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Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth ‘Already Comfortable’ Together

“I understand there’s going to be a transition period of time, but we’ve already spent a lot of time together, obviously, getting ready for this season,” Collinsworth said.

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NBC’s primetime Sunday Night Football booth is bringing a new look to both its booth and its broadcast as it seeks to become primetime television’s number one show for the 12th straight year. With the regular season quickly approaching, the broadcast team of Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, and Melissa Stark has worked throughout the summer to build a working chemistry with one another.

Mike Tirico enters this role after previously serving as the voice of Monday Night Football on ABC from 2006 to 2015, a role he entered replacing Al Michaels when NBC acquired the Sunday-night rights . Since that time, he has been the host of NBC’s Football Night in America and also continues to be the host of primetime coverage of the Olympic Games.

Now, as Michaels joins his producer Fred Gaudelli at Amazon Prime Video, Tirico will once again take his seat in the booth. While he knows Michaels set a high standard, he is confident that he and his colleagues can continue to reach it, especially following their call of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio in early August.

“If I learned anything in Canton, it’s that my instincts are to be trusted,” Tirico said. “We’re going to be fine. Everybody communicates; everybody connects, gets along [and we are] similar-minded folks. Sometimes when you look at sports television, I think the most valuable thing is putting together a group that fits and works well together.”

Being just the fourth full-time play-by-play announcer on Sunday Night Football is certainly something Tirico does not take lightly; however, at this stage in his career, it does not profoundly influence his mindset, if at all. With the start of the regular season on the precipice, Tirico is excited to get started and become a weekly fixture during primetime football on Sunday nights.

“It’s an assignment that I’ve worked for,” Tirico said. “I feel like I’ve completely prepared for [it] and I am surrounded by the best people. For me, there’s no angst about being the next person in that chair.”

Cris Collinsworth remains the constant in the broadcast booth as he enters his 14th season as an analyst in the booth. Now as he famously slides in the broadcast open each week, it will be Tirico instead of Michaels on his right. The change is not entirely distressing to Collinsworth, considering he and Tirico have previously called 21 NFL games together since 2016: more than a full season’s worth. With a new host of colleagues joining the team, he understands the importance of developing synergy among team members, but entering this season, he does not feel the previous flow has abated significantly.

“I understand there’s going to be a transition period of time, but we’ve already spent a lot of time together, obviously, getting ready for this season,” Collinsworth said. “There’s a real comfort already to just being a part of the group and being friends and being able to tell jokes about each other and on each other that typically don’t come until you’ve known somebody a couple years at least, and it’s just like a group I’m used to hanging out with already. I hope that’s what comes across on the air.”

Joining Tirico and Collinsworth on the broadcast team from the sidelines is Melissa Stark, a longtime reporter in both sports and news media. Stark had been an NFL Network host for the past 11 seasons following a stint at NBC News and MSNBC. She is set to return to the sidelines for the first time in nearly 20 years, as she previously worked in the role for Monday Night Football on ABC but left it in order to start a family.

“Sports was always my passion, so now here I am coming back four teenagers later,” Stark said. “[I’m] so excited to work with the very best in the business… and excited about all the new resources that we have on the sidelines.” Season 17 of Sunday Night Football on NBC will commence with the kickoff game between the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills on NBC and streaming on Peacock.

Three days later, the first Sunday night matchup of the year takes place when Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, which will include the premiere of a new show open for the broadcast featuring 8-time Grammy Award winning singer Carrie Underwood. Both matchups are set to kick off at 8:20 EST/7:20 CST.

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Pedro Martinez: ‘Never Imagined’ TV Career

“And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.”

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As the Major League Baseball season comes to a close and preparations for the playoffs begin, MLB Network and TNT analyst Pedro Martinez joined The Press Box podcast to discuss his time as a television analyst.

When asked what he liked about working in television, Martinez didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“I think it’s a platform and the opportunity I have to bring to the audience what I know, what I think, what I understand and broadcasting gives me the opportunity to continue to have that communication with the people, the young athletes and fans. At the same time, I’m able to continue to learn and transmit some of the things that I would love to show everybody by playing but my body doesn’t allow me, but my mind does.

“This is a great way to bring the right information to the people, but I take advantage of the platform to communicate with my fanbase, the player’s fanbase, and the voice behind the players and the situations that come up, I can actually teach the audience some of the things that I understand from my point of view.”

A media career was never in the cards for Martinez. At least that’s what he thought during his playing career.

“I swear to god, it’s the only thing I never imagined. I never thought I would like being in front of a camera,” Martinez said. “And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.

“You learn so much just by having access to information, having access to so many other different things. A lot of people would be surprised how much you can dig into and I think for everybody else, if they knew the kind of information we have access to, they’d be intrigued to come do what we do.”

He then said one of the things he would have never picked up on was how many pitchers tip their pitches, but due to all of the information, video, and relationships broadcasters have make that information readily available. He added his work in television has enabled more relationships with baseball players from his home country, the Dominican Republic.

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Stephen A. Smith and Malika Andrews Get Heated Over Ime Udoka Coverage

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Malika Andrews

On Friday’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith continued his stance regarding the public leaking of information surrounding Celtics’ Head Coach Ime Udoka relationship with a team staffer. He also went further by sharing his dismay that Udoka was seemingly the only person punished for the violation of company policy.

“Only he is in violation of the company policy?” Smith asked. “The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?” 

Before the end of the show, ESPN NBA Today host Malika Andrews called in the program and wanted to address Smith’s comments.

“Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews said. “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we are not here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”

Smith would replay saying that his intention was not blame anyone outside of the Celtics coach.

“First of all, let me be very clear, I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka,” Smith stated. “The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”

Andrews tried to jump back in for further commentary but Smith stopped that and noted he didn’t appreciate being interrupted on “my show”.

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

Andrews did thank Smith for clarifying his stance at the end of the segment. ESPN has removed access to the video from its YouTube channel by making it private.

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Rich Eisen on Tom Brady Joining FOX: ‘I Gotta See It to Believe It’

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow.”

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Is 2023 the year we see Tom Brady in the broadcast booth for FOX? Rich Eisen isn’t so sure.

“I still gotta see it to believe it, I’ll be honest with you, man. I know it’s a great chunk of change and it’s a lot of money. I don’t know,” the NFL Network icon said on the most recent edition of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.

Tom Brady has taken his foot off the gas in 2022 in a more public way than fans are used to. He voluntarily missed eleven days of training camp and has announced that he will not be available to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesdays during the season.

Eisen says if Brady is looking for a less demanding career, broadcasting isn’t the best option.

“It is a lot of work. And I’m not saying Brady’s not up for it, but if he’s been grinding for 23, 24 years, it’s still a grind in its own way.”

FOX signed Brady to a ten-year deal reportedly worth $375 million to start after he retires. He will be in the network’s top broadcast booth and also serve as an ambassador for the network’s coverage of the NFL.

Eisen says there is a much better model for Brady’s media career in his old rival Peyton Manning.

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow,” Eisen said. “Peyton Manning could be making that much money in the booth himself, right? Instead, he’s got his own production company and he’s doing the games, but not all of them, only 10 of them. And he’s doing them from his basement and he’s got the rights to the games!”

He added that Tom Brady “write his own ticket like that” if he chose to do something similar to what Manning has done with Omaha Productions.

Brady has not had much to say about his deal with FOX since the news became public. In June, he told Dan Patrick that he knows his first season in the booth will come with a lot of growing pains.

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