After last year's season-ending injury to starting quarterback Carson Wentz, most NFL experts thought little of the Eagles' chances in the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl.
The one true believer was Kyle Brandt, the energetic host of NFL Network's buzzy morning show Good Morning Football. Brandt's impassioned three-minute rant inspired by lazy sports media pundits who were quick to write-off the Eagles quickly went viral ahead of the team's NFC divisional playoff matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.
"I was just so frustrated and enraged with the laziness of all the observations and all the storylines about the Eagles from national media outlets … and I just kind-of erupted," Brandt said. "In a way, it was kind-of a precursor to the Jason Kelce speech where I was just listing all the players and coaches on the Eagles who just had so much to play and coach and fight for. That was it."
Now Brandt, a Chicago native who has been adopted by Eagles fans as one of their own, is launching a new show on the NFL Network called, appropriated enough, The Kyle Brandt Football Experience. The show, inspired by the nationally syndicated highlights show The George Michael Sports Machine that Brandt watched growing up, debuts tonight, airing at 6 p.m. Fridays on the NFL Network.
Brandt spoke to the Inquirer and Daily News about his new show, how he'd approach working in a booth and how he's had to buy his own beer in Philadelphia, despite promises from Eagles fans.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Everybody says their show is different, but I can assure you within the first 10 seconds of seeing the show, you'll see just how different it is. Especially on NFL Network.
They've taken me and placed me in a live working control room — not a TV set, not at a desk, not a miniature football field — with 50 monitors and 5,000 buttons all around me, and we'll create the show on the fly. I'll have the omnipotent power to bring people any play from any player in any game in NFL history, and we're going to play with that, man.
It sounds like anarchy but it's not, it's actually very structured … It's just not going to be the structure that you're used to seeing. A debate at a desk, or a player standing in front of a giant screen talking about the cover two and all that — that's great, it's just not what we're going to do. It's going to be a little madcap.
The show will always open with my biggest thoughts and the funniest things I observed from the Thursday night game — the coolest play, the most ridiculous moment, the fan in the stands in the 55th row of the fifth level who stood there shirtless in the rain. That sort-of thing.
We'll also have a segment called 'Who scored it better?' where we can compare the play of someone like [Los Angeles Rams running back] Todd Gurley jumping over a safety and running for a touchdown with a clip from 18 years ago, when [former Eagles running back] Duce Staley did the exact same thing. I have the entire archive of NFL Films footage at my disposal, and man I'm going to use it.
The feedback we got from the network was they wanted to see people on the show that we don't see on all their other shows. So on this show, you're never going to have the high profile athlete who's in New York doing a media tour who will talk a little football and tell us about the work he's doing with "insert sponsor."
I think we could see comedians, writers and authors — certainly folks outside of football. When you get down to it, all we need to do is get people talking about the game they watched when they were in the fifth grade, which I can cue it up with a touch of a button, and all of the sudden we're off and running.
I think there's an opportunity when either the game itself is low stakes or a game becomes a blowout. I was watching Monday night's Jets-Lions game, and there was a full quarter where there were zero stakes involved. That's when I would love to see it turn more conversational and fully break it down into a Sam Darnold conversation without even interrupting for the plays.
I think there's a line that can be blurred between play-by-play and podcasts, where you can service the game but you can also kind-of put on a radio show. I'm sure the masters can do that, but if you gave me a magic wand, that's what I would do.
The funniest epilogue to this whole Philadelphia experience happened a month after the Super Bowl. My wife and kids have never been to Philadelphia, so we did a family weekend … At night, after the kids are asleep, I go down to the corner store to get some beer for my wife and me.
I'm standing in line with a six-pack behind three or four Eagles fans … One guy turns around, recognizes me, and says, "You always loved the Birds and I always said, you'll never pay for a beer in this town." I get to the register with the beer physically in my hand and he goes, "So what do you got there?" and I go, "A six pack of Yuengling."