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Veterans Honored by FOX Sports in NFL Sunday in Annapolis

| November 19, 2021, 08:00 AM

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Levingston Lewis /Released)

The United States Naval Academy, located in Annapolis, Maryland, was chosen as the site in which to broadcast FOX Sports NFL Sunday this year. The FOX Sports team annually expresses its appreciation of the military in its Veterans Day broadcast and this year was no different. The spotlight honored all branches of the military in NFL Sunday’s pregame, halftime, and wrap-up shows, with Annapolis as the backdrop.

Superintendent Vice Admiral Sean Buck in a statement, “We are honored that the Fox Sports NFL Sunday team chose to highlight the U.S. Naval Academy this year during their annual salute to veterans pregame show. Not only is it a chance for the Brigade of Midshipmen to have a lot of fun on set with some football legends, but it’s an opportunity for the American public to learn about their United States Naval Academy during the show.”

The Arc of Central Maryland

NFL Sunday co-host, Curt Menefee has been part of the tradition for years and, according to him, it never gets old. “Just reminding people — that we sit at home, we watch football, we have a great day on Sunday — someone else is allowing us to do that and the sacrifices they made need to be honored every now and then – and we just try to remind people of that,” he said.

And what an NFL Sunday it was, as upsets ruled the day with the Buffalo Bills getting stunned by the two-touchdown underdogs, the Jacksonville Jaguars. But the surprises didn’t end there as the Cowboys, Raiders, Saints, and Rams all succumbed to the Sunday shockers. Plenty of money exchanged hands as online sports betting continues to grow in popularity with no stoppage in sight. The numbers are staggering with New Jersey reporting over a billion dollars wagered in September, the first state ever to break the billion-dollar threshold, which surpasses their previous record set in December of 2020. Approximately $46 million in gaming taxes were reaped by the Garden State in that month alone.

The entire NFL Sunday broadcast team got an opportunity to spend a day in the life of an Annapolis navy sailor. Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan, Howie Long, and the inimitable Terry Bradshaw along with Menefee got the full treatment and they took orders like an enthusiastic seaman recruit.

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Menefee was front and center as he was tasked with working the spinnaker and the jib of a sailboat, “It was a blast! I was doing whatever they yelled at me to do and I was just turning dials and trying to avoid getting hit by the sail.”

The Fox NFL Sunday staff has a long tradition of paying tribute to America’s veterans with their remote broadcasts. In 2000, the USS Harry S. Truman was roaming the waters of the Mediterranean Sea when the FOX team was granted permission to come aboard.

Other destinations included Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan in 2009, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in 2016, Naval Station Norfolk in 2017, Fort Benning in Georgia twice in 2014 and 2018, West Point in 2019, and the Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego last year are the locations and hallmarks of FOX NFL Sunday’s patriotic tradition.

Fox Sports Executive Vice-President of Production, Bill Richards, reminisced about the fascinating locales his production team has had the honor of broadcasting, “My first Fox NFL Veterans Day show was 20 years ago on the deck of the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier. I have great memories of working with the U.S. Navy. In addition, all the military academies add an electric level of energy … throw in Annapolis with all of its history and scenic waterways, and you have all of the ingredients for some very special television.”

Rod Conti, FOX Sports Senior Vice President of Tech Studio Remote Operations, said the prep work started long ago but it was all worth the effort. FOX and Filmwerks collaborated on creating a 4000 square foot production site that included the broadcasting set, faux mini football field, and bleachers for the cadets and USNA officials.

“Well, we started setting up here on location this Monday, but the process started long before that. We started about six months ago when we visited the United States Naval Academy to look for a setting that would be the proper backdrop for something like this.

“In Annapolis, the approach was simple but different from others. The sheer beauty of Bancroft Hall made for a perfect setting. However, the difficult part was incorporating all of our pieces — such as the set, LED screens, bleachers, and demo field — into the space without taking away from the historical beauty of the hall. We needed a different approach,” explained Conti.

“Make Camo Your Cause” was also featured on the broadcast to draw attention to the campaign to combat veteran homelessness and bolster its “hire a vet” effort. Businesses can purchase apparel from the U.S. VETS online shop which uses funds from a variety of sources, including direct corporate donations, for veterans’ affairs and assisting in their transition from military to civilian life.

Category: Local News, NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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