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Bob Iger Emailed ESPN Talent That Was On The Night Damar Hamlin Got Hurt

“I don’t think I had ever gotten an email from him before, a personal email like that.”

Jordan Bondurant

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It’s been just over a week since Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field in Cincinnati, sending the ESPN Monday Night Football crew scrambling into coverage of a breaking news story.

The studio crew of Suzy Kolber, Booger McFarland and Adam Schefter have received high praise, and rightfully so, for their handling of such a unique and sensitive situation.

On the latest episode of The Adam Schefter Podcast, Schefter and McFarland spoke about how even Disney CEO Bob Iger sent the three of them an email the next day praising the work they did. Schefter said that was the first time in all the years he’s been at ESPN that he ever received a note from the parent company’s leader.

“I’ve now worked at ESPN since the summer of 2009, so we’re talking 13 and a half years,” Schefter said. “That was the only night I believe that I’ve ever gotten an email – and it came to me, you and Suzy – from Bob Iger.”

McFarland said he’s never been big on seeking out reinforcement from colleagues or bosses that he did a good job on a broadcast. But in the situation with Hamlin, Booger talked about how his focus shifted to caring about the status of Hamlin more than anything else and he’s happy someone took notice.

“I don’t look for pats on the back in a lot of situations,” he said. “I think for us though when we do get put in predicaments that may be uncomfortable, or we get assigned to big events – Super Bowls, all these different things where I get to cover big events – I think it’s good for the acknowledgement especially from the president and CEO of Disney for someone to say hey you guys represented us well. Because I think that’s the ultimate compliment for you, me and anybody that’s on air when they can look at the TV and see us and say you represented the fullest of our company. That is something that I think when it’s all said and done I can look back and say, you know what OK I like that.”

Schefter spoke to the rarity of the situation and said he did appreciate that Iger reached out.

“It was pretty unique,” he said. “I don’t think I had ever gotten an email from him before, a personal email like that. I don’t think you ever had, and I don’t know that Suzy has. And it was very nice of him to take a moment to just acknowledge it.”

Praise aside, Schefter added that he was happy they were able to transition into special coverage and have things go smoothly.

“I was just glad that the night went off, that (Hamlin) was OK, that we didn’t screw anything up,” he said. “That’s how I felt about it if I’m gonna be honest. We didn’t do something that wound up being dissected and critiqued and criticized. Because everybody’s watching, and people were just waiting for that.”

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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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