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Roger Goodell talks Madden's legacy, 17th game on ESPN's ManningCast

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on the Peyton and Eli Manning “MNF” simulcast, where he talked about the passing of John Madden, saying “nobody loved football more than coach Madden. Nobody loved to talk football more than coach Madden and in some ways it was exhausting.” Goodell: “He never stopped talking about football. From the moment he woke up until the morning we want to bed, it was nonstop football.” Goodell said Madden “really changed the way we all watch football, not just as a broadcaster but because of the way he understood the game.” Meanwhile, Goodell said of adding a 17th game to the regular season, “I really believe that what’s made the league successful over the years is continuing to move towards quality and making everything we do better, and … I'm not a big fan of preseason and to move a preseason game into a regular season game and give us a chance to bring the fans a higher quality game, to me that was really important" (“ManningCast,” ESPN2, 1/3).

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT? In Cleveland, Marc Bona writes ESPN's Steve Levy is "solid" on "MNF" and has found a "good rhythm" with analysts Brian Griese and Louis Riddick. The analyst duo offers "some balance with decent observations and generally don’t over-gush," though the two sound "fairly similar in the booth." During Browns-Steelers last night, the second-quarter animated spill-the-chili graphic was "insipid," as ESPN's "penchant for animation often stretches into one moronic bit or another." After on-field reporter Lisa Salters gave a third-quarter injury report on Browns DBs Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward, and LB Sione Takitaki, it would have "been a good time to show a current depth chart for Cleveland." Between getting "banged up during play and Covid protocol," viewers still "need a scorecard to keep up." The field sounds that networks -- not just ESPN -- have access to are "excellent." Bona: "But especially with a former quarterback in the booth, hearing the translation / deciphering of the barked-out commands would be great" (Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 1/4).

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