Eisen, Rich 1969-
Eisen, Rich 1969-
Writer, reporter. Sports Illustrated Advance, staff writer, 1990-93; Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, stringer for high school football and basketball, 1993-94; CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and Connie Chung, Columbia Broadcasting System, production assistant, 1994; Medill News Service, Washington, DC, correspondent, 1994; Station KRCR-RV, Redding, CA, sports anchor, reporter, 1994-96; ESPN Sports-Center, Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, anchor, reporter, 1996-2003; NFL Total Access, National Football League Network, host, 2003—.
Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Writer and reporter Rich Eisen was born on June 24, 1969, in New York City. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1990, then went on to earn his master of science degree from Northwestern University in 1994. Between earning his academic degrees, he worked as a staff reporter for Sports Illustrated Advance and a stringer for high school basketball and football for the Chicago Tribune. After completing graduate school, he worked a series of short-lived jobs, including a stint as a production assistant for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and Connie Chung. Ultimately, his love of and enthusiasm for sports shone through, and he landed a job for the ESPN SportsCenter, working as both a news anchor and a reporter until ESPN decided not to renew his contract in 2003. At the time, there was speculation that Eisen was interested in broadening his exposure on the sports news network, looking to serve as a play-by-play commentator for certain sports, notably baseball, and perhaps eventually as a host of the morning show on ESPN's sister network, ESPN2. However, it became clear that the network had different ideas regarding Eisen's role, and so the two parted ways. At that point, Eisen moved on to the fledgling National Football League Network, where he became the host of NFL Total Access, the new network's flagship program. His book, Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe, was published in 2007.
Total Access is focused entirely on the NFL and the cable television network that devotes itself to football twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year round, even when the sport is not in season. As a member of the NFL Network team from its inception, Eisen has an insider's point of view on the development of the network and its programming. Unfortunately, his book garnered mediocre reviews on the whole. Part of the problem, cited by a number of reviewers, was that the NFL Network was something of a fringe product. Unlike ESPN, it is not considered to be a staple of the standard cable television package, or even of the sports package, instead relegated to the role of a very specialized cable television network designed for the niche market of more fanatical football fans. This issue carries over to the book's audience. Also, reviewers took issue with the nature of football reporting and the likelihood of translating an exciting play-by-play over a game into a printed transcript of that conversation; much of the excitement is lost. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews found Eisen's book overall to be "a self-congratulatory commercial for the NFL and the NFL Network," and concluded that it is "a self-indulgent, mildly informative trip through the [inner workings] of the NFL and cable television."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Hollywood Reporter, September 13, 2002, "Beg, Borrow and Deal," author information, p. 33; June 19, 2003, "Eisen Joins NFL Net[work] as Lead Anchor," p. 23.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2007, review of Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe.
Sporting News, June 16, 2003, "SportsCenter's Ball and Chain," author information, p. 9.
National Football League Web site,http://www.nfl.com/ (August 13, 2008), author profile.
Spirit Temporis Web site,http://www.spirit-temporis.com/ (August 13, 2008), author profile.
Troy's Thoughts on Sports Blog,http://tstos.wordpress.com/ (April 17, 2008), "Rich Eisen: Not Getting Enough Credit."