I enjoy NFL Sundays as much as the next guy. But I also love taking it easy on Sunday morning, as per the recommendation of
the CDC Lionel Richie and the Commodores.
• What’s a random thing you just can’t shake? I’ll start. Yours truly cannot stop thinking about the Amazon-Thursday Night Football ordeal. This whole situation is throwing me off. It is beginning to remind me of any number of regional sports cable network deals that have came together over the last five years or so — at least in terms of being something that is better in theory than in practice. Amazon has struck out in its attempts to land Troy Aikman (going to ESPN’s Monday Night Football) and Sean McVay (sticking with the Rams). And as long as that Al Michaels deal isn’t officially official, it is easy to wonder if Amazon will whiff there, too. What gives?
• Ope! And you can probably cross Sean Payton off Amazon’s wish-list, too:
BREAKING: Sean Payton negotiating with @foxsports. The former Super Bowl-winning New Orleans @Saints coach could potentially succeed @TroyAikman as network's No. 1 game analyst alongside Joe @Buck.https://t.co/v2KtFstKx0
— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) February 25, 2022
• Don’t get it twisted. There is a segment of fans who are right to think “no one is turning into a football game because of who is on the call” and their voices will be heard. However, networks know they have your (read: our) viewership. They know which fans will tune in every week to watch their favorite teams, rivals, and players. But what networks want (on top of that) is the casual fan who knows the names Aikman, Michaels, and Buck because they are engrained in our society of sports fans. They want guys like McVay because he has current star power and the potential to be another generation’s version of John Madden. And because how these pursuits will impact our watching of the game, I’ll continue to monitor these situations as they develop.
• But don’t worry, Bears fans. If you’re in-market, you’ll still be able to watch Chicago’s football team on TNF because it will be carried on over-the-air TV. But if you’re a Bears fan out of market, this could be problematic for you if you’re not an Amazon Prime subscriber. I’ll be curious to see the push-back from fans and ratings as Thursday Night Football goes to full streaming.
• Speaking of ratings, I guess we should tune in to Pat McAfee’s show on Tuesday:
Suspect McAfee show ratings will reach new high this Tues.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 27, 2022
What do you think I'm doing… https://t.co/pw80eBmRYi
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 27, 2022
• Benjamin Allbright is a Denver-based reporter who is really locked into what’s happening in Broncos camp. And for the better part of the last year, there have been vibes emanating that Denver would be the landing spot for Aaron Rodgers. But after how this year went in Green Bay with Rodgers winning another MVP, the Packers winning enough to be the NFC’s top seed, and the organization’s willingness to bend over backward to appease him, it feels as if his return to Packerland is inevitable. This will put the Broncos in a tough spot. After all, they went all-in on positioning themselves to get Rodgers and will soon have to pivot. Where Denver goes figures to impact the quarterback market on many levels. Stay tuned.
• Dealing with Rodgers on the opposite sideline won’t be a Matt Nagy concern any more. Not only is Nagy out of Chicago, hints from Allbright suggesting Rodgers is staying in Green Bay means he won’t have to deal with him as an opponent in Kansas City. ICYMI: The Chiefs brought Nagy back to be their QBs coach, re-uniting him with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. Charmed life. This felt inevitable, especially with Mike Kafka skipping town to join Brian Daboll on the Giants. Many will roll their eyes at the Nagy hire, but maybe this is his true calling.
• Here’s hoping Matt Eberflus, Mike Borgonzi, and Alan Williams do for Roquan Smith in Chicago what they did for Darius Leonard in Indianapolis:
Who is LB1 in the NFL? pic.twitter.com/jXeHK3kQ7U
— PFF (@PFF) February 25, 2022
• It’s not as if Smith hasn’t been playing at a high level the last two seasons. Roquan has been a tackling machine who is growing into a team leader and face-of-the-defense type of player. But the Bears’ struggles elsewhere (lookin’ at you offense!) makes it difficult for some to discuss Smith’s stardom. Maybe No. 58 will see new heights in popularity (and production) with a new regime in place.
• I think we’ll look back at this draft class fondly:
the top of the 2021 draft was ELITE
1 Trevor Lawrence
2 Zach Wilson
3 Trey Lance
4 Kyle Pitts
5 Ja'Marr Chase
6 Jaylen Waddle
7 Penei Sewell
8 Jaycee Horn
9 Patrick Surtain II
10 DeVonta Smith
11 Justin Fields
12 Micah Parsons
13 Rashawn Slater
14 Alijah Vera-Tucker
15 Mac Jones
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 25, 2022
• Meanwhile, the Bears’ organizational re-tooling continues:
The Chicago Bears have hired Jim Mangiero and Noble Landry to be their assistant strength and conditioning coaches.
Mangiero was with the Miami Dolphins and Landry was with the Indianapolis Colts.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 26, 2022
• And then there were three:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 25, 2022
• Yeah, I know, they lost last night. But people looooove watching the Bulls:
No Duh: Chicago Bulls Television Ratings Have Skyrocketed This Seasonhttps://t.co/VStwR0C2LA
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 25, 2022
• Sigh. He’s right, you know:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 27, 2022