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Mad Dog on Francesa Reunion: That Ship Has Sailed

“With Francesa recently stating his interest in adding a second voice to the show and Russo’s SiriusXM contract nearing expiration, it seemed like a good time to reignite the reunion rumors.”

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Mike Francesa is letting everyone know not to call him, he’ll call you if he’s interested in a co-host.  At the same time, his ex-partner, Christopher Russo made it clear to WFAN, Mike and the Mad Dog reunion is off the table.

Every couple of years, rumors about Russo returning to WFAN pops up.  With Francesa recently stating his interest in adding a second voice to the show and Russo’s SiriusXM contract nearing expiration, it seemed like a good time to reignite the reunion rumors.

“I thought there was a chance, maybe a couple of years ago when that 30-for-30 came out.”  Russo told The Michael Kay Show, referring to the 2017 ESPN Mike and the Mad Dog documentary.  “I thought there was a chance there a couple of years ago that that could occur. That did not, so I would say probably safely that ship has sailed,” Dog said regarding a possible return to WFAN.

Michael Kay’s co-host, Don La Greca pressed the issue, wondering what Russo would do if WFAN and its parent company, Entercom asked him to return.  “They won’t ask, No. 1, so it’s a hypothetical, I probably at this point in my life I would not.”

Kay chimed in on the hypothetical, presenting the “what if” Entercom offered Russo for $5 million for a return to terrestrial radio.

“They won’t,” Russo said. “If they did, I would probably say no.”  Russo went on to compliment his current company, SiriusXM, stating he likes the content he can do on the satellite platform.  

“First off, let’s be fair: I’m not that important,” Russo added.  “Entercom, Mark Chernoff or anybody else, or Mikey, they’re not going to come back and say, ‘hey Chris, by the way, we love you so much, here’s five million, let’s topple ESPN Radio with the ratings.’ They are not going to tell me that.  It’s a nice hypothetical, Mike. I know you’re trying to get me in a little trouble. I would say they wouldn’t want me and I wouldn’t go.”

This wasn’t the first time Russo joined The Michael Kay Show, but it was probably the most controversial as the segment came on the final day of the winter ratings book.  With Kay and Francesa neck and neck in a ratings battle, one that the iconic WFAN host has never lost, it appeared as if Russo was rooting against his former partner.

“Believe it or not, I didn’t even realize that this was sort of the end of the ratings period, this day. . . I can see I’m a pawn and a sacrifice,” Russo said.  

“That would not have been my intention, because obviously FAN was my home for 20 years with Mike. So I did not think that, but listen, the fact that there’s still people who care in New York is a good sign.”

Although the winter book closed on Wednesday, the ratings won’t be revealed until mid-April, when both hosts are likely to claim victory.  ESPN includes streaming numbers in their rating, while WFAN does not, allowing them to sell digital advertising separately from terrestrial radio.  If Francesa’s stream was included, it’s likely he would have a higher number than Kay, but Nielsen will not report the ratings that way.

And by the way, Dog did talk sports while joining The Michael Kay Show.  Dolan, the New York Football Giants, Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame and free agency were all on tap in the 20-minute interview which can be heard by clicking here.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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Gregg Giannotti: ‘Drew Brees Isn’t Used To Not Succeeding’

“He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”

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What does the future hold for Drew Brees? Andrew Marchand reports that he is set to leave NBC. Brees himself says nothing is decided yet.

On Monday morning, Boomer & Gio discussed why the former quarterback is in this position just one year after making his broadcasting debut. Gregg Giannotti noted that if Brees was brought to NBC with the idea that he would eventually be the top game analyst, the criticism he faced last year and the network’s decision to stick with Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth were likely unexpected blows to his ego.

“That’s a tough spot, man, for him,” Gio said. “The guy’s been beloved his whole career. He did go through a little bit of it when people were all over his ass for saying the wrong thing one time, but here he goes. He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”

Boomer Esiason added that the criticism Drew Brees received for his work in the broadcast booth did not apply to his work on Football Night in America or the Sunday Night Football halftime show.

“He was good in the studio,” Boomer Esiason said. “I saw him in the studio and I liked him.”

Brees prefers calling games to work in the studio. According to Marchand’s report, that is what is at the heart of his potential exit from NBC.

The color commentator role may come with more prestige, but it isn’t easy. Esiason has experience with both positions. He calls games on the radio for Westwood One and has been a staple of CBS’s The NFL Today since 2002.

“Some guys are not meant to be game analysts, that’s all.”

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