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Troy Aikman: I Am Not The Media

“I think the more availability we get as broadcasters for the game, the better it is for the coaches.”

Ricky Keeler

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

For 20 years, Hall of Fame Quarterback Troy Aikman has been broadcasting games for FOX Sports and has become synonymous with America’s Game of the Week as the number one analyst with Joe Buck. However, broadcasting was not something that he always was interested in doing. 

On this week’s episode of The Flying Coach Podcast  with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and FOX NFL analyst/Good Morning Football co-host Peter Schrager, Aikman joined the guys for what is going to be a two-part interview to talk about NFL in the 1990s, the current culture of the league, production meetings, and much more.

“I had been asked for a number of years to go over to Europe and broadcast games for FOX and it just wasn’t something I was interested in,” Aikman said when asked how he ended up in the booth. “I didn’t think it was something that I’d really enjoy. I thought Deion Sanders would go into television. We thought Michael [Irvin] would, but that was kind of it. Really during that era, not many guys really talked about going into broadcasting when they got done playing.”

However, Aikman took the position alongside Cowboys broadcaster Brad Sham, who he had done a radio show with before and it helped him feel comfortable in the booth. One of Aikman’s worries was he would run out of things to say during a long game.

“When you prepare and you’re getting ready for a game, you find out there’s really quite a bit that you want to talk about. There’s not enough time really.”

Troy Aikman ended up joining FOX’s NFL coverage in 2001 as part of the number two broadcast team and would eventually take over in the number one spot when John Madden left for NBC. 

When Aikman is in the production meetings with coaches and players, it is, in his words, the most fun he has doing the job because it allows him to continue to learn the game. During those meetings, Aikman realizes that coaches are going to be tight-lipped with what they say, but he makes sure to tell them that his job is different from doing an interview with the media: 

“I always tell the coaches we are not the media. I think the more availability we get as broadcasters for the game, the better it is for the coaches. I am not looking to hammer anybody, but if I at least know what the plan was if it’s not going so well, I can at least say ‘this is not what they wanted to do, they were hoping to do this.’ It’s hard to tear down those walls that have been built for years.” 

In order to do a successful broadcast, the crew needs to have the trust of the coaches and players to make that happen. Troy Aikman realizes how important that is because the more research he does, the more open and comfortable coaches and players will be with him. 

Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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