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Greg McElroy Recruited to ESPN by Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler Over Beers

“I love football strategy. I love football theory and not having that in my life would be insanely difficult. I’m so grateful for ESPN.”

Ricky Keeler

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Greg McElroy
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While ESPN College Football analyst Greg McElroy was a senior at Alabama in 2010, he was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which goes to the top senior scholar-athlete in football. Even though McElroy did not win the award, it ended up leading him closer to the career he has now.

McElroy was a guest on the Gramlich & Mac Lain podcast and said that after not winning the award, he was at an happy hour event after the gala, had a beer, and ended up meeting some notable ESPN personalities who asked him to talk about Auburn before the national title game that year. 

“Those that were also at the bar were Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. Lee Fitting and Michael Fountain were also there. After a couple of beers, we were sitting there and saying you just played a good game against Auburn, why don’t you come to Phoenix and talk about it? A first-hand perspective of competing against Auburn.”

“It went really well. They said you were very prepared, we really enjoyed your takes, everything you said about Auburn and we think our viewers gained something from this. Would this be something that you would consider coming and doing now? I said no, I really need to scratch the NFL itch.”

McElroy played for only 3 seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals. While his career didn’t last long, ESPN kept asking him every year about when he was ready to join the network. Then, while he was in Cincinnati, the SEC Network was about launch and that’s when McElroy decided to become an analyst:

“After year 3, they said we are about to launch the SEC Network, do you want to be a part of that? I had just torn my PCL. I was under contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. I knew that I could grind out maybe 2-3 more years, but I’d be better off going and pursuing something I knew I could hopefully do for 30 years. It was a difficult decision to leave the game at that point, but I knew I still had a piece of the game with me in going back to the level of football I aligned with the most.”

For McElroy, he is just happy to have some form of football in his life. He did think he would miss being a quarterback, but he has a home to talk about the strategy of the game.

“I love football strategy. I love football theory and not having that in my life would be insanely difficult. I’m so grateful for ESPN.”

Even though McElroy would have loved to have defeated Auburn in the Iron Bowl, it ended up launching the former Crimson Tide QB into a successful career as an analyst. 

Sports TV News

NFL Sunday Ticket Crowded With More Issues in Week 3

A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

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The NFL Sunday Ticket issues that appeared in the first two weeks of the NFL season continued to show themselves in Week 3.

In the first two weeks of the season, DirecTV was lambasted online for not being able to provide customers access to the entire NFL slate as the service promises. On Sunday, it was much of the same. A quick survey of the official DirecTV twitter account on Monday shows dozens of replies to customers complaining that the service did not work for them.

DirecTV has one more year of the service’s distribution rights before it will move on to another company. The new company that will host the NFL Sunday Ticket feature has not been announced.

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Sports TV News

Thursday Night Football Ratings Slightly Dip In Second Week

Even with the ratings dip, Thursday Night Football was stilly easily the top-rated program of the evening. Law & Order: SVU was second place with 5.5 million viewers.

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Thursday Night Football

Amazon Prime Video saw ratings for Thursday Night Football drop from 13 million for its debut broadcast featuring the Chiefs and Chargers to 11 million for the Browns and Steelers.

The 11 million viewers, however, is a 39% increase over Thursday Night Football from week 3 of last year, which saw the Carolina Panthers face the Houston Texans exclusively on NFL Network. Amazon’s internal numbers, paired with Nielsen’s estimations for the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets suggest 13.6 million viewers watched the week contest.

Even with the ratings dip, Thursday Night Football was stilly easily the top-rated program of the evening. Law & Order: SVU was second place with 5.5 million viewers.

Another interesting note, according to Nielsen’s ratings, the average viewer of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video is 46 years old. That average is six years younger than the average viewer on tradition television.

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Sports TV News

JJ Redick Gets New Contract, New Role At ESPN

“The deal comes after Turner had expressed interest in luring him away from Bristol.”

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Basketball fans will see a lot more of JJ Redick on ESPN when the new NBA season begins. The journeyman guard debuted at the network last year and while he made a big impression, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Redick’s role is about to get a lot more substantial.

ESPN has signed JJ Redick to a three-year contract extension. The deal comes after Turner had expressed interest in luring him away from Bristol.

The new deal will see Redick leaving the studio to be a game analyst. He will partner with Richard Jefferson in a three-man booth. Who will handle play-by-play is yet to be decided, but ESPN executives reportedly want to build around the chemistry Redick and Jefferson have shown.

He will also be part of the network’s NBA Draft coverage. Specific duties for that broadcast are yet-to-be-announced.

Finally, ESPN is making sure that JJ Redick continues to create viral moments for First Take. The new deal stipulates that Redick remains part of the regular rotation of analysts joining Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, but no specific schedule was outlined in Marchand’s reporting.

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