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That’s right, coaches and players: It really is the media’s fault

This column was supposed to start by discussing the recent ridiculous behavior toward the media by Geno Smith, Nick Saban and Sean Payton. But on Monday, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher decided he wanted top billing in this esteemed space. So, he became petulant and grouchy when someone asked him whether his reputation as a law-and-order type was at risk because he hadn’t disciplined Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston in the wake of the recent allegations that he had signed about 2,000 pieces of memorabilia that are on sale and that he is facing a disciplinary hearing regarding an accusation of sexual assault.

Instead of handling the question with professionalism and moving forward, Fisher threw a tantrum.

“Why is my reputation taking a hit?” he asked. “For backing a kid who has done nothing wrong? I don’t want to get into this. The questions weren’t supposed to be asked today. I’m done. I’m done.”

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Rice, Lardner, Runyon: When true sportswriting giants roamed World Series press box

If I could go back to a moment in sports history, I definitely would place myself in Wrigley Field on Oct. 1, 1932.

After being fully immersed in writing my book, Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery Behind Baseball’s Greatest Home Run, it would be great to determine if Babe Ruth really pointed to centerfield during Game 3 of the Yankees-Cubs World Series. However, I also have another reason.

As a sportswriter, I would have given anything to be in that Wrigley Field press box.

I dedicated a chapter in the book to what the sportswriters wrote, or didn’t write, about Ruth’s “Called Shot.” In the early days of radio, and way before TV, sportswriters were kings of all media. Their viewpoints provided crucial evidence in separating myth from reality on that fateful day.

Yet there was something else that also stood out: It might have been the greatest collection of sportswriters ever in a press box.

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NBC’s Rebecca Lowe discusses life in the Premier League

Sports Illustrated

Over the past 14 months, NBC Sports English Premier League host Rebecca Lowe has turned herself into one of the most acclaimed soccer broadcasters in the United States. Originally from West London, Lowe has endeared herself to fans notoriously regarded as hard to please with her intelligence and deep soccer knowledge

In his weekly Media Circus column for Sports Illustrated, Richard Deitsch checked in with Lowe to discuss her stint in the States  and where the future might take her.

I do though love working in the U.S. and in U.S. television just as much, if not more, than I thought I would. I love the work ethic, the commitment and the open mindedness that I have found. As for the future, it’s too dangerous to look too far ahead!

Lowe, 33, is currently in year two of a three-year contract with NBC covering the length of the network’s Premiere League rights agreement.

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Senior producer of HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ talks on show’s new direction

In April 2015, HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” will turn 20. The series has won numerous awards during its nearly two-decade long run, but that doesn’t mean the show has stopped evolving.

Awful Announcing‘s Ben Koo recently sat down with “Real Sports” senior producer Joe Perskie to discuss some of the new changes the show has undergone over the last year.

As you’ve seen, we’ve created a new set, along with a new logo, new graphics, and a new version of our theme music. We’ve added three new on-air correspondents in Soledad O’Brien, David Scott, and Carl Quintanilla. None are babies – that’s not really us – but they’re all young and energetic and have brought fresh faces and a fresh outlook. We’ve built a new social media infrastructure, not just to help us reach younger people but to help us get the word out to people in general about what we’re doing.

Though constantly changing and adapting, HBO’s Peabody Award-winning show will begin its second decade with the same man who began the first, proving that change isn’t always needed.

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Finn: TV will take Rex Ryan when football is done with him


In many ways, Rex Ryan is the perfect coach for a New York team. Brash, outspoken, confident and charismatic. Coincidentally, those very traits make for an excellent television personality.

Chadd Finn of The Boston Globe believes TV Land will be Ryan’s next stop, following the path of dozens of former players and coaches.

This has been a common expectation since at least November 2012, when Sports Illustrated media columnist Richard Deitsch queried NFL television executives regarding which players and coaches would make good broadcasters.

It’s a fascinating list to look back upon. A couple of those who were coveted have become analysts, including Ed Reed (Showtime’s “Inside the NFL”), Tony Gonzalez (CBS’s “The NFL Today”), David Diehl (Fox color analyst), and Ray Lewis (the all-style, no-substance resident hypocrite on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown’).

Others who were cited are still occupied with their active NFL careers. Among them: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo … and Ryan.

The Jets are currently 1-6, and while Ryan signed a contract extension this offseason, there are clauses that allow the team to cut ties without having to eat a huge sum of money.

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Former voice of Buffalo Bills still shines at 87

It’s uncommon for one broadcaster to become so synonymous with a single team, to have fans of his own, perhaps more than even the players do. For 37 years Van Miller was the voice of the Buffalo Bills. More than that, he was the voice of Buffalo.

Jeff Simon of The Buffalo News looks back on the career of the now 87-year-old Miller, affectionately dubbed “Uncle Van,” who is still just as sharp as he was during his first Bills’ broadcast in 1960.

Van Miller’s history as the “Voice of the Buffalo Bills” is, indeed, unprecedented in Western New York and singular elsewhere too.

But, though I’m a devoted lifelong Bills fan, I want to make sure that the football team he served so magnificently and so long doesn’t swallow Van Miller’s legacy.

He’ll be 88 on Nov. 22. And you’ll just have to forgive me if I say that as great as the Bills are, Van Miller is bigger than the Bills.

Miller was honored by the Bills during Sunday’s game against the Vikings, his name now and forever a part of the Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium.


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Dick Allen’s Hall of Fame campaign marches on, led by ‘Frog’

He’s not a journalist or a manager or a former teammate. Mark Carfagno is a 61-year-old former Philadelphia Phillies groundskeeper. “Frog,” as most everyone calls him, has been retired from grounds-keeping for years, but he has found a new calling in life: getting his friend Dick Allen elected to the baseball hall of fame.

The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Mike Sielski looks at the fascinating relationship between Frog and Allen, a type of father-son bond that has transcended baseball.

The campaign, then, is a way for Frog to repay his friend. In the annual Hall of Fame election held by the Baseball Writers Association of America, in which a player needs to be on 75 percent of all ballots to earn induction, Allen never received more than 19 percent of the vote.

The last “Golden Era” player to earn induction was Ron Santo, the longtime Chicago Cubs third baseman, in 2011. Allen didn’t even make it on the ballot then, and if he doesn’t get in this time, he and Frog will have to wait until 2017 before Allen is eligible again.

For his part, Allen wants no part of the campaign, but that doesn’t mean his good friend Frog will ever give up the fight, no matter what the voters think.

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The Buzz

Oct 16, 2014CNN cancels ‘Unguarded’ with Rachel Nichols

CNN’s first sports show in over a decade, “Unguarded” with Rachel Nichols, has been canceled as part of plans to cut approximately 300 positions. (TVNewser)

Oct 16, 2014NHL on NBC tweet gone awry

Sept. 15, the NHL on NBC Twitter account asked an all-important question: “Does hockey still have a place in the NHL?” [Awful Announcing]

Oct 6, 2014Jaguars mascot apologizes for Ebola joke

Jacksonville Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville apologized Monday after holding up a Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Terrible Towel’ and a sign that read “Towels Carry Ebola.” [Deadspin]

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