Ray Lewis, one of the NFL's most prominent players, was linked with performance-enhancing drug use in a Sports Illustratedarticle this week shortly before the Super Bowl, an article that also said some Alabama Crimson Tide members received PEDs from the same salesman in the case the night before the BCS championship game... and yet, the story hasn't stimulated a lot of wide-ranging discussion about PEDs in football with the Super Bowl later today. Lewis refused to address the issue in his media remarks, while there hasn't been much discussion at all of what went on with the Alabama players, and both stories have largely faded from the public mind. Meanwhile, a Miami New Timesreport linking Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera and other baseball stars to PEDs is still creating a massive stir. The differing reaction to the two stories has some, like CBS Sports' Matt Snyder, questioning if there's a double standard at play:
After years of no universal ranking system, the UFC will be introducing their own cumulative ranking system, voted on by members of the media. The rankings, which will be compiled by FightMetric after every live UFC show, will be posted on UFC.com 24 hours after each event. The rankings will also be used on UFC broadcasts to better explain where a fighter stands in the pecking order of each weight class.
Nothing quite entertains me like prank callers annoying New York radio kingpin Mike Francesa. Francesa has been bothered in the past by callers making fun of his on the job sleeping habits, but credit to Steve in Hempstead for going a new direction and asking the host how many pushups he could do. The reaction is priceless as Francesa is furious Steve (if that is his real name) would be on hold so long just for a gag. I say that's commitment to the cause that should be applauded. You've got five plus hours on the radio Mike, you've got to spice things up every now and then.
America's unofficial national holiday is just a couple days away as most of western civilization will grind to a halt for Super Bowl XLVII. Below is a smorgasbord of information to plan your Super Bowl Sunday around including pregame, postgame, TV, radio and more. Once again, President Barack Obama will appear on the CBS pregame being interviewed by Scott Pelley.
Last May, ESPN's Colin Cowherd went on an unbelievable, inaccurate rant attacking the city of New Orleans as "America's least safe major city." Of course, Cowherd's rant was factually incorrect and had no basis in reality. It was just another nasty stereotype on which he's built his radio career. Cowherd was incredulous over the NFL considering playing the Pro Bowl in New Orleans (they didn't) and criticized the city hosting so many major sporting events in the last few years. Let's take a look back, shall we?
You may have thought those comments would create an awkward situation with Cowherd being in New Orleans for an entire week for Super Bowl XLVII, but incredibly, miraculously, Cowherd has changed his tune on The Big Easy.
Throughout the week, Colin Cowherd has praised New Orleans repeatedly as "the service capital of the world." He's talked with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo about the city hosting major events as "one of the Meccas." In fact, he was in agreement with SVP and Russillo that he had no problem with the same city or cities hosting major events year after year. (Quite the stark change from bemoaning New Orleans hosting the Pro Bowl of all things.) He's talked glowingly about the food and the climate and going out on the town and how the city is a party and even encouraged his listeners to come to New Orleans and bring their significant others!
Judging by everything he's said on the radio this week, Colin Cowherd has had a great time in America's "least safe major city"...
ESPN's Dan Le Batard and UFC fighter/pro wrestling villain Chael Sonnen have quite the colorful history of interviews. Sonnen made another appearance on Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable this week to promote the newest season of The Ultimate Fighter where he stars with Jon Jones as coaches. The two go back and forth and round and round with Sonnen's masterful trolling act on full display and Le Batard barely keeping himself together without bursting out into laughter. The final exchange sums up this interview as Le Batard tells Sonnen, "It's literally always a pleasure" and Sonnen replies, "I can literally never say the same, but you're always welcome."
New Orleans (LA) -- Former Dallas Cowboys fullback Daryl "Moose" Johnston has been out of the NFL for 13 years now, but it doesn't feel like he ever left. That's because he's been in NFL broadcast booths since the year he retired. While many of the Cowboys from that era have been all over the map, Moose's life has been steadier. He's been with his wife, Diane, for 17 years, has two kids and is also extremely passionate about his dogs, one of which participated in the Purina Pro Plan Canine Combine at the Super Bowl here in The Big Easy.
I was invited to spend some time with Moose and his family as they put 3-year-old "Gunner" through his paces. And while there was a nice canine connection, I couldn't admit to Moose that one of my fondest memories of him stemmed from his 1996 appearance on Wishbone.
1) Brad Gagnon: Why'd you get into television?
Daryl Johnston: It was an opportunity to stay close to the game. When I got hurt in '97, I had all the networks call me. They heard I was gonna retire and they wanted to know if I was interested in broadcasting. I told them I was gonna go back and play, and then when I got injured again three years later I called them and said, "Hey, if that offer's still there I'd love to take you up on it now because I am gonna retire." I went over to Europe for NFL Europe for Fox's network in Europe. I came back, I did a little bit of work with ESPN and I did a practice game with CBS. And at that time, CBS gave me the offer that I thought worked the best for us as a family. Unfortunately it was just a one-year contract, and I had a good season and Fox hired me the next year.
2) How do you deal with the criticism you face as a broadcaster, which is completely different from the type of stuff players deal with?
Johnston: It's a subjective business. There is no win or lose in broadcasting, which is the hardest thing to replace as a player. A lot of people say competition -- to me it's the satisfaction of a job well done. And all you gotta do is look up at the scoreboard. If you lose, you already know what things you didn't do well that day and you need to go back and work on those and make sure they don't happen again. In broadcasting, some people are gonna like you and some people are not gonna like you. You have to do it in a style that's true to who you are as a human. You have to stand on the values that you feel are important. And people are either going to accept that or they're just not gonna like it. So there's really not much we can do. When you get negative criticism -- not constructive criticism, but negative criticism -- from people, I can't change your point of view because I'm not gonna be different than who I am. So that's the tough part of the business. I think when people start to change to try and please everybody, you lose, because you're not true to yourself and that's how you get in trouble. I'm more than happy to do the game the way that I think the game should be done and people are either going to like that or they're not. And they're free to go listen to somebody else if they don't like my style.
Or simply hit mute.
Johnston: Exactly. Or turn on the local guy, right? That's our biggest fear. We talk about that. What's the one thing you want to accomplish during the course of the game? And mine is to make sure that they don't turn the TV on mute and turn the radio on to the local broadcast.
ESPN personnel are notoriously restricted from appearing on rival radio shows, particularly The Dan Patrick Show. It's as rare as seeing Ray Lewis give a no comment. In fact, ESPNers usually only appear on Patrick's show once they leave the Bristol City Limits. (Erin Andrews, Michelle Beadle, Doug Gottlieb, etc.) That's why one of the most surprising interviews of Super Bowl week was ESPN mainstay Chris Berman (one of the few untouchable folks in Bristol) breaking ranks to sit down with Patrick.
Berman is a surprisingly interesting and compelling interview. It's fascinating to see him without the schtick dialed up to 15 and talk like a real person and not a caricature. It's a wide ranging interview that talks Berman and Patrick's history at ESPN, how ESPN has evolved, and Berman's career. Dare I say if this Chris Berman appeared more regularly on ESPN airwaves instead of the rumbling, bumbling "Boomer" it'd be a refreshing change.
NBC Sports Network aired a Costas Tonight special previewing Super Bowl XLVII and discussing the state of today's NFL. With player safety becoming a bigger topic by the day, especially in light of President Obama's comments about the game, Costas talked to Rodney Harrison about concussions.
The Football Night in America analyst offered a chilling commentary about his own personal health problems and concern for his future. Harrison discusses his first few years in the league where blows to his head were treated with Advil and how he only recently has learned about concussions. Quite frankly, it's startling to hear the NBC analyst talk about his current feelings of anxiety and headaches and how he is "scared to death for his future."
I always used to think it was extremely far-fetched to hear analysts express doubt over the long term future of professional football due to head injuries. I was of the firm belief there was nothing that could ever bring down the empire the NFL has built. But then I hear these comments from 40 year old Rodney Harrison, one of the toughest players to step on the field in the last generation and a top television analyst, and I begin to think those folks may be right...
San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is conquering the world one championship at a time. Not only did he win World Series MVP with the Giants in October, he also won the Venezuelan championship with Navegantes del Magallanes earlier this week and took home MVP honors. Not too many athletes can win two championship series MVP awards on two different continents within a few months.
Wednesday night, Sandoval hit this massive 4th inning home run in the final game of the series to help lead Navegantes to an 11-9 victory. Even though I have absolutely no idea what's being said, the call is fantastic. If only we had this announcer for the 2012 World Series, it may have been a bit more exciting.