LAS VEGAS—Jason Kelce is taking the first steps toward a TV career. The popular Eagles center was in Vegas this week and met with both ESPN and Fox Sports, Front Office Sports has learned.
Kelce has been hitting the blackjack tables, and he attended a U2 concert at the Sphere as he waits for brother Travis Kelce and the Super Bowl champion Chiefs to take on the 49ers. But he also appears to be putting in some work recon. Virtually every offseason there’s a retiring NFL player sought after by networks looking to bolster their football coverage. And while the 36-year old six-time All-Pro hasn’t announced an official decision about playing in 2024, he’s exploring his options.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Kelce met this week with ESPN to discuss possibly linking up; and FOS spoke to another source who witnessed Kelce meeting for the same purpose with Fox. (ESPN and Fox declined to comment.) Those talks are viewed as a preliminary “testing of the water;” he’s been “making the rounds” with various networks, according to one of the sources, and the expectation from both nets is that CBS, NBC and Amazon will join the hunt if Kelce officially becomes a TV free agent.
The 13-year NFL veteran already boasts one of the most popular sports podcasts in the country, New Heights, with brother Travis. He’s squarely in the middle of non-stop media coverage of the romance between Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift; he endeared himself to millions of TV viewers by chugging beers with Bills fans; and in Vegas this week he told TMZ that he “obviously” would love to follow his brother’s footsteps and host Saturday Night Live.
Pressure’s on Shanahan and Romo, Says Mad Dog Russo
The two people with the most riding on Super Bowl Sunday are 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and lead CBS analyst Tony Romo. That’s the word from sports radio broadcaster Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who chatted with me Friday before hosting his show, SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio, on Radio Row.
“Shanahan needs to win this game,” says Russo. “Nobody’s going to kill [49ers quarterback Brock] Purdy. [Chiefs QB Patrick] Mahomes has won a couple already. [Chiefs coach Andy] Reid’s a Hall of Famer. But Romo needs a good performance—and Shanahan needs to win.”
To be fair to Romo, the last two Super Bowls he called with Jim Nantz and Tracy Wolfson were dull, non-competitive affairs. But as a former Cowboys QB, Romo should realize that wins are the only things that matter.
“The Super Bowl is about the analyst. So we’ll see how he responds,” says Russo.
Russo, by the way, knows what’s what. During our interview he correctly predicted the NFL’s exclusive streaming-only playoff game would move from Peacock to Amazon next season. Within hours, The Wall Street Journal reported the move. … And Speaking of Purdy, the former Mr. Irrelevant is making strides with marketers on Madison Avenue. Just before the Super Bowl he signed a national endorsement deal with Toyota, making him their first new athletic endorser since they became the NFL’s official automotive sponsor, in October. “He’s been an incredible story,” says Toyota exec Dedra DeLilli. In other words: Not so irrelevant. … Peyton and Eli Manning’s Monday Night Football ManningCast has been a hit. On Radio Row Friday, Eli told me he would welcome doing a ManningCast of ESPN’s upcoming first Super Bowl, following the 2027 season. “That would be fun,” he says. “I never thought of calling a Super Bowl. That was never in the game plan for me as a player. Obviously, these last few years, doing some of the broadcasts, going to watch Super Bowls all the time, it would be fun to do that with Peyton and call a game.”