By ROB MAADDI, AP Professional Soccer Author
Ryan Fitzpatrick is already wanting ahead to subsequent Black Friday.
The well-traveled quarterback-turned-analyst is a part of Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Evening Soccer” crew that can broadcast the primary NFL sport on the day after Thanksgiving in 2023.
“It’s an ideal thought. It’s a good time to have a sport. Everyone goes to be huddled up, prepared to look at extra soccer,” Fitzpatrick mentioned on the AP Professional Soccer Podcast. “So I feel that’s an enormous win for Amazon and I’m actually wanting ahead to that, already wanting ahead to what metropolis are we going to be in for Thanksgiving subsequent yr and what metropolis we’re going to be doing the sport.”
Fitzpatrick, three-time All-Professional cornerback Richard Sherman and four-time Professional Bowl sort out Andrew Whitworth have made a clean transition straight from the sphere to the studio this season, becoming a member of Corridor of Fame tight finish Tony Gonzalez and host Charissa Thompson on Amazon’s pregame, halftime and postgame protection.
Veteran Al Michaels calls the video games with Kirk Herbstreit within the sales space and sideline reporter Kaylee Hartung.
Fitzpatrick, Sherman, Whitworth, Gonzalez and Thompson are onsite for many video games. They’ve developed on-air chemistry by spending a number of time collectively off the set, together with dinners on Wednesday evening earlier than the video games.
“I feel that’s been a very vital a part of it, simply attending to know all people as a person,” Fitzpatrick mentioned. “Sure, I knew Tony Gonzalez the soccer participant, however as I bought to find out about his household a bit of bit, I bought to listen to dad joke after dad joke, type of bought to be taught his persona after which jab him a bit of bit about a few of his quirks after which get it thrown proper again at me. It’s a lot like a locker room in that respect.”
Fitzpatrick, who performed for 9 groups in 16 seasons within the NFL, referred to as Thompson the QB of the workforce.
“I feel Charissa has, particularly early on, carried out an incredible job of simply maintaining us in line,” he mentioned. “We had three new guys on the desk that had by no means carried out this earlier than. And he or she did such an ideal job of directing visitors and serving to us determine it out. As we’ve gone all through the season, the chemistry has turn into lots higher, particularly that on-air chemistry of who’s speaking and when and what factors may be made, how rapidly some extent needs to be made. And so Charissa is certainly nonetheless the quarterback, however having to handle a bit of bit much less and having to babysit a bit of bit lower than she did on the very starting of the season.”
Sherman, who performed 11 seasons with Seattle, San Francisco and Tampa Bay, has loved constructing new relationships together with his new teammates.
“It reveals we take pleasure in being round one another,” he mentioned. “We take pleasure in attending to know one another, attending to know one another’s households. And I feel that interprets on digital camera.”
Whitworth, a Tremendous Bowl champion with the Los Angeles Rams final season, had the least expertise speaking in entrance of cameras of anybody on the crew.
“Once you’re an O-lineman, my model of the media is someone with a tape recorder and the entire locker room is cleared, and it’s simply me and the one tape-recorder individual asking me a few questions,” Whitworth mentioned. “There’s no strain, no stress and no one actually cares that a lot until you say one thing that’s flashy. Once you discuss being uncooked, I actually had zero expertise. I feel my greatest press convention ever was the day I retired.”
Whitworth rapidly caught on by being genuine.
“I’m simply going to actually be who I’m,” he mentioned.
A part of that’s wardrobe and look. FitzMagic has the massive beard. Whitworth wears hoodies underneath his jacket.
“I’ve all the time beloved sporting hoodies. I feel it’s the massive, outdated neck makes me look awkward in collared shirts typically,” Whitworth mentioned.
Marie Donoghue, Amazon’s vp of worldwide sports activities video, referred to as Whitworth the coach of the crew.
“At our manufacturing conferences, he’s giving locker-room speeches,” Donoghue mentioned earlier than the Ravens performed the Buccaneers in a Thursday evening sport final month. “He virtually had us in tears.”
When Amazon and the NFL signed an 11-year settlement — the primary time the league offered a bundle of video games to a streaming service — Donoghue got down to put collectively a crew with distinctive views.
“We spent a number of time with a number of completely different expertise,” she mentioned. “We wished vitality, pleasure and good teammates, individuals who work actually onerous collectively and have enjoyable doing it. We wished to deliver one thing new to followers. We rapidly zeroed in on having of us off the sphere. These guys have gotten higher hour to hour, they’re getting extra snug. They’ve had chemistry from Day 1. It’s been spectacular. Now we have a very excessive bar. We’re thrilled the place we’re and we’re solely getting higher.”
Comply with Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi
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