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Bob Wischusen Wasn’t Sure the NHL on ESPN Would Ever Be A Possibility For Him

“That was one of the happiest days I’ve had. I immediately went right into my boss’s office and said I want to be involved in this.”

Ricky Keeler

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Bob Wischusen

One of the busiest sports play-by-play announcers all year-round has to be Bob Wischusen for ESPN. Whether it is calling the New York Jets, or a hockey, college football, or college basketball game for ESPN, Wischusen is on your radio or TV all-year round. He also understands that no one wants to hear how busy his schedule is once they turn on a game he is calling.

Wischusen was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and he told Schein that with the crazy schedule he has, the key is having a short-term memory and understanding no one wants to hear him complain about what he does for a living.

“You obviously have to kind of have the ability to wipe your short-term memory and move on to the next game. You have to obviously delegate your time somewhat effectively as well to make sure you are not chasing the next game, but you are out ahead of it.

“If I’m someone that wants to listen to the Jets game, I’m going to turn the game on and listen to the game. If I happen to be calling a hockey game between your favorite team and someone else, you don’t care what bowl game I called two days ago or how I got there and how little sleep I had, you just want to watch the game. I get it. No one wants to hear you or me complain about our jobs.”

When it was known that the NHL TV rights were going to go back to ESPN, Wischusen knew he wanted to get involved even though he hadn’t called a hockey game since he was a substitute play-by-play voice of the New York Rangers for MSG Network. He appreciated that ESPN took a chance and gave him an opportunity to call NHL games for the network.

“It was not something I really dared to dream was possible. My first play-by-play experience at the pro level was actually with the Rangers. I left WFAN and went over to MSG when I was still the pre and postgame host for the Jets and hadn’t been elevated to the play-by-play role yet. I was given the opportunity to be the substitute , pinch-hitting play-by-play guy for MSG and the majority of that was Rangers and a lot of it was radio. I loved it.

“That was one of the happiest days I’ve had. I immediately went right into my boss’s office and said I want to be involved in this. Luckily enough, they kind of took a little bit of a leap of faith and let me do it because I had not called hockey for certainly more than 10 years, maybe less than 15. It had been a long time. They had the belief I can do it and put me on it without really ever having heard me do it. I will be forever grateful for them for having that faith in me to give me that chance to do it again because it is great.”

While Wischusen used to be a sports talk radio host in the early stages of his career and he told Schein he does miss that aspect of what he does, he mentioned how he enjoys being part of the event when he does play-by-play rather than waiting for the event to be over when he was at WFAN in New York or WQAM-AM in Miami.

“Yes, because I think that what is in my DNA, you’re passionate about sports for whatever reason. I know I am. I don’t know why when I was 8, or 9, or 10 years I would watch these games on TV and I would emotionally get wrapped up in them…None of us can specifically say why. Because in my nature of irrationally caring about sports and sports events, you always want to scratch that itch and get your opinion out there and debate as well.

“If you were to ask me when I was 21, 22 years old, what would you like to do for the rest of your life? At the time, I would have said I want to be like Mike and the Mad Dog. You want to host afternoon drive and watch all the games and yell and scream at people about them the next day. What can be more fun than that?

“It did tilt more towards play-by-play because in my world, I started to understand it’s a lot of fun to be at the event. It’s great to be on before and after the event and to be waiting for the event to be over so that you can then vent about it, but nothing beats being at the event for me because I think part of that DNA I’m talking about is you love the games, you love the crowd, you love the drama, you love the strategy, all of that lends itself towards wanting to be there and in a very small way, being part of it.” 

Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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Sports TV News

Michael Irvin Removed From NFL Network Super Bowl Coverage

“I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds.”

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A complaint from a female to NFL Network has caused the network to remove Michael Irvin from its Super Bowl coverage.

NFL Network did not comment on the nature of the complaint or the allegation of any impropriety by Irvin, simply stating Irvin would not be a participant in coverage of the event from Arizona.

“Michael Irvin will not be a part of NFL Network’s Super Bowl LVII week coverage,” said NFL Media Vice President of Communications Alex Riethmiller in a statement.

Irvin claimed the interaction happened during a brief moment Sunday after having dinner and drinks with former Cowboy defensive back Michael Brooks.

“This all happened in a 45-second conversation in the lobby,” Irvin told The Dallas Morning News. “When I got back after going out … I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds. We shook hands. Then, I left…That’s all I know.”

Irvin, 56, admitted he didn’t recall the conversation between him and the female but called the interaction “just a friendly conversation”. He defended himself by saying “There was definitely nothing physical”.

The report from The Dallas Morning News added that Glendale police officials do not know about any incident regarding Irvin.

A report from Front Office Sports claims ESPN executives are “poised to pull the plug” on Irvin’s scheduled appearance on First Take from Radio Row Friday.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer has been with NFL Network since 2009, and in August of last year signed an extension to remain with the cable channel.

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Sports TV News

Pro Bowl Lowest Rated Since 2006

While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues.

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The NFL completely revamped its Pro Bowl format for the 2022 season, and the changes did not garner more viewers.

An average of 6.28 million viewers tuned into the event across ABC, ESPN, and DisneyXD Sunday for the first 7-on-7 event. That number is a decrease of 6% compared to last year and is the lowest-rated Pro Bowl since the 2006 event saw just 5.96 million viewers. That figure excludes the 2021 Pro Bowl, which was a “virtual” event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the numbers decreased, the Pro Bowl was still the second-highest-rated All-Star Game for the major professional sports leagues, with the MLB All-Star Game seeing an average viewership of 7.51 million. The 6.28 million who watched the Pro Bowl is a virtual tie with last season’s NBA All-Star Game.

The Pro Bowl Skills Challenge — now produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions — did see a large increase in viewership compared to last year. More than 1 million viewers tuned into the Thursday night primetime event, which is the second-best figure on record. That audience is a 23% increase compared to last year’s event.

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