NFL Matchup show may be no more

We’re sorry to pass along the news, via SI’s Peter King, that the NFL has decided it won’t seek sponsors for the NFL Matchup show, ending a 26-year partnership with the program.

The show isn’t quite dead yet, though.  ESPN could decide to own and operate the show itself to keep it on the air.  We implore them to do so.

This news is sobering, but perhaps enough fan support can keep the show alive.

We don’t pretend to understand the economics of the situation.  But it’s a sad reflection of the sports television industry and us as viewers if there is no place for one intelligent Sunday morning football show.

NFL Matchup — hosted by Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski, and Merril Hoge — is the only preview show that respects the audience enough to actually talk about (gasp) football.  You learned something every time you watched.  (Or Tivo’d, since the show came on at odd hours.)

The rest of the morning programs seem programed for high schoolers that like WWE-style manufactured storylines, forced laughter, meaningless debates, soft features, and very little football.  You rarely learn anything.

Apparently, that’s what we want.

69 responses to “NFL Matchup show may be no more

  1. Yeah this is bad news, like You said, only intelligent pregame program around.

  2. I think the NFL goal is to someday own and control all NFL shows.
    And this is a step in that direction

  3. I think the NFL goal is to someday own and control all NFL shows.
    And this is a step in that direction

  4. Horrible decision for the fan who is interested in intelligent football converastion 🙁

  5. NFL Matchup was the only pre-game show worth watching…a nice alternative to the networks that fill the studios with ego tripping loud mouths talking over each other
    it was worth watching (or taping) even though it used to come on at 2 AM..
    hopefully ESPN will save the show but what do they care about content when they have Chris Berman & his lame shtick…why would they want a football show about football?

  6. “The rest of the morning programs seem programed for high schoolers that like WWE-style manufactured storylines, forced laughter, meaningless debates, soft features, and very little football. You rarely learn anything.”
    Kind of like this new version of your website…. (Sorry bro, set yourself up for that one)

  7. Wakey! Wakey! NFL is merely not aiding its competition to it’s own NFL Network that does team matchups as well!

  8. Yeah, didn’t help that the ESPN brain trust aired it in a slot that was only good for two demographics: 80-year olds and strung out college dudes. Both demos are a lot of laughs, but neither generate a lot of cash…except for Depends and/or booger sugar dealers.

  9. Countdown should be from 9-11. This show should be on at 11:00 sunday morning, and last an hour before kickoff at noon. Best show out there.
    People who want the fluff shows can watch the network pregame. Everyone wins.

  10. This is the only show that real football fans enjoy. It is all football and matchups instead of fluf pieces to fill time
    Keep Jaws, Hodge, and Sal or send them to NFLN

  11. Lord, has ESPN died a slow death. I realize I’m starting to be an old grouch, but back in the early 90s ESPN rocked. They focused on news, highlights and analysis, and they had a sense of humor. Now you have nothing but egos with no talent (looking at you, Scott Van Pelt), empty puff pieces, and so many retarded ex-jocks you feel yourself getting stupid as you watch.
    Worst part is they’re trying to take over local sports too – notice the new ESPN Boston, ESPN Chicago, etc. ESPN is trying to become to sports what Clear Channel is to radio – the same crappy, homogenized programming everywhere.
    We need more independent news outlets that don’t depend on ESPN. PFT, for all its warts, is one of the few successes in this regard. Nice going Florio, keep sticking your thumb in ESPN’s eye.

  12. MNF and NFL Matchup are the only shows worth watching on BSPN, in my opinion.

  13. Rosenthal wrote: “NFL Matchup — hosted by Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski, and Merril Hoge — is the only preview show that respects the audience enough to actually talk about (gasp) football. You learned something every time you watched.”
    True. Very true. It’s a great show – and the only one aimed at the intelligent fan. Figures…

  14. It’s the time slot that killed the show. Most football fans are in front of the TV from noon till near midnight (on east coast). I just cant see getting up to watch a NFL Matchup show at 5am. Last season i found myself watching the Fantasy football show that ran on ESPN 2. The main stream pregame shows on Fox, CBS, ESPN all bore me.

  15. For those who have the NFL Network, check out Playbook. It’s a similar type show where they use game tape to break down the results of the games. They spend a couple of days talking about the games that happened the previous week, and then the next two episodes they preview the upcoming matchups.
    Brian Balldinger, Solomon Wilcots and Brian Billick. Not a bad alternative to matchup.

  16. It IS a shame. It was the only good pregame show that really broke down game film on all aspects of the matchups in question. NFL Matchup was the show which first illustrated Jaworski’s strength at game film analysis, including his illuminating work breaking down quarterback play for the folks at home.
    I guess we’ll get to enjoy more ‘human interest’ stories and goofy football analysis on in-studio AstroTurf instead…

  17. “[M]anufactured storylines, forced laughter, meaningless debates, soft features, and very little football.” Another sly dig at the boss?

  18. I am sure the NFL backed out in order to protect and promote their own show on NFLN, Playbook (which, frankly, pales in comparison to NFL Matchup).
    I’ve only seen the show a handful of times (it doesn’t air in Canada) but every time I have seen it, it’s enhanced my appreciation for particular match-ups and things to look for that week.

  19. ADD is destroying all that is good.
    I wished the show was longer and went into detailed breakdowns for every game. The Playbook shows on NFL Network are nowhere near as good as NFL Matchup.

  20. I love NFL Matchup. It’s by far the best show for the average fan to learn the X’s and O’s of pro football. Hopefully ESPN finds a way to keep it on the air.

  21. I stopped watching BSPN (not a typo) years ago. It became more like E! Sports Edition than sports. Thank God for NFL Network. I watched the draft on NFLN. Everything. Outside of PTI & ATH (Around the Horn…Reali is funny, along with the rest of the cast), I don’t watch BSPN at all. I did like the show. But I like the NFLN show with Sterling Sharpe (is it just me wondering about the huge difference between Sterling and his brother Shannon speak). If it goes, it goes. I do like Merril Hoge (even though he is a Stooler and I’m a Browns fan), but it would make sense for BSPN to kill the only football only show on it’s network.

  22. “The rest of the morning programs seem programed for high schoolers that like WWE-style manufactured storylines, forced laughter, meaningless debates, soft features, and very little football. You rarely learn anything.”
    Sounds like PFT.
    Boom Roasted.

  23. I don’t even watch the pregame shows anymore because of all of the jackasses on there.

  24. The big corporations know what’s best for us. They know we don’t want intelligent, we want “JACKED UP!” The big corporations love us. Let me return to my high fructose corn syrup and pus milk now.

  25. Well then that’s it – no sense even turning the TV on till kickoff as that was the ONLY actual X’s and O’s type show left. dammit!

  26. Aw shucks, I guess the only show worth watching on Sunday mornings now is the Fantasy Fix.

  27. way far off with the opions in this story,espn sucks,something as awesome as the nfl,espn found a way to make it succk,the only good pregame and post game and breakdowns are on the nfl network

  28. This is ridiculous. NFL Matchup was the ONLY show anywhere on tv that gave a good analytical breakdown of the X’s and O’s on NFL football. It was by FAR the best football related program on tv. Why in the world they buried it so early in the morning that nobody could watch it was beyond me.
    Hoge and Jaws were A+++ excellent on that show!

  29. Wow…really bad news. The one pre or post game show I watch on ESPN and they are going to dump it ?
    Jaws and Hodgy are still top notch in film breakdown so that the average fan can understand it. I certainly hope ESPN in all their infinite wisdom figures out that of all the crap they show, this is by far the best one of the lot.

  30. We talk about Pats, Cowboys, Favre and Manning football daily!
    Mike and Mike in the morning

  31. The only two programs I have watched on ESPN in the last year were Run Ricky Run and Straight Outta L.A. The network is total garbage.. I can’t stand their Draft coverage or their pregame show.
    You know you have a serious problem when your most intelligent pregame analyst is Keshawn Johnson…!

  32. We need to round up the PFT troops and keep this show on the air, I was just talking this past weekend about how this was the only show on ESPN where you actually learned something, and they actually talked strategy. Unless you have “The Network” there is nothing comparable to it. This is one of the few truly good things that ESPN has going for them, and they need to keep it. How about you sponsor it Florio?

  33. Sal Paolantonio/Merril Hoge and intelligent is an oxymoron. I won’t miss that show one bit. In fact, if the entire ESPN network went away, I wouldn’t miss it.

  34. It is a great show but with only 1/2 hour it couldn’t cover every game. Should have been an hour show.
    With so much garbage on Disney’s ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPN News, ESPN 360, and whatever other networks they have created they should be able to find room for a competent adult show.
    If Disney decides to get rid of its last adult program, that means Sterling Sharp on NFL network will have the leading intellectual football programing.
    It only gives more weight to those who think the media companies of America including Disney plot together to put on mind control propaganda, dumb down America, and destroy American culture.
    No wonder television ratings continue to decline.

  35. Just as bad as the NFL wanting to kill off NFL Films. The true keeper of the flame for the league.

  36. RayG is a moron. The only show worth watching on ESPN is NFL Matchup. I’m shocked to think it doesn’t have an audience.

  37. “WWE-style manufactured storylines, forced laughter, meaningless debates, soft features, and very little football.”
    Meaning the other 99.9% of ESPN programming.

  38. Sad, the other shows have idiots like Terry Bradshaw hooting and hollering…I always wondered what age target they were going after??

  39. The NFL need to understand that the true hardcore fans need programming as well. That show is must see TV if you know anything about football.

  40. I implore everyone to email the ESPN Ombudsman at begging him to keep the show. This show represents the only pure half-hour of intellectual and legitimate sports analysis on ESPN and probably on all of TV. Failure to keep this show will only prove that ESPN is moving farther from being a sports network and instead is merely an entertainment network.

  41. I have a hard time believing that anyone could learn something of value by watching a show that features Merril Hoge.

  42. I really enjoyed this show when I caught it. I always wondered why they didn’t have this on instead of Countdown.

  43. Its the ONLY show for the intelligent football fan. I have learned so much from that show. Everytime I flip through the channels and its on, I have to watch it. Its addicting.
    The ESPN news could learn a lot on how to run a show from NFL Matchup. No glitz and glamour. No flashing lights, and seizure-inducing 1/2 second video clip montages. No feel good story of how someone was at 11. I want to hear about sports, and I want it explained intelligently.

  44. is a great show. Glad to see so much support for it here. I hate the way the programming on the NFL (and other things the NFL itself is doing )is starting to cater more to the casual fan instead of what is good for the real fans. This is just another brick in the wall.

  45. “Apparently, that’s what we want.”
    No, it’s what advertisers want. Advertisers don’t cater to their customers wants, they create them. It is a lot easier to manipulate large groups of people than it is to figure out what those people want and give it to them. Politicians and religious leaders have been doing it for millennia.

  46. I read how many say it was a good show and can’t help but think “Well, then, it comes as no surprise the league would cancel it.”
    The last few years, especially 2009, I have considered canceling my own over 26 year “partnership” with the league.

  47. To be quite frank, this show could run two hours and I’d sit and watch every minute of it.
    Even if it means enduring Sal Paloantonio, who shouldn’t be hosting a children’s birthday party, let alone a television program. They should either add a chair for another analyst or bring back Mark Malone to host.
    There should be more of these types of programs, not less. The Sunday morning shows are a complete joke.

  48. WWE figures at ESPN:
    Mike Golic: Baston Bogar
    Greenburg:, Van Pelt and Cowherd: Jose Luis Rivers, Jim Powers and Pez Whatley: the 3 guys who always got their asses kicked every Sat morning.
    Stu Scott: Jake Roberts: they have the same eyes
    EriN Andrews: all women wwe wrestlers… looks great but no talent
    Labron James: JYD..Good talent but never won a title!

  49. Good Riddens, there’s no more “intelligent” show than Playbook. They actually break film down as a player would and point out obvious matters that will affect game outcomes.
    I’m addicted to Playbook and Solly,Sterling and Brian B is are really good relaying the messages…
    GO PLAYBOOK!!! I need Playbook rehab.

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