NEW YORK – This afternoon, FOX Sports conducted a press call to preview its inaugural coverage of THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PRESENTED BY BUD LIGHT.
Pro Football Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Troy Aikman, seven-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Joe Buck, veteran reporters Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink and groundbreaking rules analyst Mike Pereira joined FOX Sports President of Production and Executive Producer John Entz ahead of the network’s first-ever THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL broadcast on Sept. 27 at 7:30 PM ET, featuring the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Highlights of today’s call are transcribed below. To listen to the entire replay, please dial 888-203-1112 and enter 7362863 when prompted.
FOX NFL lead game analyst Troy Aikman discusses the recent emphasis on roughing the quarterback and why he doesn’t like the rule:
“I don’t like the rule. I think that everyone understands player safety. I think the league overreacted. I think they’ll continue to look at it, with the controversy that it’s caused, that it’s created. I think sometimes some rules, even the helmet rule this year, there were some calls in the preseason, and it hasn’t been called as much. But based on the way that rule was written, I watch games every week, in preparation – a lot of film. And there are several plays in every game I watch where, by the rule and the way it’s written, there should be penalties, but they stopped calling it. And I thought that’s what was going to happen after the penalty two weeks ago on Clay Matthews. And yet it happened again in this last game and there was another penalty last night, from what I understand. I didn’t see last night’s to know whether it was a bad call or not. I don’t like it. It changes outcomes of games, which is severe, and as I’ve said before, ultimately, for some of these coaches, it’ll cost them jobs because of losing games. I think the league will look at it and the right decisions will be made going forward.”
FOX NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira shares his perspective on the new roughing the passer rule:
“I think we all have felt like it’s all gone a little bit too far. But I think it’ll seek a level that will get it back in sync with what the players think and what we all think. You know any time you put a new point of emphasis in, there’s a point of adjustment to the players and the officials, and while this one has taken a little longer than the helmet rule, there were 51 penalties that were called in first two weeks in the preseason. Then, in the first two weeks of the season, I didn’t get the stats from this third week, but there were two called. So again, an adjustment by both groups, the players and the officials. And I think we’ll see the same thing here. And the competition committee, we’ve read, is going to meet next week and talk about it on a scheduled call. This is not a call that they’re making just to address the issue, but they’re going to talk about it, and I really do think it’ll find a middle ground to where it doesn’t become as much of an issue as it is now. I’m all for player safety. I think everybody is, but you can move it a little too far. We all think that’s happened a little bit, but it’ll work back to something that’s acceptable.”
FOX NFL lead play-by-play announcer Joe Buck thinks calling two games in one week keeps things interesting and fun for the crew:
“There’s been a lot of talk about that, like this is a crazy notion of doing two games in one week. I can tell you from personal experience, having done 162 baseball games a year when I was 21, granted I’m not 21 anymore, but doing two games a week is fun. I find it invigorating. I think it’s been good for our group. It’s brought out different sides of our personalities on the air.
“Sometimes, when you do the NFL, and you go week to week, and you’ve got six days, in essence, to stew about one game, by the time you get to Sunday, in your mind, the game is kind of worn out and you’ve got so many notes and so much stuff piled up, you end up burying yourself in what’s already happened and not really looking at what’s going on in front of you…Doing two games in one week is something that is manageable. As far as how many years or how long it takes to where it becomes unmanageable? I can’t answer that.”
Buck says THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL games have a different feel to them when compared to the Sunday afternoon window:
“I think it has a little bit of a different feel. First of all, when you’re the only game in town, the only time that [we] have really felt that before, and Kristina’s new with our group so I guess it’s Troy, Erin and me, is when we’re doing a Champ game, a playoff game or a Super Bowl. So now we’ve got that feeling every week…and you need to be ready.
“[On Sunday] a lot of the time that [we] would have to talk is taken up by game breaks. So, while we’re on, on Sunday, something big could happen in our game but we’ve got a game break loaded up and we’re going to tell you what happened in another location and in another stadium. That’s not there anymore, so it gives you a little more room to play with, and I think you can play with that room in a lot of different ways. You can do straight football or you can have a little fun with it. And I think we’ve come up with a pretty good balance of football and fun. That’s the silver lining in all of this for us is it gives us a little bit more room to breathe.”
FOX NFL reporter Kristina Pink talks about working with her new crew and how reporting for a national game feels bigger:
“I approach the game the same way, in terms of I’m still going to do my homework. There’s obviously a much bigger audience, but I always think about every broadcast as if it was like covering a Super Bowl. But you do get a sense that this is ‘The Game.’ It’s a large audience, more resources, bigger crew, bigger feel and they’ve been incredible in welcoming me. I think Erin called me two minutes after the news broke and was like, ‘Hey, girl! Welcome to the crew!’ That camaraderie has been awesome.
“The feel of walking into a national game, you get that this is kind of the granddaddy of them all. But it’s been fun and I’m so looking forward to just turning to FOX now on Thursday.”