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Stephen A. Smith Zings Chris Russo Leaving ‘Mike & the Mad Dog’ For More Money

“I remember this big-time show called Mike & the Mad Dog, it was an institution… But you know something? Mad Dog left! And why? Got his own damn channel!”

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The NFL keeps drawing major sports headlines despite being in the offseason, thanks to big-name player movement throughout the league. Wednesday’s big news was wide receiver Tyreek Hill being traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Miami Dolphins.

What necessitated the trade was Hill wanting a new top-dollar contract, which the Chiefs apparently weren’t willing to provide. But he got that deal from the Dolphins, who will sign him to a four-year, $120 million extension. (Hill will receive a guaranteed $72.2 million in the deal.)

On Wednesday’s First Take, Chris Russo couldn’t believe that Hill wanted to leave a Super Bowl contender with one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and one of the sport’s best all-time coaches for a team with quarterback uncertainty, a new head coach, and possibly more difficult path to the playoffs for “an extra couple o’ dollars.”

Stephen A. Smith pointed out the obvious: Hill is going to the Dolphins for money. A whole lot more money. Sure, winning a Super Bowl is important but Hill has a championship. Now, he’s going to be paid an exorbitant salary, going from $18 million annually to $30 million.

But the discussion turned funny when Stephen A. drew the comparison to someone else who once left a successful franchise for a bigger paycheck. Russo left Mike & the Mad Dog after a 19-year partnership with Mike Francesa to eventually sign a lucrative deal with SiriusXM that included his own show, allowed him to program an exclusive channel, and provided a show on MLB Network, High Heat.

“I remember this big-time show called Mike & the Mad Dog, it was an institution,” said Smith. “It started sports talk radio. It was doing its thing, OK? But you know something? Mad Dog left! And why? Got his own damn channel! And I’m sure that wasn’t for ‘an extra few bucks,’ OK? You made a business decision! What’s wrong with Tyreek Hill doing that?”

That compelled a hilarious response from Russo, who yelled “I was there 19 years!” Molly Qerim was highly amused.

Mike and the Mad Dog reunited earlier this month at the 2022 BSM Summit, where Francesa revealed that Stephen A. was considered as a possible replacement for Russo. Russo mentioned that Smith grew up as a huge fan of the show, which was indicated in his remarks during that First Take segment.

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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