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Steven Godfrey: NFL Draft Reporting Is Just Coach Gossip, Sucks

“I don’t want to pick apart what a dude said on live TV because live TV is really f***ing hard. But, do we need to possibly institute a stylebook of alcohol-related issues, what does that mean?”

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When Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral dropped to the Carolina Panthers in the 3rd Round of the 2022 NFL Draft, people were wondering as to why a potential 1st Round pick fell. Ian Rapoport went on the NFL Network to explain why the fall happened and received criticism for the way he delivered the report.

Rapoport went on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday to explain that he only tried to report what Corral had discussed out in the open and that he wanted his reporting to be balanced even though he had a short period of time to tell the story.

“When I’m on NFL Now, I get a lot of time. I can say whatever I want. The draft is a little bit different because it’s fast,” said Rapoport.  “For me, it was like I had to get a lot of information in a short period of time. I wanted to give the whole picture. I wondered if I said it too fast, if I wasn’t empathetic enough because if Matt Corral succeeds, he will be a fantastic symbol of overcoming a lot…It’s my job to explain all of that.”  

On this week’s episode of the Split Zone Duo podcast, Steven Godfrey and Alex Kirshner dove deeper into the Corral story and discussed what makes them frustrated about draft reporting. Godfrey said he felt weird about policing Rapoport’s reporting, but he wondered if the industry needs to have a guide on how to report about alcohol-related issues.

“He is parroting what he was told. He’s doing his job at a fundamental level because he is conveying the information. A lot of people on Twitter and the media were saying why did Matt Corral drop? So, Ian talks to someone who, by the way, obviously has to be connected or somewhat connected to the Carolina Panthers.”

“It is his job to convey that. However, the phrasing, and I don’t want to pick apart what a dude said on live TV because live TV is really f***ing hard. But, do we need to possibly institute a stylebook of alcohol-related issues, what does that mean?”

Kirshner agreed that live TV can be difficult, but he thinks there is a larger concern with reporting in the NFL about these types of issues.

“The most public examples of this were Adam Schefter getting himself into trouble after DeShaun Watson was not indicted by a grand jury. This is just a thing that NFL media does and there’s some of this in college football media too where, in order to be the guy who gets every significant bit of league news 3 minutes before everyone else gets it and to get a massive following and win the scoop wars, you’ve got to make some significant ethical compromises and I think it has to get the point where you aren’t really compromising because it’s just the way it works.” 

Godfrey said has a general frustration with the way draft season gets reported because so much of what is reported about individual prospects is the opinions of one person or team.

“The alcohol thing combined with treating depression like it’s a bad 40-time. Then, also treating the admission of depression as a negative, that one, I think, cuts to the bone. I do think there is something to be said for a journalist making a decision real-time of ‘I don’t have to say everything.’

“Draft season is coach gossip, but instead of saying hey Alex, Wake Forest is really going to suck this year because their linebackers aren’t good, it’s about a single individual who is 22-years-old and that f**kin sucks, man.”

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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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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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