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Kirk Herbstreit Didn’t Feel ‘Growing Pains’ During Thursday Night Football

“I didn’t feel like there were growing pains for me personally. Maybe the audience had growing pains…I do think that’s very apparent to me.”

Ricky Keeler

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Al Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit

It has been a busy few months for Kirk Herbstreit with his new role as the analyst on Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime in addition to being on College GameDay and being the lead analyst for college football on ESPN/ABC. It has led to a lot of travel and not a lot of sleep most weeks. However, one addition to College Gameday this year has provided Herbstreit with an extra boost.

Herbstreit was a guest on Pardon My Take this week and he mentioned that the timing couldn’t have been better for Pat McAfee to join College GameDay this season.

“The timing for me personally could not have come at a better time than having Pat McAfee join the show this year. His energy for me personally on the show and even more importantly off the show was huge for me this year as far as kind of keeping my juice going when you are sleeping 2 hours a night or flying wherever you are flying. You know how he has that infectious personality and energy. That was a big win for me this year personally.”

For some who are not normal viewers of college football, Herbstreit was a new voice for people watching the NFL. With that being said, Herbstreit did not feel that he had any growing pains this year and he felt comfortable from the very first game that him and Al Michaels did between the Chiefs and Chargers.

“We started with Mahomes vs. Herbert. I felt like Al and I hit the ground running. Probably the craziest thing when we were done with that game was I think people that communicated with me were like ‘You guys sound like you have been working together for 10-15 years’ just because it was a good game number one and there was comfort there.

“I didn’t feel like there were growing pains for me personally. Maybe the audience had growing pains…I do think that’s very apparent to me.”

When Herbstreit would go to a bigger city to do a TNF football game, he could feel that the audience was not yet used to hearing his voice on an NFL game.

“You get it in New York and a lot of the bigger cities where it’s just NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. They look at college football the way we might look at middle school football, not even high school football. Until the draft comes around, they don’t know anything about it. I don’t know how people live not watching both personally. I don’t know how my life would exist if I didn’t watch both. I can’t imagine having a black hole towards the NFL. There are people that do that.” 

Herbstreit will wrap up his busy schedule when he is on the call along with Chris Fowler for the CFP National Championship Game between TCU and Georgia on Monday (7:30 PM ET, ESPN). Holly Rowe and Molly McGrath will be on the sidelines for the game. 

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Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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Sports TV News

No Conspiracy Behind ESPN Monday Night Playoff Game Selection

“The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN has only carried NFL playoff games on Monday night for two seasons but has been a part of wild card weekends dating back to the 2014-15 campaign.

With the exception of one season, a 4-seed versus 5-seed matchup has always been covered by the Monday Night Football broadcast team in that stretch of nine seasons. That continued with Cowboys/Bucs this year.

In 2021-22, with the NFL expanding the playoff field to seven teams, the first Monday night playoff game was played. The Rams cruised past the Cardinals 34-11.

Last week, the decision was the source of much speculation. TV executives shared a number of theories about why ESPN landed the game that had the most star power in the Super Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote that no speculation was necessary. The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience. The new format, the games that have a likelihood of altering seeding for the divisional rounds have already been played.

The 4/5 games this weekend proved to be pretty entertaining. The Jaguars rallied from down 27 to beat the Chargers. Al Michaels and Tony Dungy were ripped on social media for how they called a particularly exhilarating game for NBC. So it turns out Joe Buck and Troy Aikman would’ve called either one of the weekend’s best games.

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