In one of our more interesting podcasts, we get to turn the tables on the man who's been perhaps better-known for the podcast medium in league circles than anyone else — Rich Eisen of the NFL Network. Eisen has been with the Network since its origins in 2003, and he's as associated with the network as anyone could be — not only through his podcasts, but through his work on Total Access, NFL Gameday, and his coverage of other annual events like the scouting combine, NFL Draft, Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and the Super Bowl.
We talked about his expanded role with the network, what can and can't be accomplished on a league-owned broadcasting entity, what it's like to work with actual (not metaphorical) Hall-of-Famers, and where his podcast might be going over time. Rich was also kind enough to give me a few inspirational tips on making my 40-yard dashes a bit less "anti-awesome."
It's a very interesting 30 minutes, so check the podcast out by clicking the link below - -left-click to listen, or right-click to save to your hard drive.
A few tidbits…
On his new duties with the NFL Network: "I'm not departing Total Access completely — in fact, I'm hosting it today twice [Thursday] and tomorrow, and will occasionally do so … I'm excited that it opens up time to focus on my podcasts, which is essentially my baby right now. It's something that was born last year, around this time … I'm about to celebrate my one-year anniversary with 2 million downloads under my belt."
On the NFL Network's surprisingly (to some) objective lockout coverage: "I can't remember ever being told, 'Don't say this … please say that.' How in the world would we be a viewable product if everyone thinks we have a slant, or an angle, that serves a corporate master? We had [Indianapolis Colts center and player rep] Jeff Saturday on with two weeks of delivering the message that the union had decertified … we had him on out set for three days, and I interviewed him for 27 minutes."
On what he's not allowed to talk about when working for a league-owned entity: "Our marching orders when we started were: There's no discussion of gambling, and in maintaining the rules for eligibility the NFL has, we don't talk about college players until they've declared their eligibility. I just remember that when Reggie Bush … everyone just assumed that he was going to be going pro, but we had to wait until he made the announcement to start talking about his skills at the collegiate level."
On running the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine as a member of the press corps: "What you've got to do is to focus. Just understand that nobody can teach … [dramatic pause] … what beats inside. What beats inside is personal, and it's what you have to rely on when you're staring down that line and ready to conquer the 40. Just listen to the heartbeat and understand that you, perhaps like me, only know one speed … and that speed is slow.
"Oh — and don't run in wingtips."