FEBRUARY 2019

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Social Studies: Broadcaster Bob Papa On Fan Interaction, Must-Have Tech

By Joe Perez

February 26, 2019

No matter if he is preparing for a Golf Channel broadcast, serving as the NFL Giants’ radio play-by-play announcer or his SiriusXM NFL show, Bob Papa (@BobPapaNFL) knows the role social media plays in doing his job. It has become more than a research tool, as it can provide content during a broadcast. He said of his Golf Channel duties, “We do the NCAAs and you follow Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler and they are rooting on their college teams and posting something. Those are the kinds of things you can sprinkle into the telecast visually or mentioning it. It is all intertwined at this point and to ignore it is putting your head in the sand.”

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT 
Must-follow: If you are working in the NFL and not following Adam SchefterJay GlazerPeter KingPro Football TalkAlbert BreerChris Mortensen, you are behind the curve. In the golf world, you have to keep up with what Brandel Chamblee is saying, Doug Ferguson. For a little comedy, if you aren’t following Club Pro Guy on Twitter you are missing some of the best humor out there.


Favorite apps: Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, DirecTV and NFL.


Average time per day on social media: Minimum six hours. 

Reasons he uses social media: 
It replaced the newspaper in a lot of ways. I used to go out before I did my show on SiriusXM NFL Radio and bought a stack of newspapers and sifted through them. Now, it’s like a newspaper at your fingertips. It’s almost a necessity just to do my show with the way news is circulated and the speed of it, if you don’t have it you are behind the curve.

Difference in interacting with football and golf fans on social media:
Football fans are much more combative, they are a lot more opinionated. For the most part, interaction with golf fans is much more civil especially with all these crazy rules the R&A and USGA have come up with to “simplify” the game. You start talking football, potential trades, what people think of players, it’s amazing how passionate and intense it gets.

How he manages his online critics:
I don’t really block people unless there is some level of profanity. I’m out there in the public domain, so to speak. For as many callers as we get on SiriusXM NFL Radio in the morning, we’ll get twice as many tweets. Sometimes people will send me a tweet and it will be a friendly reminder, “You forgot this” or “You didn’t mention that” and it allows me to correct something. I let it roll off my back. You realize not everyone is going to love you. As long as it doesn’t get personal, it doesn’t get nasty and have profanity, it doesn’t bother me.

Importance of social media to his job:
It’s huge. You need to get a pulse of what is going on. We’re covering 32 NFL teams on a daily basis at SiriusXM and you have to follow the beat writers for all of the teams because they are right there. They are the ones breaking or advancing storylines. It’s vital to what we do. Teams are using it more, so you have to follow teams. They are breaking their own news, their signings.

On if his social media use is greater than a year ago:
It’s about the same. I may have added some people that I follow but it’s been pretty consistent the last year or two from a resource standpoint. I’m somewhat active on social media. I tend to use my own accounts whether it’s Twitter or Instagram to promote things or broadcasts or events that I am part of. One of the areas that I never, ever wade into is politics because as I understand whether it’s Giants fans, NFL fans or golf fans of all different political belief systems, the last thing I want to do is alienate any of our fan base.

Besides his phone, a piece of personal tech he can’t live without:
I have to have my laptop. So much of what I do comes off that laptop. For my SiriusXM we have caller software, so I can remotely do my show from anywhere, so It’s like I am in the studio.

 

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For Chris Long, the climb to change the world continues

Tim McManus, ESPN Staff Writer 2/25/19

PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Long's world-changing mission started as most do: through a chance encounter with broadcaster Joe Buck and Brad Pitt's brother in a bar at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

It was the winter of 2013, and the Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman was celebrating his first climb up Kili with former St. Louis Rams teammate James Hall. The mountain had kicked his butt so hard that it took just two or three drinks to do the trick that night, Long concedes, but he was sure he heard a patron call out his name as the man walked through the door.

"And I'm like, 'Well, that can't be for me. That's gotta be somebody else,' but I look over my shoulder anyway," Long said in a conversation with ESPN. "We're halfway around the world, and here Joe Buck walks in. I know Joe well from St. Louis, and I'm like, 'This is crazy. What are you doing here?' And he's like, 'I'm here on a water project, and I'm here to take my daughter to climb Kili.' He's like, 'You should go on a water project with us.'"

Long was leaving Tanzania the next day. Although the conversations that night with Buck and Doug Pitt, the goodwill ambassador to Tanzania and a board member of Worldserve International, were eye-opening -- as were the hardships of the people Long encountered on the trip -- they did not provide an epiphany moment that clean-water initiatives were to be Long's calling. He had traveled to Africa in the name of adventure, tired of spending his offseasons just pumping weights back home.

But the seed was planted, and Long left Tanzania feeling the need to give back to a place that provided him such a memorable experience. A few months later, he was working with Pitt, a Missouri native, on another initiative in St. Louis when it dawned on him that building wells had already become somewhat of a niche venture among professional athletes, and with the large platform the NFL provides, he and his peers had a chance to do something "that could be game-changing."

During his acceptance speech upon being named Walter Payton Man of the Year earlier this month, he provided an update on what that change looks like: Through his organization, Waterboys, he has helped provide more than 200,000 people with clean water. The goal is to up that number to 1 million people served.

"Conquering Kili" has become one arm of the venture, in which Long, fellow NFL players and military veterans hike up the mountain to raise funds for wells. They have raised more than a half-million dollars to date. The next climb starts March 2 and will include defensive tackles Haloti Ngata and Beau Allen and Eagles center Jason Kelce.

"Combined, that's about a thousand pounds [of weight] between the three of them," Long joked.

"Beau and Kelce are both in Hawaii right now on vacation, and they're both coming. I will be interested to see how they do because I don't think they're doing much training over in Hawaii."

Long, meanwhile, should be in good shape. He has been training near his home in Virginia. He goes on 4-mile hikes at a place called Crabtree Falls and runs up O-Hill (or "puke hill," as Long calls it), which is familiar to any University of Virginia football player.

He might have winged it back in the day, but the 33-year-old Long no longer relies on being in "football shape" to get him through the climb.

There's at least a chance that this will be Long's last climb coming off a football season. He has yet to decide whether he'll play in 2019.

"I don't know, man. It's all about the situation to me," he said. "I never mean to make a headline where it's like, 'Chris Long unsure.' I never try to make it sound like I'm under the impression it matters either way if I play or anybody cares. But I think after you're 30, you should always take some time late in your career to think a little bit. I think anybody should take their time. Not that a second-, third-year player in the league thought about retiring, but it takes so much out of you if you're really pouring everything into it, and you've got to be in for the ride.

"It's kind of like at the amusement park, when they click that seat belt on, the roller coaster going -- you can't get out. There's no quitting. Some guys might think differently, but when you're in, you're in, so I want to make sure I'm in. I think most players need to do that, and I'm just honest about it. Maybe some guys just aren't telling the truth. But it's all about the situation for me. I know I can still play. I think I played well, especially in the second half of the year this year, once I got healthy and I got more snaps, so we'll see."

 

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Vashti Cunningham (Las Vegas, Nevada) made history by becoming the first woman to win four consecutive USATF Indoors titles in 50 years when she clinched the Women’s High Jump victory. Cunningham, who was also the youngest U.S. Olympic Team qualifier in 2016, defended her title by clearing 1.96m/6-5.

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Vashti Cunningham wins U.S. women’s high jump title with help from father Randall Cunningham

By Mia ZanzucchiFeb 24, 2019, 7:59 PM EST

 

Vashti Cunningham claimed the women’s high jump title at the USATF Indoor Championships in Staten Island, New York on Saturday. Cunningham’s 1.96m clearance gave her the fourth title of her career.

Cunningham’s dad was in attendance, but not just as a parent. Football Hall of Famer Randall Cunningham is his daughter’s coach.

“We wanted to get in early and represent America,” Randall Cunningham said. “It’s always great coming to this meet, and we’re really happy with her.”

Cunningham’s title is even more of an accomplishment since the 21-year-old was coming back from strep throat.

She had a breakout season in 2016. Cunningham won her first U.S. title at indoors, signed with Nike and became the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympics since 1980 when she earned a spot in the Rio Olympics at age 18.

Cunningham didn’t hesitate to discuss what Randall, who played in the NFL for 16 seasons, is like as a coach.

“We don’t negotiate,” she said. “He’s in charge. Sometimes, we talk about it, but really, he’s in charge. And I try to fall in line with his plan because I trust him, and I trust that he’s been through enough to lead me in the right way.”

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Vashti Cunningham Takes Home Another US Title

 

Cunningham clinched the competition with her 6-5 clearance.

Click here to watch the post event interview

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Ron Darling reminisces about the '86 Mets on 'Old Baseball Cards'
Yahoo Sports

Ron Darling talks about Ray Knight and Davey Johnson as he opens baseball cards from 1986 and 1988. 

 

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Chris Simms Joins NBC Sports Group Exclusively in March 2019

February 6, 2019

Will Contribute NFL and College Football Content Exclusively for NBC Sports Digital in Addition to Current NBC Sports TV & Radio Roles

STAMFORD, Conn. – February 6, 2019 – Former NFL quarterback and current analyst Chris Simms will join NBC Sports Group exclusively in March 2019 to contribute to its NFL and college football coverage across NBC Sports’ broadcast, cable, and digital platforms.

Simms is currently a studio analyst and contributor across numerous NBC Sports TV programs, including Football Night in America -- the most-watched studio show in sports -- Notre Dame Football, and PFT Live, which he regularly co-hosts with Mike Florio on NBCSN and NBC Sports Radio.

Beginning in March 2019, Simms will also produce daily NFL and college football content exclusively for NBC Sports’ numerous digital and social platforms, a space where he built a popular following while formerly co-hosting Bleacher Report’s digital program Simms and Lefkoe. More details regarding this content will be announced soon.

“Chris joined NBC Sports two years ago and immediately contributed with insightful analysis and fearless opinions across many of our NFL and college football television programs,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC and NBCSN. “Now he’ll bring his unique perspective, extensive knowledge, and fun interactions with players away from the field to our many digital platforms.”

“Since joining the television team a few years ago, I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone at NBC Sports, even Mike Florio,” said Simms. “Now I’m excited to expand my role by producing fun, unique football content almost every day for NBC Sports’ many websites and social media accounts. I’m also forever grateful to the team at Bleacher Report, who gave me the first forum to voice my opinion about the sport I love.”

An eight-year NFL veteran, Simms played quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and Denver Broncos from 2003-2010. He also served as a coaching assistant with the New England Patriots in 2012. He played collegiately for the University of Texas from 1999-2002, and was named USA Today’s High School Offensive Player of the Year in 1998. He is the son of former New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms.

--NBC SPORTS--

Link to Press Release

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Chris Simms spurning WFAN’s Francesa footsteps now paying off big

By Andrew Marchand New York Post

February 5, 2019 | 3:42pm

 

Chris Simms had a chance to be part of a team to replace Mike Francesa on WFAN, but he turned it down and bet on himself. And a little more than a year later, he has worked his way up to be a regular part of NBC’s “Football Night in America.”

In a new deal, Simms is leaving Bleacher Report, where he gained digital popularity, to go full time online and on TV at NBC Sports, The Post has learned.

At Bleacher Report, Simms and his podcast partner, Adam Lefkoe, had developed a strong following.

He will become a consistent part of FNIA, which is the highest-rated NFL pregame show, though he won’t be on the level yet of the program’s main analysts, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison. During the second half of this season, Simms had become a consistent part of the show.

Simms, 38, will continue as a regular co-host on “PFT Live with Mike Florio” and is the main studio analyst for Notre Dame football.

At the end of 2017, Simms had a chance to replace Francesa after Francesa’s “retirement.”

Simms said he wasn’t comfortable with the arrangement.

“That was a tough situation,” Simms said. “That was a dream to be offered that job. Of course, I understand growing up in this area the legend of Mike Francesa. I grew up with ‘Mike & the Mad Dog.’ That was a special offer. There were some things that went on before that.

“I will just say, it didn’t turn out what I thought it was going to be, as far as the three-man booth. It was nothing personal against Chris Carlin or Bart Scott. I thought they are incredibly talented guys. They are good guys. It was nothing personal to them. Leading up to that, that was not what was discussed of what the show would be. That was kind of a curveball that was thrown at the last second. At that time, I thought I had things going on the up and up at NBC.

“I thought it was going to be me and somebody else. I can’t tell you who the somebody else was. I’ve been sworn to secrecy or Don Corleone will chop off my head. So I can’t do that.”

It was ESPN’s Max Kellerman, according to sources.

Simms and Kellerman did a practice show together, but it didn’t end up happening. Kellerman also did a mock show with Scott. Kellerman had a unique clause in his contract that would have allowed him to do New York drive-time radio and stay on ESPN’s “First Take.”

FAN ended up going with Maggie Gray as the third person in CMB after Kim Jones and Simms declined the job. Initially, FAN had strong interest in Adam Schein, who also wasn’t fully interested.

Simms followed his father, Phil, as an NFL quarterback, but his first post-playing career thought was not originally media, like his dad, but rather coaching.

“I went to New England originally thinking I wanted to get into coaching,” Simms said. “That was really where it started. I realized quickly I couldn’t stomach being away from my family so much.”

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Chris Long Wins Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award | 2019 NFL Honors

 

 

 

 

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Chris Long named Walter Payton Man of the Year

​By Jeremy Bergman, Around The NFL Writer

Published: Feb. 2, 2019 at 07:06 p.m.

Updated: Feb. 2, 2019 at 11:05 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long was named the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide at NFL Honors on Saturday evening.

"I am honored to be named the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and to join the long line of men who have received this prestigious honor," Long said in a statement. "While I am officially accepting this award, we would not be able to accomplish our goals without the support and participation of countless other individuals. I am humbled by the support we have received from my peers who have donated to our various matching-campaigns, the commitment and perseverance displayed by the veterans who have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with me each year, and the generosity of our fans who have made vital contributions to our foundation over the years. 

 

"I am incredibly thankful that football has provided me with a platform to give back and I am proud that so many of my colleagues have decided to use this stage to create positive and impactful change in our local communities and around the world."

Long has extensive experience in charity and community service. The defensive end established the Chris Long Foundation in 2015 to fulfill three main philanthropic causes: clean water, military appreciation and youth education. 

Long's main initiative is Waterboys, a program that has united professional athletes and sports fans to raise funds and awareness to provide clean drinking water to East African communities in need. By February 2018, Long's goal of building 32 clean water wells, one for every NFL team, was met. Long has now set a goal of providing clean water to one million people. 

To date, Waterboys has raised more than $3 million and has funded 55 wells that will provide water to 211,000 people.

In addition to the Waterboys initiative, Long has committed many of his game checks over the past two seasons to programs that fund scholarships in his home town of Charlottesville, Va., and that promote educational equity in the cities in which he's played (St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia). In total, Long's efforts over the last two years have yielded $2.25 million in donations to educational equity programs.

Long's "First Quarter for Literacy" program has donated 75,000 new books to children in under-served neighborhoods in 2018 alone.

As a result of Long earning Man of the Year honors, the Chris LongFoundation will receive a $250,000 donation and an additional $250,000 will be donated to United Way in Long's name to expand Character Playbook across the country. 

The 33-year-old Long just wrapped up his 11th season in the pros, recording 6.5 sacks and 23 combined tackles for the Eagles in 2018. He has openly considered retirement

Considered one of the league's most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. First established in 1970, the national award was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.

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