You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers & columnists to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: sports media.
How uninspired is ESPN’s new Monday night football booth? Who SHOULD get the job? Is the whole kneeling thing making them have second thoughts about Drew Brees? — @graciopp
Let’s break a little Mailbag news with a big name ESPN spoke to for Monday nights that has not been reported. ESPN talked to Rams coach Sean McVay about being a “Monday Night Football” analyst, sources told The Post.
ESPN executives think McVay could be a standout in the booth, somewhat like Jon Gruden. McVay is just 34, has already been to a Super Bowl and is under contract, but a conversation was had.
It didn’t happen, but it was left at that if McVay wants to leave coaching ESPN would be interested in having him in the booth.
So in 2050 when McVay is 64, we look forward to reporting that McVay will join ESPN’s TikTok presentation of MNF.
As to your question, ESPN had a $140 million deal waiting for Tony Romo, made its annual run at Peyton Manning, spoke to Brees, thought about Philip Rivers, dreamed about a trade for Al Michaels and considered its top college team of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit before settling on Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese. I would have gone with a two-man team, personally, because it is simpler. I feel like Dan Orlovsky had a chance to really pop as a game analyst. ESPN was gun shy, because of the results from the raw crew of Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten and Booger McFarland, to go with a second-year analyst.
Does Levy, Griese and Riddick feel like a group that would one day call the Super Bowl that ESPN/ABC wants next contract round? No, it does not, but you have to hear them before judging.
They did a Monday Night game last year and we have heard them for years, but we need to hear them more together. It would’ve been better if ESPN had Riddick join Levy and Griese full-time on college last year.
They could be very solid, which, as I wrote last week, would be better than the sideshow the MNF booth has been the last few years.
What is the origin of the narrative that certain media want college football to be canceled? — @KeithKhorton
Commentators, like Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt and Clay Travis, have used it against media members who have chosen to ask hard questions or cast doubt on the sport playing.
I can’t really speak for everyone in sports media, but the angle is completely illogical. Besides most loving sports, the postponement and cancellation of games is likely going to have a profound impact on jobs as places as big as ESPN and as small as a local paper may cut.
The people who ask hard questions of leaders actually make them better and it results in stronger decisions. Media cheerleaders and know-it-alls do not.
Local NBC sports stations cut NBA sideline reporters across the country last week. Is that indicative of an eventual phasing-out of that position in the media landscape? — @Meghan_Ottolini
They are at risk in this economic climate because they are not essential. You need a play-by-player and an analyst on TV, but sideline reporters can be forsaken.
Overall, I don’t think sideline reporters will be phased out. There is a case that could be made that without fans they are more important than ever to help bring the game closer to the viewer.
In the current sports media landscape do you ever see another Mike Golic-type run of multi-decade excellence and magnitude? — Danny Samet
I do. Golic’s popularity is underrated, in my opinion. He has connected. There can be argument if he is a distinctive voice, but this is a Leno/Letterman debate.
While Letterman was often the critics choice, Leno usually had better ratings. I liked Letterman better, but Leno was an easier watch that often plays better nationally. Golic had that same quality during his run. It can happen again.
What is the status of negotiations between YouTube TV and Sinclair regarding returning the YES Network to YT TV? Are they still talking or is it a non starter? — August West
From what I’ve been told, it is not close to happening. Could talks start up in earnest again? Yes, because that’s how these negotiations go. However, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
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