Like with any new sports league, the AAF is working through the kinks of its inaugural season in the hopes of improving as the weeks and months progress. Unfortunately, those kinks have gotten to league’s broadcasters as well.
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At halftime of the game between the Arizona Hotshots and the Salt Lake Stallions, producers cut to a blissfully unaware broadcast team that was preparing for their cue to begin their segment. Marvin Lewis started things off by testing a joke about Christian Hackenberg’s terrible completion percentage to the crew. That was greeted with support from Cynthia Frelund, who replied that what they were doing was different from TV, which was then followed up with Rod Woodson’s unfortunate comment about the potential size of the audience they were about to speak to. (Warning: the audio is kinda shitty).
Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
Lewis: “Before we get there. Hack....Hacks about 50 percent [laughs]”
Frelund: “[inaudible] say that on TV coach, I got you. We’re not on TV, we’re on Bleacher Report. It’s different.”
Woodson: “Ahh nobody’s watching, nobody cares, no one’s listening.”
Frelund does say something in the middle of Woodson’s comment that sounds like she’s parroting the “no one cares” line, but it’s not clear in that clip.
There is a chance that this could be some sort of mantra from the group. Earlier today, a Twitter user caught a similar refrain brought up thanks to a hot mic from that crew as a camera panned through the stadium. That moment was explained by Flanagan via Twitter.
The AAF, along with other broadcast-adjacent individuals, made a big deal to point out that the first week’s slate of ratings for the league beat out other primetime sports games. Even if what Woodson said was in jest, it’s hard to imagine those in the league office being too happy to hear those kinds of jokes sent out to the world—especially when the stadium turnout for games looks like this.
Update (Feb. 24, 5:00 p.m. ET): Alex Flanagan reached out via Twitter DMs to clarify the context of the comments from Woodson and others.
I feel horrible Rod [Woodson] took the brunt for something I said, that truly was totally taken out of context. Marvin is new to the studio and I was trying to make him comfortable by sharing a silly story from my early days at WSFA. Cynthia’s voice was also confused for mine in quoting me. The follow up tweets from Jeff Shearer, who told me the saying, and Keith Olbermann who used to say it with me too are on twitter and sort of funny. I hate that I put Rod in this position, because he has been prepared and excited each week and wasn’t deserving of the headlines this has brought him.
Correction (Feb. 25, 6:21 p.m. ET): The original version of this post attributed Frelund’s comments in the exchange to Flanagan. That has since been corrected.