NFL Today Crew Talk Coming Season, TV vs. Stadium Experience

By Noah Davis 

Wednesday afternoon, we listened to a conference call that featured Sean McManus (president, CBS News and Sports and executive producer of THE NFL ON CBS), Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, and Harold Bryant (vice President, production, CBS Sports) as well as analysts for the network’s NFL Today show. The boys mostly discussed the coming season – Boomer Esiason, etc. weighed in on chances of the Washington Redskins, Dan Marino chimed in about Jason Campbell in Oakland, Simms talked about hitting in the Titans camp, and so on and so forth – but there were a couple sports media-related points we’ll bring you so you don’t have to spend an hour-plus of your day.

McManus, who said “television ratings continue to be extraordinary, not just for CBS but for everyone who covers the NFL,” on how interest is at an all-time high:

It just seems to me that people are talking about the NFL more often and earlier than ever before. Whether it’s Hard Knocks or Donovan McNabb or Terrell Owens or Albert Haynesworth or Brett Favre, it just seems to me that the anticiaption for the NFL season and the interest in the athletes and the teams and the game itself just seems to start earlier every single summer.

McManus on the stadium vs. television experience:

There’s no question that the experience at home is getting better and better… The experience is just extraordinary sitting at home… I would also make the argument if you look at the new stadiums that are being built the fan experience in the stadiums, whether it’s in the comfort of the seats or the club service or the video screens that are almost as good as watching a television set, the experience in the stadium is far superior to what it was a couple of years ago also. I don’t subscribe to the theory that the experience at home is far superior. i think it is different and people will continue to go to NFL football games to follow their teams.

Phil Simms on how Hard Knocks will affect the Jets.

“I think at first I thought ‘This is kind of fun. it’s harmless.’ But gosh, I’ve never seen anything like it, the exposure to a football team. Will it blow up in their face? I don’t know… I think what can happen is there’s so much attention and it’s really so overwhelming that it can distract a little. Does it start hurting practice?… if the Jets don’t play well, especially early, than the criticism is going to be tremendous.”