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SBD/Issue 152/Sports MediaPrint All
Viewers Of ESPN, NFL Network Saw Draftees
Celebrating Before Goodell's Announcements
TALENT REVIEW: In K.C., Jason Whitlock writes ESPN's Herm Edwards "turned in a disastrous and distracting performance during the two-day NFL draft." Edwards "spent two days on air making damn sure he didn't offer one opinion that could potentially put him at odds with an NFL owner, general manager or remotely talented player." Whitlock: "Edwards was so bad that my sources in Dallas reported that [former ESPN analyst] Emmitt Smith could be heard shouting: 'I would've have did a better job!'" (K.C. STAR, 4/27). But USA TODAY's Hiestand writes Edwards "showed he can avoid coachspeak" with his take on Vikings draft pick WR Percy Harvin. Edwards: "This is one of those guys ... he's going to have a wreck. So, you better have a good body-and-fender man" (USA TODAY, 4/27). Meanwhile, the ST. PETE TIMES' Jones wrote ESPN analysts Steve Young, Mel Kiper and Keyshawn Johnson "were outstanding all day" on Saturday. As for Kiper, "no one knows more, and no one delivered more." And NFL Network's Jon Gruden's "true calling might be as an analyst." The "most interesting moment was Gruden predicting" that the Buccaneers, his former team, would pick Kansas State QB Josh Freeman (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/26). THE BIG LEAD writes, "Really liked Jon Gruden’s work on the NFL Network set. ... He had a few great lines Sunday" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 4/27).
Writer Lauds ESPN For Its
Coverage Of '09 NFL Draft
UNINTENTIONAL COMEDY: In Philadelphia, John Gonzalez writes of all the "awkward, hilarious, train-wreck interviews conducted over the weekend, the best featured" ESPN's Erin Andrews, former Univ. of Texas WR Quan Cosby and comedian Bill Cosby. Every time Andrews asked Quan Cosby a question, "his cell rang and he answered it." Meanwhile, Bill Cosby was wearing a Temple Univ. jersey and helmet, so his words "were muffled by his face mask." Gonzalez notes the interview "went on for about five painful, amusing minutes" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/27). THE BIG LEAD wrote of the segment, "The potential was there for a decent segment, but geez, that was painful" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 4/26).
NFL Will Review How Teams Announce Picks,
Determine If Policy Needs To Be Developed
TROJAN HORSE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Hannah Karp reports the Jets Saturday, after trading for the No. 5 pick to select QB Mark Sanchez, revealed the pick on Twitter, "texted it to their Jets Wireless subscribers and posted it to their Web site, all before ... Goodell made it to the podium to make the pick official" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/27). Meanwhile, CNBC.com's Darren Rovell noted Sanchez is "briskly picking up followers at a 150-per-hour pace" for his Twitter feed following his selection Saturday (CNBC.com, 4/26). Sanchez has 7,993 followers at presstime (THE DAILY).
WEEKEND TWEETS: More than 48,000 fans followed the Draft via the NFL's Twitter pages this past weekend. Tweeting for the first time, Goodell amassed 3,690 followers, second to NFL Network's Rich Eisen, who drew 4,383 followers. Eisen posted 309 updates during the two-day draft. NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes had more than 1,500 followers (John Ourand, Staff Writer). NFL Network’s Fran Charles said of Goodell using Twitter durign the Draft, "What is this world coming to?” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 4/24).
NASCAR's '09 Ratings Down
Compared To Last Year
CAUTION FLAG: In Charlotte, David Poole wrote the economy “can be used to explain a drop in attendance and sponsorship issues, but it doesn’t explain why television ratings have been down in recent weeks.” With the ratings down for Talladega, where racing is “almost guaranteed to be compelling,” it “will at least suggest a deeper, more systematic problem for the sport” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/26). In Alabama, Josh Moon writes Talladega “continues to dish out the best racing, the most exciting finishes and the best TV ratings.” If the “back-and-forth competition isn’t there, very few people want to watch,” and if “you need proof of that, look at the numbers for tracks like Chicagoland, Phoenix or Kansas City.” Those tracks “suffer in the ratings” because the “racing stinks” (MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER, 4/27).
Hundley Retiring After Calling
More Than 3,000 Games
MONDAY NIGHT HEAT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman reported Marv Albert's contract with Westwood One radio to call "MNF" games has expired, and the company wants to cut his annual salary of around $500,000 "in half, maybe more." Sources indicated that Albert's "initial reaction was to nix" the offer, and some are "already speculating about his replacement." WFAN-AM personalities Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan have the "inside track." However, Raissman noted Boomer Esiason "definitely will be back" as the analyst for Westwood One's "MNF" broadcasts. A source said that Esiason's contract, worth about $600,000 annually, stipulated "if Westwood One kept its NFL package Boomer would return" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/26).
QUITE FRANKLY: ESPN's Stephen A. Smith's tenure at the net comes to an end Thursday, and in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, "What had been abundantly clear among ESPN's TV and radio audiences from the start -- that Smith was a self-promoting, race-based gasbag with almost no discernible sports credibility beyond maudlin genuflecting at the feet of big shots -- had finally become clear to ESPN's shot-callers." Smith said of his departure, "If this is where I stop, then at age 41, I'm not growing anymore, and I couldn't live with that" (N.Y. POST, 4/27).
NOTES: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote if ABC/ESPN NBA announcer Jeff Van Gundy "called analysis of every NBA game, I would watch every NBA game" (TAMPABAY.com, 4/26)....Former Detroit News sports columnist Rob Parker, who left the newspaper after heavy criticism surrounding his questioning of then-Lions coach Rod Marinelli, today will start writing columns for WDIV-NBC's Web site (FREEP.com, 4/24).
FS Carolinas Broadcast Goes Out For About 20
Minutes During Devils-Hurricanes Game
PLAYOFF RATINGS NOTES: CSN Bay Area's telecast of Thursday's Sharks-Ducks Game Four delivered an average 3.2 local rating, with more than 77,400 HHs in the S.F./San Jose market watching the game. Sharks playoff games on the net are averaging a 3.7 rating, up 164% from the 1.4 regular-season average (CSN)....In Dallas, Barry Horn reported the Spurs-Mavericks first-round Western Conference playoff series is "averaging a 10.0 rating locally" in the Dallas market. The series is averaging a 16.5 rating in San Antonio (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/25).
PAY TO PLAY: In L.A., Jill Painter writes Lakers G Kobe Bryant's Web site, KB24.com, is "one of the premier athlete sites around." As a member of Bryant's fan club, you can "win a meet-and-greet" with Bryant or "design a pair of his shoes." There is a "blog, forum and all sorts of good stuff." Bryant also "will post at least once every couple of weeks" on the site. Fans can use these features "all for $49.95," as the "premium content is for paying customers only." Painter: "Wouldn't it be nice if those making millions recognized there are many who can't afford these luxuries anymore" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/27).