A rift has developed between NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, and his former team the Los Angeles Rams. According to Dickerson, the incident stems from Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher telling him during a recent conversation that members of the team haven’t appreciated some of his commentary and as a result, his presence on the sidelines during games could make some people uncomfortable.
That led to Dickerson publicly revealing the conversation on his radio show on AM 570 in Los Angeles. His comments placed a ton of heat on the Rams, and the team has quickly responded by trying to put out the flames.
Rams COO Kevin Demoff said he tried to call Dickerson on Monday, but was unsuccessful in reaching him. Demoff did offer a public response on Twitter, adding: “Everything we’ve done since we returned, Eric has been part of the organization, and that’s what we want to make sure doesn’t change. He’s been part of our efforts to connect to the community. That’s what’s disappointing about any type of miscommunication, no matter how big or small. He’s somebody we want around. He’s somebody who sets a great example for our players, and I think anybody who’s in this business has to have a thick skin to understand that when you lose there’s going to be criticism.”
When told about Dickerson’s comments, Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher claimed he was unsure where the miscommunication was coming from. He acknowledged that the two men had a ‘really good conversation’ a few weeks earlier, and said that the former Rams star was always welcome in the building, and he’d love to have him come in and attend practice and the team’s meetings.
Upon hearing Fisher and Demoff’s comments, Dickerson became even more upset. He felt the team’s upper management was providing a response to the public which was different from what they had told him privately. He made appearances on Fox Sports Radio, FS1 and ESPN, and gave interviews to the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News.
Dickerson said the Rams Head Coach told him “Players feel uncomfortable with you coming on the sidelines. Some of the stuff you said about the team, coaches and the players, as long as I’m head coach, we’re not going to have that. You’re not going to be saying stuff. You’re not going to be coming to the sidelines as long as I’m head coach here.”
After letting Fisher finish, Dickerson says he told him, “I’m a grown-ass man. I’m not a little kid, or the kids you’re coaching. You think I’ve been anxiously waiting on the sidelines for the Rams to come back to town? You have the wrong guy. I’m not here with my hand out. Do you feel like I owe y’all something? Send me a bill.”
He continued, “You can go anyplace else. You can go back to Tennessee, you can go to Cleveland, you can go to SC. Still, I’m going to be Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams. That’s why I wear that gold jacket. I have the right to say what I say. I’m not trying to hurt the players. I’m a frustrated player and a frustrated fan. I watch this every week. I love the players. I’m always a player first.”
And he wasn’t done there. Dickerson told media outlets that as as long as Fisher’s coaching the Rams, he won’t be present at the Coliseum.
With the Rams struggling on the field, and failing to attract local viewers to watch their games in the nation’s second largest media market, getting into a public spat with the franchise’s most popular former player isn’t going to help matters. It also doesn’t help Jeff Fisher’s job security.
Demoff says he understands the frustration but is also aware that winning over fans in the team’s new home city will take time and patience.
“When you lose football games, people are going to be outspoken. I think we all understand that. Everybody believes that Eric’s entitled to his opinion, as a former player, as a Hall of Famer and somebody who’s been part of our family. Certainly, you’re going to listen to what he has to say. But I think we’re all frustrated and disappointed, and I just think Eric’s viewpoints on his show is that. And he has every right to express himself. I don’t think we would ever attempt to silence him or warn him to feel as if he doesn’t have that platform.”
“This is a city that expects its teams to be champions, and to be in the playoffs, and to win consistently. That needs to be our standard, and if we fall short of that, we have to own up to it and go fix it. This was not going to be a ‘snap your fingers and have a change overnight. There’s a lot of work to be done to grow this fan base.”
Only time will tell if the Rams are up to that task on the field. But for now, they can help themselves by repairing the damage that’s been done with one of the team’s all-time greats.
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 JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Jeff Thurn To Exit ESPN Sioux Falls To Join ESPN Radio
“I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level?”
ESPN Sioux Falls host Jeff Thurn will depart the station for a new national position with ESPN Radio.
The host of Overtime from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM on ESPN Sioux Falls, Thurn has been with the station for more than a decade.
Thurn thanked executives at Results Radio — owner of ESPN Sioux Falls — as well as listeners and guests for being so supportive during his tenure with the show and station during a thread posted to Twitter.
Thurn joined ESPN Radio as a fill-in host in February of last year.
“I’m so pumped to get to go out there and do something on a national level,” Thurn told Dakota News Now last year. “I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level? I think it’s really cool just growing up here, having that opportunity, to now do that on ESPN Radio throughout 2022…that’s pretty cool for me personally.”
His final show on ESPN Sioux Falls will be on Friday, February 3rd.
Craig Carton: Adam Schefter Was Used By the Broncos
“Based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team.”
Tuesday was a frenzy for NFL insiders as the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans nearly simultaneously announced the hiring of new head coaches, and WFAN host Craig Carton believes one NFL insider was used.
Reporting from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport at 4:44 PM ET claimed the Broncos tried to hire DeMeco Ryans — who was hired by the Texans — at the last minute, but was rebuffed, and Denver hired Sean Payton instead.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter — in no uncertain terms — refuted the validity of that report at 4:55 PM ET.
Carton believes Schefter was used by the franchise to help with damage control.
“So here’s the deal: Adam Schefter — many, many years ago — used to write for The Denver Post, and he covered the Denver Broncos,” Carton said. “He is clearly — to his credit – getting his information directly from the Denver Broncos who figure that that story from Ian Rapoport — and it is — is somewhat embarrassing…the fact that it’s out there is a bad look.
“So they go to Schefter who, along with Rapoport — the two voices of record as insiders — and they say ‘Nonsense. Put out there that that’s nonsense’. Rapoport’s getting his information DeMeco or his agent, saying “Naw, naw, no. He had choices. He could have gone to Houston, he could have gone to Denver. Obviously, the Texans sweetened the deal’.”
“Schefter’s getting his info from the Broncos, who are doing damage control,” co-host Evan Roberts concurred.
“Schefter’s great at what he does, I’m not saying that he’s not,” Carton continued. “But based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team — namely Washington — and again, he’s great at what he does. I wanna be clear at how I state this, he’s great at what he does, but it’s obvious that the Broncos are trying to spin this, and they’re using Schefter to spin it.”
Roberts added that the situation was similar to that of NBA Insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, where Wojnarowski “speaks for front offices, where Shams gets his info from players and agents”.
K&C Masterpiece: Cowboys Could Add 30 Million More Viewers To Super Bowl
“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings.”
The matchup in this year’s Super Bowl is set, and the game will undoubtedly be the most-viewed program on TV this year. But if the Dallas Cowboys were taking part in the game, it’s safe to say the ratings would be astronomical.
The Cowboys divisional playoff game against San Francisco drew 45.7 million viewers. It was the second-most watched divisional round contest on record.
The NFC championship between San Francisco and Philadelphia drew 47.5 million.
On 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, K&C Masterpiece host Kevin Hageland said had the Cowboys made it to Philly, the viewership would’ve been even better.
“I know the game sucked, but that just shows you, because the Cowboys were like almost 8 million above every other divisional game, this could’ve gotten to 58 (million),” Hageland said.
Kevin added that if Dallas had gone all the way, the audience tuning in would’ve easily eclipsed some of the highest-rated programs of all-time.
“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings,” he said. “Even with the new system and so many people streaming and everything like that.”
Usually the Super Bowl averages around 100 million viewers. Hageland said a Cowboys Super Bowl appearance in this day and age would’ve set the new top ratings mark for years to come.
“My estimation would be you would add approximately an extra 30 million people,” he said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.