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Michael Strahan: FOX Is ‘More Fun’ For Talking Football

“I just wanted to feel like I’m somewhere where I can actually talk sports and have personality doing it.”

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With all the jobs Michael Strahan has, you can turn on the TV and usually see his face pop up on the screen just about any time of day, whether it is on FOX NFL Sunday breaking down the day’s action, hosting the game show $100,000 Pyramid or giving you the morning’s news every weekday on Good Morning America. However, the Hall-of-Famer didn’t always know he wanted to pursue a post-football career in media.

On the latest episode of Just Getting Started With Rich Eisen, Michael Strahan talked about his journey in the media. The former defensive lineman said that not only did he never seriously consider a career in media until his playing days were nearing an end, he didn’t really seek out a lot of relationships with reporters and hosts.

“I would restrict my media access when I was a player to be honest with you. I would just talk twice a week. That way I knew whenever I did say something, you were going to use it. It was important. I also knew by being in New York, I went on Best Damn Sports Show Period, I did a Super Bowl for ABC. I wasn’t really getting paid for these things, but it was fun.”

Strahan is aware that if he didn’t play his entire career with the New York Giants, he wouldn’t be as fortunate to have the opportunities he has such as LIVE! With Kelly and Michael back in 2012. It isn’t something he is apologizing for.

“As I played and I kept doing more of it, I started to understand more about the media. I understood more how it worked. As much as the media uses you after a game or during the week to get quotes, use your power to better yourself with them.” 

Michael Strahan explained why he made the decision to go to FOX after his playing career was over. He was not without options.  

“I worked for every network as a player, so I decided I wanted to go to FOX because FOX was probably the loosest. It was more fun and in a lot of ways, less football, more entertainment. That was important to me. I just wanted to feel like I’m somewhere where I can actually talk sports and have personality doing it.” 

These days, Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan are co-workers at Good Morning America. It didn’t take working together though for Roberts to influence Strahan’s career. He told Rich Eisen that when he was still working for Live! With Kelly & Michael, it was a meeting on the red carpet with Roberts that made Strahan feel more at ease in his new role.

“At the Oscars, on the Red Carpet…I’m scared to death, Rich. This is Hollywood. These are big stars. I’m not supposed to be on that red carpet. I see Robin across the way, and I wave and I go over to see her. She looks at me and says how are you feeling, and I go Robin, I am scared. She goes hey, you got this, don’t worry, I came from sports too. You belong here. Completely changed my life with that one little thing. I saw Robin Roberts knowing she came where I came from and for her to say you belong here meant the world to me.” 

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Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts

“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”

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In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage. 

Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.

“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.

“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”

Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion. 

“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.” 

When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone: 

“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.” 

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AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive

“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”

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Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.

While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.

A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.

After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.

The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.

“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”

You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket. 

Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.

While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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