As the Los Angeles Rams hoisted the historic Vince Lombardi Trophy on their home field at SoFi Stadium after their thrilling comeback in Super Bowl LVI, the conclusion of another football season had arrived.
A thrilling month-long stretch of close games, dating back to the Week 18 Sunday Night Football thriller in Las Vegas between the Raiders and Chargers with a playoff berth on the line, had perhaps launched the greatest stretch of big games the National Football League has ever seen in its 101 years of existence.
Whether it was three consecutive divisional round games ending on a field goal, the back-and-forth battle of AFC quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen decided in overtime, the late-game heroics of both the Bengals and Rams to secure conference championships, or what we just witnessed Sunday, these playoffs generated immense levels of excitement and engagement across multiple platforms of dissemination, leading to record ratings and revenue.
At the same time, the NFL had storylines surrounding the action both on and off the field, and there undoubtedly remains plenty to talk about over the coming months as the delay of baseball becomes more imminent. The retirement of Tom Brady has amplified debates regarding who the greatest athlete of all-time may be. Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the league alleging discrimination in hiring practices seeks to foster significant change to a system NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged as not doing enough in trying to promote diversity.
There’s also the injury to Odell Beckham, Jr., the nostalgic Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show, and uncertain future of Green Bay Packers quarterback and NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers to talk about as well, just to name a few of the other storylines.
One of the people who will keep the football conversation alive is NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver and commentator for NFL Network and ESPN, Michael Irvin. Known for his flamboyance and passion for football, Irvin delivers his analysis and opinions about the game periodically, appearing alongside Stephen A. Smith on Mondays as a co-host on First Take, a show which has consistently improved its ratings since its reformatting in September.
Whenever he appears on camera, fans can look forward to seeing Irvin’s wardrobe for the day. On Tuesday’s Damon and Ratto on 95.7 The Game, Irvin said his suit gives him special powers.
“I didn’t have my suit on First Take last week because the box didn’t come,” explained Irvin. “My suits are like my cape. They turn me into Superman. Without them, I really feel like Clark Kent.”
Irvin’s father, Walter, was a roofer, and worked from sunrise to sundown every day. Growing up around him inspired Michael to work hard and make a good life for himself. After his father’s death, he used the clothes he wore when he helped his father as motivation to perform at the highest level on the field.
“I took the clothes [I wore] when I worked with him, sat them on the wall in college and said to myself: ‘Brother, if you don’t make it in this, you’re going back to that,’” Irvin reminisced. “Every time I saw a [defensive back] lined up, all I saw was [my father working] on that damn roof. I said: ‘Brother, I’m about to hurt you if you don’t get out the way. I’m not going to do that all my life.’”
Throughout his post-retirement job as a football analyst and commentator, Irvin strives to remain grateful for the opportunities he has been given and has worked hard to earn. Despite many long days, including the 8.5-hour NFL GameDay broadcast leading up to Super Bowl LVI, Irvin knows that if he told his father about his current occupation, his father would not be able to find any complaints.
“It’s the greatest job in the world,” said Irvin. “I just witnessed the greatest season, at least in the playoffs, in the world, right here as we came out of a pandemic. Sometimes it gets tough. Sometimes it gets hard. But man, it’s the greatest gig in the world.”
“They pay us to do it – it’s unbelievable,” added KNBR co-host Damon Bruce. “Michael, you’re the only man who sounds like he’s better dressed than everyone on the radio.”
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.
Doug Gottlieb: Nobody Cares About World Cup Once USA’s Eliminated
“I’m sure people in the soccer world are still talking about the World Cup. But zero people I know in real life are talking about the World Cup today.”
The United States has been eliminated from the 2022 World Cup, and FOX Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb believes that will return the sport back to its usual place inside the sports media landscape.
“I’m sure people in the soccer world are still talking about the World Cup,” Gottlieb said on his In The Bonus podcast Monday. “But zero people I know in real life are talking about the World Cup today.
“You can tell me how big soccer is in the world — and I’m not gonna dispute it — and you can tell me we’re doing better in the world than we’ve ever done — and I’m not gonna dispute it, it’s fine — but the fact is that as soon as that match was over we went from a couple of hours of soccer guy, or writer guy who’s really a soccer guy at heart, talking about should we change coaches, tactics, players, or whatever, and then it’s over. I don’t know who won and I don’t care.”
Gottlieb later added that soccer has been “the sport of the future” for his entire life, but added that college basketball is going on right now, and it isn’t on the national sports radar, either.
Jon Marks Working Without At Contract at WIP
WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.
94WIP afternoon host Jon Marks has revealed he is working without a contract.
A report from CrossingBroad.com claims Marks mentioned the development on the air two weeks ago, and Marks confirmed the news when the outlet asked him for comment.
He did not, however, wish to say much more about the situation. WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.
In late October, the station announced the current midday show of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie would replace Cataldi in the mornings. Longtime morning co-host Al Morganti will remain with the station but will no longer be heard in mornings once DeCamara and Ritchie take over. Anchor Rhea Hughes will stay in the morning timeslot.
The station has yet to name a new midday show to replace DeCamara and Ritchie. Marks is currently teamed with former NFL linebacker Ike Reese from 2:00-6:00 PM. The two were paired together in 2017.
Boomer Esiason Wonders If Joe Buck Was Criticized Before Energetic Monday Night Football Open
“Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”
Monday Night Football got off to an energetic start last night, with the usually reserved Joe Buck showcasing an exuberant attitude while discussing the weather and the fact that the calendar has already flipped to December. WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason wondered if there was an ulterior motive to Buck’s raucous start.
In addition to the energy exuded by the Monday Night Football announcer, Buck nearly howeld in excitement as the network showcased Tom Brady’s usual scream of “Let’s F—ing Go!”, by shouting “Yeah! Let’s go! I can’t say one of those words!”
The excitement was noticed by Boomer & Gio update anchor Jerry Recco who played the audio for the show, with Boomer Esiason wondering if Buck was proving a point to someone.
“Maybe somebody told him he was too downcast the previous broadcast,” Esiason wondered. “Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”