Behind the Scenes with FOX’s NFL crew: Why Greg Olsen is a pure in sales space

By Richie Zyontz
FOX NFL Lead Producer

Editor’s Be aware: Richie Zyontz has been an NFL producer for FOX since 1994 and the lead producer for the final 20 seasons. He has greater than 40 years of expertise overlaying the league and has produced six Tremendous Bowls. All through the 2022 NFL season, he’ll present an inside look as FOX’s new No. 1 NFL group makes its journey towards Tremendous Bowl LVII.

It has been an interesting season for the FOX NFL A Group.

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen have easily and efficiently succeeded the long-lasting broadcast group of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. That was no simple problem.

Most of this crew has been collectively for 20 years at many ranges on each the manufacturing and technical sides. It is a tight-knit group, which added two new lead voices for the 2022 season.

A sweeping change like that does not occur typically in sports activities tv. However there’s one large caveat to this tsunami. 

That caveat wears No. 12 for the Tampa Bay Bucs and is known as Tom Brady. When his storied NFL profession is over and he so chooses, Brady will develop into the lead analyst on our video games — a job Greg Olsen is doing fairly properly in the meanwhile. 

The ready sport 

Our group simply lined Brady for the fourth time this season, however it was our first assembly again in September that set the tone. Olsen is humorous, self-aware and really good. 

He well subtle what some feared can be an ungainly state of affairs when the current and future No. 1 analysts met through video name.  

Virtually instantly, Greg instructed Tom, “This TV thing sucks, don’t even worry about it. I’ll handle it.” The tone was set; hearty laughter adopted. 

On their name this week earlier than Sunday’s Panthers-Bucs sport, Brady talked about he and a few teammates had compiled a listing of the all-time greatest tight ends, and Olsen made the reduce. Greg, wanting to understand the second, requested Brady to repeat it. A pleasant second, however the elephant within the room stays. 

Nobody is aware of whether or not Brady will play past this season, us included. Heck, it is attainable Brady himself does not know. Ought to Brady make the bounce to broadcasting in 2023, I firmly consider he’ll excel. Would you wager in opposition to the best quarterback of all time? 

Proper now, he’s clearly targeted on soccer. Internally, we strive to not speculate concerning the future.

Olsen himself has no qualms about his odd state of affairs. He acknowledges that including Tom Brady to the FOX NFL steady is a coup for the corporate. It is one he is ready for.

Stepping up at school 

Olsen has far exceeded even my lofty expectations this season. I knew of his vitality and confidence, however I had by no means met him till this offseason.  

Apart from being a blast to be round, this man lives and breathes soccer. His enthusiasm fills a room. The excited supply heard in the course of the broadcast is the very same tone we hear in our manufacturing conferences each Saturday night time.

Olsen is uncommon for an analyst. He hardly ever speaks in clichés and explains the sport in comprehensible language. One other nice high quality is his capability to see the massive image. Many analysts are likely to overanalyze. They go from play to play and beat you over the top with trivia. Olsen stays forward of the sport and affords context to what’s unfolding.  

There may be an ongoing quest for larger concision. The truth is, in the course of the first business break every week, Greg will say, “Z , the broadcast doesn’t officially start until you tell me to slow down and tighten things up.” 

It is good recommendation, if I’ll say so myself! 

Greg Olsen shares his ideas on the Buccaneers-Panthers matchup throughout a FOX Sports activities crew assembly

Greg Olsen shares his thoughts on the Buccaneers-Panthers matchup during a FOX Sports crew meeting

Self-scouting 

With that in thoughts, the group determined to display screen a little bit of our broadcast from final week between the Eagles and Cowboys. Simply Olsen, Burkhardt, director Wealthy Russo and myself, watching the tape over a bowl of chips and guacamole.  

That is very totally different than the movie research Olsen was used to as a participant. In that world, an analysis is way more reduce and dry. You both made a play otherwise you did not. You blocked the man in entrance of you otherwise you did not. The play was both a win or a loss.

Tv is way more subjective. There’s not essentially a proper or a fallacious; there’s a number of grey space. 

There are a number of fundamental ideas for commentators. One in every of which is to keep away from overtalking. Broadcasts want some clear air — permitting the images and the sound of the gang to hold the second.

A couple of minutes into our evaluate, Greg observed an instance the place he was long-winded, including an additional thought when maybe it wasn’t wanted. He observed himself; I did not should say a phrase.

Our self-scouting turned out to be a useful train. I observed instances during which we went to replays when none had been wanted. Over-replaying is the truck model of overtalking — greatest to keep away from.

Regardless of the issues about overtalking, there have been many examples the place Burkhardt and Olsen remained silent, permitting Russo’s photos to inform the story.  

Once we had been completed, the decision was unanimous: The session was useful, and our time was well-spent. 

Greg Olsen speaks with the FOX Sports activities digital camera crew earlier than a sport

Greg Olsen speaks with the FOX Sports camera crew before a game

NFC South Showdown 

Video games typically do not go in line with type. The Bucs offense and Brady had been in a disjointed funk. Olsen’s outdated group, Carolina, had rushed for greater than 300 yards in its earlier sport. Though this matchup had main playoff implications for each golf equipment, we weren’t anticipating a murals. The Panthers would pound the ball. The Bucs would hopefully maintain it shut and permit Brady to tug off some late magic.  

Olsen had a distinct take.  At our manufacturing assembly Saturday night time and once more at Sunday morning’s speak with the digital camera crew, he described a wide-open sport during which each groups would take extra probabilities. He envisioned Brady slinging the ball across the yard, and that’s exactly what occurred.   

Present quarterback and future TV analyst Tom Brady received his nineteenth division title. Former tight finish and present TV analyst Greg Olsen had the sport nailed. 

In two weeks, Olsen and Brady might doubtlessly meet once more when Tampa possible hosts the NFC East champion in a wild-card sport. For now, Week 18 beckons. And the Tremendous Bowl is simply 42 days away! 

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