Rich Eisen: A Journey Through The NFL Universe

Rich Eisen

Who would’ve ever thought Rich Eisen could sing Sinatra, but the NFL Network broadcaster says he can. Eisen touches on his singing and the events of an entire NFL season in Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe.

Listen to the Rich Eisen interview:

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Chris Yandek: What should the NFL fan look forward to from Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe?

Rich Eisen: “Well, it is exactly that. My four years that I’ve been on the NFL Network – by the way, it is the four year anniversary this weekend. It is been something that I have been thrilled to go from event to event to event, from the Super Bowl to the Pro Bowl to the combine to the draft and the owner’s meeting [to] the rookie symposium where all the guys are put in a room and taught how to behave and then the Hall of Fame and the season starts.

Not only do we get to cover the season every single day, but we broadcast eight games every season starting on Thanksgiving night. We go on the road and part of my colleagues are some of the all time greats in Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk. It’s basically about getting to meet everybody and see everybody and go to every event. I am really fortunate to be involved in the most popular sport in America at its zenus right now. If anybody wants to know what it’s like to live football all the time then the book is for you.”

CY: Well, besides all that, what else were you trying to accomplish?

RE: “Well, I was trying to accomplish letting people know what goes into my job. A lot of people think we just turn the lights on and start talking football, but there is a lot of preparation that goes on into it. I’ve found that when people come by the NFL Network studios or when I was on SportsCenter on ESPN that people would come into the studios and be fascinated at what goes on behind the scenes and how much hard work and preparation goes into making the show successful and I wanted to get that across to the reader in the book.”

CY: You share in the book about people you’ve gotten to interview like George Bush Sr. and Mick Jagger. Who is one person you wish you could talk with on the NFL Network in any field?

RE: “That’s a really fascinating question you just asked me right there. So it can be anybody in any field?”

CY: Yes.

RE: “And have that person on the show?”

CY:Yes.

RE: “Oh wow. I don’t know. I’ll go completely off the board – I find a lot of movie actors or actresses – they love football as much as everybody else. I’d love to get George Clooney on the show.”

CY: Even though you are on the NFL network, many fans think that maybe sometimes there is too much coverage. Is there every really too much coverage?

RE: “No. If I said yes I’d be fooling you. That’s what you could say we’re all about. That is the reason I wrote the book at this time because there seems to be an insatiable appetite from people whether it’s because their team isn’t performing well and they want to know why or they love their team and can’t get enough news right now. I am sure the Patriots and the Colts fans can’t sop up enough coverage about their team right now or fantasy football has become very popular in the country right now. That’s why the sport is real popular right now. It’s really drawing in the casual fan. It’s been quite a ride and seems to be no abatement of people wanting to get the total access that my show and hopefully this book provides.”

CY: Well, many people that are fans of the NFL aren’t able to get the NFL Network. Do you think the NFL Network could ever be in as many homes as ESPN for example?

RE: “Well, I hope so. That’s the plan. Some distributors like Time Warner Cable and to a degree Comcast feel that the only reason it should be on is for people to pay a premium rate for it because there is no reason to pass the cost of it on to those basic cable customers on basic cable who don’t want the channel or aren’t interested in the National Football League. The issue we have with that take is two fold. One, we don’t feel that we are a niche-channel. We have more to offer than games and things of that nature. It is something that is extremely complimentary for a sports fan or a football fan to get. We don’t feel that for the right to see these games or get us that people should pay eight dollars a month.

As a matter of fact, just a little less than a price of a movie ticket to get us on basic cable. Second, it’s fallacious thinking by the cable companies because if everybody got printed on their basic cable channel how much each channel cost, would they now then turn around and give the opportunity for cable viewers to get their stuff a la carte? If I pick and choose what was supposed to be on basic cable because they’re able to pick and choose what’s on it, many of which are owned by the cable companies. So they don’t treat their own owned channels the way they are treating ours.”

CY: Will we get an undefeated team this year?

RE: “I think it’s possible. I think so. I think the way the Patriots are playing right now that they’d be the obvious candidate for that. If that be the case at the end of season NFL Network has the Patriots last game at the end of the year against the New York Giants and it would be a monumental game obviously if they’re given the opportunity to go 16-0.”

CY: Who is someone the public would be surprised to know is a really down to earth and nice guy?

RE: “Wow! I guess to be honest with you it’s anyone whose brash, someone like Deion Sanders who I work with. A lot of people would think he’s very brash and he would be self-centered because of it because it’s all about him, but he’s one of the more down to earth, supportive people. Everyone says he’s the best teammate they’ve ever had, and he certainly is for me. He’s great to be around. He couldn’t be more personable. I guess off the top of my head I’d go with him.”

CY: Athletes like Michael Vick and Terrell Owens have to deal with being put under the magnifying glass, but are you surprised now that members of the media like yourself are also getting that treatment?

RE: “Well, that’s an interesting question. I think like I said, everything has just gotten bigger and huger. I just think everything has become more and more magnified and it seems that very few people can get enough right now. We’re here to provide that extra to people say they have enough I guess.”

CY: I am sure it was awkward when TMZ ran a report about a female friend sending you photos to an email account you and your wife shared. It was like, is that news?

RE: “Well, I guess there is people in the world who are interested in all sorts of things, but the fact is thankfully I got football as my refuge.”

CY: What is something the public would want to know about Rich Eisen they don’t know?

RE: “I am a good singer.”

CY: Really?

RE: “I can sing and bang out a tune.”

CY: What kind of music?

RE: “Sinatra. I do the karaoke. I am not afraid to admit it.”

CY: Do the guys make fun of you from the NFL Network?

RE: “No. As a matter of fact, one of the pictures is me with Lincoln Kennedy a massive offensive lineman singing karaoke at the Super Bowl in Detroit. We were singing Ebony and Ivory at the time. I put that in the book.”

CY: Is Brett Favre the best story from this NFL season?

RE: “It’s entirely possible. If they make the Super Bowl I would tell you what, they would absolutely have a chance. Everyone seems that the NFC doesn’t have a chance when they get to the Super Bowl, but if the Green Bay Packers make it all the way to the Super Bowl boy would there be some serious mojo on their side for sure.”

CY: Finally, who do you like to win the Super Bowl?

RE: “Well, I will take the winner of this weekend’s game. How does that sound? Between the Patriots and Colts. It’s gonna be one of those. I am going out on a very thick limb on the NFL Network or Total Access.”

You can purchase a copy and find information on Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/Total-Access-Journey-Center-Universe/dp/0312369786

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