Artie Kempner is a name most Eagles fans won’t recognize, but he’ll be responsible for bringing you all the action on Fox Sunday when the Birds open the 2021 NFL season against the Atlanta Falcons.
Kempner, who lives in Wilmington, Del., is directing the Eagles-Falcons game for Fox Sports, the 600th NFL game he has directed in his 40-year broadcasting career. During that time, he’s directed his fair share of Eagles games on Fox — including their disappointing loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX — and has developed a natural fondness for the Birds.
“The Eagles became my home team when I moved near Philly, and I got to know the team really well,” Kempner said. “I don’t root when I’m directing. … I’m still going to tell the story of the game no matter what.”
Kempner will be directing a broadcasting crew that includes veterans Kevin Burkhardt and Pam Oliver, who is entering her 26th season covering the NFL — by far the longest tenured sideline reporter from any network. Joining Fox’s No. 2 booth this year is former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who signed with the network after retiring at the end of last season.
Unlike ESPN’s debacle involving former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, Fox went the development route with Olsen. They had him call a handful of NFL games and some XFL games alongside Kevin Burkhardt before being placed in the network’s No. 2 booth, meaning he’ll call the network’s second most important game each week and at least one playoff game.
“Greg’s just a smart guy. The most important thing for him will be determining what his style is, and that’s going to be a work in progress,” Kempner said. “He is a willing leaner and a coachable guy. … John Madden said it best when he said, ‘Life is not a treadmill — you’re either moving forward or you’re moving backward, so it’s your choice.’”
There’s been a lot of talk in sports media circles about the “Megalodon,” a Sony a7R IV camera with a Canon lens that focuses on the foreground while blurring the background. Fox debuted it last season, and Kempner was able to figure out a way to use the movie-style camera in a game to capture Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walking back to the bench. But Kempner isn’t quite as enamored with the cinematic-style camera as others, so don’t expect to see it deployed much Sunday.
“If a shot is out of focus, it should not be on television, and that camera is challenging for even the best operators,” Kempner said. “I think right now it’s still developing into something I would call a tool.”
Here’s everything you need to know to watch the Eagles’ season opener against the Falcons:
Eagles at Falcons: Week 1
When: Sunday, Sept. 12
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
Time: 1 p.m. kickoff
TV: Fox29 (Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Pam Oliver)
Radio: 94.1 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin)
Spanish radio: La Mega, 105.7 FM (Rickie Ricardo, Gus Salazar)
Streaming: Fox Sports Go app (required authentication), fuboTV (free 7-day trial), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, DirecTV Stream, Sling TV (all require a subscription)
Mobile: Eagles app, NFL Mobile app, Yahoo Sports app (free on smartphones and tablets within the Philadelphia market)
Referee: Scott Novak
Pregame shows and other media coverage
As with every Eagles game, staff writers Jeff McLane, EJ Smith, and Josh Tolentino will be covering all the action live on Twitter. Notes and observations about the game will be at Inquirer.com/eagles. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Early Birds newsletter.
Pregame shows on Fox29
Pregame coverage begins on Fox29 at 10 a.m. with Fox29 Gameday, featuring Breland Moore, former Eagles linebacker Garry Cobb, Dave Spadaro, and Bill Anderson.
Fox NFL Kickoff, the network’s early pregame show, airs at 11 a.m., hosted by Charissa Thompson with analysts Tony Gonzalez, Dave Wannstedt, Colin Cowherd, and former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Joining the panel this year is NFL Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, who previously worked on ESPN’s pregame show NFL Sunday Countdown.
Fox NFL Sunday airs at 12 p.m., hosted by Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee alongside analysts Howie Long, Michael Strahan, and Jimmy Johnson.
Pregame shows on NBC Sports Philadelphia
At 11:30 a.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia will premier a new pregame show focused on sports betting and fantasy football called Birds Huddle. Taryn Hatcher will host the show alongside Brad Feinberg, Barrett Brooks, and John Clark.
Eagles Pregame Live, hosted by Michael Barkann and featuring Seth Joyner, Ray Didinger and Barrett Brooks, will air live at 12 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia, but will slide over to NBC Sports Philadelphia+ to make way for the network’s Phillies coverage. Eagles Postgame Live will air immediately following the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Other games airing in Philadelphia on Sunday
As part of the NFL’s new 18-week schedule, both Fox and CBS have national doubleheaders in Week 1. Philadelphia was initially going to get Packers-Saints following the Eagles game on Fox, but the network switched at the last minute to Giants-Broncos.
Steelers at Bills: 1 p.m., CBS3 (Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn)
Browns at Chiefs: 4:25 p.m., CBS3 (Jim Nance, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
Giants at Broncos: 4:25 p.m., Fox29 (Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake)
Bears at Rams: 8:20 p.m., NBC10 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)
Eagles reading list prior to kickoff
One of the 600 NFL games Artie Kempner has directed for Fox Sports was Super Bowl XXXIX, and he put to rest the urban legend that Donovan McNabb puked during the fourth quarter.
EJ Smith discusses defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s first tough assignment in Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley and tight end Kyle Pitts.
The Jalen Hurts Era should be anticipated like Donovan McNabb’s and Carson Wentz’s, according to Marcus Hayes.
Is Falcons QB Matt Ryan a Hall of Famer? Mike Sielski thinks the question misses the point, and the true achievement, of his career.
Our Eagles beat writers made their predictions on who will call Sunday’s Eagles-Falcons game. EJ Smith was the odd man out.
Eagles 2021 NFL schedule
In Week 15, two out of five games chosen by the NFL will be played on Saturday, with the rest played Sunday. Eagles-Washington is one of the five games chosen, and the specific dates and times will be announced no later than Week 11.
Week 1, Sept. 12: Eagles at Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 2, Sept. 19: 49ers at Eagles, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 3, Sept 27: Eagles at Cowboys, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Week 4, Oct. 3: Chiefs at Eagles, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 5, Oct. 10: Eagles at Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 6, Oct. 14: Buccaneers at Eagles, 8:20 p.m., Fox
Week 7, Oct. 24: Eagles at Raiders, 4:05 p.m., Fox
Week 8, Oct. 31: Eagles at Lions, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 9, Nov. 7: Chargers at Eagles, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Week 10, Nov. 14: Eagles at Broncos, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Week 11, Nov. 21: Saints at Eagles, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 12, Nov. 28: Eagles at Giants, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 13, Dec. 5: Eagles at Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 14: Bye week
Week 15, Dec. 19: Washington at Eagles, TBD
Week 16, Dec. 26: Giants at Eagles, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 17, Jan. 2: Eagles at Washington, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 18, Jan. 9: Cowboys at Eagles, 1 p.m., Fox