NFL players will try a different training ground: the advertising field

INGLEWOOD, California – Sebastian Joseph -Day, a former Los Angeles Rams defender, rubbed his face when he saw his mistake.

Earlier, before Joseph-Day trained as a referee during the NFL’s advertising camp last week, a coach reminded him to stay focused. Or not to say “we” or “we” as he describes the action in a Rams recorded game.

But it may have been difficult to stay away from Joseph-Day, who spent three seasons with the team. In the middle of the drill, a “we” slipped, but Joseph-Day, now the Los Angeles Charger, recovered and completed the cleanup.

The NFL introduced the program 15 years ago, as players have often asked for opportunities to develop as an advertiser, to network, and to make mistakes in a set schedule.

This year’s camp, hosted at the Lions ’West Coast headquarters, took place in the middle of the media era, shortly after some speakers from the the NFL’s biggest advertising partners are in the works, most of whom are signing multimillion-dollar deals. Troy Aikman and Joe Buck left Fox after two years for ESPN, and Al Michaels left NBC after 15 years to call Friday night games for Amazon. There will be eight numbers each year.

Compensation is the product of the NFL’s popularity: 48 of the 50 minor games watched the most in the 2021 regular season, and February’s Super Bowl recorded the best numbers in the game. Five years. The players are seeing the style and its benefits, said Larry Fitzgerald, a former Arizona Cardinals quarterback who attended the program.

“The player looks at NFL games in a different way before, and I think he’s seen by teams paying high money for top talent,” he said.

Richard Sherman, a freelance corner and camper, added, “It’s a real motivator for a lot of guys, and it’s one of those places where I think the crowd starts.”

But none of the network’s major sports duos involved a Black man and only one black game broadcaster, Greg Gumbel for CBS in 2001 and 2004, was called a Super Bowl on television. Mike Tirico, who will replace Michaels on NBC, is seen as a teammate.

The lack of diversity between the talents who make NFL games big time isn’t good, said JA Adande, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University.

“It’s a lot of money and you think about what’s going to happen and who the advertisers are getting these opportunities and the ways they’re getting them,” Adande said.

Tracy Perlman, the NFL’s senior vice president of football, said she believes the team can expand the pipeline. Media companies have long hired former pros as a reviewer because of their knowledge of the game and their popularity, but the list of ex-pros couldn’t be changed in the announcement. tall and stellar.

Hall of Famers, with quarterback Joe Montana and running back Emmitt Smith, fell with mics in their hands, an outcome the team was expected to avoid.

“Most people can’t just walk out of the field and be in front of the camera,” Perlman said. “So we decided what we were going to do, especially with the partnerships we had, was to build a program that would give them those skills.”

With so much demand and a desire to keep coaching sessions short, the NFL has more choice in participants than in previous years. The league has sent out personal invitations and taken advice from teams about contacting their players. Of about 40 applicants, the NFL selected 24 players – mostly black – based on their past experience on camera and podcasts, as well as their interests. . The faculty members include producers and hire hosts from NBC, CBS, Fox Sports and the NFL Network.

Nate Burleson, who played 11 seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2014, is perhaps the team’s most famous alumnus. Burleson is in the area of ​​TV advertising as an anchor for “CBS Mornings,” the site’s big morning news show, and host of “The NFL Today,” his weekly pregame show.

But when he went to camp in 2011, Burleson said he struggled to practice. Although she said the authorities had blessed her during the week, her practice always irritated her.

“Like many factors that have helped me improve my character as a media person, it’s also certainly a slap in the face,” Burleson said.

The campground, he said, has increased his expectations and he wants it to be easier.

“It’s like knowing what you want to do, but not having a full desk,” said Burleson, who won an Emmy award last year and was chosen for a week ago. “When you go, you’re completely filled and you get directions.”

A full day of this year’s players last week was on the boards learning about the daily flow of broadcasters and interview technologies. The next day, they changed routines about arguing on camera. Sandy Nunez, vice president of air talent at the NFL Network, said he contacted a player’s messenger about where a job could be opened, and he laughed inwardly. the control room when a player finished an interview on camera.

“I can get important information here,” Nunez said, “so it’s a lot of value.”

Drew Kaliski, a producer for CBS, said he was happy to hear some clever questions from the cast, and shuffling this season, he said, has been given a good conversation. Activities to connect more.

“We need to change our advertising team everywhere,” Kaliski said. “I think having people to work with makes everyone feel better, stronger, smarter and smarter. The evidence is better. “

Due to the limited availability of online standards, the coach told players to continue to train themselves to be ready, with the expectation that they will be able to test the skills in the air in their local markets. or podcasts because they have a low profile to compare to government shows. .

Brandon Marshall, an NFL quarterback for 13 seasons, publishes their advice. Marshall didn’t go to camp, but he did get deals with Fox Sports and Showtime and produced the podcast “I AM ATHLETE,” where he and former players discussed trending topics with guests included Deion Sanders and Antonio Brown.

Most of the pieces, which were published for streaming, have received millions of views on YouTube. Marshall said he believes podcasting is an independent way that his peers can improve, even if they have the same basic training as those who come to camp.

“There are a lot of seats on ESPN, but the best thing about this place is there are no rules,” Marshall said. “People here are winning because they’re going out of the box.”

Sherman followed a similar path – trying to get journalists out of public advertising sessions – while running his freelance business. In March, he broke the news that his former Seattle teammate, Bobby Wagner, linebacker, was joining the Rams in the free agency via his Twitter account and used his eponymous podcast on Facebook. As a platform to talk about everything from mental health to her post -mortem health. 2021 arrested. Sherman, who has replaced himself as an ambassador, is still training, but is preparing for options later in his playing career.

Thus, talking about football is a natural extension of the overall activity of players, “such as walking and talking and breathing.”

He added: “It’s one of the things you enjoy about enjoying the game and continuing to be a part of that style or style.”

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