A highlight from Andrew Marchand on MNF, McAfee, Swift/Kelce Coverage & More
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It's your journey. Welcome, everyone, to SI Media with Jimmy Traina. Thank you so much for listening. The usual periodic check in with Andrew Marchand from the New York Post this week. He joined the pod to talk about a variety of topics in sports media. We get into the ABC ESPN Monday Night Football staggered star double headers. We get into how ESPN and the ESPN and Pat McAfee marriage is going. Deion Sanders stuff. How the media has handled Taylor Swift and Travis Kelsey. What's going on with WWE and Monday Night Raw most likely looks like it's going to be on the move. Andrew had some stuff on that. A couple of things about local New York radio. So a bunch of sports media topics with Andrew Marchand on this episode. And then Salicata joins me as he does every week for our train of thought segment. Where we get into some NFL things about the Eagles. Should the NFL ban the Eagles one yard play. Joe Namath and Lou Holtz making headlines. Get into these ridiculous prop bets on Taylor Swift and Travis Kelsey. And Sal has a rough Sunday coming up. So if you're a fan of the train of thought segment, you'll want to hear that. Before we get to the full episode. I want you to make sure you listen to past episodes. If you've missed any and make sure you subscribe to us. I media Jimmy trainer. We've had a great run of guests. Kevin Clark from ESPN was on the show last week. Scott Hansen hosted the NFL Red Zone channel two weeks ago. Julian Edelman three weeks ago. Charles Barkley, Peter Schrager, Chris Russo, all recent guests. So if you missed any of those, give them a listen, download, subscribe to the pod and leave a review on Apple. We'll read it on an upcoming episode. All right. Andrew Marchand from the New York Post, followed by Salicata and train of thought. It's all coming up right now, right here. On S .I. media with Jimmy trainer. All right, training me now. S .I. media podcast regular. This periodic visit from the New York Post. And the March and Iran podcast is Andrew Marchand. Andrew, how are you? I'm good. How you doing, Jimmy? I'm good. I just realized I didn't put my phone on do not disturb. So I'm going to do that as we speak. And I'm going to let you know that I had a reader last week for my mailbag column on S .I. com, send it an email and said, when is Marchand's next appearance? So here we go. You made someone happy. Thank you that person. You made someone happy by coming on today. Let's start with this. A lot of media news to get to. Have you heard anything from ESPN or do you have any intel about how they feel about the last two weeks? How the staggered Monday Night Football doubleheader has gone? Because I've gotten a lot of emails and tweets about it. I'm sure you have as well. Yeah, I haven't talked to anybody specifically about how they feel about it. I mean, it is an NFL decision. ESPN is not in control of how those games are scheduled. Maybe they have some say, but it's the NFL decision. Yeah, I don't like it. Actually, in our podcast with John, it was my who's down this week. And the reason I just feel like I kind of said this on our part, it's too it's like having two quarterbacks and you have none. Right. And now if you have Joe Montana and Steve Young, there are two awesome games. Maybe that'd be better. But I just find my attention split and I don't know. And even at like halftime, I wouldn't recommend you go to the other game. Like I get what they're trying to do there, but it's not the NCAA tournament. And usually it's in like the second quarter, third quarter. So I personally don't think it really works that well. Now, I think they want to avoid I'm not positive, but I think they want to avoid that 10 30 late window. We used to get the Monday night and you get the, you know, crazy crew, either Chris Berman or Golick and Greenberg, you know, some of those crews back in the day. They probably don't want that late night game where, you know, you're losing that East Coast audience if it gets too late. But I don't know. I don't think this necessarily works. See, I like it. And what are the tweet? What are the tweeters say? Most people seem to not like it. Yeah. And why do you like it? The more the merrier. Give me as much football as possible. If I can watch eight games at one o 'clock on Sunday and four or five games at four o 'clock on Sunday, I can handle two games on Monday night. So, you know, I have two TVs. I put one game on each TV and two is better than one for me. That's just how I feel. Yeah, I've been a little running around these last couple of Mondays when this happened. So I may be a little bit, you know, my opinion skewed a little bit by that. It hasn't just been like I'm just chilling and watching, been running around a little bit. So perhaps that's, you know, maybe I could be swayed. I will say, you know, I don't know. This is a whole separate discussion. I would love to know your take on this, but I always feel like it's a little tough sometimes to criticize people in this podcast when I also have to book this podcast. So I try to be careful. Yeah, I notice you're very soft. That's what you're trying to say. Sometimes. So I'm sure this guy will never come on again, but they gotta do better than Chris Fowler on the secondary game. Just not, it's just not working. Chris is not a great play -by -player. Right. He was a great host, studio host. Can I say one thing? Yeah. He's on tremendous tennis. Like I watch the U .S. Open every single day. I think he's great on tennis. It's football where it's just something feels off. Well, tennis is also slower. And like you look at people who do really well at the slower sports. Like, you know, Jim Nantz is better than Chris Fowler, but Nantz is really his best thing is golf. And I think he's an OK NFL play -by -player. And at the end of his college basketball run, he was definitely, I don't know, OK is probably, you know, he was OK there as well. And I think if you look at Fowler and his history, now he's been doing play -by -play for a while now. And he has gotten better. Like when he first started on the number one crew, I mean, if I were covering it then, that would not, I probably would not have been that kind. Because he has gotten better, but it's not really good enough. And he's the rare case, I think with Herb Street, that Herb Street makes him better. Usually it's the play -by -player who makes the analyst better. And yeah, I think you're right. And I also think, you know, in fairness to Fowler, you know, ESPN put that crew together. They replaced Levy there and they had a year or two under their belt together as a team. And, you know, not the full team, but him and Riddick, Levy and Riddick, and then Jadolowski. And I think they kind of don't, they underestimate chemistry. It takes time to build it up. And so I think that hurts. And he just, he's a college guy too. It's hard just to come into the NFL. I know he, you know, he's talked how hard his schedule is with the U .S. Open. And then, you know, doing a game a couple days later. And then doing a college. And so, you know, that's hard. And so, yeah, he's not a tremendous play -by -player. To me, this is just me, it felt like when ESPN gave him that gig, it was more about ESPN trying to impress the NFL. Like, look, we have our number one college game. Like you had said earlier, the secondary Monday night game for years was, you know, Golic and Greenberg and Chris Berman with a cast of character. Rich Ryan did it one year. I think this is ESPN trying to say to the NFL, because now they have a Super Bowl and they have this big contract. And, you know, they brought in Buck and Aikman. Like, we're serious, we're going to take our, regardless of what you think about Fowler, he's their lead college guy. So, I feel like they're like, oh, look at us, we're putting the lead when, you know, that. Yeah, I think they screwed up and I think they know they screwed up. I think that they ended up shifting who was in charge of the NFL. It was Stephanie Drewley. And they moved her off the NFL after, you know, I think that didn't help her cause in terms of staying on the NFL. I think they were satisfied with Levy. He was a good guy, which they value. After they brought in Joe Buck, he was very gracious. You know, Levy's a very good hockey guy, especially studio host. I thought he could have, you know, could have been the pregame show on Monday Night Football. He's in, again, not their, in my opinion, they had other people who are better play -by -players for football, but it was good. Like, so, yeah, I don't think it was to impress the NFL. They got Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. They got the Mannings. I mean, they spend, they're spending 50, 60 million dollars a year on their booths. Like, I don't think the second team booth is gonna, you know. If anything, I think it was, there was a thought before Buck and Aikman that Fallon and Herb Street might get the NFL. Might get Monday Night Football. Might get the potential Super Bowl. And then this is kind of a carrot since they didn't get it. But I'd argue, and I even talked to Chris Fowler about this. So, I don't know if this is the case. I just don't know if, I mean, Chris Fowler does the national championship. He does the biggest college game every week for Disney. I can't, like, I get it. Maybe he wanted to do NFL. But is this really gonna satisfy him because you're doing a second game, which generally aren't that great? I don't, I don't see that long -term, personally. And I think also, strategically, if I'm ESPN, I'm putting a young play -by -player. Now, Joe Buck, we both think it's great. Like, he and Ian Eagle are the best two play -by -players going right now. And, um, but, Joe Buck's contract's up in a couple of years. If I'm ESPN, and I, you know, I think they'll probably re -sign Joe Buck, and they should. That said, he makes a lot of money. And, you know, I would be saying, who can I develop? What young guy can I develop? So when I go into that negotiation, I really have somebody who's on the rise. And I can say, hey, look, you don't want this, you know, the 15 million a year? Then we'll go here, you know? But if you start demanding, I'm not saying this is going to happen, but, demanding even more and more money, I'd want an option. I don't think they've created an option. They've actually put somebody in that spot who they've already said they'd rather spend 15 million dollars on Joe Buck than have Chris Fowler as the lead play -by -player. So, I just think negotiation -wise, and strategically, in terms of saving money, it wasn't a great decision. Yeah. I don't understand the insistence on the three -person booth, either. They had Fowler, Greasy, and Riddick. Excuse me, excuse me. Levy, Riddick, Greasy. Now it's Fowler or Lofsky, Riddick. To me, that, and, Fowler's used to a two -person booth with Herb Street. They have Buck and Aikman, which is a two -person booth. I don't understand the insistence on the three -person booth. It's just, for football, it just, I don't get it, but, that's just my - It complicates, it over -complicates it. Yeah. And like you said, chemistry. I think it's much harder to develop a chemistry with three. I mean, you know, the local Mets situation is different with Gary Cohn, Ron Darl - Is it in baseball, is it football? What three men, can you name - I mean, I guess back in the old Monday Night Football days, there were three men booths that had - Yeah, Collinsworth and Aikman with Buck that one year. Yeah, one year it lasted, you know. So, I don't know. But, there's no more staggered double -headers. The next one is week 14, and both games will start at 8 -15. I think that's the one that's going to piss a lot of people off. But, that's a long way down the road. You got the two TVs. Yeah. I asked you if ESPN, how they feel about Monday Night Football. Anything you've heard about how they feel about their new partnership with Pat McAfee. I mean, it's early, but they're bullish on it. I mean, they've kind of handed the keys to the network to McAfee. I mean, you can't - it's kind of like Stephen A. now. You can't really turn on ESPN almost every day except basically Sunday without seeing Pat. And so, you know, I think initially the ratings weren't that good. I think they got a little better in terms of the TV ratings. I think that kind of makes some sense because if you think about it, he was a YouTube show. Yeah, he's got to play for TV. Yeah, and he's still a YouTube show. Well, it is a play for TV because they think that they had Max in there before. They think that the ratings will be high enough that they'll be able to charge more for the ad rates. I guarantee you the money they'll make off of McAfee on social media and YouTube will be 8 billion times more than the money they made off Max Kellerman on social media. Oh, 100%. No, you're right. No, you're right. There's no doubt about that. And look, they want to get, I will say this, like, does it work? I think a lot of times when companies make big moves, you know, big time moves, a lot of times they make those moves when the person's kind of towards the end, you know, they got McAfee on the rise. Like, you know, we, you know, you and I have been aware of McAfee for years now, but he's really like, you know, here, I don't think he's at the plateau, you know, where most people go up and then they plateau and then they go down. He's at, he's still, I think, going up and then maybe the plateau is on the horizon and you can plateau for 20, 25 years if you have the right attitude and personality and just have the right act. So that's where I think that makes a lot of sense as a bet because it's not, I'll hit one close to home, Rick Riley leaving ESPN. I mean, leaving SI for ESPN where, you know, Rick Riley is one of the great columnist ever, but at that point, you know, whatever, maybe it was the internet, I don't know exactly. It just didn't really work as well at ESPN as it did at SI. And so I just think they've done that and that's kind of, you know, teams do that in sports and I think sometimes networks do that. And so I feel like signing McAfee in his mid -30s is kind of like signing a baseball free agent who's in his mid -20s and I think that's what you want to do as opposed to getting a, signing a 35 -year -old and, you know, thinking they can still play, you know, like, I don't know, like a Josh Donaldson, maybe trading for someone like that, Jimmy. You see what I did there? I don't need reminders of the horrific Yankee season. I just did that on purpose. I don't need that. My head was going, who am I going to say? All right, yeah, Josh Donaldson, but it was a treat. Just a, yeah, you want me to say Brian Cashman should be fired. It's amazing too, they replay that. I didn't know this was going to be the situation going into it, but they replay the show as soon as it's over, I think, on ESPN 2 and then they replay it at night on maybe ESPN News or one of their, what you said about if you're going to put on one of the ESPNs at any point in the day, you're going to see Pat McAfee. Yeah. So that's good for him. Like I, you know, people feel like - But I also think, ESPN has to be, they have Aaron Rodgers on their air every week. It's a news making thing that's on their air every week. They've got Nick, he's got Nick Saban on his show every week. Yeah. That's a news making thing every week. I would think ESPN has to be, forget the numbers because the numbers, I think, will be there. It's still a new thing. You have, the ESPN audience is older, the McAfee audience is younger, it might take some, but I would think ESPN just on the brand and the cachet of that show has to be thrilled. I think so. I mean, but if you talk, like I have, again, I'll probably make some calls here in the near future, but so I haven't talked specifically with anybody about that. But generally speaking, when these things first start, everyone loves it. So then we'll see. Again, I'm not saying, I could see it either way. Like, you know, McAfee has not really stayed at any of these, throughout any of these contracts he's had. So that's something to watch. Maybe this one he does, but that hasn't been the case previously. So that is something. I think the fact that he's on game day has to help the relationship there a little bit with ESPN. Here's the thing about McAfee. If you're managing him, in my opinion, and it's like Casey Jones, the former coach of the Celtics, was known for just throwing out the ball and telling McHale, Parrish, and Bird to go play, Dennis Johnson. At least that's how I remember as a kid. That was his reputation. And I think McAfee is sort of like that. Just give him the ball, let him do his thing. He's not looking to, you know, for some strategy. Let's, you know, triangle offense. He's not looking for that. He's looking for, let me do my thing. I know what I'm doing. And the thing about McAfee is he's very smart. Like, I know he plays this, like, he's not smart thing. It works very hard. He works hard and he's very smart. He's very savvy. He acts as if, like, you know, maybe he's, you know, just a dumb jock. But he understands the media business very well. We need, we need to discuss the Kelsey Taylor Swift thing because I actually think it's a legitimate media story. If Fox is going to get these increase in their demographics of the female audience, the young people, the NFL has gone all in on this thing. I mean, they changed their Twitter header to, like, a Taylor Swift thing. They're putting out Travis Kelsey Swiftiest plays on their social media. He's gained, I guess, a ton of followers, the jersey sale. Let me start with this. How did you think Fox handled it on Sunday when she was in the stadium? Do you think they overdid it? Do you think the fact that they had an unwatchable game takes them off the hook? What was your take on the Chiefs -Bears on Sunday when she was there? I think the second part, and I wouldn't take them off the hook, but I think the second part, you have an unwatchable game that you had to switch most of the country out of because it was so non -competitive, that you have Taylor Swift there, it's a big deal. And, you know, there's a lot of Taylor Swift fans who are football fans, a lot of non -Taylor Swift fans who weren't watching that game, but it was a talking point, right? Like, I saw Taylor Swift in the concert this summer, but that was kind of - Look at you! Yeah, how do you like that? Look at you! You couldn't even get tickets. Big shot. Where'd you get tickets? My daughter's friend just won the lottery. No shenanigans. Oh, really? Tickets were $235 each, which is still a lot of money, but not, like, $1 ,000. And it was just kind of happenstance, how I ended up going. I was going to say, if your daughter's friend got tickets, how did you end up at the era's tour? I mean - Were you, like - It's just a long drive to get to the metal lands, didn't want them driving back. They're older, they can drive, but at, you know, one o 'clock in the morning from Taylor Swift, so - But you were in MetLife and watched the show. Yes. Friendship bracelets? Well, you want to know something funny? This is a good one. So, my daughter's friend said to me, do you want a - do you want a jewel? And I'm like, no, no, no, I'm okay. Thinking she's saying a jewel, like a jewel, smoke. But she was saying, like, to, like, get bedazzled, a little jewel, which I would have taken. So later, I was like, I told my daughter, I said, but your friend, she said she asked me if I wanted a jewel. She's like, no, no, she didn't say you wanted a jewel. She said, do you want a - a jewel to put some ju - you know. Right. I didn't have any bracelets, but I was into - I liked Taylor Swift. I wouldn't go again. I kind of felt bad being there, because there's people who give their left arm to be there. But it was - look, she is an unbelievable performer. I mean, it was - you could - first of all, I liked some of her songs. Secondly, the level of performance. It was just, you know, it was an A+. I mean, that - that - and that is something, even if you didn't like her music, you can appreciate it. And also, I appreciate it if I had to go to the bathroom. Easy pass right in there. No one. Right. No one's leaving their seat except for people like you who aren't in it. Yeah, and especially, yeah, and more skewed women.