Eagles hand out an eviction notice
The team pushed aside its Spanish Radio Network crew to allow game-day space for Joe Douglas.
If you were wondering how highly Joe Douglas is thought of by Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman, all you need to do is look at his new game-day digs at Lincoln Financial Field.
Douglas, the Eagles' second-year vice president of player personnel, watched games last season from the press box.
Now, he has his own private suite.
Not a big deal except that his new suite had been the home of the Eagles' Spanish Radio Network.
When the Eagles decided Douglas needed his own private space to watch games this summer, the Spanish Radio Network was given an eviction notice.
Well, the network members weren't thrown out exactly. They were moved to a hastily built, corner-of-the-end zone booth with an obstructed view that has the look and feel of a broom closet.
"I'm the last guy – the last guy – to scream, 'Oh, it's the Spanish guys.' But it does have a sense of, if somebody's going to have to move, it's going to be the Spanish guys,'' said the network's play-by-play announcer, Rickie Ricardo, who also does the Spanish play-by-play for the Phillies.
Ricardo, a 33-year broadcasting veteran, is understandably upset. The view from the new booth is lousy.
"I can't see the whole field,'' he said. "I can't see any of the information on the scoreboard. I don't know if it's first down (or) fourth down. I don't know how much time is left on the clock. I can't see anything from that angle.
"How we were able to pull this off on Sunday is a credit to our professionalism. But it was very uncomfortable.''
Ricardo said he basically made his call on Jake Elliott's 61-yard field goal, which went viral by the way, "with smoke and mirrors with the guy to my left watching it on an iPad because we don't even have a monitor.''
Roseman, the team's executive vice-president of football operations, sits with Lurie during games in the owner's luxury suite. Apparently, inviting Douglas to join them wasn't an option.
Douglas obviously preferred a vantage point with a little more privacy than the press box. The Eagles couldn't give him his own suite because, well, they're completely sold out. That left Ricardo's crew as the odd man out.
Bill Kulik, who is the rights holder for the Spanish Radio Network broadcasts as well as one of the broadcast's two color commentators, is a little more understanding of the situation than Ricardo.
"The problem isn't just [finding space for] Joe Douglas,'' Kulik said. "The problem is our industry that you and I are in. They've had so many changes to that press area [at the Linc], they've just plain run out of space.
"And when you combine that with a team that is sold out 100 percent, they can't say, 'OK, Joe, go take a [luxury] suite. There's no space available. So it was determined that we were the ones that needed to move.
"Is the [new] booth the perfect location? No. As soon as [Eagles vice president of marketing] Brian Papson knew we had to get moved out, he got on the phone with me and we investigated every possible option, indoors and outdoors. We tried hard to find the best solution. They invested time and money and resources in it.''
The Eagles, in a statement released Thursday, said, "We are constantly balancing our internal needs with the needs of our broadcast and media partners. So we approached Bill to discuss alternate solutions.
"We were in communication with them throughout the process and mutually agreed upon the new location. We will continue to work with them to provide the necessary resources so that they can produce a quality broadcast.''
The Linc, much like the Eagles' NovaCare training facility, simply isn't big enough. Lurie and the team's former president, Joe Banner, severely underestimated the growth of the media and their own organization when they built them.
Two years ago, the Eagles moved the media out of the main building and put them in a house near the front gate because they needed more room for their expanding staff. They are one of just two teams in the league (the Washington Redskins are the other) that don't have a media work room inside its facility.
"This is one of the smaller football stadiums,'' Kulik said of the Linc. "If you go to Giants Stadium and see where they have not just the Giants'[Spanish language] broadcast, but also us, you say, 'Wow, these guys really planned ahead.' The Eagles didn't plan ahead on a lot of things.''