Nice seeing the White House in the background.
"If it's not broken, don't fix it," as the famous saying goes. In this case, the popular pro football talk show on NBC Sports Network titled ProFootballTalk is why that quote was written to begin with, having changed the show's format.
Started from a website in 2001, then picked up by NBCSN in 2009, eliminating the Turd Watch section, ProFootballTalk—PFT—received national recognition for being one of the newest shows to analyze and discuss everything going on in the NFL. From our side of the country, PFT was an hour-long broadcast aired on the 2PM pacific time slot from Monday through Friday. This continued on all year even during the off-season, discussing rumors, trades, new drafts, coaching staff, back offices and the NFL overall.
As recent as 2016(?), the show spun in a different direction: A televised radio broadcast. In other words, it features the website editor/owner Mike Florio in a room talking, often with another co-host, and interviewing guests on his radio/podcast show aired on TV. Currently, at the time of this writing, the show airs weekday mornings at 4AM to 6AM. No longer is the "desk" format in play, as it is now the "laptop and mic" format talking with other colleagues and guests about the current happenings in the sport.
Some like the new format, some don't. Personally, I liked the old format. You're asking, "why is that?" Alright, bare with me here:
You're likely familiar, or at least heard of, the popular show Inside the NBA which airs on TNT, featuring Shaq, Ernie, Kenny and Barkley. While all four gentlemen lay down their statements, opinions and comments about the game, the discussions shows a multi-sided view in which the viewers/fans can partake in. You have one analyst telling it like it is—Charles Barkley—while other gentlemen who may disagree—Shaquille O'Neal—will chime in as to why. This gives the audience a chance to pitch in and join the conversation, implementing their point(s) of view via social media, online forums or the comments section of the live-stream broadcast.
With that being said, I liked the way PFT was set up to give that kind of opportunity—analysts giving their side and view of the game(s), their reports and happenings, leaving the audience to express where they stand and what they think is the likelihood of the occurrence/topic.
As for the current format, I can attest as to why they went with the "laptop and mic" broadcast. First and foremost could be cutting costs. In fact, NBCSN has been criticized for their lackluster broadcasts and live games, interrupted with featuring the more favorable games/shows without giving a chance to wrap up other scheduled programming in a timely manner, upsetting fans of the sport(s). Second critique happens to be featuring the same ol' commentators over and over again. That second reason is understandable though: There aren't enough broadcasters/commentators out there, and if there are, they haven't been hired nor are they proficient enough in the sport. While your's truly was professionally trained to do sports commentating/play-by-play, I've been working my corporate jobs to stay above water, thus massively delaying my training. During that whole ordeal, I've also wondered if this was something I really wanted to do (I'm more comfortable on the backend of the production/broadcast, despite having experience in front of the camera and voiceover work). All in all, I'm not sure at this point.
Since the new format placed the show in the morning slot, it may be that football fans want football news and talk first thing to start the day off. The current show doing that very thing is NFL Network's own Good Morning Football. I feel PFT wanted a more personalized discussion as opposed to having more than two people in the studio talking over each other...loudly (often perceived as watching analysts hanging out together talking football). The new format, while less messy, allows the fans to clearly listen to the talks without multiple voices interrupting the discussion, bringing YOU the talk that's open to response(s) and comments.
Perhaps it's because I adapted to the format of NFL Live on ESPN with Chris Berman, and perhaps seeing Terry Bradshaw and the gang on NFL on FOX that left me to miss the old format of PFT. Also, I miss a lot of the beautiful 3D motion graphics injected into the show, from the show title to the vectorized team logos which was beautiful to look at. Personally, I'm a huge fan of sports graphics. Since Jack Morton Worldwide was behind the show's studio set, and the lighting design was by FLDA Lighting, I never was able to find the graphic designer(s) who created the motion graphic interstitials. While I did find the team that created ESPN SportsCenter's old graphics, I actually contacted them asking if they'll reuse those graphics in other project again. I never got a response, but I still enjoyed their work. Nevertheless, the graphics used on PFT now are okay, but there used to be a lot of them in the older format.
Yeah, I'm very late in talking about this, but what do you think of the new format? Let us know!
We leave you with a personally-recorded broadcast of PFT back in September 23, 2013. I posted this here as a callback to the old format.