Mayock doesn't own the cachet of a former Super Bowl quarterback or the over-the-top personalities we find hawking products for Applebee's and Hooters. What he does have is a mountain of credibility as a draft analyst.
Instead of hopping on the carousel of mediocrity by opting for
Mayock recently signed his fourth contract with the NFL Network -- he joined in 2005 -- and remains the network's NFL Draft expert and analyst on "Playbook," among other shows. His NBC deal is for multiple years, and he'll work with longtime Notre Dame playcaller
Well, there were some. NBC Sunday Night Football producer
Asked about the biggest challenge he faces in his new gig, Shanks mentioned the increasing cost of sports rights and differentiating his brand from his competitors. "The biggest thing facing anybody is the ever-continuing rising costs of rights and what you get for those rights," said Shanks. "I think there has to be some reconciliation between the escalating price and what you are getting in return. You can't just pay for a broadcasting rights package and not get mobile and not get Internet and be able to exploit your top-line revenue. Right now a lot of the packages peel off broadcast and peel off mobile and that just can't happen.
"I also think, for all of us, the question is, how do you continue to set yourself apart? When Fox Sports first started in 1994, they set the bar as far as attitude and had a great marketing campaign. One of my main priorities is, 'How do you differentiate ourselves even more than we have done in the past?'"
One possibility is college football, which Fox seems very interested in getting back into. Shanks made the rounds with Pac-10 officials last week, and there's growing talk that the network wants back into the sport in a big way. (ESPN has the Bowl Championship Series games from
Last month Pilling was
Certainly, people care deeply about the program.
Asked about the influence of his two stars, Pilling said, "Ron and Don are arguably two of the biggest stars in the Canadian television entertainment industry. I'm looking forward to working with these guys. They generate interest, and people enjoy watching them. People talk on Monday morning about what Don Cherry said on Saturday night. As a show producer, what more could you want than people on your program that Canadians are engaged by? They may not agree with his opinion, but they are interested in what he has to say. How can you change that?"
Based on Pilling's conversation with SI.com, it doesn't seem like wholesale changes, at least on the talent end, are coming. HNIC's first preseason game comes Sept. 25. "We are not looking to make any drastic changes in the immediate future," said Pilling.
"I can't speak for Lisa, but I have never been around or seen devastation or destruction like that in my life," said Loftus. "The smells, the raw sewage, the total chaos, and just the sadness all around. It took everything not to just start crying. In telling the story, you just hope that others will see it and find a way to help these people."
This was the first feature Loftus, an associate producer, did for E:60 from conception to completion. During the course of the story, he and Salters traveled to Panama (where the team trained), Costa Rica (where they played in a tournament) and finally Haiti, where he and Salters spent five days reporting the story. The follow-up piece centered on
Loftus said he received dozens of e-mails from people asking how they could help, including viewers offering to adopt one of the Haitian players who lost her parents in the earthquake. "I went to Haiti for five days, and on the sixth day I was back in my bed," said Loftus, who worked for ABC News prior to joining ESPN in 2005. "That was the hardest part. You feel guilty. You want to do so much but how do you decide who you help and you don't help?"
That will change. (Indeed, the
Asked in what specific ways the arrival of James and Bosh has affected his job, Winderman said, "It has become about so much more than about the game. When I broke into this beat, I remember going to the NBA meetings in La Quinta, Calif., in 1988 and sitting at a table with
How I wish that still was the case. Now it's about Las Vegas parties, appearances on Entourage, endorsements and Twitter and Facebook and everything that's not about the game. It's almost as if the game will be a respite from it all. Those first nine days of July might have been nine of the worst of my life. I know they were for my wife, who basically slid two slices of bread beneath the door of my office every six hours. I emerged with a Saddam-like beard."
The well-respected Zulgad has covered the Vikings since 2003 and said he received plenty of feedback -- mostly negative -- from readers after he wrote Favre told teammates he planned to retire. Along with the usual boldfaced names (
"No matter what you might think of Favre, he helps to sell newspapers and generate page views," Zulgad said. "Many people are sick of Favre coverage, but I know in my gut that if I get any solid information on Favre, I'd be a fool to say, 'Well, I'm not going to write that today because people are sick of Favre.' Like I said, he's more like a rock star or Hollywood actor than a football player, and people who don't care about football care about Brett Favre. As long as I'm covering him, I need to care that much, too, because in the end I'm doing the best job I can to get information -- and truth -- to readers. Sometimes they don't like it, but it's still the job."
I've long admired Kestecher's work -- he's prepared, professional and engaged in his subject -- and wondered what it was like to do something exceptional well on a daily basis without getting the kind of attention others in his field get. "I'm sure at some level everybody wants to be recognized for doing a good job," he said. "But I'm pretty sure I'd give the same high effort whether I was working at ESPN or if I was back in Albany, New York, working a split shift. Most importantly, I know my bosses have recognized my work because they've kept me around for the last 11 years."
Prior to working at ESPN Radio, Kestecher was the
Every sports-talk station in the country has update people, and it's not easy to do well. I asked Kestecher to break down a regular shift.
"I arrive to work two hours before my first sportscast," he said. "The first hour is dedicated to prep. I scan the wire services for the big stories of the day and then I put together my charts for the games that will be played that night. The second hour is dedicated to writing scripts. My goal is to have two scripts completed and a third underway before my first update. The next six hours are a blur between writing and editing scripts, watching 10 games at once while also doing two-minute updates every 20 minutes. I have 12 monitors in my studio to watch every game as it happens, and I also have colleagues in the 'screening area,' where they record every game and press conference and turn that audio into sound bites, which I can turn around and use in an update virtually as soon as it happens. It's a challenging and wonderful job."
Glazer does have one big chit going for him: He's currently training his new boss: "I've worked out with Jay a couple of times," Shanks said. "I'm getting bigger so I can thump him if he does screw up."
If the writer did not announce himself as a reporter to James's group, I'd call it a violation of the
The perception exists -- and ESPN officials know it -- that the network is no longer an objective newsgathering source on the Heat star. Last week, an ESPN staffer suggested to me that the network invite James for a "Sunday Conversation" type of interview. Sure, it's doubtful James would accept, but the ask should be made. The network would greatly benefit from an aggressive interview with James to clear the air on topics from the fallout over "The Decision" to what actually happened at his party in Vegas. It would go far in convincing the sports public that the network isn't a shareholder of LeBron Inc.