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Louis Riddick Tells Will Cain ‘We’ll See’ On Monday Night Football

“He was on The Will Cain Show on ESPN Radio Thursday and he talked about what that role would mean to him.”

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As the NFL offseason continues, one of the major questions yet to be answered away from the field is who will be the people that fill the vacancy in the Monday Night Football booth on ESPN for the 2020-21 season? 

One of the people that is favored to get one of those spots is former NFL player and front office executive, Louis Riddick. He was on The Will Cain Show on ESPN Radio Thursday and he talked about what that role would mean to him. 

“It’s the pinnacle of broadcasting, as far as football is concerned,” said Riddick about Monday Night Football. “To be able to call a live broadcast of a Monday Night Football game outside of a live broadcast of a Super Bowl is the very top level. It’s like going to the Super Bowl and winning it and winning it 16 straight weeks. That’s what it would feel like to me.”

One of the quotes that stood out in this interview that went on for over an hour was when Riddick was talking about playing for the Cleveland Browns under head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Nick Saban and what he learned from that experience that he applies to his life today. 

“When I look back at it, it is the best thing that ever happened to me, said Riddick about playing for the two coaching greats. “One of my greatest achievements in professional sports, honest to God, is earning the respect of Saban and Belichick. It’s probably one of my greatest accomplishments.

“I know what it takes to be the absolute best from a mental toughness, work ethic and resiliency standpoint. That’s what I bring to my job now. In this world, I kind of approach it in my mind, I am [Michael] Jordan in this world. I’ll do things I promise you that you aren’t willing to do. I’m watching stuff to get ready to go on shows I promise you aren’t doing this. I know what’s going to happen and I think that’s what has helped catapult me in my career.”

Clearly, Riddick sounds like he is ready for the challenge. He has done multiple things for ESPN since joining the company in May 2013. He has called college football games, worked on NFL Draft coverage, and he was an analyst with Steve Levy and Brian Griese for last year’s MNF game between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. Now, in his mind, the ball is in ESPN’s court. 

“People at ESPN know that. They are re-configuring the Monday Night Football booth again. I don’t really need to say anything about it. Everyone else knows where I stand with that. They have to make their own decision. We will see what they do.” 

Whenever you listen to Louis Riddick, you tend to learn something new about the NFL each time. Time will tell when he gets that next big opening in whichever role he wanted, but it safe to say he will be prepared for it. 

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Fred Toucher: If Sean Grande is Not Retiring After Sign-Off Message, He is a ‘Pretentious Lunatic’

“They just won the championship; it has nothing to do with you.”

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Sean Grande
Courtesy: Jim Davis, Boston Globe

The Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship on Monday night, securing the 18th banner in the history of the organization and officially claiming the title of the franchise with the most championships in league history. Celtics radio play-by-play announcer Sean Grande delivered a final call encapsulating the moment on 98.5 The Sports Hub and then commenced postgame coverage with color commentator Cedric Maxwell. To close the broadcast, Grande delivered an emotional sign-off message to the listeners in which he told Maxwell that he loved him and thanked the listeners for tuning into the broadcasts. Fred Toucher played the audio of the sign-off on Wednesday morning’s edition of Toucher & Hardy on 98.5 The Sports Hub and proceeded to deliver his opinion on the matter.

“The 23 years I’ve spent with you guys has been, with the exception of being a dad, has been the honor of my life, and I wouldn’t trade any of it,” Grande said on Monday night. “I recognize that being the voice of the Boston Celtics is probably the first line of my obituary one day. It has been an honor in every way, shape and form an honor could be.”

At the moment, it is not clear whether Grande is retiring from his job as the radio play-by-play announcer for Boston Celtics games. Earlier in the year, he did not receive the television play-by-play job for the team following the retirement of Mike Gorman at the end of the season. The way in which he signed off, however, resembled what one would say on their last broadcast, according to Toucher, considering the remarks about his time with the team and his obituary.

“If he’s not leaving and that was just the end of the season, he’s an absolute lunatic,” Toucher said. “And quote it, say I’m a di-k, I don’t care. I thought about it overnight – I’m even more convinced than ever. If he’s not leaving, he’s a pretentious lunatic. That’s lunacy to make that about yourself at the end.”

As Toucher gave his opinion, he articulated that Gorman was not comfortable making the broadcast about himself at the conclusion of the first round of the playoffs. While he recognizes that Grande deserves a sign off if it is indeed his last broadcast, not revealing whether or not he is retiring has elicited speculation. Co-host Rob “Hardy” Poole asked if Grande genuinely does not know if he will be back, leading Toucher to express that he should not have signed off in that manner if it was the case.

“Putting myself in his position and having sort of the same job – talking on the radio – it’s insanity,” Toucher said. “It’s insanity. They just won the championship; it has nothing to do with you.”

Show anchor Jon Wallach, who has filled in on Celtics broadcasts in the past and has always wanted to be the voice of the team, shared that he had not heard anything. Additionally, he spoke with Maxwell on Tuesday and learned that he was not aware of any potential change taking place.

“Sean has signed off similarly in the past,” Wallach said. “This one was a little bit more, I don’t know if ‘dramatic’ is the right word, but this one he seemed more choked up than in previous years, but similarly he’s said things like, ‘Thank you or going on this ride with us. It’s been an honor.’ That kind of stuff.”

Toucher thought that Grande should have ended the broadcast by congratulating the Boston Celtics for winning the NBA Finals and conveying that they would be remembered for the rest of their lives. Instead, the minute-long monologue about the honor he has to call Celtics games and work with Maxwell is a decision he regarded as insane. In fact, if Grande was sitting in front of him in the radio studio, Toucher said that he would have expressed the same thing and does not feel badly about his opinion.

“If he’s retiring, I wish he would have said he was retiring, and then he could be honored like he deserves for having the job for 23 years,” Toucher said, “but if he’s not retiring, he’s a lunatic.”

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Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms Reunite on WFAN

“I watch your show sometimes with you in the morning, it’s terrible.”

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Graphic for Boomer & Gio on WFAN and a photo of Phil Simms
Phil Simms Photo Courtesy: CBS

Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason were back together again this morning as Simms was a guest on Boomer & Gio on WFAN. Simms called in to talk with Esiason and his morning partner Greg Giannotti about the New York Giants ‘A Night with Legends’ event tomorrow night to celebrate 100 seasons of New York Giants football.

The interview was mostly a couple of buddies making fun of one another and having some good laughs. It got off to a rather hilarious start when Giannotti read off what would be happening at the Giants event. He transitioned from that read to the introduction of Simms by saying, “…there will also be artifacts from the Pro Football Fall of Fame and one of those artifacts is on the line with us right now, Phil Simms.”

Prior to Simms coming on, Esiason was told who the next guest was and quipped, “Can my day get any worse?”

Simms then started the interview by saying, “Boomer, you want to make your day worse, just look in the mirror that will get you going.”

Simms and Esiason of course worked together for many years on the set of The NFL Today on CBS. Simms spent 26 years with the network and Esiason was a part of it for 22 years, starting in 2001. However, both will not be retained by CBS as they decided to bring in fresh blood and hired Matt Ryan to be the voice of the quarterback on the show.

Hearing the two back together even for a short time on the radio, brought back memories of the back and forth they would share on Sunday mornings.

“I watch your show sometimes with you in the morning, it’s terrible,” Simms said about catching Boomer & Gio on CBS Sports Network. “I don’t know what else to say. You sit there with like a blank stare.”

“I sat with you all those years and all I had to listen to was Giants story here, Giants story there, this guy here, Parcells, Belichick, Lawrence Taylor, it goes on and on and on,” Esiason replied.

“You’re so full of it,” Simms countered. “You’re still the same. Nobody talks about themselves more than you, so I don’t want to hear it.”

As part of the 100 years of New York Giants football, the team will be releasing a list of “Top 100 Players” beginning in July and going throughout the summer. The conversation moved to where Simms might fall on that list and Esiason told Simms, “I think you are one of the most underrated players who has ever played.”

“That must have been like vinegar in your mouth,” Simms replied.

Simms told a good Bill Parcells story about a game where he threw three interceptions and after the third, he was expecting to get chewed out when he came to the sidelines. Parcells instead calmly asked Simms if he was watching the same game that Parcells and the offensive coordinator were watching.

Then, as the interview started to wrap up, Simms said, “I only got another minute or so because I gotta go down and start painting the garage and finish it up because that is what my life is now about.”

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Scott Kaplan Signs Multi-Year Extension with ESPN Los Angeles

“More than anything, I am just happy to be part of this team. ESPN LA and Good Karma Brands do things right, it’s a great partnership.

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Graphic with the logo for ESPN LA and a photo of host Scott Kaplan making an announcement about his contract extension
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN LA

It has been a week of announcements so far for ESPN LA. Earlier this week the station announced it would be the flagship station for USC Trojans football and men’s and women’s basketball games. Yesterday, the station announced a new contract extension for afternoon drive co-host Scott Kaplan.

If you listen to or know about the programming at ESPN LA, you can imagine they have had some fun with these announcements. Kaplan’s contract situation coinciding with the Lakers searching for a new head coach allowed for some crossover conversation and a tongue-in-cheek announcement quote that read, “I have decided NOT to take the Lakers head coaching job, and keep my talents at ESPN LA.”

Chris Morales did the honors on the air after teasing the big announcement.

“It is an honor and a privilege to say that Scott Kaplan has finally done what is right,” he said. “And we open up the major announcement case and we say…Congratulations Scott Kaplan on a multi-year deal that will keep you on the LA Afternoon Drive Takeover…and at 710 ESPN for years to come.”

A standing ovation and hugs followed.

BSM spoke with Kaplan, and he said, “More than anything, I am just happy to be part of this team. ESPN LA and Good Karma Brands do things right, it’s a great partnership. I love what we have and will continue to do build.”

Kaplan, who had a 19-year run at the Mighty 1090 in San Diego that ended in April 2019, has been with ESPN LA since August 2020. Kaplan also previously worked at WQAM in Miami and WNEW in New York and also has done work with CBS Sports and Westwood One.

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