Webber unplugged, Mangini's second act and weekend review
I profiled Chris Webber in last week's
"Writing has been very therapeutic and it's really helped me," Webber said. "I'd suggest everyone in the world write their own book. It's probably one of the most liberating things I've ever done."
Given Webber, now 39, has lived a fascinating sports life, I naturally wondered how much he planned to reveal in his autobiography. Our back-and-forth is as follows:
So we'll see. As a broadcaster, Webber continues to improve every year. He's opinionated and communicates ideas and concepts in a digestible manner for viewers. While he dreams of one day working in an NBA front office, he thinks he could be broadcasting for decades. Along with his usual studio gig every Tuesday night on NBA TV's
"This is a job that's nowhere near as taxing on your time and body as playing," Webber said. "It gives me time to focus on charity and businesses. It's been a blessing. The only thing I could see taking me away from broadcasting are my charities or me going back to work with a team. I get to talk about basketball and stay close to the game. Even if you can't do things physically anymore, mentally I'm still in the game and I love that."
"One of the reasons I am enjoying this job is you get a chance to look at the league in a much bigger scope," Mangini told SI.com on Sunday. "When you are coaching, you look at things from your team, the team you are playing, and you also pay attention to your division. In this job, you look at all the teams and you get to see all the different decisions. You get to see how teams are built, how teams evolve and how strategies evolve.
"From an analysis perspective, I like the ability to explain what happened. I think a lot of times, instead of saying this is who you should be mad at or this is the person at fault, I can say this is what the decision was, and whether you agree with it or not is your decision to make. I want to give you that information to allow you to make that decision."
Like many of the studio analysts at ESPN, Mangini appears on multiple platforms. He gets his schedule at the beginning of each month and stays in Bristol, Conn., on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. He'll appear on some combination of
"I think Eric Mangini has been one of the biggest surprises in my 20 years at ESPN," said Seth Markman, who oversees ESPN's NFL studio shows. "When we hired him, it was a project. We were like, 'Let's just take a chance on him.' He was a head coach and it was a small deal and [if] we get tight-lipped Eric Mangini like we saw as a coach, then we move on. But I think he has been great on TV and I have had many viewers come to me and say, 'I didn't really want to like him but I do.' "
Mangini has a multiple-year contract with ESPN, so if he stays out of coaching in 2013, he'll be back with the network. But he's a young man in the coaching profession (he's just 41) and it's reasonable to assume he'll one day want to get back on the sidelines. Mangini said he's unsure how long he wants to remain in broadcasting, but he noted that it has given him an opportunity to do things with his children that he could never do as a coach.
"There have been times this year where I thought broadcasting is something I could do longterm and there have been times I thought 'God, I'd love to be coaching right now,' " Mangini said. "I wish I could give you specifics, but I don't think I have totally answered that question myself. I would be interested in going back to coaching if it was the right spot, the right people and a place that I believed in. But it's not an easy decision. It's a massive commitment."
If he stays in broadcasting, Mangini has a chance to be good. He's already performed the not-so-small miracle of not coming off as annoying while appearing on
"The biggest mistake that I made in going to New York was I did not speak enough in my own voice," Mangini said. "I had very strong figures in my coaching life between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, and I thought it was a little egotistical for me to say, 'Well, they did it this way and won multiple Super Bowls and I am going to do it my way and it's better?' What I learned was you can take all the things you like but still make sure you do things in your own voice. That was a tough lesson to learn.
"There is no manual for being a head coach. When I went to New York, I had done one press conference in my career. I was a defensive coordinator in New England and it came in August with six people in the room. That was my media exposure outside of controlled one-on-one. Then I went to New York and there were hundreds of people there, 25 cameras, and you default back to what you learned and what you watched. But you can't do that.
"But here's what I like about Rex Ryan. Rex is Rex. In a lot of ways when he took over for me, people celebrated that. I don't agree with people who are now mad at him for being who he is. He is who is he is. It's authentic and I respect that. When you agree or disagree with it, you should not be mad at him for being who he is."
An NFL Network spokesperson told SI.com on Sunday that its
Has the NFL Network cut into the old-school pregame ratings shows? Definitely. Social media? I'm not sure people are opting for Twitter over the pregame show, given most sports fans are multiple-screen watchers. But I'd argue there's a staleness to many of the segments the old-school shows use, whether it's the hackneyed pick segments to the over-the-top, guys-will-be-guys laughter for every half-baked joke. No one is saying eliminate fun, but let's stop pretending Shannon Sharpe and Jimmie Johnson are Louis C.K. That's why ESPN2's
Karp reports that NBC's
That story was in contrast to an overproduced interview by Fox's Terry Bradshaw with Saints quarterback Drew Brees. As readers know, I like Bradshaw a lot because of his honesty, but his interview with the Saints' quarterback produced nothing new about the team's revival and did little outside of informing viewers that Fox had interviewed Brees. He was also sold out by his own producers thanks to a musical overlay that bludgeoned the piece. A
"First of all, I would say it is great for us that ESPN was promoting our game. Certainly one day the CBS Sports Network will be in that position to do
"What was pleasing to me was about that week was CBS had the No. 1 college football game in the nation on the CBS Television Network. So figuring out ways to take our big events and extending it to the CBS Sports Network is a huge priority. We have done it with the Masters. We did it with the U.S. Open [tennis]. We did it with the PGA Championship. We'll do much more with the Super Bowl. It is part of our strategy and at some point in certain areas we will obviously be competitive with ESPN, but I'm not going to say we will be equal with ESPN in the near future or distant future because we just won't be. And that's not a negative. ESPN is promoting our big event. That's just the way the media landscape is working.
"So when I see on any college football game that we are doing and
"I just sat with the guy and he showed me his notebook from this week," Markman wrote. "He talked to like 10 coaches, seven GMs and an owner to prepare himself for today's show. No one else can do that. No one."