In a move designed to bolster NFL coverage, ESPN proved yet again why they’re a media juggernaut.
Starting this season, ESPN.com will have 32 NFL reporters to cover teams as part of NFL Nation, the network announced on Aug. 19.
The hires are expected to perform on all platforms, from digital media to TV.
And ESPN’s move to expand the coverage is long overdue when considering the insatiable appetite fans have for the runaway train known as the NFL.
Here’s a snapshot of the announced hires from the Aug. 19 news release:
ESPN.com NFL Nation reporters (and previous affiliation):
Baltimore Ravens: Jamison Hensley (ESPN AFC North blogger)
Buffalo Bills: Mike Rodak (ESPN Boston)
Carolina Panthers: David Newton (ESPN NASCAR writer)
Chicago Bears: Michael C. Wright (ESPN Chicago)
Cincinnati Bengals: Coley Harvey (Orlando Sentinel)
Dallas Cowboys: Todd Archer (ESPN Dallas)
Denver Broncos: Jeff Legwold (Denver Post)
Green Bay Packers: Rob Demovsky (Green Bay Press Gazette)
Houston Texans: Tania Ganguli (Houston Chronicle)
Indianapolis Colts: Mike Wells (Indianapolis Star)
Miami Dolphins: James Walker (ESPN AFC East blogger)
Minnesota Vikings: Ben Goessling (St. Paul Pioneer Press)
New England Patriots: Mike Reiss (ESPN Boston)
New York Giants: Dan Graziano (ESPN NFC East blogger)
New York Jets: Rich Cimini (ESPN New York)
Oakland Raiders: Paul Gutierrez (CSNBayArea.com)
Philadelphia Eagles: Phil Sheridan (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Scott Brown (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
St. Louis Rams: Nick Wagoner (StLouisRams.com)
San Francisco 49ers: Bill Williamson (ESPN AFC West blogger)
Seattle Seahawks: Terry Blount (ESPN NASCAR writer)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Pat Yasinskas (ESPN NFC South blogger)
Tennessee Titans: Paul Kuharsky (ESPN AFC South blogger)
Washington Redskins: John Keim (Washington Examiner and Washington Post)
New roles have also been created for two current NFL Nation bloggers:
Mike Sando (NFC West blogger): ESPN Insider NFL columnist
Kevin Seifert (NFC North blogger): NFL Nation national writer
Since the Aug. 19 news release, Michael DiRocco, former ESPN.com Florida beat writer, assumed the Jacksonville Jaguars assignment, while Adam Teicher*, formerly of The Kansas City Star, took on the Chiefs beat.
Of course, the officially announced hires proved one of the industry’s worst kept secrets.
The Big Lead broke the story in June and a majority of the behind the scenes interviews apparently lasted through the end July. ESPN.com’s Rob King eventually confirmed the hiring process in a phone interview with The Poynter Institute on July 29.
By then, most writers and reporters who accepted positions started tweeting about it, as chronicled at SportsJournalists.com.
In the meantime, the remaining vacancies are with the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.
[*Personal note: Super congratulations to Adam Teicher, a reporter I hold in high regard. The good news for Chiefs fans is he’ll stay local.]