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Jackie MacMullan: How Many More Times Do I Need To Be On Around The Horn?

“MacMullan wrapped up a writing career that spans nearly forty years since she first started with the Boston Globe in 1982.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

Jackie MacMullan retired from ESPN last week, but she’s not done with media entirely. She is still doing work for The Ringer over the coming months and appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast to discuss why she left ESPN. MacMullan wrapped up a writing career that spans nearly forty years since she first started with the Boston Globe in 1982.

The two discussed what’s next for MacMullan, why she chose to leave a year into her ESPN extension, and how to operate as a journalist in today’s media world.

“You have to be really all-in on this job…if you’re going to do it properly, you have to be all-in,” MacMullan said about leaving right now. “I was having a hard time doing that. I was having a hard time generating the enthusiasm.”

Simmons joked with her about his “fingers not working anymore,” and MacMullan acknowledged she’s ready to spend more time with her family. The departure also opens the door for a wide range of talented women to take her place on different platforms.

“Around the Horn has been my family for the eighteen-something years, but how many more times do I need to be on Around the Horn? We’ve got all these great young women, new voices on that show. I was the only woman on that show for a really long time, for way too long in my opinion.” 

MacMullan’s made nearly 900 appearances on the program and her final show on Aug. 30 marks the last time ESPN audiences will watch her as an employee.

“Now we have all these great young female voices: Mina Kimes, Monica McNutt, Sarah Spain, my girl Ramona [Shelburne] who breaks news all over, I’m gonna leave people out…Emily Kaplan, she’s just a star…Elle Duncan is another one. And it’s just their turn. It’s their turn.”

MacMullan dove into a few more topics with Simmons, including an upcoming project she is working on for The Ringer. She also discussed a potential podcast appearance with her, Simmons, and legendary sportswriter Bob Ryan.

Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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Sports TV News

No Conspiracy Behind ESPN Monday Night Playoff Game Selection

“The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN has only carried NFL playoff games on Monday night for two seasons but has been a part of wild card weekends dating back to the 2014-15 campaign.

With the exception of one season, a 4-seed versus 5-seed matchup has always been covered by the Monday Night Football broadcast team in that stretch of nine seasons. That continued with Cowboys/Bucs this year.

In 2021-22, with the NFL expanding the playoff field to seven teams, the first Monday night playoff game was played. The Rams cruised past the Cardinals 34-11.

Last week, the decision was the source of much speculation. TV executives shared a number of theories about why ESPN landed the game that had the most star power in the Super Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote that no speculation was necessary. The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience. The new format, the games that have a likelihood of altering seeding for the divisional rounds have already been played.

The 4/5 games this weekend proved to be pretty entertaining. The Jaguars rallied from down 27 to beat the Chargers. Al Michaels and Tony Dungy were ripped on social media for how they called a particularly exhilarating game for NBC. So it turns out Joe Buck and Troy Aikman would’ve called either one of the weekend’s best games.

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