1. It’s always nice to start the week off with some good news. Today, we have great news to share.
Fox announced its 2021 NFL broadcast crews Monday morning, and there is one pair that stands out in a MAJOR way.
Last season former Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib worked two games for Fox and generated tons of online buzz and praise, including from yours truly, for his unique style.
Side note: Talib was also an extremely entertaining guest on the SI Media Podcast in April, when he dropped this quote:
“When I got the call from Fox, when my agent called me, he said they wanted to sign me to a three-game deal. It was a max of three games and a chance of no games because you’re not on the A team or B team, so you’re just filling in for guys with all this COVID stuff going on. Kinda like an audition, really. I probably got like $10K for the game. I ain’t really get no cash for the game. It was just an opportunity. Opportunity to go out there and see if you could do it or not.”
And now Fox has announced Talib will be back in 2021 for select games and he will be partnered with Gus Johnson.
This is tremendous news. The pair will instantly become the most fun broadcast crew on any network.
We do need to temper our excitement a little bit, because Johnson and Talib are going to work only “selected games.” Gus still has to do college football, so we won’t be getting a weekly dose of Johnson and Talib, unfortunately.
A Fox spokesperson told SI the network expects Johnson-Talib to work six to seven games in 2021.
That leads me to a take: This will sound wild, but in my opinion, Gus would be so much better off doing Fox’s fourth, fifth or sixth NFL game every week instead of being the network’s lead college football announcer. Hopefully Johnson and Fox realize this after he calls some NFL games this season.
Other tidbits regarding Fox’s NFL broadcast crews:
Tom Rinaldi will work with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews only when Fox has “America’s Game of the Week.”
Former All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen is immediately being thrown into the fire with Kevin Burkhardt on the No. 2 crew, which gets a big game many weeks.
Mark Sanchez is coming over from ESPN’s college football studio show and will call games for the first time in his career. Sanchez was very good doing studio work, so hopefully that will transfer over to live games.
But let’s not lose focus on what’s important here: Gus-gasms are back in the NFL.
2. White Sox outfielder Brian Goodwin gave us what might be the Bat Flip of the Year on Sunday, after hitting a walkoff homer against Cleveland.
3. I made this prediction for my Yankees fans shortly after Anthony Rizzo got traded to New York.
I don't want to brag or anything, but ... CALLED IT!
4. I had no recollection of this video of Nick Saban dancing up a storm three years ago when I saw it on TikTok this morning, but I’m so glad I finally saw it.
5. Roman Reigns and John Cena are going to face each other at SummerSlam later this month to cap off a feud that’s been all about the missionary position.
Reigns dropped this line two weeks ago.
Cena responded to the shot on Friday's SmackDown.
6. The latest episode of the SI Media Podcast features an interview with Bryan Curtis of The Ringer.
The writer and cohost of the Press Box podcast talks about a recent article he wrote about longtime Dallas broadcaster Dale Hansen and the death of the local news sportscaster.
Curtis also discusses how ESPN’s problem with NBA Countdown got exposed during the Rachel Nichols–Maria Taylor controversy, why ESPN did not get its white whale in the new Monday Night Football deal with Peyton Manning, the low Olympics ratings and viewers’ gripes about NBC's coverage, Charles Barkley’s freedom, Siskel and Ebert and much more.
Following the interview with Curtis, Sal Licata from WFAN and SNY joins the podcast for the weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment, during which he discussed the worst time on the sports calendar, the viciousness of TikTok and more.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Sunday was the 40th anniversary of the debut of MTV. Because I'm old, this is significant to me. Here is how the network's launch looked on Aug. 1, 1981.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.