NEW YORK — NFL Network’s Jamie Erdahl thinks of herself as a TV point guard, dishing passes to make her on-air teammates look good.
As host of “Good Morning Football,” the former point guard at St. Olaf College is running a fast break on NFLN’s morning show, along with castmates Peter Schrager, Jason McCourty, Kyle Brandt, and Will Selva.
During Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season, “GMFB” premieres were up 44% in overall viewers — and up 21% in the advertiser-coveted 18-49-year-old demo. In Week 2, overall viewership for fresh episodes increased 39% compared to the first two weeks of the 2022 season. Total daytime viewership for NFL Network through Week 2 rose 7%.
Schrager says the show does not receive marching orders from NFL headquarters on Park Avenue. But he hears anecdotally the show is on weekday mornings in practically every single NFL facility across the country.
“They’re not necessarily watching the other shows. They’re watching us. If that’s our audience, let’s roll with it,” he said.
There are occasional arguments and debates similar to competing shows such as ESPN’s “Get Up” and “First Take.” But “GMFB” is mostly about smart, fun conversations, Schrager added.
“We celebrate football. We don’t look to tear people down. We don’t look to scream if we don’t really feel it.”
Erdahl, a veteran of CBS Sports and NESN, talked to Front Office Sports about her experience since taking over the seven-year-old morning show from longtime host Kay Adams in July 2022. Excerpts:
FOS: “GMFB” interviews everybody in the league: Coaches, GMs, Players. Who do you think are the best interviews in the NFL?
Jamie Erdahl: In general, it’s the person who actually listens to the question and responds accordingly. You really start to grind your teeth at night about people who just spit the idioms back at you. (Buffalo Bills head coach) Sean McDermott comes on the show a lot. I think he’s fantastic because he treats football at the right times the same way we do all the time, which is that there are parts of football that can be really fun. And what we want on our show is to make somebody feel like they can come on and show the fun part of themselves. So anyone who just has that breath of fresh air, who doesn’t feel like we’re out to get them.
I think if you were in person with (Philadelphia Eagles coach) Nick Sirianni, he’s fantastic. He was playing basketball with Kimmi Chex at the Combine. But Sean McDermott, so far for me, has been one of my favorites.
FOS: Tell us about your experience over the last year. You not only replaced Kay but Jason McCourty had to succeed the popular Nate Burleson.
JE: It’s been 13, 14 months since I’ve joined ‘Good Morning Football.’ Last year, I think for all four of us, that was a major change…It was tough on myself and my family. I moved my two little kids and my husband cross-country. I started the show the next week. It was so fast. Jason’s coming off of playing. He puts the pads away and starts doing television, an endeavor in which he has never done TV before, let alone three hours a day.
But then also it’s taken me a year to appreciate how much of a change that must have been for Peter and Kyle, too. They had been without Nate for a season, but to go and change two of your people that you work with every day. It took a full year to get to know each other in a way that now, I feel like we are firing on all cylinders. It’s like when you’re dating somebody and you have to see them in all these different scenarios. I want to see you change a flat tire. I need to see you with your flight delayed six times. We have seen each other now through a lot of different scenarios, both good and bad.
And I think all of that comes to a point where now, once we hit the second season, the team chemistry is fantastic in a way that even if the times get tough, we have each other’s backs. And we also understand what makes each other tick. And I think that makes the shows really good and they move, they move really quick.
FOS: Word on the street is Commissioner Roger Goodell watches every morning while he’s on the treadmill. True?
JE: Man, I would be thrilled. We had (league EVP) Troy Vincent come in a couple weeks ago and he said he has us on in the morning. It’s up on (NFL headquarters on) Park Avenue. It’s such a compliment….(Goodell) is such a formative person in all of our lives. I mean, he is the ultimate decision-maker because of the shield that sits in the middle of our ‘Good Morning Football’ table. I’m like, nobody let the treadmill break and everybody should keep up on their cardio. And then ‘Good Morning Football’ will keep going.
For more on Erdahl, listen to her podcast with Senior Writer McCarthy on FOS Today.