The National Football League recently lost an icon both on- and off-the-field with the passing of John Madden. After leading the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl championship in 1976, Madden embarked on a nearly 30-year broadcasting career, commentating football games on Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC Sports and remaining a fixture in the world of football. In 1988, Madden released his eponymous video game series, “John Madden Football,” which brought realism to fans seeking to learn and play the game of football. Of course, the video game series would eventually evolve into being called “Madden NFL,” and remains one of the most popular video games on the market each year.
For current Sunday Night Football commentator Al Michaels, having the opportunity to work with John Madden was something he had hoped would come to fruition when Fox Sports acquired the rights to NFC games in 1994. After a recruitment period akin to free agency as a player, Fox Corporation owner and media mogul Rupert Murdoch made him an offer of $8 million per year to call games on the network – a figure higher than any NFL player’s annual salary. Thus, Madden made the decision to pivot from signing a deal with ABC to join Michaels in 1994, to instead join Pat Summerall on-the-call for NFL coverage on Fox Sports.
Michaels appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Fox Sports Radio Wednesday morning, and discussed the elation he felt when ABC was able to secure the broadcasting services of Madden in 2002. Reflecting on the seven-year stretch they called games together, Michaels affirmed that what you saw was indeed what you got in terms of working with John Madden.
“He was full of life; full of energy; a great conversationalist [and] a great teacher but a terrific listener that wanted to learn,” Michaels said. “He loved traveling around the country [and] being with people… There wasn’t anything about John that said ‘Hey look, I’m a big celebrity.’ No – it was none of that. He was more interested in absorbing things than playing any sort of a role.”
On whatever network he broadcast games, John Madden’s personality shined through, and communicated the importance of the game being played to all parties involved. Having never worked together prior to 2002, Michaels knew that he would not need a dry run before the duo made their debut at 2002 Hall of Fame Game.
“I had heard him for over 20 years. He was always on the bus after Sunday Night Football, and he heard me do hundreds of games,” said Michaels. “John and I understood each other’s rhythms [and] by the second commercial [of our first game], I thought I’d be working with him for 20 years.”
As Al Michaels’ contract for Sunday Night Football on NBC is set to expire following the conclusion of Super Bowl LVI, rumors suggest he will start calling games on Amazon Prime next year as a part of its Thursday Night Football slate of games. He will undoubtedly continue to honor the legacy of John Madden by bringing fans unique perspectives and stellar commentary as his broadcasting career continues, and, just like Madden, be on the road again.
“The great thing about John is that he was so well-versed in not just football, but [in just] everything,” said Michaels. “When you’re working with somebody like that, you have all the confidence in the world. You can go anywhere, and he’ll be right with you.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Boomer Esiason: ManningCast Proves Peyton Manning Can Never Be a Coach
“He’s got no patience whatsoever.”
Don’t expect to see Peyton Manning on an NFL sideline. He may be one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but Manning isn’t cut out to be a coach according to Boomer Esiason.
On Tuesday morning, Esiason and the rest of the Boomer & Gio cast listened to highlights of the previous night’s ManningCast. They enjoyed the audio of Peyton Manning losing his temper after Cowboys kicker Brent Maher missed his third extra-point attempt of the night.
The clip, which has since gone viral, includes Manning asking if a kicker can be cut at halftime of a playoff game.
“This is why Peyton can’t coach,” Esiason said in response to the audio. “He’s got no patience whatsoever.”
The chemistry and authenticity of Peyton and Eli is often cited as the appeal of the ManningCast. Esiason noted that was what is on display in moments the brothers cannot control.
Boomer Esiason was a guest on the week eight ManningCast, which featured his former team, — the Cincinnati Bengals — playing Cleveland Browns. Esiason said at the time that while it was a distracting way to try and follow a game, being a part of the show is a lot of fun. He echoed that praise Tuesday morning.
“Those things are really unbelievably done. I mean, they are funny.”
NHL All-Star Game Airing Exclusively on SiriusXM After Contract Extension
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter.
SiriusXM and the NHL have reached an extension that will see the satellite service continue to carry every league contest. The new multi-year deal will run through the 2028-2029 season.
Part of the deal includes the NHL All-Star Game airing exclusively on SiriusXM. The game had previously been distributed by Westwood One before Sports USA Media took over the rights in 2021.
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter. All three are regulars on NHL Network Radio. Stellick and Laughlin serve as hosts of NHL Morning Skate, while Kouleas hosts the station’s afternoon show, The Power Play.
NHL Network Radio will also provide live coverage of the league’s All-Star Media Day on Thursday, February 2nd and the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday, February 3rd.
The deal includes SiriusXM continuing to produce and distribute SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on the platform for the duration of the contract.
“Hockey fans are among the most passionate sports fans, and our long-term relationship with the NHL enables us to deliver those fans across North America comprehensive access to the league, offering them live broadcasts of every game and the only 24/7 NHL channel in audio,” said SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.
“Live sports, coupled with great, in-depth sports talk, is one of the key elements of our programming and we are very pleased to be extending our content agreement with the NHL for many more years.”
Peter Rosenberg: Gio’s Rant ‘Gimmick Infringement’ of Don La Greca
The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay.
The war of words between WFAN’s Boomer & Gio and 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show continued Monday, with a quip from Peter Rosenberg about a rant from Gregg Giannotti.
Giannotti, a Vikings fan, was discussing his viewing situation during Monday morning’s show as the franchise played the New York Giants. His wife, two daughters, mother, mother-in-law, and best friend joined him to watch the Super Wild Card game, and the WFAN host detailed that the situation grew more tense with each passing moment due to comments made by those in attendance.
Giannotti eventually admitted to yelling at his friend, and jokingly shouted “Not the time, Louise!” after his mother-in-law commented about how good the Giants had gotten during a Saquon Barkley touchdown run.
The rant didn’t go unnoticed by Rosenberg, however, and he replied to Giannotti’s video clip of the segment by saying “Fake Don Lagrecca (sic) much? This is called gimmick infringement”.
The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay after walking back comments he made about getting a producer at the station fired by calling them “performance art”.
While criticising Kay, Giannotti could not identify Rosenberg, only calling him “whatever his face”.
“He’s gonna retire. It doesn’t matter whether you kiss his ass or not, it’s not gonna be the difference in you getting that job when he leaves,” Giannotti said of La Greca and Rosenberg. “Just stop it. Just stop kissing his ass.”
Rosenberg responded to the disapproval from Giannotti last week by tweeting “My favorite part of the trash talk from the guy on the fan is ‘pick on someone your own size Michael Kay… pick on me’…LOL who are you?!!!!”