Salvatore Anthony Nicholas Paolantonio is a Philadelphia-based bureau reporter for ESPN.[1][2] Since joining ESPN in 1995, Paolantonio has become a staple in their NFL coverage, as he contributes to shows such as SportsCenter, NFL Live, Sunday NFL Countdown (from a game site) and Monday Night Countdown (from the Monday Night Football site). In 2004, he added studio work to his duties, replacing Suzy Kolber as the host of NFL Matchup, an X's and O's football show; joining him are Louis Riddick and Greg Cosell. His best known work for ESPN was his coverage of the Terrell Owens saga with the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Paolantonio has also been an adjunct professor at St. Joseph's University[3] in Philadelphia since 2001.

Sal Paolantonio
Picture of Paolantonio in 2015
Paolantonio in 2015
Alma mater
OccupationSports Reporter
Notable credits
TitleNational Correspondent
Board member ofCooper University Hospital Foundation
SpouseLynn McGraw
AwardsSee Below
Military career
AllegianceUnited States United States
BranchUnited States Navy Navy
Service years1978–1983
AwardsUnited Nations Meritorious Service Medal
WebsiteESPN Bio

Early life


A native of Stewart Manor, New York, Paolantonio attended Sewanhaka High School.[4]

He graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He also attended New York University, where he received a master's degree in journalism in 1978. Paolantonio served as a Surface Warfare officer in the United States Navy[5] from 1979 to 1983 where he was awarded the United Nations Medal in 1983. He served aboard USS Ouellet and the USS Haleakala.[5]



Prior to joining ESPN, he was a political reporter and Philadelphia Eagles beat reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1993 to 1995. During that time he also served as a reporter for WPHL-TV nightly news show, Inquirer News Tonight and hosted Saturday Morning Sports Page on WIP sports radio. In 1993, he published his first book, a biography of Frank L. Rizzo entitled The Last Big Man in Big City America.[6]

In 2018, he published Philly Special: The Inside Story of How the Philadelphia Eagles Won Their First Super Bowl Championship.[7] In 2007, he and fellow sports journalist Reuben Frank put out The Paolantonio Report: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players, Teams, Coaches, and Moments in NFL History.[8] It has been the best-selling NFL book in the country (October 11, 2007) according to He went on to make the provocative claim in his 2008 folk history, How Football Explains America,[9] that the competition informed the public morality on integration and consciously developed in the mid-20th century into an almost mythic spectacle.[10] With its origins in the closing of the Turnerian frontier, the NFL league, rather than baseball, apparently broke down the color barrier in sports.

Personal life


Paolantonio has been a resident of Haddon Township, New Jersey.[11] He later moved to nearby Moorestown.[2][12]


  • Associated Press Managing Editor's Award for Enterprise Reporting
  • Associated Press Sports Editors Award for Reporting
  • Philadelphia Magazine Philadelphia's Best Sportswriter
  • New York Daily News Jack Newfield Courage in Journalism Award


  1. ^ "Sal Paolantonio". ESPN MediaZone. ESPN. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b Fiorillo, Victor (October 25, 2013). "ESPN's Sal Paolantonio Was a Nobody in High School; Plus, the Moorestown-based sports broadcast personality and former Inquirer reporter tells us why Donovan McNabb is misunderstood, his summer chasing Russian subs, and how the Beatles saved the USA". Philadelphia. Accessed January 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "ESPN's Sal Paolantonio to Speak at Wilmington University". Wilmington University Public Relations. 27 March 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  4. ^ "ESPN's Sal Paolantonio Earns Suny Honor, Will Deliver Commencement Speech at Suny Oneonta",, April 12, 2013. Accessed January 11, 2018. "Paolantonio grew up in Stewart Manor, Long Island, and attended Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, N.Y. He graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 1977 and has been a journalist working in newspapers, magazines, television and radio for 30 years."
  5. ^ a b Fazio, Dan. "On The Sidelines with LT. Sal Paolantonio". G.I. Jobs. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  6. ^ Paolantonio, S.A.; Timoney, John (April 2003). Rizzo: The Last Big Man in Big City America. Camino Books. ISBN 978-0-940159-27-3.
  7. ^ Paolantonio, Sal (August 2018). Philly Special. Triumph Books. ISBN 9781629376349.
  8. ^ Paolantonio, Sal; Frank, Reuben (October 2007). The Paolantonio Report. Triumph Books. ISBN 9781600780257.
  9. ^ Paolantonio, Sal (September 2008). How Football Explains America. Triumph Books. ISBN 9781623680923.
  10. ^ Marlett, Jeffrey (2009-01-31). "Gridiron Nation". First Things. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  11. ^ Bracy, Aaron (March 18, 2005). "Staley's success is no surprise to Leslie". Courier-Post. Accessed March 21, 2011. "Sal Paolantonio, a Haddon Township resident, recently signed a four-year contract extension with ESPN."
  12. ^ Aleardi, Marianne (July 2013). "Ten Questions: Sal Paolantonio; The ESPN correspondent talks sports, politics and Uncle Bill's Pancake House". South Jersey Magazine. Accessed January 11, 2018. "A resident of Moorestown, Paolantonio spends the NFL season watching, talking, breathing football."