Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
Why do Giants cut off TC and Eli?
Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning are the most accomplished coach/player duo in 21st century New York sports, but that hasn’t been enough to have their remarks carried in full on the postgame show the Giants themselves produce.
Why would the team choose to cut off the news conferences of Coughlin and Manning, often to get back to a panel of analysts?
Don Sperling, VP and executive producer of Giants Entertainment, said it is a simple matter of leaving time for the show’s other elements.
Unlike the postgame shows of the area’s other pro teams, the Giants’ is on a broadcast outlet, Channel 9, and not a regional cable sports network (RSN), thus limiting its flexibility. The show can go no longer than one hour.
"RSNs have no end," he said. "They’re on as long as the lights are on in the stadium."
Sperling said the Giants show must squeeze seven segments into 41 minutes of program time, including "sponsored features and reads and all kinds of billboards and bumpers and business you have to take care of."
In addition to Coughlin and Manning and whatever other players come to the interview podium, the producers try to fit in off-podium interviews with other key players, for a total of up to 11 voices per show, not including analysts.
"We don’t want to just stay on Coach and Eli, because we get them every week," Sperling said. He added that the coach might speak for 10 to 14 minutes, often answering "repetitive" questions," after which little time would be left for other elements.
“Should I cut [Ahmad] Bradshaw out? Should I cut Chris Canty out? Should I cut [Jayron] Hosley out? We’re not just rounding up heroes and marching them to the podium. I want to hear from as many people as possible; that is the goal."
Few fans would argue that point, but what about cutting off Coughlin in order to get back to a crowded panel of analysts that includes former Giants Howard Cross, Roman Oben and Amani Toomer?
"The analysis is no longer than two minutes," Sperling said. "I keep it short. We move it around."
Sperling pointed with pride to the Giants-produced pregame show on MSG from 10 to 11:30 a.m. as "the flagship" of the team’s TV operation, a "potpourri" of content he said he would "put up against any pregame show anywhere, almost up to the network level."
Part of the success of that show is the time and flexibility afforded by an RSN. So why not move the postgame to MSG, too?
Sperling said that would be ideal, but it is not practical because conflicts with Knicks and Rangers games would regularly disrupt the schedule.
"They’re a great partner," he said, "but it doesn’t work for MSG or for us."