The 2020 Australian Football League Premiership Season heads into Round 5 this weekend with five matches live on the FOX Sports family of networks, including a key matchup between undefeated Port Adelaide and third-ranked Brisbane Lions on Saturday at 5:30 AM ET on FS1.
ESPN will relaunch NFL Live, the year-round weekday news and information show, in August with new host Laura Rutledge and a consistent roster of daily analysts that features Marcus Spears, Dan Orlovsky, Keyshawn Johnson and Mina Kimes, who moves into a new NFL analyst role.
ESPN Events and FC Dallas have extended their bowl agreement through 2025.
The post ESPN Events and FC Dallas Extend Agreement for Frisco Bowl appeared first on ESPN Press Room U.S..
THE CAM CHRONICLES, A NEW MINISERIES FROM THE RINGER NFL SHOW ABOUT SUPERSTAR CAM NEWTON, TO DEBUT ON JULY 13
- The Ringer Podcast Network to launch a new podcast miniseries that explores the life and career of NFL superstar Cam Newton, The Cam Chronicles on July 13
- There will be a total of 6 episodes
- Listen to the trailer for The Cam Chronicles HERE
- On July 13, all 6 episodes of The Cam Chronicles will be available for free exclusively on Spotify on The Ringer NFL Show feed. Episodes will debut weekly on all other platforms.
- The Ringer’s Tyler R. Tynes spent 9 months reporting, researching, and writing the multi-part narrative series on Newton’s controversial life and career.
- The series will feature interviews with Cam, Newton’s pastor father Cecil, former teammates, coaches, and journalists who covered the superstar quarterback from his days at Florida, his JUCO year at Blinn College, his breakout season at Auburn, and as the star of the Carolina Panthers for the past nine seasons.
- Tynes interviewed dozens of people to examine a figure who has come under scrutiny for issues related to race, style of play, amateur athletics, and politics while also rising to MVP status, appearing in Super Bowl 50, and inspiring a generation of NFL quarterbacks dominating the game today.
- As of yesterday, Cam Newton was signed by the New England Patriots for the 2020-2021 NFL season.
“There was no time for a long legal document to be drafted and signed. A press release spelling out the terms would have to suffice…I was the messenger who delivered a copy of the press release to the United Press International sports desk.” – Browne on his role in the AFL-NFL merger
“(Commissioner Rozelle) had a chalkboard that contained five different alignment scenarios labeled 1 through 5… His secretary…would be the one to break the deadlock by blindly picking one of the slips of paper.” – Browne on how Commissioner Pete Rozelle decided NFC divisional alignment
“By 1970, pro football had overtaken Major League Baseball and college football as America’s favorite sport. While baseball was ‘America’s Pastime,’ football was on its way to becoming ‘America’s Passion.’” – Browne on the NFL’s growing popularity
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 29, 2020 – In the latest edition of Peter King’s Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com, Joe Browne, the all-time longest-serving NFL employee who retired in 2016, serves as a guest writer and looks back at the story behind the 1970 AFL-NFL merger 50 years later. Browne also discusses how the NFL’s popularity grew following the merger and his relationship with former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
Across NBC Sports this week, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news and the Rotoworld Football Podcast prepares for the 2020 season.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
Joe Browne on the AFL-NFL merger: “Fifty years ago, the National Football League and American Football League completed their merger to form one professional league. I was there for it, as a young NFL public relations employee. As a league intern in 1966, I saw the stop-and-start and stop-and-start-again merger talks in their infancy.”
Browne on the reasons for merger talks: “In 1966, the enormous economic costs to both AFL and NFL owners in their battle for fans, rookie players, and franchise cities continued to escalate. It had been going on several years. After consulting with NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and the lawyers, Cowboys president Tex Schramm invited his Dallas neighbor – but not close friend – Lamar Hunt, the co-founder of the rival AFL, to meet him on April 4…Tex chose Lamar to talk merger because Hunt was respected by his fellow AFL owners; rumors were that Lamar wanted to end the excessive player spending, and he was known as a quiet person who could keep matters confidential.”
Browne: “Hunt and Schramm met again in early May; fortunately, both sides agreed that whatever obstacles were on the table could be overcome. That was the good news.”
Browne on one impediment to the merger: “Giants owner Wellington Mara told his peers that he had just signed standout Buffalo Bills kicker Pete Gogolak, who had played out his AFL option with that team. It was the first time an AFL player was jumping to the NFL. I wasn’t in attendance but later was told it was one of the more emotional league meetings ever held. How could the Giants, who knew about the Schramm-Hunt talks, have thrown gasoline on a burning fire?”
Browne on the fallout from the Giants signing Gogolak: “When the league meeting ended, several of the most influential NFL owners met privately in the hotel…The group instructed Schramm to convince his close friend Rozelle, who leaned more to fighting than merging, to get onboard and bring these merger talks to a conclusion. Pete, who believed the AFL was spending itself out of business, finally agreed.”
Browne on the agreement: “Things moved rapidly after that Gogolak uproar…One of the last hurdles was removed when Hunt agreed his league would (reluctantly) pay the NFL a total of $18 million over 10 years. The two peacemakers then met on June 7 with Rozelle and the lawyers in Washington D.C. …The Washington meeting with Hunt went into the early hours of June 8 until, perhaps out of exhaustion, all sides agreed to the final terms.”
Browne on his role: “There was no time for a long legal document to be drafted and signed. A press release spelling out the terms would have to suffice…I was the messenger who delivered a copy of the press release to the United Press International sports desk on 42nd Street, a few blocks from Times Square.”
Browne: “Fast forward to 1970. It had been agreed that the AFL would operate under its original name through the end of the ‘60s. Joint committees that included owners from both sides worked during those years on issues ranging from future scheduling to roster size to player medical benefits. However, a divisional alignment of the National Football Conference had to be decided only by the 13 NFC owners. It would be one of the final steps to the completion of the merger.”
Browne on NFC alignment issues: “The remaining NFC owners still were bickering about the best alignment for their conference, and themselves. Longtime traditional division rivalries were at risk. Some of the in-fighting concerned stadium capacities. Clubs much preferred road games in front of 75,000 fans who were paying high ticket prices…Other teams did not want to travel 3,000 miles to play division rivals. Progress on the issue was being made by inches, not yards.”
Browne on the final meeting to decide NFC alignment: “Pete (Rozelle) told the clubs that the 49ers, who via the merger agreement had a veto right to any alignment plan they did not like, had agreed to respect Pete’s authority to force an alignment…He had a chalkboard that contained five different alignment scenarios labeled 1 through 5 wheeled in…Pete gave it one last shot. If there were no consensus on any one plan, he would draw the number of the winning alignment out of a hat.”
Browne: “The owners accepted this game-plan because they had become as tired of the arguments as Pete…The commissioner told me to ask Thelma Elkjer, his secretary, to enter the room…She would be the one to break the deadlock by blindly picking one of the slips of paper. The owners trusted her…Without even a drumroll, Thelma reached in, pulled out a slip and announced that the winning plan was number 3.”
Browne on the reaction: “Tex Schramm let out a little cheer and smiled at Cowboys owner Clint Murchison who was beside him. Plan 3 was the ONLY combination that had the Cowboys in the same division as the Giants, Redskins and Eagles…A couple of the NFC Central teams mumbled their discontent because the combination of Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Minnesota meant they would not get that much-desired, warm weather break toward the season’s end.”
INNOVATIONS & TELEVISION
Browne on Monday Night Football: “Rozelle, better than any exec in or outside sports back then, understood the promotional power and impact of network television. He had been working to get NFL games in front of more diversified prime-time viewers in a weekly series. However, most network honchos still thought prime-time football would attract only a niche sports audience…Fortunately, young Roone Arledge, the president of ABC Sports at the time, shared Pete’s vision of prime-time football.”
Browne: “By 1970, pro football had overtaken Major League Baseball and college football as America’s favorite sport. While baseball was “America’s Pastime,” football was on its way to becoming “America’s Passion.” The NFL was ready to compete successfully with not only other sports but also all forms of entertainment.”
Browne on NFL innovations in 1970: “The 1970 season also featured for the first time a postseason wild-card team in each conference…A four-year collective bargaining agreement was reached in 1970 between the clubs…New policy changes in 1970 included player names on the back of all jerseys.”
Browne on his visit with Rozelle in 1996: “I asked Pete in a serious moment during my house visit if he could ever have anticipated the league’s spectacular growth 25 years earlier…The then-69 year old Rozelle emotionally replied that it was impossible to imagine back in 1970 all the growth, excitement, and interest the league would enjoy, and the entertainment and competition it would provide its fans.”
Browne on his career: “I retired from the NFL in 2016. I had attended 50 straight Super Bowls…I had a helluva 50-year ride (I called it an “internship”) in communications, public relations, government affairs, community endeavors and alumni coordination…Whenever folks ask how I survived at the NFL all those years, I first point out that having only three commissioner-CEOs over 50 years didn’t hurt. There’s something to be said about continuity.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news and updates.
- Rotoworld Football Podcast: Experts Josh Norris, John Daigle, Hayden Winks, and Patrick Daugherty continue to prepare for the 2020 season.
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.
SEC Network is paying tribute to a season that saw the SEC reign supreme, as SEC fans will have the chance to relive the 2019 football season over the course of two weeks, beginning on Monday, June 29.
The post SEC Network Summer Takeover Showcases 2019 Football Season appeared first on ESPN Press Room U.S..
Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson Round Out Numbers 3-5 in the Simms Top 40 QB Countdown
“There is no weakness to Patrick Mahomes’ game right now…He’s the most creative thrower I’ve ever seen.” – Simms on Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes at No. 1
“Let’s start respecting the greatness of No. 3 up in Seattle…He’s one of the greatest one-man shows in the NFL. He does everything for his football team.” – Simms on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson at No. 2
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 26, 2020 – Chris Simms ranks Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes as his number one quarterback in the NFL, while Seattle’s Russell Wilson ranks number two as Simms’ top 40 quarterback countdown concludes on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and “PFT Live” this week with the QBs ranked 1-5.
“There is no weakness to Patrick Mahomes’ game right now. There is none. There’s literally nothing,” said Simms about ranking Mahomes No. 1. “I’ve never seen anybody like him in my life.”
Simms, a third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2003 NFL Draft who played eight NFL seasons, also unveiled his quarterbacks ranked three through five this week: Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers at three, Houston’s Deshaun Watson at four, and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson at five.
Simms’ complete Top 40 QB Countdown:
|1.||Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City||21.||Baker Mayfield, Cleveland|
|2.||Russell Wilson, Seattle||22.||Daniel Jones, New York Giants|
|3.||Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay||23.||Sam Darnold, New York Jets|
|4.||Deshaun Watson, Houston||24.||Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams|
|5.||Lamar Jackson, Baltimore||25.||Drew Lock, Denver|
|6.||Carson Wentz, Philadelphia||26.||Joe Burrow, Cincinnati|
|7.||Matt Ryan, Atlanta||27.||Andy Dalton, Dallas|
|8.||Dak Prescott, Dallas||28.||Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami|
|9.||Matthew Stafford, Detroit||29.||Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina|
|10.||Cam Newton, Free Agent||30.||Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville|
|11.||Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee||31.||Nick Foles, Chicago|
|12.||Kyler Murray, Arizona||32.||Case Keenum, Cleveland|
|13.||Kirk Cousins, Minnesota||33.||Jameis Winston, New Orleans|
|14.||Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh||34.||Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers|
|15.||Tom Brady, Tampa Bay||35.||Jarrett Stidham, New England|
|16.||Drew Brees, New Orleans||36.||Taysom Hill, New Orleans|
|17.||Philip Rivers, Indianapolis||37.||Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers|
|18.||Josh Allen, Buffalo||38.||Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago|
|19.||Derek Carr, Las Vegas||39.||Dwayne Haskins, Washington|
|20.||Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco||40.||Tua Tagovailoa, Miami|
The rankings will continue next week with numbers 23-30 on “PFT Live” and Chris Simms Unbuttoned.
The following are highlights from Chris Simms’ quarterback rankings:
No. 5: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Simms: “Awesome, exciting, one of the most explosive players in football. Certainly, dangerous in so many different ways. The skillset is vast. The running is electric — it is as good as anyone we have ever seen at the quarterback position other than Michael Vick. The throwing continues to go on an upward arc. He is a natural thrower…Is he a polished passer yet? No…There are still inconsistencies with that…His great running ability is setting up some great passing looks sometimes too, to maybe fool us into thinking he is a little bit better of a thrower than he is…I don’t think he is ready to carry the team with his right arm…That is basically the last piece we need to see from him to where he could be the number one or number two quarterback next year.”
No. 4: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Simms: “They don’t come more talented, more cool under pressure, than Deshaun Watson…He can maybe be a little bit more of a precise short-ball thrower…If he fixes that stuff, the sky is the limit. Another guy, like Lamar Jackson, where…he could challenge to be the best quarterback in the game. He is an unbelievable deep-ball thrower. He has got unbelievable toughness, and when the play breaks down, you could argue Deshaun Watson is as good as anybody in football to make something happen when nothing is there…The best thing about him is he is arguably one of the best deep-ball throwers in football. That, to me, is where I just think he is special…That is where he really stresses defenses out because we know he can scramble, but then you’ve got to go, ‘We better worry about the other 50 yards behind us, because he can bomb it over us that way too.’”
No. 3: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Simms: “This is the first time since 2010 that I am going into a season where I don’t think Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in football…Why did he fall to three? There are two guys in front him who are really special and in the primes of their careers. Rodgers, he is on that part where it is starting to go downhill, (but he’s) still special…Do I think his skills are declining a little bit? Yes… but it doesn’t matter. It is still a special arm…It is still one of the best arms in the game…His escapability was a little less than what we normally see from him…I think he is too careful with the football. I think that is the biggest reason or the biggest thing about his game that I don’t like right now…Yeah, the window was tight, but you are freaking Aaron Rodgers. Throw it in there…This is the greatest gunslinger we have seen in the history of the sport, (and) who takes care of the football…He will win you a lot of games, and he really doesn’t lose you a lot of games because of that too…He is still arguably the most-gifted thrower, passer in the game. There is no offense, no play, nothing exists other than maybe the Lamar Jackson-offense that Aaron Rodgers couldn’t run. He can make every throw off every platform to a degree that there is only a few people in the history of the league that could do it (how) he does.”
No. 2: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Simms: “Let’s start respecting the greatness of No. 3 up in Seattle…He’s one of the greatest one-man shows in the NFL. He does everything for his football team, let alone he plays quarterback for a team that doesn’t play a quarterback-friendly style of football…(The Seahawks) have to get out of this mold of, ‘We’re still the Legion of Boom in 2013.’ Put the ball in Russell’s hands from start to finish in every game. Put the pressure on teams that way…With an offense that’s not necessarily the most creative passing game in football — it’s very elementary — and Russell Wilson, he makes it happen with pinpoint passing. He might be the best deep-ball thrower in the game, and then, of course, we know his adlibbing and ability to escape the pocket.”
No. 1: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Simms: “Where do you start? There is no weakness to Patrick Mahomes’ game right now. There is none. There’s literally nothing…I’ve never seen anybody like him in my life. Yeah, you’d like it from a quarterback school standpoint of him being a little more strict technique-wise, but it’s what makes him him. And certainly, when his technique is right, I mean, come on. It’s a walk in the park…He’s truly a special, special talent. He’s the most creative thrower I’ve ever seen, and that’s crazy because Aaron Rodgers is really creative, but I’ve never seen a guy who could do it with more different ways…He’s got more delivery points and ability to get it done than anybody I’ve ever seen play quarterback in my entire life…This is another aspect that I love: his deep drop. He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee at quarterback. I don’t even call it a drop. He just floats back there. It’s unlike any other quarterback in football. It’s really, in a lot of ways, brilliant.”
To listen to the full player breakdowns on Chris Simms Unbuttoned, click here.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Thursday he will retire following the 2020-21 athletic season.
The post ESPN Statements on ACC Commissioner John Swofford’s Retirement appeared first on ESPN Press Room U.S..
The 2020 Australian Football League Premiership Season heads into Round 4 this weekend with four live matches across the FOX Sports family of networks, including top-ranked Port Adelaide looking to stay undefeated on Friday at 11:00 PM ET on FS2.
HBO SPORTS® AND NFL FILMS RETURN WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED EDITION OF TELEVISION’S MOST ACCLAIMED SPORTS REALITY FRANCHISE
WHEN HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES,
CHRONICLING THE PRESEASON OF THE CHARGERS AND RAMS
DEBUTS AUGUST 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
HBO Sports, NFL Media And NFL Films
Announce Multi-Year Renewal Of The Franchise
HBO Sports, NFL Films and the two Los Angeles-based NFL franchises are teaming up for an unprecedented and unfiltered all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES kicks off its five-episode season this summer. One of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV, the 15th edition of the 18-time Sports Emmy®-winning series debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series debuting subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale.
HARD KNOCKS will have encore plays Wednesday nights and will be available to stream on HBO via HBO Max and partners’ platforms.
In an unprecedented programming move, the 2020 edition of the venerable series will spotlight both Los Angeles NFL teams: The Los Angeles Chargers of the AFC West and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC West. The two franchises are set to share the spectacular new 70,000-seat SoFi stadium that is nearing completion in Inglewood, California.
The arrival of HARD KNOCKS each August is a unique NFL tradition and NFL FILMS and HBO Sports are making plans for an all-new season of the most acclaimed serialized sports series on television.
One of sports television’s most successful and enduring partnerships, HBO Sports, NFL Media and NFL Films have reached agreement on a multi-year extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise.
“The HARD KNOCKS franchise continues to excel as the preeminent sports reality series,” says Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “Our partnership with NFL Films, which dates back to 1977, consistently produces groundbreaking television programming. We are grateful to the Chargers and Rams organizations to be able to present the 2020 training camp experience.”
“NFL Films cherishes the relationship we’ve had with HBO for over four decades, and specifically with the HARD KNOCKS franchise since 2001,” says NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “To be able to announce this extension as we embark on an unprecedented two team series this summer brings us incredible pride and only heightens our excitement for the return of football.”
Camera crews will head to southern California in the next few weeks to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinéma vérité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches.
Under fourth-year head coach Sean McVay, the Rams are just a season removed from a Super Bowl appearance and have a roster featuring an intriguing mix of high-profile players, established veterans, and free-agent acquisitions.
After an injury-plagued 2019 campaign, the Los Angeles Chargers are looking for a return to the winning formula that helped them finish tied for the AFC’s best record in 2018. Led by fourth-year head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers overhauled roster features young, rising stars on both sides of the ball, a new quarterback behind center and an influx of veteran talent added this offseason.
Both franchises will also be debuting new logos and uniforms when they open their new, state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium home later this year.
Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn said, “Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it. There’s a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you’re going to do a show, do it right. You can’t fake it. We didn’t have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year’s show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn’t something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I’m glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer.”
“We are looking forward to having Hard Knocks in our camp this year,” said Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. “Hard Knocks always offers a rare opportunity for our fans to see our players’ hard work to prepare for the season, as well as gives them a peek behind the curtain to observe these guys off the field, too. This year will be special because the show will also get an unprecedented look at SoFi Stadium, Stan Kroenke’s vision for professional football in L.A.”
Dedicated NFL Films production crews will be in both southern California training camps, shooting more than 2,300 hours of footage over the course of the series, offering an inside look at the daily rigors of an NFL training camp. With access to players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields, HARD KNOCKS will document hours of conditioning practices and meetings, chronicling players as they compete for a roster spot and bond off the field.
HBO has aired 72 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 14 seasons. No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS. Episodes have averaged four million viewers over the past four years.
Winner of 18 Sports Emmy® Awards to date, HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, subsequently spotlighting the Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014), Houston Texans (2015) and Los Angeles Rams (2016). The 2017 edition chronicled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and captured the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Serialized Documentary. The widely acclaimed 2018 series with the Cleveland Browns earned two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. HARD KNOCKS has won a Sports Emmy® every year it has aired since 2008.
Eight of the last ten teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. The Cleveland Browns launched the transformation of their organization on HBO and went from a winless 2017 season to coming within half a game (7-8-1) of a .500 campaign. The 2019 season saw the Raiders improve their record to 7-9 from the previous year’s 4-12 mark. The series featuring the iconic Raider franchise averaged 4.3 million viewers per episode, generating the highest viewership for the show since 2015 and the second-best viewership numbers for HARD KNOCKS in the past ten years.
Washington Post wrote, “Turning football players into people is what HBO’s HARD KNOCKS series does so well. The massive scope, meticulous editing and time-hopping special effects that highlight a production under massive time constraints are all impressive, but it’s the film crew’s access to NFL players that makes the program special.” USA Today said, “Players’ lives and their hopes and dreams play out each NFL preseason on HARD KNOCKS. It’s that month-long human drama that makes the show so profoundly compelling.”
Winner of 129 Sports Emmy® Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.
HARD KNOCKS: LOS ANGELES will be narrated by Liev Schreiber, marking his 14th season with the show.