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Todd Wright Unloads on Booger McFarland

“Wright said the only one who enjoyed working with McFarland less was Jason Witten. Marc Ryan though disagrees with Wright’s assessment.”

Brandon Contes




The first Monday Night Football broadcast of the season also marks the beginning of Booger McFarland as ESPN’s lead analyst in the booth.  McFarland’s former Tampa Bay radio co-host, Todd Wright used MNF’s season debut as an excuse to record a podcast bashing the now ESPN analyst.

“Break a leg tonight Booger – seriously, break both,” Todd said and titled the podcast episode.  Wright is a longtime sports radio host with decades of experience at both the national and local level.  Currently hosting his Todd Wright TODDcast podcast, Wright once shared a radio show with Anthony ‘Booger’ McFarland.

Wright’s tenure with McFarland lasted just seven weeks when the two partnered on Tampa Bay’s short-lived CBS Sports Radio station, 98.7 The Fan in 2012.

“The only man who didn’t want to work with Anthony McFarland less than me – Jason Witten,” Wright said as he called for Booger to receive more criticism for ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth failure last season.  While the entire Monday Night Football broadcast was criticized, much of the blame was placed on Jason Witten.  Witten’s return to the Dallas Cowboys this season paved the way for McFarland to depart the often mocked “BoogerMobile,” and join play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore inside the booth. 

During his podcast, Wright called out McFarland’s analysis as being empty, also noting many successful football analysts have been offensive minds, such as Aikman, Romo and Collinsworth.  McFarland’s defensive background makes it difficult for him to offer anything in terms of reading the field during the pre-snap according to Wright.

Wright referred to Booger as a “fraud,” not only questioning his ability as an analyst, but also his character as a person, placing blame on the former Buccaneer defensive tackle for the lack of success with their radio show and 98.7 The Fan as a whole.

“He’s really nice to the people who can potentially do something nice for him, then there’s everyone else,” Wright said.  “If you can’t do anything nice for him, or you’re in his way of achieving what he wants professionally – and I’m sure Jason Witten felt this as well – he’ll do anything he can to walk all over you.”

Wright left his radio show with Booger after just seven weeks, stating on his podcast that the two co-hosts who followed him wanted to fight McFarland physically.  The sports radio host was also critical of Booger’s “obsession” with nicknames.  Instead of referring to Todd Wright by name, Booger would call him “T-Dub” a trend that his co-host wasn’t fond of.  Last season on MNF, Booger used the nicknames “Tess” and “Witt” instead of Tessitore and Witten which Wright found childish.

When Wright joined 98.7 The Fan he expected the gig to take him into retirement.  He thought the time was right to challenge Tampa’s premium sports station, WDAE, but the show lasted just seven weeks because as Wright put it, he was “saddled with Anthony McFarland.”

“I’m sure when [98.7 The Fan] went under, a big portion of that was [McFarland’s] failure to generate any sort of consistent audience and have any kind of accountability in afternoon drive with three different hosts,” Wright said.  “I walked, the other two wanted to, or fought him – he just brushed it aside, he didn’t care about the people at the station when the station went down, I still care about a number of those people.”

While Wright doesn’t look back at his seven weeks with Booger fondly and seemingly roots for the ESPN analyst to fail, another one of McFarland’s co-hosts offered a different sentiment.  When reached for comment by BSM, Booger’s former partner on The Fan and current ESPN Upstate host, Marc Ryan had positive things to say about his time with McFarland.

“I have a different experience and I think Todd comes off sounding angry, sore and thin skinned,” Ryan said about the Booger-centric episode of the TODDcast.

Ryan gave credit to Booger for his media achievements, noting the former NFL defensive tackle auditioned for all of his opportunities, having never been handed anything. 

“I’ve never worked with a co-host who prepared harder than he did,” Ryan said, adding that McFarland is insightful and entertaining behind the mic. 

Former Assistant Program Director Jerry Petuck, who’s now involved with Radio Influence, posted on social media that he witnessed many of the issues firsthand between Booger and Wright and still considers both friends. He did not put any blame for the pairing not working out on either co-host. He did share that Wright’s points about the station’s demise were on target.

While Wright viewed McFarland’s time with The Fan as a failure that contributed to the station’s downfall, Ryan called on the successes Booger has had with the current Monday Night Football analyst. 

“You need to be able to laugh at yourself when you work with Booger.  Because I can do that, I really enjoyed my time working with him,” Ryan said.  “Booger and I took the ratings of that station to new heights, we made the TALKERS Heavy Hundred list together and the competing station in the market told me they had meetings about the gains we were making.”

The main reason The Fan was unable to find sustained success and challenge Tampa’s WDAE according to Ryan?  The station signed what he considers to be the “worst rights deal in the history of radio,” agreeing to a five-year broadcast partnership with the University of South Florida Bulls. 

The program director at the time, USF graduate Mike Pepper, gave the Bulls first right of refusal, making it impossible for the station to attract one of the city’s professional teams, the Buccaneers, Lightning or Rays.  Once CBS traded 98.7 to Beasley Media, new ownership saw the suffocating USF broadcast agreement and decided to flip the format away from sports.

Petuck said it goes even deeper than that, adding “There was a lot that was supposed to happen at 98.7 The Fan. I was privy to those plans. Had they happened, it would’ve shocked people and changed sports radio in Tampa forever. But promises were broken, and a lot of lives and careers were damaged as a result of it.”

According to Ryan, the station’s downfall doesn’t fall at the feet of McFarland.  He points out that Booger sought coaching, wanted to create content and be great, and participate in the planning of the show.  After spending nearly a decade as a sports broadcaster, Ryan says it’d be hard for his former partner to have faked his way to where he is today as the lead analyst on Monday Night Football.

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

Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb: I Would Give Up Radio For Coaching Job

“I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up.”





Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb recently interviewed for the vacant head coaching job at Wisconsin-Green Bay and detailed the experience on his podcast.

“I got a chance to talk to (Wisconsin-Green Bay AD) Josh Moon several times during the year after they had made their coaching job available and my approach to how I’ve done these things — and this is not the first time I’ve gone down this path, but this was a different path,” Gottlieb said on his All Ball podcast.

“This is a low-major, mid-major job, and there’s no connection there. I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up. I love doing it and I think there’s a very smart world where if I’m coaching I can still do this podcast and still do it with basketball people all over the country and the world, and it’s kind of like a cheat code.”

He continued by saying that seeing Shaka Smart be successful at Marquette has motivated him to continue to search for the right fit as a college basketball coach.

“That’s what I want to do. And last year when I was coaching in Israel, that also continued to invigorate me…this is something that I would really like to do. It has to be the right thing. It has to be the right AD who hits the right message.”

He continued by saying that a sticking point of negotiations was he wasn’t willing to give up his nationally syndicated radio program for the job. He was willing to take less money for his assistants pool, but also to continue doing his radio show.

Gottlieb did not get the position with the Phoenix, noting that he was a finalist but was never offered the job. The position ultimately went to Wyoming assistant coach Sundance Wicks. Wicks had previous head coaching experience and had worked with Green Bay athletic director Josh Moon at Division II Northern State. He admitted he wasn’t necessarily “all-in” on the job due to the current ages of his children and whether the timing was right to uproot his family to move to Northeastern Wisconsin.

The Fox Sports Radio host does have coaching experience. He has worked as a coach for the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, sometimes referred to as the Jewish Olympics.

Gottlieb’s father — Bob — was the head men’s basketball coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1975-1980, compiling a 97-91 record.

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Sports Radio News

Waddle & Silvy: Scott Hanson Told Us to Lose His Number

“We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”





Aaron Rodgers took immense pride in the fact that he told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter to “lose his number” while discussing his future earlier this week on The Pat McAfee Show. ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy said they’ve experienced similar treatment from guests on their radio show.

While discussing the Rodgers interview with McAfee, the pair admitted that NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson once told their producer to stop trying to book him for interviews on the program.

“I believe the presentation was ‘Do me a favor: lose my number after this interview’,” Tom Waddle said. “So he tried to do it politely. Scott Hanson did. Get out of here. That concept is foreign to me. How about ‘Hey, next time you text me, my schedule is full. I can’t do it, but thanks for thinking of me’. ‘Lose my number?’ You ain’t the President, for Christ’s sake. I’m saying that to anyone who would say that. ‘Lose my number?’ We’re all in the communication business. I just don’t know — why be rude like that to people? What does that accomplish? You know what it accomplished? We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”

Co-host Mark Silverman then mentioned that the show once tried to book Hansen and NFL Red Zone host Andrew Siciliano together in the same block, with the idea of doing a trivia game to see who the supreme Red Zone host was. Siciliano agreed, but Hansen declined.

The pair also confirmed that an NFL Network personality had told them to lose their number, but couldn’t remember if it was Rich Eisen or not.

Silverman later joked that maybe Hanson was getting a new phone with a new number, and was politely sharing with the producer that he could lose the current phone number because he would share his new number in short order.

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Sports Radio News

Seth Payne: Aaron Rodgers ‘Makes Gross Inaccuracies’ When Calling Out Media

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations.”




Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is always mad at the media for the inaccurate things he says they report, but according to Sports Radio 610 morning man Seth Payne, no one is more inaccurate than the quarterback himself.

Friday morning, Payne and his partner Sean Pendergast played audio of Aaron Rodgers responding to a question about a list of players he provided to the Jets demanding they sign. Rodgers called the idea that he would make demands “so stupid” and chastised ESPN reporter Dianna Russini, who was the first to report it.

“Now to be clear, Dianna Russini didn’t say demands in her tweet. She said wishlist,” Pendergast clarified.

They also played a clip of Russini responding to Rodgers on NFL Live saying that she stands by her reporting and it is her job to reach out to confirm that it is true.

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations,” Seth Payne said.

He added that if Rodgers is being serious, he is doing some serious nitpicking. He claims that he didn’t give the Jets a list, but that he spoke glowingly about former teammates and told the Jets executives that he met with who he enjoyed playing with during his career.

Payne joked that maybe he wrote down the names in a circle pattern so that it was not a list. Pendergast added that he could have had Fat Head stickers on his wall that he pointed to instead of writing anything at all.

In Payne’s mind, this is a case of Russini catching stray frustration. Neither in her initial tweet nor in any subsequent media appearance did she use the phrase “demands”.

“What he’s actually responding to in that instance is Pat McAfee is the one that described it as a list of demands,” Seth Payne said.

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Barrett Media Writers

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