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Russian Roulette: Sports Has Lost The Covid-19 Game

“A rash of new coronavirus cases, in a country roiling in pandemic tension and racial strife, is forcing the industry to face what it has resisted: inevitable future outbreaks that demand an immediate shutdown of America’s biggest leagues.”

Jay Mariotti



It will be OK. Really. Maybe you’ll read some books, buy a mask, pick a fight with Siri, meet a National Guardsman, learn how to rig an election or realize as I have in southern California that skies are blue without snarled freeways, though the ocean remains the color of cannabis. Simply, one’s life needn’t be commandeered by sports.

Having been reminded again that COVID-19 is the real power broker and badass at large — slamming a pandemic-defiant, $200 billion industry with new blasts of infections — sports has reached the point of no return. It’s time to enforce what I’ve written and said since the week Rudy Gobert openly mocked the coronavirus, then succumbed to it.

Sports must shut down. NOW. Because the rush to resume games is starting to resemble a dangerous, irresponsible form of slavery, reflecting what NBA player Justise Winslow wrote on social media and what other athletes surely are feeling: “This s— ain’t even ‘bout basketball or our safety anymore. All About The Benjamins baby. Not sure if they really care if we get corona.” This is no time to make athletes feel like guinea pigs amid a fragile racial climate, only roiled by despicable events in the bosom of Alabama: a noose was found in the Talladega garage of NASCAR’s only black driver, Bubba Wallace, who recently had forced the circuit to ban the Confederate flag. So much for the seemingly meaningful progress during the proud, productive and generally peaceful Black Lives Matter protests, as a hot, turbulent summer awaits a ravaged America.

Justise Winslow Takes NSFW Shot at NBA, Claims League Only Cares ...

Is Winslow wrong, given the riches at stake? Sports should prioritize health over wealth. It must take its ball and go home until the virus, or a far-off vaccine, indicate otherwise. Let the hostile Major League Baseball charlatans rumble in some faraway mud pit and put a bastardized season out of its misery. Let the NBA pop its problematic bubble, allowing players to be with their families and support the BLM mission without distraction. And let the NFL and college football, in a sport that should refer to its line of scrimmage as “the petri dish,’’ heed the wry observation of Rams coach Sean McVay, who points out, “We’re sitting here talking about handless doors. We’re talking about some of this stuff and we’re playing football. I mean, we’re going to social distance, but we play football? Hey, this is really hard for me to understand all this. …. I don’t get it. I really don’t.’’

I never have gotten it, beyond a decades-long realization that sports is filled with alpha egos and megalomaniacal billionaires who’ve never accepted no for an answer but suddenly have no choice. They’ve tried to confront The Beast with protocols, lockdowns, testing quarantines, MagicBands, Trumpian bluster and hollow assurances from health experts, but sports people aren’t much different than legions of COVID-iots who refuse to wear facial coverings because they’re too cool/independent/privileged/healthy/wealthy to get the virus. Guess what? Sports just got the virus in its most sweeping wave of transmissions to date, battered in so many directions that even the most optimistic souls have been jolted toward a grim conclusion.

The year 2020 is gone, the usual asterisk replaced by a saliva droplet.

For those accusing me of gloom-and-dooming, excuse me for thinking about lives lost and weakened instead of your Corona Party. When Jason Barrett graciously asked me to write for his media site, the plan wasn’t to hyper-cover the audacity of leagues trying to buck a killer medical crisis. But this is the biggest game we’ll ever chronicle, even as wishful-thinking sports sites persist with mindless content that pretends the pandemic isn’t happening. I’m a journalist who covered the Bay Area earthquake, 9/11 as it was happening and an international uprising or two along with decades of compelling sports fare — Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, 14 Olympics, 27 Super Bowls and numerous NBA Finals, World Series, Final Fours, golfing majors, everything but the Iditarod. And I’ve always realized sports is inessential compared to life’s landmark stories. So the directive here is simple.

Barstool Founder Dave Portnoy wins Auction to Visit Roger ...

Stop wishing and start thinking. If positive tests are so widespread now, how many COVID-19 massacres await when training sessions and regular seasons begin? Aren’t outbreaks inevitable no matter how many tests are administered? And if so, why is sports hellbent on jeopardizing the health of athletes, coaches, support staff and their families — and God knows who else? — by force-feeding seasons that shouldn’t be happening anyway? League and broadcast executives who’ve expressed confidence about postseasons being completed, trophies being awarded and even spectators paying for seats are either delusional, delirious or lying out of their asses for ulterior motives such as money, money or, perhaps, money.

Do they actually think 118,000 funerals around the country were fake, that the coronavirus still is no more harmful than the common flu? Do they realize America has devolved into a hopeless, hapless COVID-19 mosh pit, divided in a civil war over a precaution as logical as wearing a mask? Do they know that cases are still surging in record numbers in the U.S. and abroad, thanks to a maskless president who insists the virus will “go away’’ even after six of his staff members tested positive? Do sports people not read the horror stories of survivors who thought they were dying and began pondering, for a few dark moments, if death was the best option? The Beast is laughing, amused that sports assumed it could win this ballgame. And rather than obey the gallant American impulse to never, ever quit, it’s time to pack up the hope chests and run for shelter before a too-desperate-to-be-trusted business adds to the death toll.

“I’m actually of the mind right now: I think this is more like a forest fire,’’ said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a prominent epidemiologist, on NBC’s “Meet The Press’’ program. “I don’t think this is going to slow down. I think that wherever there’s wood to burn, this fire is going to burn out.’’

Sports should dispose of its woodpile. There is no sensible pathway toward completing a season, much less launching one, when a ghostly pathogen lurks around every corner. We cringe upon hearing of even one confirmed case, but consider it a powerful awakening when MLB labor crossfire is halted by a spate of positive tests at team facilities — such as five players and three others with the Philadelphia Phillies — that required a shutdown of all 30 camps in Florida and Arizona. No battalion of Hazmat suits can save baseball when, alarming health issues aside, the owners and players have wasted weeks in negotiation futility. The outbreaks prompted players, the ones taking the health risks, to twice delay votes on MLB’s most recent proposal — a 60-game season — until more COVID-19 data was gathered. Here’s your data: The resumption of any sports season will cause people to get sick, the only question being how many. Seems the virus was tiring of the labor impasse, as well, and when the Phillies released a grim statement, it smacked of looming finality that will damage baseball irreparably if the season isn’t played and 17 months pass without an official major-league game.

Time for John Middleton to close out Bryce Harper – Phillies Nation

“In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season,” concluded owner John Middleton, “the club declines comment, believing that it’s too early to know.”

It’s not too early to know that sports cannot go on this way, believing the virus will dutifully surrender when it intends to keep wreaking havoc. Attempting to resume games only will poke The Beast, and such chaos will bring every league, including the NFL behemoth, to its knees. What, every time there’s an outbreak during a season, we’re supposed to treat it like an All-Star break and wait for games to resume? That’s just more of the same fairy-tale nonsense they’ve wanted you to embrace all along. Pandemic fatigue — an easing of social distancing accompanied by the start of summer and reopening of businesses — prompted leagues to sell hope via their obedient blowtorch, ESPN. But over the weekend, the network’s MLB and NBA insiders were somber: The baseball season was in trouble, while a perilous spike in Florida’s positive cases was placing NBA players further in harm’s way as a Wednesday deadline nears on whether they’ll participate in the Disney World pipedream.

Of course, it hardly was coincidence when MLB, the NFL and the NHL were hit hard after a reckless lapse: allowing players to work out without protocols in place. In a week when NFL star Ezekiel Elliott tested positive, your heart sunk when two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players tested positive; hasn’t Tom Brady been working out with teammates? But pro athletes can use unions to reject seasons. College football players, who aren’t paid or represented by unions, are raw meat to universities, conferences and TV networks trying to protect $4 billion in jeopardized riches.

We have no idea how campus life will look starting in August, yet that isn’t stopping the purportedly high-minded leaders of American academia from selling out to football riches. It’s a gimme-mine mentality reflected by a rube coach, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, who since has been exposed for racist leanings and was called out by his best player, Chuba Hubbard, for wearing a shirt with the logo of right-wing news network One America News. Said Gundy, not long ago, in what sounds abusive, exploitative and quite telling in the current racial climate: “In my opinion, we need to bring our players back. They are 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22-years old and they are healthy and they have the ability to fight this virus off. If that is true, then we sequester them, and continue because we need to run money through the state of Oklahoma.”

Video: Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy apologizes for ...

Not sure how Gundy still has his job. But they also want to run that money through football factory Clemson, where 23 football players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. And Texas, where 13 players tested positive. And LSU, where more than 30 players were placed in quarantine to slow the spread. At least Kansas State, after 14 athletes tested positive, suspended all football workouts for two weeks, joining Houston in hitting pause. Ohio State, Indiana, Baylor, Missouri and SMU, among others, want athletes to sign waiver forms acknowledging risk, freeing universities of liability as they pocket TV windfalls. 

Then there’s golf, a social-distance-friendly sport that still can’t get out of its way. Nick Watney, a five-time PGA Tour winner, tested positive Friday and withdrew from the RBC Heritage event at Hilton Head — after testing negative when he arrived at the tournament, meaning he likely contracted the virus at the site. If that isn’t spooky, mind explaining why Watney was allowed to wait for his test result at the driving range, as Brooks Koepka and others stood nearby? Said Rory McIlroy: “If you contract it, that’s fine, but then it’s who have you come into contact with and who you might have exposed. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic.’’

If only everyone in sports understood that. By now, after 2.3 million confirmed cases and almost 120,000 deaths in the U.S., the enormity and persistence of The Beast should mortify everyone. Yet there was insider Brian Windhorst on ESPN, saying the NBA was undaunted by Florida’s virus outbreaks because the bubble plan is “too big to fail.’’

Yeah, too big to fail.

Please rescue these madmen from themselves. Before someone dies.

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Tricia Whitaker Will Find The Story That Matters

“My role is to really bring the viewers down to that level of the dugout and into the clubhouse.”

Derek Futterman



Tricia Whitaker FNB
Courtesy: Apple

When St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run in his final season in the majors last September, the baseball world erupted in mass jubilation. Although the milestone achievement occurred during a road game, the fans still showered one of the sport’s quintessential athletes with praise as they witnessed the fourth player enter this exclusive pinnacle of power hitters. For fans watching from afar, they were treated with crisp, vivid footage of the moment since the matchup was exclusive to Apple TV+ as a part of its Friday Night Baseball slate of games.

The game broadcast featured field reporter Tricia Whitaker, who had just joined the Apple TV+ presentations to begin the second half of the season. Being there as one of the voices tasked with keeping viewers informed and captivated by the action was a special experience that she will never forget. 

“You’re talking about the best cameras in the entire world capturing one of the most iconic players ever,” Whitaker said. “I thought the call was amazing; I thought the quality of the shots was amazing [and] I’l never forget that broadcast, ever, because it was so cool.”

Whitaker grew up in Bloomington, Ind. and would journey to Wrigley Field with her father once per summer to watch the Chicago Cubs. Through those games, she realized that a ballpark was her ideal future workplace.

“We just didn’t have a ton of money, [so] I would sit in the nosebleeds with him once a summer and that was the biggest treat in the world,” Whitaker said. “I just realized that I loved telling stories and I loved sports, so I decided to do that.”

Whitaker’s journey in the industry genuinely began as an undergraduate student at Indiana University Bloomington where she adopted a mindset to seize any opportunities offered to her. Despite having no knowledge or previous reporting experience, she accepted a role to cover a tennis match and quickly started preparing. After one of her professors saw her nascent media acumen, they recommended she audition for the university’s student television station to hone her skills. Whitaker earned a spot and began covering Indiana Hoosiers basketball and football for the show Hoosier Sports Night. From there, she simply kept on accepting anything in her purview.

“Your best asset is your availability, so I basically just said ‘Yes’ to everything,” Whitaker articulated.

Once it became time to search for a full-time position, her experience and tenacity helped her land a role at WBAY-TV in Green Bay as a sports reporter and anchor. After two football seasons working there, Whitaker relocated closer to home to report for WTTV-TV Channel 4 in Indianapolis. The time was valuable for her to cultivate new relationships with those around the industry while strengthening existing ones, serving as a foundational aspect of her reporting. 

“If they don’t trust you to tell their stories, they’re not going to talk to you,” Whitaker said. “You have to be able to have a good relationship with the players; with the coaches and everybody involved.”

At the same time, Whitaker felt compelled to make a lasting contribution to Indiana University through teaching and inspiring the next generation of journalists. She is now an adjunct professor for the IU Media School and wants her students to know how integral it is to make themselves available while being open and willing to try new things to make inroads into the profession. 

“There’s always a story to be told, so even if it’s a random event that you don’t think anyone’s paying attention to, there’s people there; there’s human stories and their stories matter,” Whitaker said. “That’s what I always try to tell my students is [to] just find that story that makes people interested in it and find that story that matters.”

Over the years working in these dual roles, Whitaker became more skilled in her position and proceeded to audition to join the Tampa Bay Rays’ broadcast crew on Bally Sports Sun as a field reporter. When she received news that she had landed the coveted job, she remembers starting to cry in her closet while trying to organize her clothes. After all, Whitaker had just learned that she would get to perform the role she idolized when she was young. The access her role gives her to the players and coaches on the field is not taken for granted.

“I’ll interview hitting coaches about a guy’s hands and where they’ve moved and about his stance,” Whitaker said. “….In the next hit, I’ll tell a story about a guy who drinks a smoothie every day before the game and he feels [that] putting spinach in it has really made a difference or something like that. My reporting style is pretty much all of it, but I do like to do the human interest stories more than I like to do anything else because I think that’s unique.”

After each Rays win, Whitaker takes the field and interviews one of the players on the team. Earlier in the season, she remembers speaking with Rays outfielder Jose Siri after he drove in three runs against the Detroit Tigers; however, the broadcast was not on Bally Sports Sun. Instead, she was doing the interview for Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+, a national broadcast property the company pays MLB an estimated $85 million annually to carry. Going into the interview, Whitaker knew that she would need to appeal to more than just Rays fans and appropriately started the conversation by asking about the game.

Yet she also knew that it was “Salsa Night” at Comerica Park in Detroit and thanks to her work with the regional network, was cognizant of the fact that Siri likes to dance in the dugout. As a result, she concluded the interview with a request for Siri to demonstrate his salsa dancing skills, something that made an ordinary conversation stand out.

“I tried to personalize it a little bit to help people get to know Jose Siri a little bit better because I think that’s important,” Whitaker said. “….You make sure you talk about baseball, but then you add a little flair to it; add a little personality to it. Everybody loves salsa, right?”

The Apple broadcasts require Whitaker to prepare as she executes her role with the Rays, keeping her wholly invested and consumed by baseball. There are occasions where she is afforded the luxury of reporting on Rays games for her Friday night assignment, but they are rare. Therefore, she needs to become familiar with two teams by reviewing statistics, reading local reporting and conversing with those involved. She keeps her notes on her cell phone and makes lists of what she is going to do during the day to keep herself organized and focused.

Throughout the week, Whitaker actively prepares for the Friday night matchup and meets with her producer to contribute her ideas and learn about the macro vision of the broadcast. The Apple broadcast, aside from using high-caliber technology, also regularly equips microphones to place on players that allow viewers to hear what is transpiring on the field. Whitaker, along with play-by-play announcer Alex Faust and color commentator Ryan Spilborghs, coordinate with the production team throughout the game to present an insightful and compelling final product.

There was criticism of the Apple TV+ live game baseball broadcasts during its inaugural season, but the noise continues to diminish in its sophomore campaign. Whitaker views her role as accruing a confluence of stories about the game and more insightful looks at the personalities on the field. Before each contest, she interviews a player in the dugout and asks questions that put the season in context, granting a comprehensive understanding about a subset of their journey.

“We try to get their thoughts on the season so far at the plate, but also try to get to know them on a personal level,” Whitaker said. “My role is to really bring the viewers down to that level of the dugout and into the clubhouse.”

It is considerably more facile to execute such a task before the game than it is during gameplay because of the introduction of the pitch clock. While it has undoubtedly sped up the game and made the product more appealing for fans of all ages, its actualization threatened the viability of unique aspects of baseball broadcasts. The Apple TV+ crew may work together once per week, but over a 162-game season spanning parts of seven months, there is a perdurable bond and unyielding chemistry evident therein.

“Everybody on that crew – and I seriously mean this – is so supportive no matter who you are as long as you do your job well,” Whitaker said. “They don’t even think about the fact that I’m a female in sports [and] they just support me. They help me take constructive criticism because they care and because they truly see me as an equal.”

Whitaker has had the chance to report from Wrigley Field with Apple TV+ and vividly remembers her experience of stepping inside as a media member for the first time. It was a surreal full-circle moment that has been the result of years of determination and persistence to make it to the major leagues.

“I walked into Wrigley and I started to tear up because I remember when my dad and I used to go there and I was 12 years old,” Whitaker stated. “If you would have told me at 12 years old [that] I would be doing a national game at Wrigley, I would have told you [that] you were lying because I just wouldn’t have thought that was a possibility.”

Although Whitaker is receptive to potentially hosting regular sports programming in the future, she has found the joy in her roles with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Apple TV+. Being able to experience historic moments, including Pujols’ milestone home run, and then diving deeper into the situation makes the countless flights, hotel stays and lack of a genuine respite worthwhile. She hopes to continue seamlessly fulfilling her responsibility this Friday night when the New York Mets face the Philadelphia Phillies at 6:30 p.m. EST/3:30 p.m. PST, exclusively on Apple TV+.

“There’s always a story to be told, and if you’re good at your job, you’re going to find that story even on a day where you’re like, ‘Oh gosh, there’s nothing going on,’” Whitaker said. “I take that pretty seriously.”

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Radio Advertising Can be the Secret Weapon For In-House Digital Marketers

“The trend of businesses gaining digital marketing proficiency presents a unique opportunity for YOU.”

Jeff Caves



Courtesy: ETSY

Remember when in-house marketers were primarily focused on traditional media and needed help navigating the digital and social media landscape? Well, the tables are turning! 

The rise of digital-savvy in-house marketers is opening up exciting opportunities for radio ad salespeople. As local businesses increasingly invest in digital marketing, some are finding they need your expertise in radio advertising.

Borrell Associates has released their latest Business Barometer, and included in the findings was a slight but noticeable shift favoring traditional forms of broadcast media. Let’s dive into how sports and news radio ad salespeople can leverage this shift to target businesses with proficient digital marketing people on board who may need to know more about the potential of radio advertising.

1. Digital-Marketing Trending UP!

Borrell Associates’ recent findings indicate that businesses are increasingly proficient in digital marketing. They are adeptly managing their websites and social media channels, driving results through online campaigns. However, this digital surge doesn’t necessarily translate to expertise in traditional media, such as radio. Hey, do you know a business like that? And make sure you know of an outsourced digital agency you can refer who can handle your clients’ digital and social media for very few dollars. You can help manage the rest of the budget! 

2. Target In-House Buyers

Make a list of businesses you know that have in-house people who are digital-oriented or younger owners who handle mostly digital advertising independently. Or, how about the in-house marketing person who only takes on marketing initiatives like events or sales promotion and knows nothing about advertising? Get ’em! 

3. We create demand

One of the unique selling points of radio is its ability to generate demand and send more customers to Google or your client’s website. Digital marketing can often direct buyers seeking a specific purchase but can’t create lasting impressions and build demand and loyalty like your station. Use this advantage to demonstrate how radio can reinforce the brand story and enhance the effectiveness of digital campaigns.

4. Surround the listener

Recognize that businesses with digital marketing expertise may want holistic solutions. Sell packages that combine digital and radio advertising. Include your streaming endorsements with social media and geo-fencing. They get it and will be impressed with reaching their target audience across multiple touchpoints.

5. Be the Teacher

Your prospects may be experts in digital marketing, but they might not fully understand the potential of radio advertising. Take on the role of an educator. Provide resources, case studies, and success stories that showcase how your station and radio have boosted digital-savvy businesses’ results.

6. 1+1=3 for Creativity

Collaboration is key when working with clients with a digital marketing team. Involve them in the creative process of writing and producing radio ads. Creativity could be their strength, and they will bring fresh perspectives to your production.

The trend of businesses gaining digital marketing proficiency presents a unique opportunity for YOU. Maybe your client is struggling with their digital strategy. Imagine that now they may be seeking you out to help them understand what they have already read about buying radio advertising. It’s time to adapt your approach and position radio as a complementary and powerful tool in the digital marketing person toolkit.

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Bill Parcells Shaped The Media By Giving Them Hell

“Parcells doesn’t belong in a studio chatting with a quarterback. He belongs in a temper tantrum screaming at a sportswriter.”

John Molori



Bill Parcells
Courtesy: AP Photo

Two of the most talked about media stories of the past couple of weeks intersect in the form of one legendary NFL head coach – Bill Parcells. 

In the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ potentially season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1 of the NFL season, many media pundits harkened back to 1999 when then-Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde suffered a similar injury in the first game of the season. Like Rodgers, Testaverde was a veteran signal-caller looking to bring the long-suffering Jets to a Super Bowl. 

One week after Rodgers’ injury, Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley was in the media mechanism for an exchange with a reporter after his club fell to 0-2. Staley took issue with a query about whether the team’s monumental playoff collapse last season versus Jacksonville has carried over to their slow start this season. 

ESPN’s First Take included video of Staley’s comment on their September 19 show building it up as some rash, heated interaction between coach and press. It was not. In fact, Staley merely directly answered the question asserting this season has nothing to do with last season. 

Both of these headlines find common ground in the person of Bill Parcells. Parcells was the head coach of the Jets in 1999 when Testaverde’s season ended in that fateful game vs. New England. In addition, he was notorious for some truly vitriolic run-ins with post-game reporters. 

Forget about Staley or even the infamous press conference rants of Jim Mora (“Playoffs!?”), Herm Edwards (“You play to win the game!”), and Dennis Green (“Crown ‘em!”). To the media, Parcells was Armageddon, Three Mile Island, and Hurricane Katrina rolled into one. Never has there been a football character so inexplicably loved and despised. 

In New England, Parcells’s arrival as head coach of the Patriots in 1993 signaled the turnaround of the franchise, but fans refuse to vote him into the team’s Hall of Fame because of his unceremonious jump from to the Jets after the 1996 season. 

When that happened, Parcells again grasped the media spotlight stating, “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” He was referring to new owner Bob Kraft taking final say personnel decisions away from Parcells.

Like him or not, Parcells, known as The Tuna, rejuvenated five NFL franchises. The New York Giants were a mishmash of Joe Pisarciks and Earnest Grays before Parcells turned them into two-time champions.

Patriot fans actually cheered for the likes of Hugh Millen and Eugene Chung until Parcells came to town and brought in players like Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Adam Vinatieri, and Tedy Bruschi, laying the foundation for a dynasty.

And the Jets? They were living off the fumes of Joe Namath’s Brut 33 until Bill Parcells constructed a team that went from 1-15 in 1996 under Rich Kotite to 9-7 and 12-4 in 1997 and 1998 respectively with Parcells. 

The Cowboys were 5-11 under Dave Campo in 2002. The next year, they went 10-6 with Parcells. Miami was 1-15 in 2007. The next year, with Parcells as executive VP of Football ops, they won the AFC East with an 11-5 record.

The Catholic church has its Apostle’s Creed. Those who follow the gospel of The Tuna have A Parcells Creed, and it goes as follows: I believe if a reporter asks Parcells if he outcoached a colleague, that reporter will be called a “dumb ass.” I believe that the media are “commies” and “subversive from within” as Parcells once labeled them.

I believe in using the media to denigrate young players to keep their egos in check. After Jets QB Glenn Foley had a solid preseason performance a few years back, the New York media surrounded the redheaded QB as if he had won the Super Bowl. 

Parcells walked right in front of Foley and sarcastically asked, “Do you mind if I get past Sonny Jurgensen over here,” referring to the similarly redheaded Redskin quarterbacking legend.

In 1995, when all of New England was agog over a rookie running back named Curtis Martin, Parcells slyly commented to the press, “Well, we’re not carving his bust for Canton just yet.” And of course, there was the late Terry Glenn. When asked how the former Patriot wideout was recovering from an injury, the Tuna spouted, “She’s doing just fine.”

Parcells’ stints as a studio analyst on ESPN, although insightful, seemed out of place. He would sit there, dressed in a dark blue suit talking strategy with fellow ESPN gabber Steve Young. Honestly, he looked like a rotund funeral director searching for someone to embalm.

Parcells doesn’t belong in a studio chatting with a quarterback. He belongs in a temper tantrum screaming at a sportswriter. 

I interviewed Boston media personality Steve DeOssie about Parcells. DeOssie was the defensive signal caller for the New York Giants (1989-93) when Parcells was the team’s head coach. He again played for Parcells in New England in 1994.

He told me, “Parcells realizes that the media is the enemy. Let’s face it, the media cannot do anything positive for a team, but they can put stuff out there that could lose a game. The bottom line with Parcells is whether it helps his team win.”

“He loves the camera and the camera loves him. He enjoys that part of the business. The media can spin it any way they want. Parcells does not suffer fools gladly and a lot of media types don’t like being called out in press conferences.”

Another Boston media legend also gave me his reflections of Parcells. Bob Lobel is the most revered sports anchor of all-time in New England. He stated, “I did a one-on-one interview with Parcells awhile back. He is so down to earth yet has this aura. It’s easy to be in awe of him.”

The national perspective is similar. When Troy Aikman was an analyst for FOX Sports, the current Monday Night Football color commentator credited Parcells with restacking the Cowboys’ roster and bringing winning back to Dallas.

When asked about playing for Parcells with the Jets, FS1’s Keyshawn Johnson offered, “He taught me how to do things, how to pay attention.” 

Even people whom Parcells fired maintain a respect for him. Sirius NFL Radio’s Pat Kirwan was the director of player administration for the Jets when Parcells arrived in 1997. 

Kirwan told me, “Parcells rebuilds a franchise from top to bottom. He evaluates everyone from the trainers to the doctors to the equipment guys. In 1997 when Bill came to the Jets, I knew I was qualified, but I also knew that Bill would let me go.”

In a September 12, 2023 story, New York Post reporter Brian Costello interviewed Parcells about the Rodgers injury. 

This master of media mind games famous for the quote, “You don’t get any medal for trying,” revealed his visceral core telling Costello, “You are charged with winning games under any circumstances … They’re not canceling the games. They’re not canceling them. You’re coaching them. It’s your job to get your team ready to play to the best of their ability.”

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