A Plea To Matthew Berry And The ESPN Fantasy Focus Football Podcast

ESPN Fantasy Focus Football Podcast

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I doubt this piece will ever reach Matthew Berry, Field Yates, or anyone else connected to the ESPN Fantasy Focus Football podcast. Should it ever somehow, though, I hope they can sense that the overarching tone of this article is one of love.

If any frustration or constructive criticism is pouring out of me and onto my computer screen as I type away, it is fully stemming from a place of genuine care and appreciation as well.

I think the team on the ESPN Fantasy Focus Football podcast do an incredible job at bringing compelling, informative, and insider worthy content to their audience show after show, week after week, for basically the entire calendar year.

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They seem to have relationships and sources at levels across the NFL that other podcasts will most likely never be able to foster or maintain. Their access to the league, being a national and iconic sports flagship station property, puts them head and shoulders above most other podcasts out there commentating and offering advice on fantasy football.

That access, though, needs to be mainly credited to the individuals on the show like Berry and Stephania Bell, for the credibility of ESPN may grant warmer introductions for them, but it is up to the professionalism of the individual to be able to cultivate and sustain sources across the league.

The team at ESPN Fantasy Focus Football are clearly proficient at managing their relationships and sources which we the listeners benefit greatly from. Beyond access to insiders at the NFL, ESPN also has a robust infrastructure of statistical analysis and research for the podcast to tap into, further separating their capabilities from many out there in the fantasy football podcast landscape.

The ESPN clout seems to be a bit of a double-edged sword, though, when it comes to the Fantasy Football Focus stacking up against other podcasts. The show has regretfully become a bit bloated in my opinion.

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I Critique Because I Care

There is a bit of excess these days when it comes to the actual content of the show. Between announcements, promos, c-list celebrity interviews and worst of all the poor attempts at humor, I find myself cringing at times just wanting desperately for the team to honor their show’s namesake and get focused on an actual football discussion.

When they are locked in on a no-frills, heated football debate, there is no one I would rather be listening to than the team from ESPN Fantasy Focus Football. The concern is, we have to deal with too much peripheral nonsense to get to those golden moments purely centered around the passion of fantasy football.

I streamed a show the other day and it took over 10 minutes of intro, promos, and bad humor prior to reaching a real discussion about football. Those are the situations of excess and bloat that keeps me from being able to fully declare the Fantasy Focus as the preeminent podcast resource for all things fantasy football.

Look, I love comedy and being silly but shows need to have some sort of self-awareness. There was never a bigger display of completely losing thyself than the ESPN Fantasy Football television show last season.

Major Television Misstep

While it was not directly tied to the Fantasy Focus podcast, it was Matthew Berry and Secret Squirrel powering the show, household names from the podcast. The television show was unwatchable.

They formatted the episodes like a sketch comedy show and it was painful to sit through. I lasted all of 5 minutes with the show and it was a bum out because I loved the idea of ESPN dedicating an entire show to Fantasy Football.

ESPN does have another fantasy dedicated television show on game day Sunday mornings and it is straight up fantasy insights and analysis without any schtick and it is awesome and informative television. Is that not what the majority of us fantasy geeks are yearning for?

I am not asking for or expecting Berry and crew to be listless, joy kills when doing their shows but it has become all too much to bear at times. Be organic with the humor, do not become protracted and bogged down in your attempts at levity, and please be mindful of how long it takes to get to an actual football discussion on the show.

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Respect For Matthew Berry

I know some people out there take shots at Matthew Berry, but he seems to be a genuinely good dude and I have total respect for the career he has built for himself. He truly is representative of the American dream, turning a passion into a full-time empire. I say that with total respect and admiration for what he has built for himself.

I also respect his football acumen and ability to communicate his thoughts in a captivating manner on the shows. He is tops at delivering sharp and entertaining football commentary. I implore him and those around him on the Fantasy Focus Football podcast to dial it back, even if just a notch, for the sake of what we all truly tune in for and that is our beloved game of fantasy football.

I beg of Berry and crew to hone in on what you all truly do best and that is provide high-level, insider styled analysis, in a fun and compelling format. Let us embark on the 2018 fantasy football season with clear heads and full hearts focused on what truly matters and that is our obsession with football. Best of luck to everyone on their upcoming season.