Tom Rinaldi’s ‘awesome’ global journey: World Cup to NFL and back in a week

Monday, November 21: Reporter and essayist for Fox’s coverage of the World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
Tuesday, November 22: Fly from Doha to New Jersey. Time at home: 18 hours.
Wednesday, November 23: Fly from New Jersey to Dallas.
Thursday, November 24: Thanksgiving sideline reporter assignment for Fox’s Cowboys-Giants coverage.
Friday, November 25: Fly from Dallas to Columbus, Ohio in the morning.
Saturday, November 26: Sideline reporter for Fox’s Michigan-Ohio State coverage. After the game, fly to Kansas City via Detroit.
Sunday, November 27: Sideline reporter for Fox’s Chiefs-Rams coverage.
Monday, November 28: Fly 14 hours to Qatar via Dallas to Doha. Putting an end to US captain Tyler Adams’ streak.
Tuesday, November 29: Watch the Adams feature live for Fox’s USA-Iran World Cup coverage.

“Nothing is remotely close,” says Fox Sports reporter and anchor Tom Rinaldi’s schedule from the past week, shown above. “It was amazing in every way. I was in Doha for the first week of the World Cup, which was amazing. I was at the USA-Wales match. The next morning (November 22nd) I flew from Doha to New Jersey. I was home for about 18 hours, which was great. I was able to see my son and my wife on Thanksgiving when our son returned from college. On Wednesday (November 23rd), I flew to Dallas and was on the Giants sideline for the Thanksgiving game in Dallas.

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“Then I flew to Columbus on Friday for The Game, where I was thrilled to have the opportunity to fill in for Jenny Taft, as Jenny is the sideline reporter for the USA Men’s National Team at the World Cup. So I did Ohio State and Michigan, and then Saturday night after that game I flew to Kansas City via Detroit for the Rams and Chiefs on Sunday. Then on Monday I flew from Kansas City to Dallas and then from Dallas directly to Doha. I landed, got to a hotel in Doha, got cleaned up, and then made arrangements with my producers, including Joel Santos, who directed the John Madden documentary and is directing the production here. I arrived at the venue for the USA-Iran game (Al Toumama Stadium) to film the pregame with Tyler Adams. As I speak to you on Wednesday night, I am waiting to interview the players of the US national team.

deeper

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Many sportscasters have had crazy journeys, but look at the various tasks Rinaldi has endured. It’s dizzying. He called me on the phone Wednesday to discuss the journey leading up to a segment on my Sports Media Podcast. You can listen to the entire interview below.

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With a tight schedule and so much preparation for multiple events, Rinaldi said he benefited significantly from NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews, who asked him helpful questions during production meetings and Zoom calls. For the Michigan-Ohio State game, he praised Fox college football producer Chuck McDonald and his crew for their hospitality and said it helped him get to know the coaching staffs and officials at Michigan and Ohio State.

“Being around those programs and getting to know some of those players and their stories has been very rewarding,” Rinaldi said. “Therefore, there is a research base. Then to come back to the World Cup, my role is mostly to be a feature writer and an essayist, and we’ve tried to shoot as much as we can before I leave.

“Right now, I’m in reactive mode because the U.S. is in the group stage. Our mandate is to do as much as possible in and around the American team. I did some parts that weren’t rooted in the men’s national team, but most of what we did was, and of course, now that we’ve made it to the playoffs, we’ll work on that. We will try our best with Team USA until they leave. Then, when and if that journey ends, we’ll continue to cover the teams that are still alive and tell those stories as best we can. For soccer fans as well, and I think for the broader American sports fans who believe they will be drawn to the World Cup.

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Rinaldi has worked in sports media since the late 1990s. (Before switching to journalism, he worked briefly as an English teacher in suburban Pittsburgh.) He knows what he just experienced is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I don’t want to sound like a shill, but I’m very grateful,” Rinaldi said. “Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to participate in these games and events? Being in the “Shoes” for Ohio State-Michigan, then being in the stadium for the USA against Iran? To be part of a Thanksgiving tradition in the NFL and then watch Sean McVay try to tackle Patrick Mahomes somehow? These are incredible opportunities and 10 days I will never forget.”

(Photo: James D. Smith/AP)



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