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Gregg Giannotti: Some ‘Mike and The Mad Dog’ Off-Air Fights Were ‘Unbelievable’

“I remember Dog kicking the studio door open and screaming. It was intense.”

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A computer issue during the first hour of Boomer & Gio on WFAN brought up memories of Mike and The Mad Dog for Gregg Giannotti Friday morning.

The call screening software on Boomer Esiason’s in-studio computer wasn’t working, and was told the computers “weren’t talking with each other”. That triggered Esiason’s mind to ask Giannotti about his former on-air cohorts.

“Have you ever worked with a guy that you’ve ever not spoken to outside of the studio and you come back in and everything seems fine? You ever have a problem with anybody?,” Esiason asked.

“Yes. I did. There was a guy I worked on the air with that we did not speak off the air, only on the air,” Giannotti revealed.

“And how did that go?”, questioned Esiason.

“Not great. Not great at all,” Giannotti said. When asked if it was during his time in Pittsburgh, Giannotti confirmed that was the case. Esiason then asked if Giannotti was the offending party, which he denied. “I think it was sort of the opposite.”

Boomer then brought up he had heard that Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo wouldn’t speak to each other at times, which update anchor Jerry Recco confirmed.

“I worked with them in one of those terrible periods where they did not speak a word to each other off the air,” Recco said.

“But could you tell when they were on the air?”, Esiason asked.

“Yes and no,” Recco admitted. “You could tell because there was — so I was on the board at that time and (Chris) Carlin was the producer — there was a period of time where Chris would open up the show and say ‘Good afternoon, Mike. How are you?’ and he would say ‘I’m fine, Dog. How are you?’ and Chris would do the whole thing, and Mike would just go into sports and not acknowledge him.”

“There was a period, too, where I was working there as the midday producer and they were still there together,” Giannotti reminisced. “Dog would be in the studio, Mike would leave, and Mike would wait outside of the studio until the on-air light would come on to go back into the studio so there wasn’t any time they were together off the air.”

“I just can’t imagine working with someone that I couldn’t just come in and totally feel relaxed with,” Esisason said.

“It’s not a great environment,” Recco admitted.

“I’m very fortunate for 16 years to not have that happen to me,” Esiason concluded. “What were they fighting about?”

“That I don’t know,” Recco said.

Boomer then asked if the disagreements were over money or sports, and Giannotti remembered a specific fight.

“There was a whole — Dog had a problem one time that Mike wasn’t pay as much attention as he should have. I remember that,” said Giannotti. “I saw that fight. It was just me and (John) Minko in the newsroom. I remember they were going at it. They were fighting off the air.”

“Going as hard as they could?”, Boomer asked.

“Yeah, as hard as they can,” Giannotti remembered. “I remember Dog kicking the studio door open and screaming. It was intense. And the way you could tell they were fighting off the air — on the air — was like the littlest arguments or disagreements would turn into these huge debates. Like the one about the Fenway Stadium (sic) bathroom. Do you remember this? Oh my god. It was like a throwaway line one of them had. I think it was Mike saying it wasn’t that difficult to get in and out of the bathrooms in Fenway. And Dog was like ‘ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY CRAZY? IT’S 45 MINUTES OF STANDING OUTSIDE!’,” Giannotti said as he impersonated both former WFAN hosts.

“‘No you’re crazy, Dog’, it was just back and forth screaming at each other about the Fenway Stadium (sic) bathrooms. And you’re like ‘Why?!’ I remember going over and turning the speaker up in the newsroom thinking ‘Woah! This is great!’ Unbelievable.”

Jason Barrett Podcast

Jason Barrett Podcast: Jeff Smulyan, Never Ride a Roller Coaster Upside Down

Jason Barrett

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There would be no sports radio if not for Jeff Smulyan. He takes JB through the triumphs and disappointments of his career and explains why he is sharing so many stories in a new book, Never Ride a Roller Coaster Upside Down. To pick up your copy, click here.

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Sports Radio News

Zolak & Bertrand: Kirk Herbstreit’s Comments A Wake Up Call For Patriots Fans

“Next time you feel like they shouldn’t be booing them, there’s someone from a national perspective – who has been calling games now in the NFL for at least all of this year – but is very familiar with the league and all the different cities and he’s been in college environments for a decade plus, and said their fans aren’t angry enough.”

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Zolak and Bertrand

Things appeared to come to a head for the New England Patriots and their fans last week as the team fell to the Buffalo Bills 24-10.

Many fans of the Patriots with the loss seem to have accepted the fact that the glory days of the franchise are officially over. Thursday Night Football analyst Kirk Herbstreit even noted that it was off-putting that fans near his broadcast vantage point were fine with the Pats coming out on the losing end.

“I just felt the sense of acceptance of where they are,” Herbstreit said during a Friday appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. “It really shocked me. I’m just so used to the Patriots’ 20 years of excellence, and not just the NFL in all of professional sports. And to see their fan base just like, we suck, whatever, game’s over, like early they were like that.”

On Zolak & Bertrand Monday, co-host Scott Zolak disagreed with Herbstreit’s take.

“I don’t know what you want from a fan base to do after that when the game’s over, and the place starts to dump out,” he said. “The game was well in hand.”

Zolak’s cohort Marc Bertrand felt differently, praising Herbstreit for offering that sort of perspective.

“Next time you feel like they shouldn’t be booing them, there’s someone from a national perspective – who has been calling games now in the NFL for at least all of this year – but is very familiar with the league and all the different cities and he’s been in college environments for a decade plus, and said their fans aren’t angry enough,” Bertrand said. “They let ’em off the hook.”

Bertrand felt like Patriots fans had every right to be pissed off with the product the team put on the field last week and have done so far this season. Especially when people are paying top dollar for admission to games.

“That product doesn’t match those prices last Thursday night,” he said, continuing to agree with what Herbstreit said. “You don’t hear that a lot around here. So I thought it was a nice change up.”

Zolak and Bertrand both seemed to determine that perhaps it was a case of fans being too nice and being willing to accept failure from head coach Bill Belichick and his staff.

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Paul Finebaum: ‘I’ve Been Accused Of Giving Up Objectivity For Nick Saban’

“I’ve been a flag waiver for Nick Saban since the day he got there.”

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People not from the state of Alabama may not realize that there was a time when there was no more vocal critic of the football team than Paul Finebaum. On Monday morning, he told Cole Cubelic of JOX 94.5 in Birmingham that his perspective began to change in January 2007.

“I’ve been a flag waiver for Nick Saban since the day he got there,” Finebaum admitted.

To be fair to Finebaum, Saban and the Crimson Tide have won five national championships and eight SEC championships since his arrival. It has been way easier to wave the flag than find fault.

Paul Finebaum says that some people don’t see it as that simple though and he has had to learn to accept some criticism.

“I’ve been accused of losing all my objectivity and focus to support Saban,” he said. “I believe in that because I believe he has completely transformed that school into what it is today.”

Acknowledging that Saban has been a game changer not just for Alabama football, but for the university itself, doesn’t mean that Paul Finebaum never has anything critical to say about the coach and his team. In fact, he told Cubelic that he was really put off by the way Saban campaigned for Alabama to be included in the upcoming College Football Playoff.

“For a coach of Nick Saban’s intellect to go on national television and use the point spread as a reason for entrance, when he was a big favorite in the two games he lost, he was an overwhelming favorite at Texas, the game where he needed a last-second field goal, and probably was the game that cost him the birth in a TCU head-to-head comparison.”

Saban appeared on multiple television shows and halftime shows stating that if you put Alabama up against any of the other teams in consideration for the final two spots, they would be the favorites. Finebaum thought it was a step too far.

“I want to make it clear,” he said. “I understand Nick Saban standing up for his program. I’ve hear people say ‘well, every coach would do that’. Well, you know what? I didn’t see Ryan Day doing that. I didn’t see Josh Heupel doing that. I saw Nick Saban doing that and I think that is what was so startling to me.”

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