MLB not getting its act together until March means that I’m behind schedule in plotting my annual baseball trip. And because I am behind, the time to buy airfare and hotel for my favorite destinations has passed me by. Maybe instead I’ll take a destination vacation with football in mind. Anyone know how friendly East Rutherford, N.J. is for tourists?
Joe Buck’s Replacement
NEWS: Kevin Burkhardt will succeed Joe Buck as Fox Sports' No. 1 NFL play-by-player, meaning Burkhardt will call two of the next three Super Bowls, The Post has learned.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) March 28, 2022
Joe Buck isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So I understand why there were happy campers when the announcement came down that he was leaving FOX for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Buck’s departure did more than change the game for what is now known as the Announcer Empowerment Era, it left a gaping hole in coverage. Because not only is FOX the home of baseball’s World Series, it will also broadcast two of the next three Super Bowls. Hence, the importance of nailing this hire.
Kevin Burkhardt gets the call as the voice of the NFL on FOX’s top broadcast. Part of me is a little surprised FOX didn’t angle to land Al Michaels. Getting two of the next three Super Bowls is a huge draw. And you’d think Michaels reeling those in to have the most Super Bowls ever broadcast would interest him. Maybe it did, but he ultimately went to Amazon.
Back to Fox for a moment. That 3:25 p.m. CT “FOX Game of the Week” window is often the most-watched by fans. It averages more than 21 million viewers and was at north of 23 million in 2020. Lots of eyes and ears on football, so you know FOX had to get this one right. And with its stable of broadcasters, it was impossible to get wrong. For instance, Gus Johnson has been an ace broadcaster on multiple networks and doing multiple sports for years. Promoting Johnson to top-billing would’ve been a logical step, even if I’m unsure if the football world is ready for a Super Bowl Gus-gasm. Joe Davis is a solid broadcaster, too. Davis already has a pristine job as the voice of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, so it’s not as if he would have been chosen out of the blue.
FOX hasn’t named Burkhardt’s partner yet, although it might be safe to assume that Greg Olsen – the former Bears tight end who was Burkhardt’s sidekick last year – would be the pick in this spot.
Lions Get the 2024 NFL Draft
The 2024 NFL Draft will be held in Detroit.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 28, 2022
The NFL has chosen Detroit to host the 2024 NFL Draft. News of this might represent the biggest and most important wins for Detroit over Green Bay — ever? — as folks in Packerland were really hoping to host the draft in 2024. After outdoor successes in Chicago and Philadelphia, I can imagine why Green Bay wanted to try its hand at hosting. But Tom Pelissero reports the league chose Detroit over Green Bay and Washington D.C., which is quite the trio of cities in the mix.
I would’ve been miffed had the NFL given the 2024 NFL Draft to Washington. After the off-the-field issues that organization has had for years, the last thing the league should’ve been doing is awarding the NFL Draft to that bunch. Maybe it can do it later after things are truly better. But right now? D.C. shouldn’t have even been an option.
Oh, and Kansas City gets the NFL Draft in 2023. Unless something wildly unexpected happens between now and then, the Bears are scheduled to have a first-round pick again. Anyone up for a BBQ-loaded draft weekend in Patrick Mahomes’ back yard?
Refined Rooney Rule
The NFL is requiring teams to hire a woman or person of color as an offensive assistant as part of its new diversity efforts.
The league will also now consider women for all qualifying roles under the Rooney Rule.https://t.co/qvZMOLPqhF
— NPR (@NPR) March 29, 2022
The NFL’s hiring practices are constantly under fire. And with good reason, too. Let’s be honest with each other and admit that something doesn’t feel right about how the league goes about hiring. But the league is trying to work on itself, which is always a progressive start and something we can all relate to and take to heart. With that in mind, I find it encouraging that the NFL is pushing its teams with a requirement to hire women or minorities as coaches starting in 2022.
Sometimes, you just need to force the action in order to generate the long-term progress your organization needs.
For more, this tweet captures what the league is trying to do in an attempt for self-improvement:
Women will now be included in all Rooney Rule requirements in the NFL. Also, all 32 teams will be required to hire “a diverse person (female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority” to serve as an offensive assistant. pic.twitter.com/fwcwDps7Ky
— Al Butler (@ALaboutSports) March 28, 2022
• I’m glad NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero was able to clear up why the Rooney Rule wasn’t in play when it came to Bruce Arians choosing Todd Bowles as his successor:
The #Bucs didn’t have to comply with the Rooney Rule before hiring new head coach Todd Bowles because it’s after March 1 and potential candidates could be blocked from interviewing. From the anti-tampering policy: pic.twitter.com/Ezc99ixaCL
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 31, 2022
• Coaches come and go, but John Harbaugh stays with the Ravens on a three-year extension. But as NFL media writer Nick Shook points out, there is still no progress on an extension for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
• Well, this will make you think:
Matt LaFleur says the Packers need more speed in their WR room: “We need a legit guy that can take the top off the coverage.” pic.twitter.com/k8oq88pihd
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) March 29, 2022
• So, if the Packers need more speed and a guy who can uncork the top of a defense, then why didn’t they simply bring back Marquez Valdes-Scantling? That they didn’t makes me wonder how the Packers truly felt about the receiver. Clearly, the Chiefs like MVS enough to give him a well-paying multi-year deal. And while he could very well out-perform modest expectations, I wouldn’t expect him to single-handedly replace Tyreek Hill.
• Even if the Bears are long shots to make the playoffs this year, I’m all-in on the new overtime rules. Even more than that, I dig how this has given us runway to have all sorts of unique conversations about the rules and how we’d like to see them change. There is some good stuff here in this discussion:
— The Rally (@TheRally) March 31, 2022
• This has potential (if done right):
An NFL streaming service, cleverly titled NFL+, is reportedly in the workshttps://t.co/b617eKv49i
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 29, 2022