As both ESPN and NFL Network plan to televise dueling three-hour schedule-release shows on Thursday night (starting 30 minutes after most if not all teams release their own schedules), here’s hoping that efforts to predict the outcomes of games to be played anywhere from four to more than seven months from now will be kept to a minimum. Because that, frankly, is stupid.
It’s not stupid to load up the show with guests, and that’s what NFLN is doing. The league-owned network will have plenty of coaches and executives, including Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Via John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, NFL Media Senior V.P. of Programming and Production Mark Quenzel has said that a request has been made for an appearance from Belichick’s dog, Nike.
“Coaches are generally conservative people and tend to be guarded,” Quenzel told Ourand. “What the draft showed the coaches is that they can let their guard down a little bit and that’s not going to affect anything when they go onto a football field.”
Other coaches who will appear on NFLN’s broadcast include Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Bucs coach Bruce Arians, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, Washington coach Ron Rivera, and several more. Executives scheduled to appear include Cowboys owner/G.M. Jerry Jones, 49ers G.M. John Lynch, Broncos G.M. John Elway, and Bills G.M. Brandon Beane.
The top three network play-by-play analysts also will appear on the show: NBC’s Al Michaels, Jim Nantz of CBS, and FOX’s Joe Buck.
ESPN has not yet announced details regarding its own three-hour tour of the schedule. I’ll continue to hold out hope that it won’t primarily consist of talking heads talking about who’s going to win and lose games from September through December. Because that, again, is stupid.