Despite being apart for eight years, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo haven’t lost any zip on their fastball.
The partners of 19 years on WFAN received raucous applause from the moment they took the stage for their three-hour reunion special LIVE from Radio City music hall. Russo opened with his classic, “Good afternoon, everybody!” and off they went, treating it just like any other show.
The show included live appearances by former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, former Yankees manager Joe Torre, former Rangers captain Mark Messier, former Mets skipper Bobby Valentin, and former Knicks Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy. All of them spoke with Mike and Chris for 15-20 minutes about their time in New York, and their future endeavors.
One thing that remained the same for the duo was their shtick as they offered their passionate opinions.
At one point, Russo screamed at free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was in the audience, to re-sign with the Jets. When Francesa countered Russo by asking “How much are they going to have to give him”? Russo replied “16 million” to which Mike followed up by adding “if that’s the number he’s heading there now to sign it. You’re going to look back in a few minutes and see an empty seat because he’s left the building to sign that deal”.
Prior to the show, Francesa and Russo allowed themselves to enjoy the moment and reflect back on what they had accomplished together.
“When we started, sports talk show was at the bottom. No one respected the job,” Francesa said. “Now kids go to school to become a sports talk show host. Now being a sports talk show host is a really good job.”
Added Russo: “Sports talk creates a bond. … I didn’t realize how many 35-, 40-year-olds are so into this. Twenty years ago, they were 10, but they listened to it with their fathers. So they have a bond with their father while listening to Mike and me.”
To buildup to the reunion show, WFAN aired a “Best of Mike and the Mad Dog” throughout the afternoon and early evening yesterday. The station brought back many of Mike and Chris’ famous debates and discussions, funny moments, and special interviews including a classic conversation with former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
The reunion special was carried LIVE on WFAN and SiriusXM radio, and on MSG television.
Credit to the New York Post who provided some of this information.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at [email protected].
Joe Benigno: No Ground Rules in Texting Jets Head Coach
“What else do you want me to say? There’s nothing else I can say.”
With a losing streak that has reached five consecutive games and questions surrounding the team, the New York Jets endured several rounds of negative publicity on Monday. A report from Dianna Russini of The Athletic stated that Wilson was reluctant to reassume the starting quarterback responsibilities, while former WFAN host Joe Benigno revealed that head coach Robert Saleh told him in a text message that he does not like Wilson.
While Saleh addressed the first matter in a press conference yesterday and gave a vote of confidence to his quarterback, there has been several discussions surrounding what Benigno revealed Monday on WFAN. Benigno recognized that he misinterpreted what Saleh said and appeared on Boomer & Gio on Tuesday morning to clear the air. Rather than not caring for his quarterback, Joe Benigno revealed that Saleh was incredulous to the fact that he wanted Wilson to start again after suggesting to him for weeks that he should be benched. The matter was a topic of discussion to open Tuesday’s edition of the show, and Benigno called in to try and defend his actions.
“Well look, I wouldn’t call [it] me hammering him,” Joe Benigno said. “You think I’m sitting there hammering him; is that what I’m doing?”
Benigno did not seem to grasp an understanding of what he did to Saleh, who morning show co-host Gregg Giannotti surmises received a deluge of messages and feedback about the purported narrative. Giannotti presented a hypothetical situation to Benigno where he promulgated information that Benigno did not like his co-host Evan Roberts based on what he was told by him. After asking Benigno whether or not he would consider the action by Giannotti to be an example of throwing him under the bus, he concurred that it would constitute such a classification.
“Okay, well that’s what you did to Rob Saleh yesterday!,” Giannotti replied. “That’s my point.”
“I defended myself in the way that I have to,” Joe Benigno said back. “What else do you want me to say? I shouldn’t have done it.”
Benigno has fostered a relationship with Saleh where they text back-and-forth about the team, but there have not been ground rules established in their interactions. After Giannotti inquired pertaining to whether or not certain things were off-the-record, he was surprised to learn that there were no set limitations about what to and not to disseminate. This caused him not to want to know whether or not Benigno heard from Saleh himself yesterday after the reaction it elicited.
Morning show co-host Boomer Esiason continued the discussion by asking Benigno how the owner of the Jets would feel if someone revealed information that was obtained through a text message that was willingly sent by the head coach. He also averred that Saleh would likely have plenty of time to text with Benigno in the future, surmising that he would be losing his job after the team’s performance this season. Benigno still did not understand how he harmed the reputation of the head coach, causing Giannotti to recapitulate what he had explained earlier.
“The fact that he wants to continue texting you about the team after this makes him look like a stone-cold moron,” Giannotti said, preceding his remarks by explaining that he intended to demonstrate no disrespect to Benigno. “If he didn’t learn his lesson this time around and he’s still going to go back and talk to you about the team, then he shouldn’t be the head coach because that is idiotic. I can’t even imagine the stuff that he heard yesterday from people.”
Although Benigno is not sure if Saleh will still text him about the team, the morning show co-hosts seemed to feel that he reached an understanding about the implications and consequences of his actions. After the call concluded, Esiason inferred that Benigno was feeling “sick to his stomach” about what he did on the air.
“Alright, well look,” Benigno said. “I guess only time will tell, alright. What else do you want me to say? There’s nothing else I can say. Obviously I made a mistake here; something I shouldn’t have done; totally misinterpreted it; and what can I do about it now – not much.”
“What you did actually,” Giannotti answered. “I think what you can do about it now is what you did, which is understand what happened; that’s all. At least we understand that you understand now, so now we can move on with an understanding.”
Shan Shariff: FS1 Has the Worst NFL Analysts
He noted that Skip Bayless, Craig Carton, and LeSean McCoy were the “dumbest” analysts for FS1.
FS1 has assembled a wide-ranging cast of former NFL players and pundits throughout its analyst, panelist, and host roles. That doesn’t mean they have earned the respect of 105.3 The Fan’s Shan Shariff.
During the Dallas morning show Tuesday, Shariff shared that in a recent interview with Awful Announcing, he named the three “dumbest” analysts when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. He noted that Skip Bayless is the worst offender, while Craig Carton is third on his list behind LeSean McCoy. All three work for FS1.
A recent statement from McCoy caught the particular ire of Shariff, for arguing that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, despite playing well recently and being viewed as an NFL MVP candidate, needs to play worse to see how he’ll respond to the adversity.
“I wanna see when he messes and how he responds,” McCoy said.
“I honestly think — I don’t know if he’s a clown or if he’s just not intelligent…he made zero sense,” Shariff said. “Everyone else on set was looking at him like ‘You want him to be worse and mess up so he can respond to that in order to get more MVP consideration?'”
“If he had said ‘I need to see Dak play well against good teams’, that’s a totally valid statement,” co-host RJ Choppy said. “This makes no sense.”
Shariff then brought up a recent statement from FS1’s Joy Taylor that argued Prescott can’t win the MVP due to his on-field play.
“This is like a two-and-a-half-minute clip. I don’t have the patience for or the tolerance for that,” Shariff said.
Co-host Bobby Belt responded by saying “She’s clearly on TV because of her football opinions,” which led Shan Shariff to say “Yeah, Thanks, Jason Taylor,” the older brother of Joy Taylor, who made the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a 13-year NFL career.
ESPN 1400 Coming to KGVL in Greenville, Texas
Greenville, Texas is 50 miles northeast of Dallas.
KGVL in Greenville, Texas is preparing to flip formats from oldies to sports radio with ESPN 1400 set to debut after Christmas.
After it wraps up airing Christmas music, the station will permanently air a sports format with ESPN Radio.
“While we have enjoyed bringing you classic hits for the last few years, we have an opportunity to bring something to Northeast Texas that we can’t pass up!,” a post to the station’s Facebook stage said. “Starting after the Holidays, we will become ESPN 1400! Not only will we bring you non-stop sports, but we will also carry LIVE sports like college football, NFL, NBA, MLB, and even CFP Bowl Games!”
Greenville, Texas is 50 miles northeast of Dallas. KGVL is a Class C, 1,000 watt station owned by E Radio Network. The station covers the majority of Dallas and the eastern portion of the Metroplex. It can also be heard on FM translators on 105.9 FM and 107.7 FM.
The news was first reported by RadioInsight.