Our Monday Night Football crew travels 20 weeks from August through late December. The schedule is brutal, but it also offers a unique opportunity to see the country and visit some special places.
That’s the case for ESPN news editor Jim Carr, who returned to Kansas City this weekend for tonight’s San Diego Chargers-Kansas City Chiefs game (8:30 p.m.) at Arrowhead Stadium.
Carr was the Chiefs assistant public relations director from 1987-99. During some of the most exciting years in franchise history, he worked with the media and served as the primary writer and editor of the team’s print publications. He also helped the Chiefs launch the NFL’s first official team web site in the mid-1990s.
“Kansas City is one of the smaller markets but when [former head coach] Marty Schottenheimer arrived, as well as Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and Derrick Thomas, the Chiefs got better and got more of a national prominence,” recalls Carr.
“We had the best of both worlds, being a small media market with a national presence.”
Carr even worked with current MNF analyst Ron Jaworski when the 17-year quarterback played his final NFL season with the Chiefs in 1989. More than 20 years later, Carr and Jaws work together again.
“The focus of my job is to make sure the MNF telecast is properly vetted for news gathering and storytelling,” says the Hamilton, Ohio, native who arrived at ESPN in 2003 and is in his fourth year as the news editor assigned to MNF and the NFL Draft.
“The goal is to make the broadcasts as journalistically sound as possible. That includes preparing the crews and announcers before the game throughout the week and on-site.”
Carr attends all production meetings and helps prepare producer Jay Rothman and the talent for on-camera interviews, as well as the sideline reporters for their reports.
From his seat in the main production truck during the game, Carr can send messages instantly to the booth and to the other staffers in the trucks about injury updates, stat nuggets or if there is breaking news.
Carr was back in Kansas City for a 2007 MNF preseason game and for the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament a few years ago, but he’s especially excited to return for this game – and not just for the football.
“I’ve enjoyed living in Connecticut, but I do miss the barbecue! I’m looking forward to that I think the most,” citing Gates Barbecue as the place he will likely visit, along with Jardine’s jazz club and Knuckleheads blues club.
Back to football, Carr insists: “The people of Kansas City are so proud of their city and of this team, and I think everyone will see that Monday night.”