Turns out the NFL is far from satisfied in allowing NFL Network to be a fringe media player.
Earlier today I confirmed that Jay Glazer of Fox Sports was joining NFL Network. I’ve since been informed that the NFL also approached Sports Illustrated’s Peter King about joining the network, but was turned down. (”Swung and missed” was how it was described to me.)
Perhaps even more significant is who the NFL Network has turned to for programming advice.
Former ESPN programming wunderkind Mark Shapiro is now consulting for the league on television matters - including NFL Network games and studio shows.
Shapiro created two shows you might’ve heard of: Pardon The Interruption and Around The Horn. He was also behind bringing Jim Rome to ESPN with Jim Rome is Burning.
It isn’t unreasonable to observe that with the Glazer hire and futile pursuit of King, perhaps the NFL is trying to bring some of the sport’s most influential reporters into its tent in order to engender more sympathetic coverage of the league.
As it pertains to Glazer, a longtime, hard-bitten NFL reporter, drawing a paycheck from the league won’t affect his perspective on the sport. But with the league’s looming labor strife and now-widespread concern over head injuries, it’s no wonder that the NFL is attempting to expand its sports media sphere of influence.
With Shapiro now on board, it appears that process has only just begun.