Airwaves: Breaking down the best NFL scoop men

Although we tune in every Sunday and Monday night to watch an actual football game, another part of televised football is growing by leaps and bounds. This part of football on TV is called the scoop guys.

Most scoop guys are part of a pregame and most of the ESPN guys double up on the radio. But make no mistake about it, people listen to the scoop guys because it is gossip about your favorite team. Hollywood loves gossip, with numerous shows on network TV dedicated to just that. Each year in the NFL, the respective scoop segments have gotten more and more popular and the guys doing it get more well-known.

The following list IDs the NFL’s scoop team:

ESPN: Chris Mortensen is the lead dog here. Mort has an over-inflated opinion of himself and how much he knows about football. That being said, he does get the information. Coaches give it to him because they know in the long run, he might impact their careers. Mort is also all over ESPN radio on a daily basis. John Clayton might be the hardest working scoop guy in the country. The “professor” also has numerous insider connections and is well-liked and trusted. Trust is the key to being successful in this line of work. Adam Schefter, who last August left the NFL Network to join ESPN, has many high-level contacts in the league office and over the years has broken numerous scoops.

NBC: Peter King, doubling up on his day job from Sports Illustrated, handles the duties on “Football Night in America.” This pompous native of my homeland, the great state of New Jersey, rarely gets new info. He gives more opinions than scoop.
In addition, I really wonder if he speaks with Brett Favre as much as he says.

Fox: Although behind-the-scenes man John Czarnecki does a great deal of the work that comes through the studio show, Jay Glazer is outstanding as the front man. Glazer, who is the sidekick of Michael Strahan, has many close friends that are players. He is a hip guy who can relate and get solid info from today’s athletes. Over the past few years, his on-air presence has improved dramatically.

CBS: On “The NFL on CBS” show, Charley Casserly, the ex-Redskins and Texans GM, is referred to as the general manager and not the scoop guy. However, he is a scoop guy because he has deep ties with administrators on all teams. Charlie works hard, gets good solid info, but is not Jay Leno on TV.

It is interesting how this phase of televised football has grown. All of these men are very different, but overall they do a good job of feeding the fan in his quest for inside knowledge of his favorite team.


Baseball season lasts way too long

Although I have a detailed football background, my first love as a youngster was baseball. I have always followed baseball closely, especially my beloved New York Yankees. But right now, Major League Baseball is playing with fire.

They need to carefully look at the length of the season. Now, I know the almighty TV dollar and the greed of owners do not want a shorter season, but the World Series will start on Wednesday. This is ridiculous. The World Series should be over by Oct. 2. This year, when NL’s and AL’s best square off, we might get two games postponed due to snow.

MLB has a bunch of smart people roaming around their offices, of course Bud Selig is not one of them, another subject for another time. They need to go to a think tank and re-evaluate. Being opinionated, I offer a few suggestions:

– Shorten the season by 12-14 games.
– Have each team play four doubleheaders every season.
– Reduce the amount of games and time spent in spring training, thus starting the season earlier. 
– While in the playoffs, play every day. Then in the World Series, take a day off here and there. Baseball has made great strides in recent years. Their new MLB Network is top shelf. The games are exciting. The new stadiums are mini
palaces with awesome food and drink. Don’t let this jewel of a train hit a wall.

Trouble in D.C.: The stink surrounding the Washington Redskins can be smelled all across the country. The Redskins are the talk of the NFL because they are a high-powered franchise that is not doing well this year. Head coach Jim Zorn looks like he hasn’t slept in two weeks, and the reason is because he probably hasn’t slept in two weeks. With overmatched GM Vinny Cerrato bearing over him and clueless owner Daniel Snyder hiding around every corner, this proud franchise is one big mess.

Morons of the week: Playoff PAC, a group out of Washington, D.C., dedicated to lobby Congress and politicians to bring a playoff system to college football. The two co-founders are University of Utah grads who feel the Utes were short-changed last year. I guess these clowns have nothing better in their lives to worry about.

Quality work: ESPN Radio, TBS and Fox have a great job of broadcasting the baseball playoffs. The replays are out of this world and quite cool to watch and second-guess the umps.


Off target

Today, the New England Patriots will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on CBS. However, it will not be in the U.S. This game will be the NFL’s annual hike to Europe. The game will be televised from London’s Wembley Stadium. I know all the reasons the NFL spins this as to why they play a game in Europe each year, but that does not make it right. This is an American game and should be played on American soil. Period!


Who said it

Jeff Fisher
“If I offended anyone, get over it. I would do it again,” said the coach of the Tennessee Titans who was my former player when I was coaching at USC. Fisher, who is a great coach and a better guy, wore a jersey of Peyton Manning, who plays for the rival Colts, to a charitable event honoring former Colts coach Tony Dungy. It seems the Tennessee faithful did not think highly of it. Fish is right, get over it!

Randy Edsall
“This was not in my job description,”  the UConn football coach said when describing a phone call he had to make to the parents of murdered Huskies player Jasper Howard. Words can’t describe the emotions he, the team and Jasper’s family are going through.


One to watch

A week after the Arizona Cardinals went on the road and throttled the Seattle Seahawks to climb into a first-place tie with the 49ers atop the NFC West, they take a step up in competition today. Quarterback Kurt Warner leads the defending NFC champions into the Big Apple for a showdown with the N.Y. Giants. Eli Manning and crew should be in for a fight after the G-Men were embarrassed last week by the New Orleans Saints. NBC will carry the action at 5:20 p.m.


Sports by numbers

4 Undefeated teams remaining in the NFL entering today

2 Current undefeated teams who went to the playoffs last season

3 Winless teams remaining in the NFL entering today

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at



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