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#pounditSaturday, June 25, 2022


FOX officially names Troy Aikman replacement for NFL games

Troy Aikman in a suit

Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; NFL Half of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

FOX had to replace both members of its top NFL broadcasting team after Joe Buck and Troy Aikman left for ESPN, and the two seats have now officially been filled.

In a press release on Tuesday, FOX announced that Kevin Burkhardt has taken over for Buck as the play-by-play announcer and former NFL tight end Greg Olsen will serve as the network’s No. 1 in-game analyst. That means Olsen will call the Super Bowl in just his second year with FOX. He expressed his excitement on Twitter.

It is also noteworthy that the FOX announcement included sideline reporter Erin Andrews. There was some talk that she might leave the network, as she was openly disappointed that Buck and Aikman took jobs with ESPN.

Olsen may not be FOX’s top analyst for very long. That job is waiting for Tom Brady after the quarterback agreed to a massive deal with the network. Though, no one knows if Brady will retire after the 2022 season or continue playing.

Even if Olsen only gets one year as the No. 1 analyst with FOX, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

Magic Johnson makes abrupt shift on ‘NBA Countdown’ appearance

Magic Johnson looking on

Mar 23, 2018; Omaha, NE, USA; NBA former player Magic Johnson watches during the first half between the Clemson Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks in the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Magic Johnson was supposed to be a part of ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” for major events such as the NBA Finals. Then he wasn’t, and now he is again.

Johnson revealed on Twitter he will be making an appearance on ESPN’s NBA pregame show prior to Game 1 of the Finals on June 2. It’s not clear if he will be sitting in for the entire show or just making a brief appearance.

Johnson’s “NBA Countdown” odyssey has been a strange one. ESPN promoted him as part of the show’s new team back in October, but didn’t make his first appearance until March and has not been seen since then. The network had recently blamed that on scheduling issues and said he would not make any further appearances this season, so this is a quick and abrupt shift.

Magic is sure to have some Lakers takes in his appearance. That might be annoying to fans of the Warriors and Celtics ahead of an NBA Finals showdown.

Prominent NBA guard joining ESPN as analyst

A blue and white ESPN logo

Jan. 4, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; ESPN logo prior to the 2011 Sugar Bowl between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Louisiana Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green is no longer the only active NBA player to be moonlighting as an analyst.

ESPN announced Monday that New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has officially joined the network as an NBA analyst. McCollum is signing a multi-platform deal with ESPN and will make his debut for them during coverage of Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

The Associated Press notes that the 30-year-old McCollum graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in journalism. He will also be working with ESPN to develop a new podcast, will serve as a game analyst during Summer League games, and will appear on various studio shows throughout the year.

McCollum, who is president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) as well, has made some notable appearances on television before. During one such appearance recently, he made headlines with comments about one of his teammates.

Jeff Van Gundy sounds sick while calling Game 7 for ESPN

Jeff Van Gundy with a headset on

Feb 5, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy watches the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Center. The Spurs defeat the Mavericks 116-90. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Breen missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics because he is sick with a coronavirus. One of his usual partners still called the game, but he sounded pretty sick too.

Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson team with Breen to call games on ESPN. Van Gundy was on air Sunday night but did not sound good. Fans noticed it immediately. They also wondered whether Van Gundy was sick with the same virus that infected Breen.

Maybe there wasn’t any health issue for Van Gundy, but he sure sounded like he was sick.

Van Gundy, 60, has been a broadcaster for ESPN since being fired by the Houston Rockets in 2007.

ESPN’s Mike Breen not on the call for Celtics-Heat Game 7

Mike Breen calls a game

Nov 13, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; ESPN play-by-play commentator Mike Breen looks on during a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. The Lakers won 120-94. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will play on Sunday night with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line, but there will be a different play-by-play announcer on the TV broadcast.

ESPN has announced that play-by-play commentator Mike Breen will miss Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals after he tested positive for COVID-19. A network spokesperson said Breen is feeling “fine” and expects to return for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Mark Jones will replace Breen alongside analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy.

Breen and his “bang!” calls will be missed in Miami. It will be tough to replace his energy for such a big game.

Former Pro Bowler rips Drew Brees for ‘crying out for attention’

Drew Brees smiling at practice

Aug 23, 2018; Costa Mesa, CA, USA: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts during joint practice against the Los Angeles Chargers at the Jack. R. Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees was not as much of an instant television success as many anticipated he would be last season, and one former Pro Bowler who played against him is not surprised.

Brees worked as a studio analyst for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” last year, but he is not expected to continue in that role. Former Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington discussed Brees’ future during a recent episode of his FOX Sports Radio show “2 Pros and a Cup of Joe,” which he co-hosts with Brady Quinn. Arrington ripped Brees for what Arrington perceives as a big ego.

“He’s just not as popular as he thinks he is,” Arrington said, via Patrick Magee of “He’s not as loved as he thinks he is and he acts out when it doesn’t go the way he would like for it go. He’s reaching out and he’s crying out for attention.”

Arrington was referring specifically to a tweet where Brees hinted at a potential NFL comeback. He also said he is not closing the door on returning to NBC, despite a report that the network does not want him back. Some people feel the tweet was Brees’ way of trying to control the narrative around his disappointing TV debut.

Quinn agreed with Arrington.

“He’s not really wanted by NBC. He’s not really wanted by the Saints,” Quinn said. “Maybe he will end up with FOX, but that’s a tough pill to swallow if you’re a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

Brees has been mentioned as a possible candidate for FOX’s No. 2 NFL analyst job.

The situation with Brees is a reminder that not every star quarterback can be Tony Romo as an analyst. There is still time for Brees to find the right TV role and grow into it, but he is not off to the best start.

Pat McAfee reportedly being considered for big role on Amazon

Pat McAfee celebrating

Apr 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Pat McAfee celebrates during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Pat McAfee is a growing personality in the sports media world, and he may be about to get much bigger, according to a new report.

McAfee is being considered by Amazon to host a “ManningCast”-style simulcast of “Thursday Night Football,” according to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports. It is unclear whether McAfee will have the time to add that sort of broadcast to his list of ventures, but it is the sort of offer he would be interested in.

Reports last month indicated that Amazon was interested in giving McAfee a role on its broadcasts, though nothing was determined at that point. A McAfeecast would allow the former punter to broadcast without traveling, and would not require him to work with the more traditional booth of Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit.

McAfee has had a full array of work since retiring from the NFL in 2017. At the moment, he’s best known for hosting “The Pat McAfee Show” daily on Sirius XM, where he has made it a habit of getting interesting scoops from well-known guests.

Fellow ex-QB competing with Drew Brees for FOX analyst job?

Drew Brees in a suit

Nov 25, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees waves to fans on the sidelines before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees has been mentioned as a potential candidate for a big NFL broadcasting job that recently opened up, but he may have some competition from another former quarterback.

FOX has yet to name a No. 2 broadcast team for NFL games. Kevin Burkhardt was moved to the No. 1 play-by-play role after Joe Buck and Troy Aikman left for ESPN, and Greg Olsen is expected to join him. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Mark Sanchez is among those receiving consideration for FOX’s second team.

Joe Davis will likely be the play-by-play announcer on FOX’s No. 2 team, but there have been a few candidates mentioned for the color commentator job. Brees is one of them. He is still technically under contract with NBC, but there have been reports that the network does not want him back. Brees recently hinted at a potential NFL return, though that may be farfetched for the 43-year-old.

Sanchez left ESPN for a job at FOX last year, and Marchand says producers were impressive with the former New York Jets quarterback. FOX’s No. 2 analyst job is significant, as it comes with the network’s second-best regular season game every week and some playoff games. Sanchez would certainly love to be given a shot.

What happened to Magic Johnson on ESPN’s ‘NBA Countdown’

Magic Johnson looking on

Mar 23, 2018; Omaha, NE, USA; NBA former player Magic Johnson watches during the first half between the Clemson Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks in the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN announced last October that its revamped “NBA Countdown” show would feature Magic Johnson, but the Hall of Famer has not been seen alongside Stephen A. Smith and company since March. That was his only appearance, and it will be his last this season.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that Johnson will not appear on “NBA Countdown” for the remainder of the playoffs. Dave Roberts, the head of NBA and studio production for ESPN, said Johnson has had “unexpected” obligations arise.

“There have been unexpected scheduling conflicts as Magic continues to expand his business commitments,” Roberts said in a statement. “While our new ‘NBA Countdown’ team has been exceptional this season, we have a great relationship with Magic and the door is always open to work together.”

In a press release on Oct. 5, ESPN announced that Mike Greenberg would host “NBA Countdown” alongside analysts Smith, Michael Wilbon and Jalen Rose. The network boasted about the addition of Johnson to the program and said he would “frequently appear as an analyst and will join the team for marquee events throughout the regular season, NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals.” Apparently not.

Marchand reports that Johnson would be amendable to working with ESPN again, so it sounds like the relationship between him and the network is fine. Perhaps he did have other obligations, though it seems unlikely that they would limit him to just a single “NBA Countdown” appearance.

Magic is known for speaking his mind, especially about his former team. Regular ESPN appearances from him would have been entertaining, at the very least.

Al Michaels will still have big role with NBC’s NFL coverage

Al Michaels on the field

Aug 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Network television commentator Al Michaels before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Al Michaels has accepted a new job as the play-by-play voice of Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” this upcoming season, but that does not mean the broadcasting legend is finished at NBC.

NBC announced on Tuesday that Michaels will move to an emeritus role with the network. He will call one NFL playoff game for “Sunday Night Football” in 2022 while also appearing on Olympic coverage.

There will be three NFL playoff games broadcast on NBC in total. The network’s new top NFL duo of Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth will call one while Michaels and another analyst will call the other.

Many people were disappointed that Michaels landed with Amazon rather than a network TV station. Though, the 77-year-old is reportedly getting a massive raise at his new job.

Michaels has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting history. Keeping him in an emeritus role is smart business for NBC.