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Hard Knocks Will Focus On The Raiders This Year

“The Raiders made plenty of moves in free agency that will give HBO producers plenty of material to choose from over the course of the 5 episode season.”

Jack Ferris

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If you’re thirsty for sprinkler heads popping up onto freshly cut fields, tight shots of slow motion spirals, and workout montages cut to Top 40 singles – fear not. A new season of Hard Knocks is just about 2 months away.

This year, the popular HBO series will focus on the Raiders and their final season in Oakland before heading to Las Vegas.  Despite what you might believe, head coaches and front offices don’t exactly leap at the opportunity to be featured on the annual docu-series.  It’s a distraction having camera crews at ever practice, every meeting, and following players, coaches and executives home to get a glimpse of their personal lives.  With that said, the program is immensely popular every summer, so the show must go on.

As a compromise, the NFL and HBO have agreed to only select teams who A) do not have a first year head coach B) have not made the playoffs the last 2 years and C) have not been on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.  Outside of the Raiders, the teams that qualified this year were the Lions, 49ers, Redskins and Giants.

Always a polarizing franchise, the Raiders made plenty of moves in free agency that will give HBO producers plenty of material to choose from over the course of the 5 episode season.  The largest offseason splash the Silver and Black made this year was trading for Steelers WR Antonio Brown.  As if bringing on that one man content creator wasn’t enough, they also signed huge personalities like LB Vontaze Burfict (known to most as the NFL’s dirtiest player) and OG Richie Ingocnito (the catalyst behind “BullyGate”) to the roster.  

Even if the Raiders had a vanilla roster when it came to characters, their head coach might have enough charisma himself to carry the season.  8 year Monday Night Football veteran Jon Gruden is entering season 2 of his second stint with the Raiders, and has a lot of winning to do to justify his 10 year $100,000,000 deal.  The fun is set to begin August 6th on HBO.

Sports TV News

Jenny Taft Details Security Measures For Female Journalists In Qatar For World Cup

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only. Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

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Much has been made about the abysmal human rights record of World Cup host Qatar as the Middle East nation sees worldwide attention for one of the first times. FOX Sports reporter Jenny Taft detailed the experience of a female journalist covering the event, and was less than impressed.

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only,” Taft said. “Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

Taft had received pushback from viewers and media personalities for her coverage during the World Cup opener, and her interview with the organizers of Qatar’s bid to host the event. Many called FOX’s coverage “tone-deaf” and “proppoganda”.

Taft has continued chronically her experience at the World Cup on her TikTok account, with one video mentioning how difficult it was to leave behind her baby for the nearly month-long assignment.

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Sports TV News

Peter Burns Apologizes To Ben Watson After On-Air Joke About Wife

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

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SEC Network host Peter Burns has publicly apologized to analyst Ben Watson and his wife Kirsten for an off-color joke he made during halftime of Saturday’s Florida/Vanderbilt game on the network.

While joking about Watson’s suit being lighter in color than everyone else’s on set, Watson said he didn’t care what the other hosts thought about his suit, just as long as his wife thought he looked nice, and asked her to “send the text” letting him know he looked good. Burns quipped “that’s not the text she sent me” before going to commercials. When the show returned, Burns and Watson were not on set, and the former NFL tight end insinuated the pair had a strong disagreement during the break.

Later that evening, Burns tweeted a picture of the pair with the caption #Friendship, which Watson retweeted saying Burns needed to publicly apologize. He did that Monday evening.

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

An ESPN representative had previously told OutKick the entire situation was a joke, calling it a “performance bit”, adding Watson “100% deserves an Emmy nomination”.

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Sports TV News

Rece Davis: College GameDay Needed Someone Like Pete Thamel for Years

“It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN’s College GameDay has a formula to it that has made the show work for so long. It’s not scripted at all, but it’s organized in a way that gives the show structure.

And sometimes time constraints force producers and the hosts to have to make adjustments on the fly, like eliminating segments or elements within segments.

GameDay host Rece Davis talked about it on Monday’s edition of the College GameDay podcast with ESPN senior college football writer Pete Thamel. Davis praised Thamel for his contributions to the show but acknowledged that often Thamel whose hits on the show end up struck because of time.

“All of us sacrifice some, but you’re one of the ones who take heavy hits in terms of things getting cut,” Davis said. Thamel’s tweets are often featured throughout the show, and Davis makes it a point to recognize Thamel on the air. “That’s why I try to give you a shoutout when I see the tweets pop up on the screen, which are amazing by the way.”

Davis said Thamel’s ability to provide up to the second information on relevant and timely stories in college football has been a welcomed change to the show.

“You’ve brought something to GameDay that GameDay’s desperately needed for years,” he said. “It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

GameDay will be on location this weekend for the showdown between Michigan and Ohio State. This past weekend the show was live from Montana State.

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