Football fans have long enjoyed the use of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package as a means to watch as much pigskin as humanly possible. The satellite company’s exclusive deal with the NFL is especially valued by displaced fans who want to watch their favorite out-of-town professional squad. But this whole dream could be in jeopardy in the not-so-distant future.
DirecTV Chief Financial Officer Pat Doyle told reporters at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Florida on Wednesday that his company may consider pulling the popular package from its program offering.
Asked about the future of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket amid rising sports costs, he said that if the price tag went too high in the next rights deal negotiations, DirecTV would consider striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly even dropping the popular package.
Complicating matters is the fact that the popularity of the RedZone channel, now available via cable, has made the Sunday Ticket package less important to many fans. Also, the availability of every game on NFL Rewind after the fact reduces the attractiveness of features that previously were exclusive to DirecTV.
The company’s current deal with NFL Sunday Ticket isn’t set to expire until 2014.
It appears that the NFL Network was not okay with the results from Super Bowl XXLVII and preferred that the San Francisco 49ers would be the Super Bowl winners rather than the Baltimore Ravens. It’s okay, it’s only the biggest game of your league.
Better be careful what you say about coach Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers because it could come back to bite you. His undermanned team ended the Baltimore Ravens 15-game home winning streak Sunday, evidently fueled in part by some two-week old comments from Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and set the stage for Tomlin’s drive-by handshake with his counterpart following the game.
“There’s bad blood between these two coaches,” said NFL Network analyst Darren Sharper, who was Tomlin’s college teammate at William & Mary in the 1990s, on Showtime’s Inside the NFL on Wednesday night.
“You think about the fact that the teams do not like each other, so that carries over to the coaches because they’re the ones preaching to the team before the games. And before this game there was a little bit of an incident in which Coach Harbaugh had some comments after they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers which he knew the camera was on, too.”
Sharper was referring to a locker room clip of Harbaugh lauding his club immediately after its 13-10 win at Heinz Field on Nov. 18, the Steelers’ first game this season without injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Said Harbaugh to the troops that night: “The toughest team won that football game. The mentally tough team won that football game. The better team won the football game. The team that knows how to win won that football game.”
“Coach Tomlin, like all coaches do, they watch everything. They read the papers — they try to say they don’t — they read the papers, they look at television, and he thought that was a message towards his team,” said Sharper, who wasn’t merely speculating.
“I know this for sure. I talked to Mike, and after the game I asked him about the handshake, and he said that there is some bad blood there. And he did not appreciate what Coach Harbaugh said postgame after the first victory.”
The NFL pulled an NFL Network segment featuring actor Bradley Cooper because his new film contains references to NFL gambling.
The star of the Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook, with Jennifer Lawrence, was to headline [Friday's] Rich Eisen Thanksgiving Special with co-star Chris Tucker. But after the segment was approved, and taped, the net was abruptly told on Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office to scrap it.
The reason? That Robert De Niro’s character in the film is a part-time bookie. The decision has left host Eisen and his team scrambling harder than Mark Sanchez to re-edit the show. An NFL Media rep confirmed, “The segment was pulled because the movie included content related to gambling on NFL games.” [...]
Until [Wednesday], the segment was promoted online as the pigskin special’s top interview, with a picture of a smiling Cooper, Tucker and Eisen. It was replaced on Thanksgiving by a picture of Eisen and another guest, John Slattery.
Former NFL coaches and current NFL Network analysts Dennis Green and Brian Billick were the latest to let Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton have it after his “suggestion box” press conference following Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Asked what he would suggest to help Newton’s demeanor, Green said Monday on The Coaches Show: “You’ve got to talk to him. First off say, ‘Is that really the way you want to project yourself? Is that the kind of confidence you want the team to have in you?’ I mean, that’s pretty bad.”
Billick, reference his performance during Super Bowl XXXV week when talking about embattled linebacker Ray Lewis, was unsparing in his critique of Newton.
“This bothered me,” said Billick. “I think Cam Newton, for me, came across like a petulant child, pouting that things weren’t going his way.
“The problem I’m having with it is, Cam Newton — right now — I think he’s not only pouting because they’re 1-5, I think he also realizes he’s not the prettiest girl in the room anymore. RGIII’s kinda taken some of the attention away from him — I don’t think he likes that.”
Brian Dawkins might be voicing a majority opinion, but the former Philadelphia Eagles safety points to coach Andy Reid as the one to bear the pressure of high expectations.
When asked during a recent NFL Network podcast if his former coach should be on the hot seat, Dawkins said:
“Yes, here’s the thing. When you go out and you get some of the pieces that they got. That’s telling the fan base something. Even coming into this year … some of the things they’re doing this offseason, that’s telling the fan base something. You then have to show … what are you as a coach.”
Dawkins, who played 13 seasons in Philadelphia and is a six-time All-Pro, retired in April as one of the most popular players in franchise history.
“If there was a chance for this team to go far, it should be this year. You should know your team, you should know who can do what,” Dawkins said.
A rash of concussions, recent suicides of former NFL players and the BountyGate scandal have Kurt Warner hoping his sons never again play the sport.
But Warner’s opinion is “a little disingenuous,” according to former New York Giants receiver Amani Toomer, who accused Warner of trying to “trash the game.
“What this reminds me of is the guy at the basketball court, who once he gets done playing takes the ball and ruins the game for everybody else,” Toomer said. “I think Kurt Warner needs to keep his opinions to himself when it comes to this. Everything that he’s gotten in his life has come from playing football. He works at the NFL Network right now. For him to try and trash the game, it seems to me that it’s just a little disingenuous to me.”
Warner, the former St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals quarterback, didn’t appear to be trashing the sport when he made his comments earlier Thursday on “The Dan Patrick Show.”He was speaking as a father of sons who love football, and said the idea of them playing an increasingly dangerous sport “scares me.” Asked point blank if he’d prefer they not play the sport, Warner said “Yes, I would.”
“They both have the dream, like dad, to play in the NFL,” Warner said. “That’s their goal. And when you hear things like the bounties, when you know certain things having played the game, and then obviously when you understand the size, the speed, the violence of the game and then you couple that with situations like Junior Seau. Was that a ramification of all the years playing?
“It scares me as a dad. I just wonder. I wonder what the league’s going to be like. I love that the commissioner is doing a lot of things to try to clean up the game from that standpoint and improve player safety, which helps, in my mind, a lot. But it’s a scary thing for me.”
Warner didn’t appear to take Toomer’s criticism personally, though. Via Twitter, Warner later sent a message to Toomer saying “Sorry that u disagree w/ me old friend! But I will always worry about my kids well being . . . Doesn’t affect my love 4 game!”
Deion Sanders divorce from Pilar Sanders took another nasty and very public turn Monday. The Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL Network analyst said via his Twitter account that Pilar Sanders and female friend Dee Boswell broke into his bedroom in his suburban Dallas house and “jumped” him. He also said two of his sons witnessed the attack.
Pilar Sanders was later arrested on suspicion of assault/family violence and booked into the Collin County Detention Center.
Deion told TMZ.com that Pilar Sanders and the friend were “kicking, biting and scratching” him. He said he defended himself, then called police.
“I’m sad my boys witnessed this mess but I warned the police department here that she was gone try n harm me and my boys. This is on my mama!” Sanders wrote on Twitter.
Sanders also uploaded a photo showing him and his sons, ages 10 and 12, filling out what he said were police reports.
“She’s got to go to jail,” Deion Sanders told Dallas television station KXAS. “I hate it because it’s my kids’ mother, but it’s not even the same person, and my sons witnessed this whole thing. They had to fill out the police report and tell the police what went down.”
Two of Sanders older children, Deiondra and Deion Jr, reacted angrily via their own Twitter accounts after learning of the incident.
“Put yo hands on my daddy again see & what it do !! real talk.” Deiondra Sanders tweeted. “Just get out yo like why r u even still living there tho ?? Everyone has moved on but you.”
Sanders Jr. called Pilar “pathetic” and accused her of wanting his father to retaliate.
“you wanted him to hit y’all back right?” Sanders Jr. tweeted.
According to the booking material, assault/family violence is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. Bond was set at $264.
Warren Sapp could be facing more financial hardship as itt appears the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders defensive tackle is likely done as a studio analyst for the NFL Network.
The Boston Globe reported Sapp’s next appearance on the network has not been determined and his contract is not expected to be renewed. Sapp reportedly is paid $540,000 annually with the NFL Network.
It was also reported over the weekend that Sapp owes more than $6.7 million to creditors and back child support and alimony, according to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in South Florida.
Sapp’s $6.45 million in assets includes 240 pairs of Jordan athletic shoes worth almost $6,500, a $2,250 watch and a lion skin rug worth $1,200. He also reported losing the 2002 Super Bowl ring he won with the Bucs and the 1991 NCAA national championship ring from Miami (Fla.).
Sapp’s average monthly income is $115,881, according to the filings, and includes $45,000 for a final contract payment with Showtime, $48,000 for an appearance with CCA Sports and $18,675 as an advance for a book deal.
His contract officially with the NFL Network ends in August.
NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp says he’s “heard” who the whistle-blower in the Saints bounty case is. When a Twitter follower of the former NFL player guessed Jeremy Shockey, Sapp responded, “BINGO!”
Shockey, a former tight end in New Orleans from 2008-2010, would have witnessed the first two years of the bounty program under def. coordinator Gregg Williams which paid defensive players for harming opponents.
Shockey responded incredulously to Sapp’s tweet: “really?? Wow did I also have something to do with the um scandal?”
Sapp was originally critical of the unidentified Saints’ “snitch” when the NFL released its findings in early March. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White expressed a similar sentiment in a tweet Wednesday: “By the way y’all got a lot of snitches in your locker room and organization no loyalty”
Shockey is now a free agent after spending a season in Carolina Panthers. Both players attended the University of Miami, and Sapp spent 13 years in the league before retiring in 2007
The NFL will announce the annual league awards, including Most Valuable Player, in a two-hour prime-time special “NFL Honors” to air on NBC on Super Bowl eve, Feb. 4.
All seven AP NFL awards will be presented from 8-10 CST p.m. live from the Murat Theater in Indianapolis during a show hosted by “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin. The show will feature a live performance by Lenny Kravitz and appearances by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe and Steve Young.
In addition to MVP, the league will announce the winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player’s community service as well as playing excellence. The other awards are Coach of the Year, Comeback Player, Defensive Player and Defensive Rookie, and Offensive Player and Offensive Rookie.
Last year, the awards were presented on the NFL Network throughout the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders has filed for divorce because he feels his wife has become too famous. According to Yahoo! Sports Sanders, currently with the NFL Network, said the success of the Pilar Sanders reality show was the final straw.
“Enough is enough. I never signed up for all this. Enough is enough.,” he said of his wife of 11 years. “If I wanted a model or a television star I would have married one a long time ago. All I wanted was a housewife.”
The NFL is negotiating with TV networks about a new early season eight game package that would start as soon as next season, sources tell SportsBusiness Journal. The potential Thursday night package could be worth as much as $700 million per year.
The new package would not affect NFL Network’s schedule of live games, as the league has decided to keep its channel’s eight game Thursday night slate in the second half of the season intact.
The league is shopping the early-season package to interested networks. Sources said the league currently has the rights to take enough games from CBS and FOX’s Sunday afternoon schedules to fill the new eight game package and does not have to wait for those contracts to expire after the 2013 season.
Turner and Comcast have emerged as the most serious bidders for such a package. Comcast wants the package for Versus, while Turner, which carried a Sunday night NFL package on TNT from 1990-97, has privately craved returning NFL games to its schedule. Turner could put the package on TBS, TNT or truTV. FOX is expected to kick the tires on a package for its FX network, but cable industry sources said cable operators have surcharge protection against FX, which would make it difficult for FX to afford such a package.
No other dark horses have emerged yet, according to sources. It’s believed that ESPN would at least take a look at the Thursday night package, as would Spike TV.
This is the part of the off season where many prominent NFL players get involved with their own youth camps. Unfortunately, for those boys and girls ages 7-14 that had spent $199 hoping to spend “All Day” with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson are out of luck.
The Old Spice Adrian Peterson Football camp, to be held on the University of Oklahoma intramural fields today and Friday, will be without Peterson. He instead will be filming a feature for NFL Network for a series titled Top 100 players which will cause him to be unable to attend.
The youngsters will instead get instruction from some of Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jason White, St. Louis Rams free agent wide receiver Mark Clayton and Dallas Cowboys rookie running back DeMarco Murray.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White says Atlanta’s offense will be a nightmare for opponents. With the Falcons possessing playmakers at numerous offensive positions like quarterback Matt Ryan, Michael Turner at running back, White, Tony Gonzalez at tight end, and recently drafted Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones at wide receiver has many NFL insiders think much of the same thing. White, who led the NFL with 115 receptions, is not hiding his confidence in the offense, or in Jones.
“We’re going to outscore everybody,” White told NFL Network. “Green Bay’s got what, four or five guys out there who can make plays? We’re going to be Green Bay South.”
However they are currently 0-2 in the playoffs in the Ryan era and recently was shredded by the Green Bay Packers for 48 points in the playoffs.
“It’s going to be special,” White said. “It’s going to remind you of the Greatest Show on Turf. We’ve got a lot of explosive players and I see more explosive plays coming out of our offense.”
Everybody is kinda wondering what will the Los Angeles Lakers do to get back on top and the second move they have done this off season after replacing Phil Jackson with Mike Brown is to name a new set of broadcast announcers. The Lakers will have new play-by-play voices for both the radio and television crews.
Spero Dedes, who had been the Lakers radio play-by-play voice for the previous six seasons will not be returning. Dedes also served as a play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports, calling NFL and men’s college basketball games. He was also a host for the NFL Network.
John Ireland, who has been the Lakers sideline reporter on KCAL 9 since 2002 and co-hosts the Mason & Ireland Show on 710 ESPN, will take over and call the radio play-by-play alongside former Laker Mychal Thompson on the Lakers flagship radio station.
Bill Macdonald, who has been with Fox Sports West since 1985, will call the television play-by-play with long-time color analyst Stu Lantz on KCAL 9 and Fox Sports West.
Joel Meyers, who had been the Lakers television play-by-play announcer since 2005 after serving the previous two seasons as the team’s radio play-by-play man did not get his contract renewed after last season.
The NFL Network which over the years has juggled announcers on its late-season Thursday and Saturday regular-season primetime games, has officially named a new team: Brad Nessler, a longtime ESPN play-by-play announcer, and Mike Mayock, an NFLN studio analyst and NBC’s analyst for Notre Dame games. Nessler will continue with his ESPN on-air roles.
They will replace play-by-play announcer Bob Papa and analysts Joe Theismann and Matt Millen.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle and all around badass Ndamukong Suh is extremely confident and ready to be a winner in the NFL. The 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was asked on NFL Network if he thinks the sky is the limit for the Lions, Suh answered, “No question.” then let loose his statement that the Lions could be perfect.
“I don’t see there’s a reason why we can’t be 16-0,” Suh said. “As long as we put in that hard work throughout -– I don’t know if we’re going to have OTAs, but throughout camp and getting ready for that 2011 season — as long as we stay healthy and are putting in that work, I think we should be happy with what we end up with.”
Despite his confidence the 2007 New England Patriots are the only team to go 16-0 in NFL history.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre officially filed his retirement papers today confirming his words he told in November to former NFL coach Steve Mariucci on the NFL Network that he will not be returning to play in 2011. After sitting out in the season finale against the Detroit Lions due to a concussion, Favre said “it’s time” in a postgame retirement speech.
“I know it’s time, and that’s OK. It is,” the 41-year-old said. “Again, I hold no regrets, and I can’t think of too many players offhand that can walk away and say that. Individually and from a team standpoint, it was way more than I ever dreamed of.”
Favre retired in 2008 with the Green Bay Packers and in 2009 with the New York Jets, only to return both times.
NFL Network analyst Joe Theismann nearly killed Deion Sanders when discussing the strengths of the New England Patriots and running back Danny Woodhead, which he refereed to as Danny Woodcock.
Why is it that the NFL offers the worst when it comes to discussing their own product? CBS,FOX,ESPN, NBC and Showtime are the ones really doing the killing when it comes to talking the game.
Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner was on the NFL Network last night and in so he was discussing Brett Favre and whether he hurt his legacy.
“I think he did tarnish his legacy,” Warner said. “Not only this season, but the last few seasons, going back and forth [on retirement] and bouncing to a few different teams. I think about it, and I have to really think hard to think back to when he was a Green Bay Packer and when he played his best football and was in Super Bowls and when he became the Brett Favre we all know.”
The former Super Bowl MVP also said that when he thinks about Favre, he thinks about the “chaos that’s happened the last couple of years.”
LeBron James return to Cleveland drew big TV ratings Thursday night, according to TNT’s Jeff Pomeroy. TNT’s telecast of James and the Miami Heat vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers drew a 5.0 overnight TV rating, up 257% from the 1.4 rating for the corresponding Boston Celtics-San Antonio Spurs game last season.
The “Return” bested the 4.1 overnight rating for the NFL Network’s telecast of the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the Houston Texans. TNT of course, is in far more homes than the NFL Network though and numbers for the NFL didn’t include simulcasts in the Houston and Philadelphia markets.
The NBA game averaged a 25.4 overnight rating in the Cleveland TV market compared to 14.9 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. Ratings peaked at 6.7 but declined as the Heat took control.
Interestingly, TNT’s pregame show with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson outdrew the game itself pulling a 5.9 rating.
The NFL will re-air the NFL Network’s Thanksgiving game between the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals without any announcers. The game will be scored by the sounds of pads hitting pads, and players calling out plays as 15 players and coaches will be miked during the game.
Both coaches, all the coordinators, quarterbacks and middle linebackers will have a mic on them says NFL Films president Steve Sabol.
“We’ll have 60 people shooting the game, which is more than we use for a Super Bowl, and then we’ll turn it around in 48 hours and show it to you through the eyes of the players. It’s something you won’t see anywhere else.”
Have you ever imagined a world without announcers?
In an interview with his former head coach, Michael Vick admitted what most people had figured all along he didn’t put in the work during his first stint in the NFL.
Speaking with ex-Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora during an interview aired Sunday on the NFL Network, Vick said he failed to do much off-the-field homework for the team and had a poor work ethic during his six years with the team. When coaches gave him game film to watch on DVDs at home, Vick never did instead left them in his car to pile up.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback spoke on how going to prison was the best thing that ever happened to him because it forced him to break away from the bad habits his athletic ability and outside influences allowed him to get away with. Answering several of Mora’s questions during their past working relationship why he said or did certain things that his “whole life was a lie.”