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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Articles tagged: FOX

Troy Aikman makes surprising revelation about leaving FOX for ESPN

Troy Aikman in a suit

Troy Aikman will start a new gig next season after he accepted a massive contract offer from ESPN, and he may never know if FOX would have been willing to match it.

During an appearance on Sports Radio 96.7 and 1310 The Ticket in Dallas this week, Aikman shared a surprising piece of information about the events that led to him leaving FOX for ESPN. He said FOX never made a final offer to him after he received the offer from ESPN, which Aikman found “strange.”

“It is a strange set of circumstances that led me to where I am now and not be back at Fox,” Aikman said, as transcribed by Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “And I never would have envisioned that six months ago and so it is strange. When negotiations couldn’t reach, what I felt was fair value, I was able to negotiate an opt-out after six months which allowed me to be a free agent.”

Aikman was referring to his previous contract with FOX. He signed a four-year extension worth $13.2 million per year prior to the 2021 season. The deal included his and Joe Buck’s new “Thursday Night Football” responsibilities, but Aikman negotiated an opt-out into his contract. He exercised that opt-out clause when ESPN made their offer, but the Hall of Famer still expected FOX to make an effort to keep him.

“Then Fox never jumped into the game. They never made an offer,” Aikman said. “I didn’t have any conversations with Fox, until I got a call to congratulate me on my new deal. So that was a decision they made and it’s fine.”

It’s possible that FOX simply was not willing to pay as much as ESPN, so they didn’t want to insult Aikman with a lower offer. After all, Aikman will now be the highest-paid analyst in NFL history with his ESPN deal.

There has been talk of FOX letting Buck walk as well, and they may do so with a somewhat unique arrangement. The NFL TV landscape will look a lot different in 2022, and there could be even more changes coming.

Photo: Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler wants to replace Troy Aikman on FOX

Jay Cutler

FOX is in the market for a new No. 1 commentator for NFL games, and Jay Cutler is volunteering for duty.

Cutler said he would be eager to embrace a broadcasting opportunity, and confirmed that his agents have already put his name forward for opportunities at FOX, as well as Amazon and other NFL rights-holders.

“I would love to do it. I think it’s a fun gig. It keeps you in the game,” Cutler told Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports on Wednesday. “If an opportunity arises, I would jump at it.”

Cutler had agreed to join FOX’s No. 2 broadcast team in 2017, but decided to return to the NFL for one more season before ever calling a game. He has since launched a podcast and media company, but he says commentary is the one thing he still wants to do that he has yet to tackle.

“I could do everything I wanted to do. Color commentary is kind of the last bucket. If I can get that filled, it would be great,” Cutler said.

FOX hired Cutler once, so they obviously saw something in him five years ago, and other networks have reportedly looked at him since. The 38-year-old is clearly done with his NFL career, so the network would not have to worry about losing him again.

The big opening for FOX is on its No. 1 team after Troy Aikman left for ESPN. Putting Cutler on such a high-ranking crew would be a risk, but CBS did it with Tony Romo and it worked out. FOX might want to do the same.

FOX Sports could reportedly lose another key member of NFL coverage

Troy Aikman in a suit

FOX Sports is being forced to overhaul its NFL coverage this offseason, with Troy Aikman leaving the network and rumors suggesting Joe Buck could follow. According to a new report, a third member of the network’s NFL team could be on the way out as well.

Sideline reporter Erin Andrews is set to become a free agent, as her contract is about to expire, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. FOX wants to keep Andrews, though ESPN would also be interested in bringing her back to the network.

Andrews has typically handled sideline duty for FOX’s top game, having most recently been paired with Tom Rinaldi in that job. According to Marchand, ESPN has just re-signed sideline reporter Lisa Salters, who is expected to retain her role on “Monday Night Football.” If Andrews were to jump to ESPN, the network could use a similar arrangement to FOX by using one reporter for each sideline. If not, Andrews would have to be placed in another role.

One reason FOX would like to keep Andrews is probably to have at least some continuity on their top broadcast crew. Aikman has already jumped to ESPN, and there are persistent claims that the network may bring Buck in as well. That is a lot of upheaval, and the situation is made even more significant by the fact that FOX has the Super Bowl next year.

Photo: 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

Are ESPN, FOX discussing a Joe Buck trade?

Joe Buck smiles

If ESPN wants to pair Joe Buck with Troy Aikman on “Monday Night Football,” they may have to make a trade for him.

In a recent edition of the “Sports Illustrated Media Podcast,” sports media expert Jim Miller hinted that ESPN and FOX may already be discussing a trade involving Buck.

“The deals are not synced up. If you’re ESPN and you’re Jimmy Pitaro, you want both of those guys in the booth,” Miller said, via Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing. “So you get closer to Troy and get a sense that Troy may come over. And then what happens? Well, if you’re (FOX Sports CEO) Eric Shanks, you get to sit there and go ‘Okay, yeah, so you won him. Now, let’s start figuring it out.’ In the ESPN book, I wrote about Al Michaels, and there was a Disney character of course, famous Oswald, that was part of the deal to let Al out early. But now, I think what’s been going on behind the scenes, and I’ve heard this from various people, is that there’s some real horse trading.

“I mean, look, does Fox want to keep Joe if Joe’s going to be unhappy? No. But do they want to be able to monetize this in myriad ways in order to really get some flesh out of ESPN? Absolutely. And what might that mean? You know, if I’m Fox, I might ask for two or three Big Ten games.”

Aikman signed a massive deal to move to ESPN, and has hinted that he’d like Buck to follow him. Buck is still under contract with FOX, so this may be the only way to make a move work. Whether ESPN is willing to go that far, especially when there are other options that would require less wrangling, remains to be seen.

Photo: Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Aikman makes significant admission about broadcasting future

Troy Aikman in a suit

Troy Aikman has been calling NFL games for FOX for over two decades, but even he admits that chapter could be coming to an end this weekend.

Aikman and regular partner Joe Buck will call Sunday’s NFC Championship for FOX, but his contract expires after that. That factor has sparked widespread speculation that Aikman could move to Amazon as part of their coverage of “Thursday Night Football.” There is enough uncertainty that Aikman admitted Sunday could be the last game he calls for FOX.

“It could be, yeah. I don’t anticipate that but it could be,” Aikman told Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Aikman said he is already having discussions with FOX about his future, which could involve remaining with the network, moving to Thursday nights, or even doing both.

“Those conversations are happening now,” Aikman said. “And I’m really being as honest as I can be about it. I really don’t know what it’s gonna look like when it’s all said and done and it does get settled. As to whether I’ll be working for Fox and Amazon, whether I’ll just be working for Fox or whether I’ll just be working for Amazon. I really don’t know what might happen.”

Aikman is one of the more recognizable voices in the sport after 20 years on FOX’s lead broadcast crew. With Tony Romo resetting the market for analyst salaries, Aikman can ask for a lot of money from any potential suitor. That is likely the biggest factor contributing to uncertainty over his future.

Further fueling speculation about an Aikman exit is the rumor that FOX is reportedly already considering a big-name replacement for Aikman if he does leave.

Photo: Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

FOX Sports badly burned for not sending TV crew to Illinois-Iowa game

Illinois vs Iowa

A series of bad decisions led to a pretty significant error on the FOX Sports 1 television broadcast of Saturday’s Illinois-Iowa game.

The network did not send a broadcast crew to Kinnick Stadium for the game. Instead, they opted to keep their crew in-studio to broadcast the game off a monitor. The decision cost the network during the fourth quarter, when the broadcast missed a significant moment in the game.

Iowa got the ball back early in the fourth quarter up 20-16 after an Illinois punt. The TV broadcast went to commercial after the punt, as is customary. However, in the aftermath of the play, a skirmish broke out between the two teams. The incident led to Illinois getting two personal fouls for a combined 30 yards, moving the ball from the Illinois 47 to the Illinois 17.

That’s a potentially game-changing series of events.

The problem was that the commentators didn’t see the skirmish because it occurred while the game was at commercial break. When the game returned from commercials, the in-studio announcers, who weren’t in the stadium to see what had happened, were confused and had no idea why Iowa was starting at the Illini 17.

Iowa ended up getting a field goal out of the drive and went on to win 33-23.

It became more common for networks to keep broadcasters in studios during the pandemic, both for safety reasons and because it saves on traveling costs. However, this sort of cost-cutting move inevitably leads to some preventable mistakes. Had the FS1 crew been on the scene, they would have observed the scuffle and explained what happened even if they didn’t come back from commercial quickly enough to show it live.

FOX broadcasts running into issues with commercials is nothing new, it would seem.

FOX gets crushed for funny graphical error during ALDS

Fox graphic screw up

Twitter had a field day after a FOX Sports graphical error went viral during Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday.

Like most baseball broadcasts these days, FOX displays the projected distance and exit velocity when a player rounds the bases after hitting a home run. It was no different when Boston’s Kiké Hernandez hit a game-tying shot in the top of the fifth.

There was just one problem: instead of filling in Hernandez’s name, FOX accidentally popped the numbers up with some placeholder text.

Naturally, most viewers noticed such a glaringly obvious graphical error, and there were jokes.

FOX did introduce a new scorebug for the playoffs, but this is just an accident that has nothing to do with the display. This will happen from time to time. On the bright side, it’s nowhere near as bad as this screwed-up graphic, so it absolutely could be worse.

Report: ESPN and FOX are in bidding war for Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III is, for the moment, still trying to catch on in the NFL for the 2021 season. However, it seems he has another career waiting for him whenever he wants it.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, FOX and ESPN are in a bidding war over Griffin in the hopes that he will end his NFL career and become a TV analyst. FOX initially showed heavy interest in Griffin, but ESPN wants him badly enough that it spurred them to increase their offer to him. It’s not clear if Griffin plans to retire in order to take either opportunity, but it’s clear that a TV career awaits him whenever he does decide to step away from the NFL.

The reason for the serious interest is apparently because Griffin’s auditions have been fantastic. Marchand adds that sources from both networks were “blown away” by Griffin, and some of them even said his audition was among the best they had ever seen.

ESPN’s offer to Griffin would involve both studio work and opportunities as a color commentator for college games, as well as the chance to appear on other shows during the week. FOX would likely add Griffin to one of its NFL commentary teams while also putting him on its college football studio shows.

Griffin has voiced interest in serving as a mentor for one specific quarterback in 2021. Ironically, he did so as part of a live broadcast that very much hints at his potential as an analyst. The 31-year-old is still young and solid enough to come in and serve as an NFL backup for someone, but the money and the visibility of a high-profile broadcast career may end up being a better option for him at this point.

Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via CC-BY-SA 2.0

Oklahoma AD slams FOX for start time of game against Nebraska

Oklahoma Sooners logo

The renewal of the Oklahoma-Nebraska football rivalry in 2021 has been surprisingly fraught with off-field tension, and that escalated again on Thursday.

Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione took aim at FOX for scheduling the game for its “Big Noon Kickoff” telecast on Aug. 28. That means the game will be played at 11 a.m. local time, despite the efforts of Oklahoma to get the game played at a “more traditional time that would honor this game and our fans.”

It’s not exactly common that a school would take on a TV partner publicly over this, but it’s also understandable why FOX would want this game in its typical showcase window. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work as well for Central Time.

The game has been dramatic for a lot of reasons, none related to the rekindling of the long-standing rivalry. One school even confirmed it tried to back out of playing the contest, but ultimately failed to do so. Now that it’s officially on the schedule, there’s a new controversy. Who knows what more might happen in the three months to go before the game is scheduled?

FOX has TV glitch during Cowboys-Eagles game on CeeDee Lamb touchdown run

Cowboys FOX graphic glitch

FOX’s TV feed had a glitch on a CeeDee Lamb touchdown run late in the fourth quarter of the Dallas Cowboys’ 37-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Lamb went in for a 19-yard rushing touchdown on a 2nd-and-6 play to put Dallas up 37-17 with just under two minutes left. As Lamb was going towards the end zone, there was a screen glitch on FOX. It looked like some Andy Dalton stats got scrambled all over the screen.

The issue resolved after seconds, but it was still odd to see. The even bigger surprise may be that even after a 3-9 start, the Dallas Cowboys have a chance to win the NFC East.