Without question, one of the NFL offseason’s biggest storylines is the future of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. With the the start of free agency looming, ESPN’s Content and Coverage unit ensured that ESPN had every angle – and location – covered this week.
“We often proactively move reporters to locations where we anticipate big news. In this case, we knew something would happen in Dallas with Romo but we didn’t necessarily know exactly what that news would be,” said Coordinating Producer Jonathan Wolf. “Calls to Insiders Ed Werder and Adam Schefter, in addition to frequent conversations with reporter Jeff Darlington and NFL Nation Cowboys reporter Todd Archer, started weeks ago.”
Darlington, who lives in Miami, traveled to Dallas days before Adam Schefter and Todd Archer’s [original] story that Tony Romo would likely be released by the Cowboys.
“We green-lighted our live coverage from Dallas on Tuesday, a day before the breaking news, because Darlington had strong reporting [something was afoot] and our shows’ interest in the story was significant,” Wolf said. “By the time the news of Romo not being retained at 1:50 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Darlington had been doing live shots from Dallas for a day and a half.”
– Coordinating Producer Jonathan Wolf
ESPN also placed additional reporters in other cities based on where Romo could be headed.
“It became clear pretty quickly that Houston and Denver were the overwhelming favorites to land Romo’s services,” Wolf said. “Jeff Legwold, the NFL Nation reporter for the Broncos, was on-call for over a week working his sources in Denver and getting ready to go live once there was news.
“Britt McHenry had handled a good portion of our Texans coverage in 2016 so we felt really good about putting her on a plane from Washington D.C. to handle the coverage in Houston,” he said.
ESPN’s forward-looking approach and available resources set it apart from nearly all other news organizations.
“The ultimate goal of the Content and Coverage group for all coverage, not just Romo, is to provide all of ESPN’s platforms with the best people and equipment to create the most insightful and entertaining content possible, even if that means traveling reporters and producers to be in place waiting for news that may or may not happen,” Wolf said. “Our coverage decisions are made with our digital, mobile and social platforms in mind, not just television.”
As the Romo story continues to develop, ESPN will have coverage from all angles thanks to its deep roster of reporters in multiple cities.