as you pursued it? continue reading…
posted by David Scott on September 25, 2012 9:40 AM
Seattle’s win over Green Bay in last night’s Monday Night Football game will be remembered for the controversial ending. On Twitter and in social media circles, it will be remembered for the all-out frenzy it created.
Here, Front Row looks at how ESPN people reacted, as well as what some on Twitter were saying about ESPN’s immediate and comprehensive coverage from Seattle and on SportsCenter. continue reading…