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Behind the scenes with FOX’s NFL crew: The Philly special


By Richie Zyontz
FOX NFL Lead Producer

Editor’s Note: Richie Zyontz has been an NFL producer for FOX since 1994 and the lead producer for the final 20 seasons. He has greater than 40 years of expertise masking the league and has produced six Super Bowls. Throughout the 2022 NFL season, he’ll present an inside look as FOX’s new No. 1 NFL crew makes its journey towards Super Bowl LVII.

When the NFL schedule got here out in May, our crew made sure assumptions. 

Of course, the RamsPackers and Buccaneers would proceed to be the gold requirements of the NFC. Games involving these groups had been circled on our calendars — positive blockbusters. That Rams-Chiefs game after Thanksgiving could possibly be a Super Bowl preview.

But in the phrases of the nice Scottish poet Robert Burns, “The finest laid plans of mice and males usually go awry.”

This pearl of knowledge applies to the defending Super Bowl champion Rams (3-9), who’ve been decimated by accidents and at the moment are mere spectators as a brand new energy has emerged in the NFC.

That juggernaut is the Philadelphia Eagles, a crew our crew laid eyes on for the first time Sunday in The City of Brotherly Love.

The Hungry Z’s had the No. 1 decide in the A-Team fantasy soccer league, however this season has not gone based on plan. (Photo courtesy of Richie Zyontz)

Surprise groups and gamers are a yearly prevalence.

They not solely wreak havoc on NFL schedule-makers, however maybe most significantly (selfishly), on our A-Team fantasy soccer league.

The league dates again 15 years and is a supply of pleasure and anguish for all concerned. 

Take, for instance, the Hungry Z’s, a crew aggressively co-owned by affiliate producer Rich Gross and myself. We felt good on draft evening about assembling a crew to be pleased with. Then our plans went awry, as the aforementioned Scottish bard foretold.

Did we all know that drafting Colts working again Jonathan Taylor with the first total decide could be a complete bust for our crew?

Or that dynamic Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray would abruptly lose his dynamism ?

Hell no!

The standings for the A-Team fantasy soccer league inform the story of a tough season for the Hungry Z’s. (Photo courtesy of Richie Zyontz)

While the Z’s flounder, The Squirts thrive. An unique franchise now run by crew rookie Kevin Burkhardt and broadcast affiliate Casey Garland, they’ve deftly maneuvered by means of six completely different quarterbacks to first place atop the standings.

It’s a method our crew would possibly emulate when pondering subsequent yr’s draft.

On a constructive be aware for the Z’s, we picked up Cleveland’s protection this week and noticed them put up 30 factors towards the woeful Texans. Our matchup towards Zecca Sanitation remains to be too near name as of Sunday evening. 

Pastificio is a frequent cease for the crew when it hits Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of Richie Zyontz)

When The Hungry Z’s truly get hungry, as they usually do, there is no higher place to be than Philadelphia.

That’s as a result of Lincoln Financial Field, dwelling of the Eagles, is simply a stone’s throw from Pastificio in South Philly.

Pastificio is the quintessential Italian deli, with maybe the finest hoagie bread discovered anyplace in the nation. Meatball parm on Saturday, rooster parm on Sunday. Heaven!

When masking an Eagles recreation, the first subject amongst our crew is not at all times associated to soccer.

It normally facilities round what we wish to order from Pastificio.

The glue of the operation

While Pastificio sustains us, Lucas Males and our crew of truck engineers assist preserve us. These are the invaluable members of the crew who stay method behind the scenes and deserve our lasting appreciation.

They all work for Game Creek Video, a family-owned enterprise based mostly in New Hampshire, operated by Pat Sullivan and his sons. This is the similar Sullivan household that when owned the Boston/New England Patriots from 1960-1988. Now, they personal a fleet of cell tv vehicles serving a number of networks.

And they’ve assembled a crack employees of engineers.

Lucas, helpful by nature, went straight from highschool in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh right into a job at 20 years of age working upkeep in a tv truck. Twenty-two years later, he helps construct and design these vehicles, presiding over $40 million price of state-of-the-art gear. Along with co-engineers Charles Babir, Shane Gibbons and Drake Meinard, Lucas makes issues disappear.

He additionally travels with a panini press and slips me a grilled-cheese sandwich now and again. Lucas is flexible like that.

Back to the recreation

To be blunt, the game between the Titans and Eagles was terrible. Philadelphia performed sloppily however ok to beat an incredibly inept Tennessee crew. The recreation officers felt the have to throw a flag on just about each play, destroying the rhythm for gamers, broadcasters and followers alike.

There was one storyline that performed out in a narratively compelling method. Eagles receiver AJ Brown was going through his previous Tennessee teammates and had an enormous day.

At this level, it is clear the Eagles are the class of the NFC. Philadelphia rolled to a 35-10 victory and is now 11-1 on the season. 

Our truck drivers now head west for a cross-country journey to Santa Clara, Caifornia. the place subsequent Sunday the Bucs face the San Francisco 49ers.

More on that journey subsequent week!

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