1. Sports television networks are doing plenty of new things to attract eyeballs, but the NFL draft is still the same as it has always been.
After the 2020 draft, done remotely because of COVID-19, set all-time viewership numbers, ESPN and the NFL Network went back to the traditional way of airing the draft and the broadcasts have fallen flat.
Act like the booing of Roger Goodell is some wild turn of events, run down the kid’s 40 time, give us the kid’s backstory, really ramp up the backstory if it’s a sad one, tell us a team’s needs, spit out a bunch of clichés and move on to the next pick.
There’s no spice, there’s no controversy, there’s no real chance that something unexpected can happen. To be clear, I’m not talking about the draft itself. Obviously, there were a couple of unexpected moments with the wide receivers getting traded. I’m talking about the coverage from ESPN and the NFL Network.
I think both networks are fine with this because they want to keep Roger Goodell and the NFL happy. And it’s not that ESPN and the NFL Network offer bad coverage. It’s just that the panels seem to lack personality. The panels don’t even argue with each other. The draft doesn’t have to turn into First Takebut a little fighting here and there would be nice.
Chris Berman is a lightning rod, but you can’t deny that he brought an energy and personality that’s the complete opposite of Mike Greenberg. You’re not going to get a moment like this from Greenberg:
The NFL Network used to always have the potential for a memorable moment when Deion Sanders would interview prospects, but he’s no longer with the network.
Based on last night’s telecasts, the NFL draft has become a cookie-cutter event for both networks.
I was a little surprised that ESPN didn’t find a way to incorporate Joe Buck and Troy Aikman into its coverage; we didn’t even get a quick interview with the members of the new Monday Night Football booth.
A ManningCast would’ve been the perfect alternative to telecast for the NFL draft, but I’m sure Peyton and Eli had no interest in doing it.
Over the course of the night, I found myself paying more attention to the Pat McAfee Show’s draft special on YouTube. Obviously, ESPN and the NFL Network have to present the draft in a certain way and can’t do 1% of the stuff McAfee and crew do, but having a fake Mel Kiper Jr. fight a fake Jay Glazer is perfect draft night content.
And it wasn’t just games and antics with McAfee’s show. He also had Aaron Rodgers for a lengthy interview and got the scoop that Rodgers did not know Davante Adams was going to the store for Las Vegas when the quarterback re-signed with Green Bay.
The NFL draft is always going to be a ratings draw for ESPN and the NFL Network (although I predict viewership numbers will be down this year because of the lack of star power), so neither network has to make changes, but it would be nice if they tried to spice things up in 2023.
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2. Another weird one from Adam Schefter yesterday. A player’s agent told Schefter that his player was in demand and would go in the first round and Schefter made sure to put this “information” out there to his 9.4 million Twitter followers. Can you imagine that? An agent trying to pump up his player and create some buzz around him? Shocking, I know.
Drake Jackson was not drafted in the first round.
3. Scott Van Pelt’s “One Big Thing” on Thursday night was about the passing of his dog Otis, and it was something else.
4. Charles Barkley had a typical Charles Barkley reaction to finding out that Utah’s Rudy Gobert got stung in the face by his own bees.
5. Happy 68th birthday to Jerry Seinfeld, who has thoughts on golf.
6. A brand-new SI Media Podcast dropped this morning, and it features a conversation with Ryen Russillo of The Ringer.
The host of the very popular Ryen Russillo Podcast shared his thoughts on everything from the NBA playoffs to Kevin Durant vs. TNT to the power of Inside the NBA to which sports have the worst officials to his favorite NBA announcers how much trouble Major League Baseball is in the state of podcasting to Elon Musk’s buying Twitter.
The podcast closes with our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment featuring Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York. This week, the Jimmy and Sal discuss the NFL’s reportedly scheduling three games on Christmas Day this season and a game on Black Friday beginning in 2023, as well as HBO’s Winning Time series and more.
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: It’s become a thing on social media that it’s very uncool if you say you like James Corden or that you find James Corden funny. I’m not cool, so I have no trouble admitting that I was sad to hear Corden announce he was ending his run as Late, Late Show host next year. I’m not going to act like I watch him every night at 12:30 in the morning, but I’ve always checked out his YouTube clips, and he’s done some incredibly creative work over his seven years as a host. Here’s one example of a bit that was highly enjoyable.
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 Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok.