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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

ESPN Creates ACC/SEC Challenge

The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports.

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ESPN, in conjunction with the ACC and SEC, is slated to announce the creation of the ACC/SEC Challenge for men’s and women’s basketball.

The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports. That number will grow to 30 contests when the SEC expands for the 2025-2026 season.

Every game in the challenge will be aired on an ESPN platform, with each side hosting the same amount of home games.

The creation of the event comes on the heels of the Big Ten’s new media rights deal with FOX, NBC, and CBS, ending a nearly four-decade relationship with ESPN. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge began in 1999, with the SEC/Big 12 Challenging beginning in 2013. Both events will cease to exist following this season.

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Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

Jordan Bondurant

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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