As a result, it often comes down to viewer preference -- whether folks want to get get their information from Jason La Canfora, Jay Glazer, Chris Mortenson, Adam Schefter, or any number of other experts and "insiders." Dozens of former players have jobs that allow them to capably share their insights, too.
Still, one on-air personality remains unrivaled in terms of his expertise and his ability to share that information.
- Former NFL official Mike Pereira remains a shining light of information in a sea of uncertainty and sloppiness regarding football officiating and the coverage of reporting. He knows his stuff, even if biased fans disagree, and he knows how to work on TV, making points and offering opinions quickly. Pereira first stared on air for NFL Network in regular segments that made that then-niche channel worth having. He was the best of anything it did before the league gave its own channel a package of games. Now at Fox Sports, Pereira monitors college and NFL games each week, offering opinions about rulings and what goes right and wrong with the officials. He keeps his nearly 170,000 Twitter followers constantly updated. Still, Fox Sports needs to do more with him -- at least more official-specific work. He's at his best pointing out the good and the bad, but a little less so talking straight football news, strategy or Xs and Os. A ton of other folks exist for that, and Pereira should be freed to focus on what he does best. It's something that could then be parsed for social media -- as he did with week with a YouTube video -- and strengthen the hold of Fox Sports and Pereira on a segment of NFL news that nobody else does as well as them.
- With the baseball playoffs coming soon, Fox Sports analyst Tim McCarver might have lost a little bit because of age and might be popular to complain about when he's gone (as he retires after this season), but he set more of a standard for his sport -- without becoming a cariciature -- than John Madden on the NFL. Yes, he never became as beloved, or spawned a video game franchise, but in terms of expertise and sharing that with viewers McCarver always knew what he was talking about and relayed that information well.
- Another documentary on ESPN and another winning, worth-watching result. At 8 tonight, ESPN offers the debut of "The Book of Manning." Good stuff. TRAILER
- Best video from the NFL weekend was not a game, but Schefter catching passes in an ESPN hallway. VIDEO
- A quarter of of the way through college football season on Fox Sports 1 (and college football was to be a piece of backbone programming for the network), "Fox College Saturday" remains void of a strong information/reporting voice or much of a sense of gravitas and immediacy. That's a big hole when almost every Saturday, and every week, provides some sort of news. No show could even consider rivaling ESPN's "College GameDay" in its rookie season, but FS1 needs to to more if it wants to give viewers a reason to watch. If it's just a matter of killing time and offering some sort of college football-related programming, though, what's there would check that off the list. Another challenge for the show will be the East Coast media bias. Along with ESPN having many of the more respected college football reporters and voices wrapped up (either at ESPN already or in advance of the launch of the SEC Network next year), getting an information person or insider to resonate with viewers might be challenging because of FS1's mostly Pac-12 and western U.S. schedule of games and the fact that viewers could be more familiar with East Coast, Big Ten or SEC-based experts.
- "Outside the Lines" deserves credit for all its solid journalism and reporting. Still, a follow-up piece about the "fixed" 1973 made-for-TV tennis match between Bobby Riggs Jr. and Billie Jean King seems misplaced on "OTL." It's an interesting story that generated buzz and reaction when the first, longer piece aired a month ago around the U.S. Open, but to sink so much into what many acknowledge was an exhibition when it happened seems a little like overkill 40 years later. Plus, one piece remains overlooked. That's the reasons King and some media members dislike or dispute the story. Again in plays into perceptions and the need for a story to be right, and there would be not better place for that than "OTL."
- It's been held up as a model for conference sports networks, but some might argue that the Big Ten Network's programming choices offer a look the politics within a conference as well. For example, this past Sunday, after a full slate of Saturday games the day before, BTN used an Akron-Michigan game from two weeks ago in its rotation of game replays. Typically those replays come from games the day before and you can bet some conference members were frustrated their game from the day before was not used in place of a UM game that was 14 days old. Maybe programmers would argue it was a good game (with a goal-line stand preserving a michigan victory), but people at other schools might see a UM bias.