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Volume 25 No. 199
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ESPN's Rothman Says Net Misfired By Not Showing Urlacher Ceremony

ESPN viewers saw a musical performance instead of Urlacher's halftime ceremony

ESPN VP/Production and "MNF" producer Jay Rothman said it was "a miss" by the net to not show any of the ceremony honoring Pro Football HOFer Brian Urlacher during Seahawks-Bears on Monday, according to Phil Rosenthal of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. There was not "even a clip shown" of the ceremony, when Bears Principal Owner Virginia McCaskey presented Urlacher with his "Hall of Fame jewelry." Viewers were instead "shown a musical performance." Rothman said, "We should have played it back. We did not play it back. ... Our halftime show does what it does. But we could have inserted it to start the third quarter and should have." Rothman also discussed Bears LB Khalil Mack being mic'd up during the game, where Mack revealed himself as more of the "strong, silent type." Mack "wasn't very chatty beyond congratulating teammates after plays," showing that a "microphone might only be as good as its speaker." Rothman said Mack being mic'd up "added some flavor for us," and was "good access for fans." Rothman said of Mack, "He's not a big talker ... but I still think it's kind of cool for fans to take them inside, and I do think we have a responsibility to help build stars of the game, to help grow the game." Meanwhile, Rosenthal noted ESPN's Jason Witten was "stronger and steadier" during Seahawks-Bears than he was during Rams-Raiders last week, but he is still "far from where he needs to be" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/19).

NOT FOR FOOTBALL FANS: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Michael David Smith wonders if football fans are "really more interested in a musical performance" than in a "great player receiving one last honor in front of his home fans?" Smith: "ESPN doesn't cater its broadcast to football fans. If you're a big football fan, you'll watch football regardless of what the halftime show is." ESPN "wants to bring in other viewers," the kinds of viewers who "might specifically tune in because there's going to be a performance from a band they like." In this case, the halftime show would have been "greatly improved by simply showing the fans at home what the fans at Soldier Field saw" (, 9/19).