“In a league whose competition thrives on fine margins, the resulting advantage or disadvantage could be significant.” – MacCambridge on a possible 17-game schedule
“Instantaneous information and deep verticality rule, and we love it. Fans get their news faster and know more about their favorite teams than ever before.” – MacCambridge on how NFL news is consumed today
“I’ve seen archives of teams’ scouting reports for the draft in the 1970s…it’s not an exaggeration to say that fans today have more information about draft prospects than many teams had in the ‘70s.” – MacCambridge
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 15, 2020 – In the latest edition of Peter King’s Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com, guest writer Michael MacCambridge, author of “America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured A Nation,” discusses a 17-game NFL schedule, how today’s football coverage is consumed, and reveals his interview dream team.
Today on NBCSN, The Rich Eisen Show airs at Noon ET, and NBC Sports Football Flex, a one-hour show featuring the most topical news and analysis from NBC Sports’ digital football content, begins at 11 a.m. ET.
Additionally, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms provide analysis and updates on PFT Live. Simms also continues to count down his top 40 NFL quarterback rankings.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
MacCambridge on his love of football: “For as long as I can remember, football has exerted an almost gravitational pull on me. I love many sports, but football remains first among equals, for its action, its grandeur, its scope and its complexity.”
MacCambridge on professional sports schedules: “One of the first principles of fairness in professional sports is that teams competing have an equal number of home and road games. It’s basic, fundamental component of virtually all leagues.”
MacCambridge: “Starting in 2021, in all likelihood, the NFL will move to a 17-game regular season, as permitted in the new collective bargaining agreement signed in March, meaning some teams will have eight home games and some will have nine. In a league whose competition thrives on fine margins, the resulting advantage or disadvantage could be significant.”
MacCambridge: “There are so many things to dislike about a 17-game schedule, and many unintended consequences that could ensue, but I think the biggest concern involves player safety, both the reality and the perception of it. The greatest problem pro football has faced this century is what to do about the physical trauma that the game exerts on players.”
MacCambridge on a possible alternative: “I understand the desire to grow the game, and the quest for more revenue. But even here, there was a safer, more sensible alternative. What the 17th game will do is add an 18th week of “inventory” for the networks. But the league could have done the same thing and still kept the schedule at 16 games, simply by giving each team in the league a second bye week.”
HOW WE CONSUME FOOTBALL
MacCambridge: “As the NFL begins its second century, football fans consume more football news than ever before. In many ways, we are inundated with it, across a myriad of platforms. I’ve been thinking lately about the evolution of how the game is covered, and how that shapes our perception of the sport itself.”
MacCambridge on available NFL content: “The sheer volume is staggering, and no matter how much we read or watch or listen to, the supply feels virtually unlimited. Yet despite the torrent of information and analysis, I’ve found myself experiencing a gnawing uneasiness at times, as though something might still be missing.”
MacCambridge on today’s football coverage: “Instantaneous information and deep verticality rule, and we love it. Fans get their news faster and know more about their favorite teams than ever before, and that sense of being on top of all the latest developments can be addictive.”
MacCambridge on in-depth analytics available to fans: “I’ve seen archives of teams’ scouting reports for the draft in the 1970s, and after having gone through some of those files, it’s not an exaggeration to say that fans today have more information about draft prospects than many teams had in the ‘70s.”
INTERVIEW DREAM TEAM
MacCambridge on football interviews he’s conducted: “In the past 25 years, I’ve talked with several hundred different people in and around football. Some were famous, some were obscure, but the one thing I realized quickly was that the vast majority of people who make a living in the game truly love it…Here are my most memorable, most absorbing interviews.”
MacCambridge: “JIM BROWN. I interviewed the greatest running back of all time in his home in the Hollywood Hills in 2000. He said I could have 45 minutes, I wound up staying for 2 1/2 hours, and we stopped only because he had to go to LAX to pick up Bill Russell.”
MacCambridge: “AL DAVIS…He told me some remarkable things about the summer of 1966, when the AFL and NFL agreed to merge.”
MacCambridge: “TONY DUNGY. Early in his tenure coaching the Colts, Dungy let me spend a couple of days with him, on a Monday and Tuesday during the 2003 NFL season. I’ve never had such an intimate look into a coach’s life before. Dungy is exactly what you see on TV – thoughtful, self-effacing, calm to the point of serenity – but what was also clear, in the Colts complex, was his control.”
MacCambridge: “LAMAR HUNT…He remains one of the most fascinating people in football history, possessed of a restless intelligence and curiosity.”
MacCambridge: “WILLIE LANIER. The first starting black middle linebacker in pro football history, the Hall of Famer Lanier has always exuded a formidable gravitas…Throughout his successful playing career, and the equally successful business career that followed, Lanier always remained cognizant of the larger picture.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- The Rich Eisen Show: Rich Eisen, a four-time Sports Emmy studio host nominee and NFL Network’s first on-air talent, brings his Los Angeles-based The Rich Eisen Show to NBCSN at Noon ET today, Tuesday, and Thursday this week.
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms continue to discuss offseason storylines.
- Simms Unbuttoned Podcast: Simms continues to unveil his Top 40 NFL quarterbacks, discussing Nos. 6-14 throughout the week.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.