1. Speculation is running rampant about Troy Aikman’s future. Could he leave Fox after 20 years to call Thursday Night Football next season?
Aikman has been brutally honest about his future during various interviews including during a recent appearance on the SI Media Podcast.
He also pulled no punches this week while talking about his future on Richard Deitsch’s podcast.
Something that Aikman said about the difference between Amazon and Fox that struck me as very telling:
When asked about calling games for approximately 20 million people per week during the regular season on Sunday afternoons at 4:25 p.m. and nearly 40 million people during the playoffs versus what would be fewer than 10 million for an Amazon Thursday night game, Aikman was honest that he cared about the size of his audience.
Deitsch asked Aikman, “The reality is your games would be watched by at least initially less people. Is that something you would factor, contemplate, think about?”
“Yes,” Aikman responded immediately. “The answer to that is yes. I’ll say that the number of viewers … that excites me. The reason that excites me isn’t as much because of the 40 million as much as it is that that tells me this is gonna be an amazing game and there’s a lot of interest in that game. For me in broadcasting, the number reflects the interest and to do a game where there’s a lot of interest in the game, yes, that’s very appealing.
"I know when we’ve had Thursday night games, there have been times we’ve had really compelling Thursday night games, the numbers aren’t the same, but I’m every bit as excited as calling those games. The challenge with Thursday night is that it’s not a flex schedule. So what looks to be a good game when the schedule comes out, all of a sudden it’s not a competitive game. Those games, you still do the work and you still do the best job you can, but you know there’s not as much interest by the public, it’s not as much as fun. Let’s be honest.
"The late afternoon window on Sunday, the numbers bear it out and it just feels right. When we do night games and then we show up for a 4pm eastern time kickoff and it’s a big-time game, a significant game with a lot on the line, that feels good to me and it’s what I’m comfortable doing because it’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years. The primetime Thursday night game is a little bit different. I feel the broadcasts are different. But there’s no doubt that would certainly factor into any decision I make.”
That’s amazing honesty by Aikman. Most announcers wouldn’t admit they cared about that sort of thing, even though they all surely do.
Like with anything in life, money is going to be a major factor in Aikman’s decision, if not the main factor. But I do think the comments above, combined with Aikman’s comfortable working relationship with Joe Buck, which Buck discussed on this week’ SI Media Podcast, may be just as important as the money.
My prediction is that Aikman will remain at Fox.
2. Daniil Medvedev had a spectacular and hilarious meltdown during his Australian Open match last night against Stefanos Tsitsipas, which included him calling the umpire, "a small cat." Yes, "a small cat."
3. Hawks guard Trae Young was announced last night as an All-Star starter. Charles Barkley said on Inside the NBA that Zach LaVine should be the starter over Young. So Young sent a message to Barkley.
The tweet was a hit with Barkley's colleagues.
4. Tony Romo is out here dropping Tom Brady conspiracy theories that nobody is ready for.
5. Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew seems to be enjoying his offseason.
6. This week's SI Media Podcast is a mega episode with three guests: WWE superstar Roman Reigns, Fox Sports' Joe Buck and CBS Sports' Jim Nantz.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: We gave you the funniest Royal Rumble moment ever in yesterday's Traina Thoughts. Here is what will always be the most surreal Royal Rumble moment: Vince McMahon legit tearing both his quads running to the ring after the finish was messed up.
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.