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Peter King Leaving Sports Illustrated for NBC Sports

Jason Barrett

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After 29 years, Peter King is moving on from Sports Illustrated. The senior writer, founder of the popular NFL website The MMQB, and one of the most respected voices in football has accepted an opportunity with NBC Sports, bringing his nearly three decade run with SI to an end.

“When Sports Illustrated was good enough to allow me to start The MMQB five years ago, I wanted to introduce a group of promising young journalists to the SI audience and give them a chance to develop into prominent voices on the pro football scene,” said King. “We’re fortunate now that Jenny Vrentas, Robert Klemko, Andy Benoit, Albert Breer, Conor Orr, Jonathan Jones, Tim Rohan, Jacob Feldman and Kalyn Kahler—average age: 30—have grown into an excellent team, with a group of superb editors. It’s time for them to have the opportunities I’ve had over the years, and to do some of the stories and projects I’ve done that they’re more than ready to do.”

King will begin his new venture with NBC this July. As part of his new opportunity he’ll write a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; appear regularly on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continue contributing to Football Night in America. He’ll also resume his popular NFL training camp tour, filing his column from the road and offering occasional video or written reports from team to team throughout the preseason.

“I’m thrilled to be joining NBC Sports full-time after working with the football crew there since 2006. I’ve loved my time there, both in the studio and doing longer features for Football Night in America, and the chance to bring my column there felt like a perfect match to me,” King added. “I loved my time at Sports Illustrated. Quite frankly, it was very tough for me to leave. But the only place that felt like a great fit after my years at SI was NBC, which has always made me feel like a member of the family.”

“Peter has been one of the most prolific and respected NFL writers for decades, and we’re thrilled to host his work exclusively on NBC Sports Digital platforms,” said Rick Cordella, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group. “With the addition of Peter and his Monday morning column, we now have the most complete NFL digital portfolio in sports as we stream primetime television’s number one show, Sunday Night Football; provide continuous football news and analysis on Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk; and produce unparalleled fantasy football information on Rotoworld.com.”

Similar to what ESPN has done with Adam Schefter, NBC will also provide King with an opportunity to expand his horizons. The network says King will be included on the network’s coverage of its most high-profile events, including the Stanley Cup Final, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and more.

“As one of the best NFL reporters in history, Peter’s information, storytelling, and analysis make us better across the board,” added Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “With Peter expanding his NBC Sports presence from Football Night to PFT Live and digital, football fans are the big winners.”

“Peter, in my opinion, is one of the five most important figures in SI history,” says SI editor-in-chief, Chris Stone, “one, for the following he’s built covering North America’s most popular sport, and two for his willingness to embrace new approaches to journalism and storytelling, most notably with the creation of The MMQB, first as a conversation-setting column in 1997, then as a conversation-setting website in 2013.”

King has flirted with the possibility of leaving SI before, but when push came to shove, chose to stick it out with his longtime employer. However, the Meredith Corporation, which owns SI, has chosen to sell the popular sports brand, leaving the future unclear. Couple that uncertainty with layoffs and a number of high profile defections, and King decided that it was time to roll the dice on a new adventure.

“I just felt it was time to move on from the 24/7-ness of football coverage and try something a little bit different. My 29 years at Sports Illustrated have been, collectively, a dream come true. I’ll always be grateful to Mark Mulvoy for hiring a green 31-year-old kid in 1989, just as I’m grateful to my current boss, Chris Stone, for the opportunities and support he’s given me in recent years. For three decades, I’ve had the job of a lifetime in the sports media business, and I will be forever grateful to SI. I leave at the end of May with immense gratitude to my editors over the years and to my staff at The MMQB since 2013. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.”

Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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Sports TV News

CBS Tried ‘Intervention’ With Tony Romo

“They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

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After his performance during the 2022 season, many have questioned why CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has seemed off his game after seeing high praise during the early stages of his broadcasting career.

A recent nugget from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claims CBS executives attempted an “intervention” with Romo before the season.

“Tony Romo needs to study more,” Marchand said during The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. “He needs to be better prepared. As you move away from the sidelines, you need to do more work. I know CBS is aware of this. They tried an intervention last offseason. They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

Marchand also argued that it appears as if Romo’s partner — Jim Nantz — is content to let the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback struggle.

“This was the narrative out of CBS when Romo was getting all of the publicity: you heard from Nantz’ side and people from CBS that Nantz was the one creating Romo,” quipped Marchand. “The issue now is, why isn’t Nantz helping Romo get to this next level?”

Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS in 2020 — addressed his critics in an interview with Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post, saying he’s simply trying new things.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

The 42-year-old Romo appeared to push back on the insinuation that he doesn’t prepare for broadcasts like he used to during the interview.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

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Sports TV News

Jason Benetti: Negotiations With Chicago White Sox ‘Kind of A Pain’

“I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done.”

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Jason Benetti

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone recently saw their contracts renewed by NBC Sports Chicago to team once more as the television voices of the Chicago White Sox. Benetti says the talks about a renewal weren’t without their hiccups.

In a profile with Chicago Sun-Times writer Jeff Agrest, Benetti said the talks about the situation weren’t exactly what he envisioned.

“The really good news is we got somewhere good,” Benetti said. “It was kind of a pain, really. There were some things that we had to get through that I thought were silly, and I’m sure they thought some of the stuff that I was talking about might’ve been silly. But we got there in the end.”

Agrest reported the Atlanta Braves were watching the situation with bated breath. Their television play-by-play announcer, Chip Caray, recently departed for the same position with the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the White Sox and Benetti was how many regular season contests he would miss due to his work with FOX Sports. Benetti is announcing MLB and college football games for the network in 2023 and did his first NFL work for FOX Sports this season. Benetti admitted that were points of frustration along the way.

“I think the work has been strong and I appreciate the heck out of the fans and I have loved the Sox for all my life. I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done. Where I have put myself, totally honestly, the place I am is we got it done, and that means something. It means both sides wanted it to happen.”

Chicago White Sox Senior Vice President of Revenue and Marketing Brooks Boyer told Agrest he didn’t see any complications in the negotiations.

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