XFINITY Presents: An NFL Exclusive Interview with NFL RedZone analyst Scott Hanson

Thanks to XFINITY from Comcast, Scott Hanson, host of NFL Red Zone, took time out with The XFINITY Sports Guy, Austin Schindel @XFINITYSports, to provide SB Nation readers with an inside look at the NFL Red Zone channel and his take on the NFL season.

On NFL RedZone, Hanson takes millions of football fans from game-to-game to see 6+ hours of non-stop NFL action. With XFINITY, subscribers can see every touchdown from every game on Sunday afternoons including live look-ins, fantasy stats, and more! Subscribers can access NFL RedZone with the Sports Entertainment Package for just $4.95 per month for six months. The RedZone channel delivers all your key moments live in HD every Sunday afternoon so don’t miss another week of non-stop NFL action!

Check out what Scott Hanson had to say about his role as host of NFL RedZone courtesy of XFINITY, Your Home for the Most Live Sports.

Q: What are a couple of attributes that you enjoy most about the NFL RedZone channel?

A: You know our tagline is every touchdown from every game, and I think that, coupled with the fact that if there is anything worth talking about on Monday morning after a full NFL Sunday, you will have seen it on NFL RedZone. We pride ourselves on the fact that there is no one talking about a play, a catch, a hit, a touchdown, a controversy, or a coaching decision on Monday that they didn't see on NFL RedZone. You come to us and we are one stop shopping for the best in pro football and we love that.

Q: What are the biggest changes you have seen since you first started hosting NFL RedZone during the 2009 season?

A: I don't think we have changed much. I think the audience has changed a little bit. What I mean by that is I think the audience has become more sophisticated. Once they are in tune with how we operate, they understand that the way they've been watching football has changed because of NFL RedZone. And most of them love it, according to the fans that I hear from.

They know that if we are not showing you a game there is nothing worth seeing in that game at that time or they are in a timeout / commercial break / in a huddle / punting or whatever else it is. If you are not seeing, (fill in the blank game), then there is a reason we are not showing it to you. You are seeing the hottest action and I think over the course of the years that we have been doing this, the audience has caught on and so it helps us to communicate what's going on in the NFL better because they understand how we hop around from game to game.

Q: You are a well-traveled professional having visited six different continents. What is the best way you keep informed of all the latest NFL news when traveling?

A: Well, you know I am always on my XFINITY high speed internet scouring the websites. If I was a doctor or a lawyer, I would be sitting in my office with two or three windows opened up to NFL.com and other websites checking them out anyways. The fact that I get paid to do it is a kick for me. I constantly have to know these story lines and all the different twists and turns during the week of practice because on Sunday I am doing a seven hour live show with no scripts in front of me. We are just reacting to what is going on, so I try to keep it all in the hard drive upstairs here.

Q: Many fans may not be aware that you graduated Cum Laude from Syracuse University. Which do you feel is harder, graduating Cum Laude or being a quarterback in the NFL?

A: Well I had to bust my tail to graduate with honors at Syracuse. But no matter how much I busted my tail, they would not put me on an NFL field to throw footballs around, so I guess I would have to say quarterbacking an NFL team is harder. I did graduate with honors at Syracuse while playing football, so that was the extra challenge. If you are going to excel at academics, that is a full time job. If you're playing big time college football, which I was blessed enough to be able to do, that is a full time job.

It is interesting because hosting NFL RedZone is about time management. Going from this game to that game and having to multitask. My college experience was sort of like that, playing football and trying to excel academically, so I guess it helped me prepare for the future.

Q: You were a football player back in high school and also walked on for Syracuse University. Why did you ultimately choose to pursue a career in broadcasting instead of professional football?

A: You know the plan was always for me to do what I do now. About midway through high school - as a 12 year old boy, my dream was like a lot of kids. I am going to grow up and I am going to be an NFL football player. There is no plan B, that is what I am setting my heart, mind, soul, and body on. Well, when the Lord didn't see it to grow me to 6'5'', 250 (pounds), running a 4.5, 40 (yard dash), I had to amend plans a little bit. I was a good high school player, but I was not elite like the guys who go on to division one schools and get a scholarship. I was a walk-on at Syracuse and certainly not in the stratosphere of an NFL football player.

I love the game so much, that I wanted to do something that would keep me close to it so I thought about coaching or broadcasting. The broadcasters I loved growing up looked like they had so much fun doing what they do, so I said that is what I am going to try and go do. I went to Syracuse, which has an excellent broadcast journalism program and then walked on the football team to try and chase my passion for football. I knew it was going to end there as there were no NFL illusionary dreams for me.

Q: NFL RedZone is a fantasy player's dream with access to every touchdown, every Sunday afternoon. Why do you think it is such a great resource for fantasy football players?

A: That is a great question, and the answer is pretty simple. It is because if you are competitive, which I've never met anyone who plays fantasy football who doesn't get competitive, you are going to play in a league with your friends, your family, or your colleagues. They don't know as much about football as you do and you want to prove it during the season. Well, if you are competitive like that, you want that instant gratification of, Calvin Johnson is my wide receiver, he just caught a touchdown, that is six points for my fantasy team, and I just saw it right now. We move over to New Orleans, Drew Brees just threw a touchdown pass, he's my quarterback, I just got another six points, and now I am beating you. We then switch over to New England, and Tom Brady just threw an interception, and he's your quarterback, and you just got minus two points. It is instant gratification to the competitiveness and quite frankly the trash talking that takes place during fantasy football season. People still follow along on the computer to see live scoring with your point total. However, with RedZone you are doing live scoring with video with actually seeing your guys making those athletic plays. It is the perfect application for fantasy football.

Q: For all the fantasy football players out there, who do you expect to be the biggest fantasy sleeper this season?

A: I hope someone takes a flier on Andrew Luck. Now that might sounds silly as he is the number one pick in the draft, but he is a rookie. Cam Newton was an anomaly last year, having a great fantasy season as a rookie quarterback. There have been other rookie quarterbacks to come in and have success, but you usually can't make hay with a rookie quarterback fantasy wise.

I think Andrew Luck is going to have games - I am not saying it is going to last for the sixteen games that they are going to play, but there are going to be times where he goes for two or three touchdowns. You might want to pick him up as a back-up quarterback before other guys in your league do. I saw him in his first practice in training camp, and he put it on guys. He is one of the most accurate quarterbacks I saw and I saw about thirteen different quarterbacks with my own eyes. Andrew Luck, pick him up before the other guys in your league do and you will thank me come December and January.

Q: If you were not on set at NFL RedZone, what would be your ultimate place to watch football every Sunday afternoon?

A: That is a tough question. I've never been asked that question. I would want to go home and flip on my TV to watch NFL RedZone. If I wasn't sitting in the seat as the host, someone else would be hosting it, and I would be watching it. Guaranteed.

Q: What is your single most memorable moment throughout your career as NFL RedZone host?

A: There has been a lot. I love the fact that we show people the NFL moments that they would not see if they were just watching one game. Last year, I don't remember what week it was - middle of the regular season, but there was a moment where the one o'clock eastern kickoffs were coming down to the fourth quarter. The Patriots had the football down by about four and they needed a touchdown. The Saints, in a different game, had the football and they were down and needed a touchdown. So Drew Brees had the football and Tom Brady had the football. Brady is working in Foxborough, and Brees is working at the Superdome in New Orleans so we split the screen. We call it the famous double box and we were going back and forth between these two games. I remember saying to our audience, "You are watching two of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation, down by a touchdown, in desperation time, going to work." I remember Brees didn't end up scoring a touchdown and Brady did end up scoring a touchdown and it happened within about twenty seconds of each other. It was stimulating television to watch and you couldn't have seen it unless you had NFL RedZone. That was one of our great moments.

Q: In the past, you have been referred to as the "NFL RedZone Guy"? What do you think is the better moniker, "NFL RedZone Guy" or The XFINITY Sports Guy?

A: You know it is your show Austin, so I'll go with the XFINITY Sports Guy. You know what, you are a good looking guy, I hope someone mistakes me for you or you for me at some point and says, "Hey Austin" when I am walking down the street. That would be fun.

For more insights of NFL Red Zone and behind the scenes access to your favorite NFL teams throughout the year, remember to follow @XFINITYSports on Twitter.

Q: What are a couple of attributes that you enjoy most about the NFL RedZone channel?

A: You know our tagline is every touchdown from every game, and I think that, coupled with the fact that if there is anything worth talking about on Monday morning after a full NFL Sunday, you will have seen it on NFL RedZone. We pride ourselves on the fact that there is no one talking about a play, a catch, a hit, a touchdown, a controversy, or a coaching decision on Monday that they didn’t see on NFL RedZone. You come to us and we are one stop shopping for the best in pro football and we love that.

Q: What are the biggest changes you have seen since you first started hosting NFL RedZone during the 2009 season?

A: I don’t think we have changed much. I think the audience has changed a little bit. What I mean by that is I think the audience has become more sophisticated. Once they are in tune with how we operate, they understand that the way they’ve been watching football has changed because of NFL RedZone. And most of them love it, according to the fans that I hear from.

They know that if we are not showing you a game there is nothing worth seeing in that game at that time or they are in a timeout / commercial break / in a huddle / punting or whatever else it is. If you are not seeing, (fill in the blank game), then there is a reason we are not showing it to you. You are seeing the hottest action and I think over the course of the years that we have been doing this, the audience has caught on and so it helps us to communicate what’s going on in the NFL better because they understand how we hop around from game to game.

Q: You are a well-traveled professional having visited six different continents. What is the best way you keep informed of all the latest NFL news when traveling?

A: Well, you know I am always on my XFINITY high speed internet scouring the websites. If I was a doctor or a lawyer, I would be sitting in my office with two or three windows opened up to NFL.com and other websites checking them out anyways. The fact that I get paid to do it is a kick for me. I constantly have to know these story lines and all the different twists and turns during the week of practice because on Sunday I am doing a seven hour live show with no scripts in front of me. We are just reacting to what is going on, so I try to keep it all in the hard drive upstairs here.

Q: Many fans may not be aware that you graduated Cum Laude from Syracuse University. Which do you feel is harder, graduating Cum Laude or being a quarterback in the NFL?

A: Well I had to bust my tail to graduate with honors at Syracuse. But no matter how much I busted my tail, they would not put me on an NFL field to throw footballs around, so I guess I would have to say quarterbacking an NFL team is harder. I did graduate with honors at Syracuse while playing football, so that was the extra challenge. If you are going to excel at academics, that is a full time job. If you’re playing big time college football, which I was blessed enough to be able to do, that is a full time job.

It is interesting because hosting NFL RedZone is about time management. Going from this game to that game and having to multitask. My college experience was sort of like that, playing football and trying to excel academically, so I guess it helped me prepare for the future.

Q: You were a football player back in high school and also walked on for Syracuse University. Why did you ultimately choose to pursue a career in broadcasting instead of professional football?

A: You know the plan was always for me to do what I do now. About midway through high school – as a 12 year old boy, my dream was like a lot of kids. I am going to grow up and I am going to be an NFL football player. There is no plan B, that is what I am setting my heart, mind, soul, and body on. Well, when the Lord didn’t see it to grow me to 6’5’’, 250 (pounds), running a 4.5, 40 (yard dash), I had to amend plans a little bit. I was a good high school player, but I was not elite like the guys who go on to division one schools and get a scholarship. I was a walk-on at Syracuse and certainly not in the stratosphere of an NFL football player.

I love the game so much, that I wanted to do something that would keep me close to it so I thought about coaching or broadcasting. The broadcasters I loved growing up looked like they had so much fun doing what they do, so I said that is what I am going to try and go do. I went to Syracuse, which has an excellent broadcast journalism program and then walked on the football team to try and chase my passion for football. I knew it was going to end there as there were no NFL illusionary dreams for me.

Q: NFL RedZone is a fantasy player’s dream with access to every touchdown, every Sunday afternoon. Why do you think it is such a great resource for fantasy football players?

A: That is a great question, and the answer is pretty simple. It is because if you are competitive, which I’ve never met anyone who plays fantasy football who doesn’t get competitive, you are going to play in a league with your friends, your family, or your colleagues. They don’t know as much about football as you do and you want to prove it during the season. Well, if you are competitive like that, you want that instant gratification of, Calvin Johnson is my wide receiver, he just caught a touchdown, that is six points for my fantasy team, and I just saw it right now. We move over to New Orleans, Drew Brees just threw a touchdown pass, he’s my quarterback, I just got another six points, and now I am beating you. We then switch over to New England, and Tom Brady just threw an interception, and he’s your quarterback, and you just got minus two points. It is instant gratification to the competitiveness and quite frankly the trash talking that takes place during fantasy football season. People still follow along on the computer to see live scoring with your point total. However, with RedZone you are doing live scoring with video with actually seeing your guys making those athletic plays. It is the perfect application for fantasy football.

Q: For all the fantasy football players out there, who do you expect to be the biggest fantasy sleeper this season?

A: I hope someone takes a flier on Andrew Luck. Now that might sounds silly as he is the number one pick in the draft, but he is a rookie. Cam Newton was an anomaly last year, having a great fantasy season as a rookie quarterback. There have been other rookie quarterbacks to come in and have success, but you usually can’t make hay with a rookie quarterback fantasy wise.

I think Andrew Luck is going to have games – I am not saying it is going to last for the sixteen games that they are going to play, but there are going to be times where he goes for two or three touchdowns. You might want to pick him up as a back-up quarterback before other guys in your league do. I saw him in his first practice in training camp, and he put it on guys. He is one of the most accurate quarterbacks I saw and I saw about thirteen different quarterbacks with my own eyes. Andrew Luck, pick him up before the other guys in your league do and you will thank me come December and January.

Q: If you were not on set at NFL RedZone, what would be your ultimate place to watch football every Sunday afternoon?

A: That is a tough question. I’ve never been asked that question. I would want to go home and flip on my TV to watch NFL RedZone. If I wasn’t sitting in the seat as the host, someone else would be hosting it, and I would be watching it. Guaranteed.

Q: What is your single most memorable moment throughout your career as NFL RedZone host?

A: There has been a lot. I love the fact that we show people the NFL moments that they would not see if they were just watching one game. Last year, I don’t remember what week it was – middle of the regular season, but there was a moment where the one o’clock eastern kickoffs were coming down to the fourth quarter. The Patriots had the football down by about four and they needed a touchdown. The Saints, in a different game, had the football and they were down and needed a touchdown. So Drew Brees had the football and Tom Brady had the football. Brady is working in Foxborough, and Brees is working at the Superdome in New Orleans so we split the screen. We call it the famous double box and we were going back and forth between these two games. I remember saying to our audience, "You are watching two of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation, down by a touchdown, in desperation time, going to work." I remember Brees didn’t end up scoring a touchdown and Brady did end up scoring a touchdown and it happened within about twenty seconds of each other. It was stimulating television to watch and you couldn’t have seen it unless you had NFL RedZone. That was one of our great moments.

Q: In the past, you have been referred to as the "NFL RedZone Guy"? What do you think is the better moniker, "NFL RedZone Guy" or The XFINITY Sports Guy?

A: You know it is your show Austin, so I’ll go with the XFINITY Sports Guy. You know what, you are a good looking guy, I hope someone mistakes me for you or you for me at some point and says, "Hey Austin" when I am walking down the street. That would be fun.

For more insights of NFL Red Zone and behind the scenes access to your favorite NFL teams throughout the year, remember to follow @XFINITYSports on Twitter.

The Editorial Staff of SB Nation was not involved in the creation or production of this special advertiser feature.

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