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Thursday, January 18, 2018


Former NFL Network reporter blasts Ian Rapoport over his Mike Mularkey reporting

Mike Mularkey

Ian Rapoport’s rapid rise at NFL Network is likely the main reason Rand Getlin parted ways with the company last year, and it would appear Getlin does not think very highly of his former coworker.

The Tennessee Titans announced on Monday that they have mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Mike Mularkey. The change of course came as a shock to many, especially since people like Rapoport reported on Sunday that Mularkey had been offered an extension and would remain with the Titans.

Getlin wasn’t about to let that slide. He feels Rapoport has been responsible for a lot of inaccurate reporting and is never held accountable for it, and he went off about it in a Twitter rant.

Rapoport has had some misses in the past, but that comes with the territory. He tends to overstate some injuries, with one notable example coming when Drew Brees hurt his shoulder a couple years back. However, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk pointed out, Getlin was being a bit hypocritical by ripping Rapoport.

Even if Rapoport has eaten crow in the past, this particular instance wasn’t reckless reporting. While he probably shouldn’t have said so emphatically that Mularkey is “staying,” the Titans confirmed they discussed an extension with Mularkey. Rapoport explained on Monday that Mularkey didn’t want to make changes to the coaching staff that the team asked him to make.

The Titans are eyeing a big-name head coaching candidate anyway, so that’s probably why they were unwilling to bend with their demands for Mularkey.

Mike Pereira criticizes Tony Romo, says he ‘struggles’ with NFL rules

Tony Romo

Former NFL vice president of officiating and current analyst Mike Pereira has a better understanding of pro football rules than most people, but he seems to think Tony Romo needs to get on his level.

In a series of tweets, Pereira was critical of Romo for some of the calls he made during Saturday night’s game between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans. For starters, Pereira said Romo demonstrated a lack of understanding with the rules when he took issue with Eric Decker being called for offensive pass interference.

Pereira also defended the officiating crew over a couple of false start penalties that Romo and his CBS partner Jim Nantz seemed to take issue with.

The most noteworthy issue from the game was when Danny Amendola caught a pass at the end of the first half to set the Patriots up for a field goal. It appeared as though the Patriots caught a break with the clock operator stopping the clock with a second remaining, which Romo referred to as home cooking. He later corrected himself when he learned that clock operators travel from a neutral site and have nothing to do with the home team.

You can see a video of the Amendola play here.

Romo is still adjusting to life as a broadcaster, and some issues were expected in his first year on the job. He’ll be able to work a lot of that out during the offseason, and you can bet he’ll take note of Pereira’s criticism.

Broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at 89

Keith Jackson, one of college football’s most iconic voices, passed away Friday night at the age of 89.

The news spread quickly on Twitter, where many paid their respects to a man whose voice became synonymous with the sport.

Jackson most prominently spent 40 years with ABC Sports. Though he worked a number of sports, including Major League Baseball and the NBA, he was most famous for being the network’s voice of college football. He popularized many catchphrases, most prominently his famous “whoa, Nellie,” and is also credited for coining the term “The Big House” for Michigan Stadium. His final game was in 2006, where he called the famous Rose Bowl game between USC and Texas.

Sadly, this is the second iconic broadcaster who passed away in the last month.

Matt Hasselbeck to call Pro Bowl for ESPN alongside Sean McDonough

ESPN has yet to announce a replacement for Jon Gruden in the “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth, but the network’s plans for the upcoming Pro Bowl may be a strong hint as to which direction the search is headed.

On Friday, ESPN announced that former NFL quarterback and current analyst Matt Hasselbeck will join Sean McDonough as the color commentator for the Pro Bowl on Jan. 28. Hasselbeck has not, however, been named Gruden’s full-time replacement.

“The process for determining our new Monday Night Football booth is already underway,” ESPN said in a statement. “We are looking at both internal and external candidates and expect to have a decision made this spring. This is one of the most high-profile and attractive positions in all of sports broadcasting so we want to take our time to ensure we make the best decision.”

Promoting from within would make the most financial sense for ESPN, as they could just give someone like Hasselbeck a raise and not have to take on a new multimillion-dollar salary. While Hasselbeck is just a fill-in for the Pro Bowl, he is likely a strong candidate for the full-time “Monday Night Football” role.

Steve Young, another ESPN employee, said Thursday that he is not interested in the “Monday Night Football” job, so that eliminates one potential candidate. For what it’s worth, gambling outlets seem to think ESPN could make a big splash to fill the void left by Gruden’s departure.

Peyton Manning the gambling favorite to replace Jon Gruden in ‘MNF’ booth

Peyton Manning

Now that Jon Gruden has been introduced as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders, one of the most prestigious broadcasting jobs in sports will soon be up for grabs. We have heard countless names mentioned as possible replacements to become Sean McDonough’s partner on “Monday Night Football,” but Las Vegas seems to like one above all the rest.

Peyton Manning.

Manning, who retired from football two years ago, has yet to really sink his teeth into a new career. Because of his outgoing personality and television experience, there has long been talk that he would be a natural calling games. According to Bovada and some other gambling outlets, the two-time Super Bowl champion is the favorite to replace Gruden at ESPN.

Other sportsbooks have taken a more rational approach, with names like Steve Young and Matt Hasselbeck — already employees of ESPN — considered the most likely candidates to join McDonough in 2018. Obviously, Manning would be the biggest splash for the network.

If Manning does decide to get into broadcasting, he can probably have any job he wants. There are few more appealing than becoming the “Monday Night Football” play-by-play man, but Peyton may not want to go the same route as Tony Romo. There have been rumblings that he wants to try his hand at working in an NFL front office, so perhaps he will go that route eventually.

Website deletes old articles after touting LaVar Ball-free policy

LaVar Ball Lakers

A new sports media venture has deleted old articles after touting a LaVar Ball-free policy to try and acquire more subscribers.

The Athletic, a new subscription-based sports journalism website, on Tuesday touted in a social media marketing campaign that they are a LaVar Ball-free outlet. Here’s their pitch:

Stewart Mandel, one of the company’s college football reporters, doubled down and said he’s “serious” that there is a no-LaVar company policy.

Despite the advertised policy, Ball was mentioned in Anthony Slater’s article about the Warriors-Nuggets game on Monday night.

Black Sports Online’s Robert Littal also pointed out that the site had written about LaVar in detail in the past:

At some point after it was pointed out that their past articles were in conflict with the new stated policy, the site deleted the old LaVar Ball articles:

There is some irony in the notion that a company that dislikes the way LaVar Ball markets his company uses Ball’s name to market their own company. At least they probably just became Steve Kerr’s favorite outlet.

Sticking to the policy may be easier said than done for The Athletic.

Sean McDonough emotional during goodbye to Jon Gruden (Video)

Sean McDonough gave an emotional goodbye to Jon Gruden after the AFC wild card game between the Chiefs and Titans.

Gruden will become the next coach of the Raiders next week. However, prior to assuming that role, he was in the broadcast booth for ESPN’s coverage of Saturday’s game between Kansas City and Tennessee.

There were some awkward moments during the game between McDonough and Gruden, but afterward there was an emotional moment between the two. McDonough talked about Gruden’s impact on “Monday Night Football” and wished him good luck with the Raiders.

Gruden has been a color analyst for “Monday Night Football” since 2009. McDonough joined the broadcast as Gruden’s partner in 2016.

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