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Andy Lindahl Will Find What Is Interesting And Do That

“As you well know, there are plenty of guys out there that just want you to shut up and do what I’m telling you to do. Well I’m the creative entity here. I need you to give me a little more leeway than that.”

Brian Noe

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Andy Lindahl was born and raised in a Bronco household. His mom was a TV yeller, which eventually trickled down to him. As a general rule of thumb, those who raise their voice at the TV don’t lack passion. Andy is no exception. He went on to cover Denver sports for more than two decades including a 10-year stint as the Broncos sideline reporter. I find it interesting that Andy views the process of divorcing his fandom as a blessing and a curse. He tells people that he loves the Broncos, but when the team sucks like they have for the last five years, he’s going to say they suck.

Lindahl Exits KDSP &

Two of Andy’s biggest influences include a pair of his former radio partners Mark Schlereth and Scott Hastings. Andy has worked at KOA, Orange & Blue 760, and now at his current home Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM. He hosts afternoon drive with his partner Nate Kreckman. As you will gather while reading this piece, Andy can definitely tell a story. He has a knack for connecting with people and finding things that are memorable. I enjoyed my chat with Andy and my money is on you enjoying our conversation as well.

Brian Noe: What were some of the toughest situations you encountered when you were the Broncos’ sideline reporter?

Andy Lindahl: Super Bowl XLVIII sucked for a lot of reasons. It sucked doing the job because I walked into that locking room and I had developed relationships with guys — Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Knowshon (Moreno) a little bit, Pot Roast (defensive tackle Terrance Knighton) was one of them. All of those guys except for Pot Roast gave me a look like don’t you dare come over here and ask me anything. Nobody wanted to talk in that locker room. As I approached the tunnel, I’m like man this is going to suck. I don’t even know what to ask these guys. That was such an ass kicking. It was so surprising that they lost that badly to the Seahawks.

Eli and Archie were in front of me as I was approaching the locker room because I always gave my headset and mic to Peyton so he could talk to Dave Logan in the booth. I was following Eli and Archie. One of the security guards gave me the look of like hey give him a minute. Eli walked in and not 30 seconds later flew out of there walking three times the speed as what he walked in there. I was like oh God this is going to be bad. Then when I got in there, nobody talked except for Pot Roast. He was always good to me I think in part because he wanted to be in the media. He was like ‘Andy I’ll talk to you. Just come here.’ I remember Dave throws down to me and I started to ask a question and everybody in that room surrounded us to the point where I was getting crushed because he was the only guy that would talk.

Reuben Droughns, I’ll never forget, Reuben Droughns was a guy I was quote-unquote friendly with for a while. He had a block in Jacksonville. This was my first time officially on a regular season game on the sideline. I’m in Jacksonville and it’s 2006 or 2007. Reuben Droughns tripped and fell into John Henderson and broke his leg. Matt Lepsis had already engaged him. It looked like a chop block. The Jacksonville Jaguars thought he did it on purpose. Marcus Stroud comes over to our sideline and starts screaming. That was one of the biggest dudes I had ever seen in pads. I’m kind of peeing down my leg, this guy is so angry.

John Lynch starts screaming back at him. Al Wilson is wanting to fight him. I’m like oh my God, what is going on? The Jaguars were convinced it was a cheap block and from what I was told later, he tripped on the play and fell into the leg of Henderson when Lepsis already had him up. After the game I had to go in there and I looked at Reuben and I asked him what happened on that play, man? He was like what are you talking about? He came back at me in the angriest tone I’ve dealt with in a while. I had to re-ask the question. I was like I’m talking about the play that Henderson got hurt on. From your point of view what happened there? This was the first time I wasn’t used to a guy like that getting upset with me.

I had to get Ronnie Hillman after the 2012 game where Rahim Moore — the Fail Mary as we call it in town — Rahim Moore misjudged that thing. What do you ask him? “Man, you guys had that thing won.” When there’s no next week, how many times do you ask a guy how bad does this suck? The sudden death losses like that are bad.

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BN: A lot of the sports radio model in Denver is the broadcaster asking the ex-jock a question and then getting out of the way. When you’re allowed to do more and show your personality, what is that like for you as a broadcaster? 

AL: Some of the listeners — as you laid out — are programmed in this market to listen to the jock’s opinion and that’s all that matters. Well, the way I try to attack things is I’m going to tell you that it’s not just one man’s opinion; it’s multiple people’s opinions. Whether it’s Jeff Legwold who has been offered scouting jobs in this league and works for ESPN or any of the number of players that I’ve worked with or been around. I used to stand on the sideline and pick Rod Smith’s brain all the time. He would tell me all the time how something was going to play out and it was amazing how often he was right. Mark Schlereth has taken me to his house and he’s run back tape. He’s taught me about the blocking schemes. He’s shown me when things have been blocked right and when they haven’t been, the techniques they should have used. Do I get frustrated that people want to hear from the ex-jock a lot? I do, but I just keep trying it. Nate and I are just going to try to show everybody that two radio guys can get together and have fun doing radio and there’s still a place for it in this world and in this market.

I got lucky because I learned under Scott Hastings. My first job was his producer. We did a show called The Zoo. It was on KOA. Scott had always taught me let’s not focus on just sports stories, let’s focus on guy content. What are the guys talking about? What would you be talking about at the bar or the water cooler? Sometimes that’s not sports. 

There was one time we were doing a show in the offseason. We weren’t sure what we were going to talk about and FOX ran a show about whether the moon landing was fake or not. We talked for three days about that. People wouldn’t quit calling about whether they thought one thing or another as if the moon landing was faked. Scott taught me how to just find what is interesting and do that. Be yourself and don’t be fake. Don’t think you’ve got all the answers. Just be a guy you want to hang out with. That’s what I’ve tried to do.

BN: As you’ve shifted from being a part of the Broncos broadcast to more of a general part of the Denver media, has that affected your approach to covering the team at all?

AL: Man, I’d be lying to you to say that it didn’t. I’m a little more honest about things at times. It’s going to be the master we all serve the way the trends are going. We’re all going to work for state-run media in some ways, right? The Avs and Nuggets are great about things but there are times where I wonder if I’m going to upset someone with my opinion. Now that doesn’t stop me from giving it but I often wonder if I’m going to get called to the office. It hasn’t happened. 

Brian, it’s tough because since I left they’ve gotten worse. I didn’t have to do a lot of criticizing during my run. I did a Broncos talk show every Thursday night for a while. Then I think in 2012 when I got my talk show, they were pretty good in the Manning era by then so there wasn’t too much to criticize.

It was tough being at the Bronco owned station. It was tough talking to Case Keenum every week when you know he might be getting benched for Trevor Simeon. It’s been nothing but fighting about quarterbacks on the airwaves for four or five years. I’m a little more critical of things now. To be honest with you I’m a little more critical of ownership than I probably would have been if I was still there. But I also feel like the last few years watching these kids fight and sue each other in court, that wasn’t going on when I was at the other station. When Tyler Polumbus and I were at Orange & Blue 760, we prided ourselves on still trying to do real radio. We obviously knew that when Chad Kelly got arrested and acted a fool at a Halloween party, we weren’t going to dive heavy into that even though he was kind of the quarterback that everybody wanted to talk about at the time. So yes it does affect some of the on-air decisions. I try to be fair about things but unfortunately what we’ve seen the last couple of years with this team, there’s just not a ton of positive spin you can put out there.

BN: What’s your biggest passion outside of sports radio and family?

AL: Honestly it’s lacrosse. If I were ever to leave radio, I wish I could coach a college lacrosse team. I coached high school. When Tyler Polumbus and I started doing our thing, it allowed me to go coach a high school team here. I coached the lower levels. 

Durango boys lacrosse gets gritty against Montrose

I love coaching. I love helping kids. I feel like if it wasn’t for guys like Hastings and Logan giving me my shot and helping a young guy, there are a lot of people that just kind of taught me how to do things that didn’t have to, so I always try to pass it on. 

Lacrosse is my passion. I love being around kids. I love seeing the light go on. But I want to be competitive. I’m not here to be your dad coach that’s going to tell everybody they’re doing great. We work in a competitive business. We have to take honesty. You have to look at what the scoreboard truly is. I want to teach kids you’ve got to attack the world that way. Because guys like you and me aren’t making it in what we do if we don’t view the world the way that it is. I always trusted Scotty and Dave because I thought even when they were hard on me I know it came from a place of love so I try to be that kind of influence there too. If I could coach a college team I would but it’s not going to happen.

BN: Football players get asked if they want their kids to play football. I was thinking about that with sports radio. Would you want your kids to choose sports radio as a profession?

AL: Yeah, if they love it like I do. I love what I do and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know that I love that you publish this but we are on the record, I’ve got a second job at Starbucks right now. Everybody raises their eyes, what do you mean, you’re a radio host? Yeah, you know what, radio doesn’t pay what it used to. I took a little bit of a haircut when I switched jobs. I didn’t get all my salary back. I hope that I will next contract negotiation but I want to be in it so bad. I used to bartend so serving people coffee and interacting with people is not really that hard a thing for me and it’s not as awful as some people react like I can’t believe you’re working there. Well, it’s not really that bad. I want to be in radio bad enough that I will work two jobs right now. But I’ll tell you when I was transitioning a year ago, I wondered should I still do this?

I almost went and sold insurance. People think I’m kidding. Bobby Pesavento is one of the CU players that I got to know covering him. I helped him get hooked up with the Crush and he was like I’ll return the favor. I will hire you and you can sell corporate insurance if you want to. I thought it was time to quit being Peter Pan and go get a big boy job. But I love what I do and it’s not hard for me to do it. I’m never upset I’ve got to go to work. Nate and I have been frustrated when the Avs or Nuggets have a game and we don’t get to do a show. If you love something that much then I’d encourage any child of mine to do it. I was in a bad depressed place when I wasn’t doing radio shows and I guess it’s obvious that’s why I decided I’d stay in it. I love what I do.

BN: Could you ever see yourself covering teams that you aren’t as passionate about in another market?

AL: I’ve always wondered that. I don’t know if I have a desire to prove it. I tried to go to Tampa Bay and I tried to move to Austin one time earlier in my career. Here’s the weird thing about me; I’ll do radio anywhere. I’ve become friends with Judson Richards and Nick Hardwick out in San Diego. I’d go to San Diego because I dig the town’s vibe. I dig the weather. I’m a Colorado kid so I don’t do well with humidity. I don’t do well with gray all the time. Going any further east than where I am would probably be a little tricky. I’ve got family in Houston. I was offered a sports director job down there. To me Houston is the Seventh Ring of Hell with its humidity so I want no part of living there full time. I’ve heard Austin was cool, which is why I would go there. If it’s a football town I think I could do it.

Here’s what sucks, Brian, I don’t think I’d move because I just don’t know financially. When I was going to go to Austin, they shut that station down. It was the home of the Longhorns and they flipped it from sports to news six months after I would have moved there. I just don’t know. I’m 46. I’ve got two kids. I own a house. I just don’t know that I need to chase the dream necessarily anymore but I don’t want to quit doing talk shows. If you let me live here, I’ll do radio anywhere. We’ve been doing shows from our basement since March.

I guess I just get worried about people’s commitment to things. Kroenke has shown great commitment to us. I love working for Dave Tepper. I’ve had a lot of great bosses, but Dave has a game plan and Dave has explained the game plan to me. I just really believe what Dave Tepper is doing. I think a lot of the people I’ve worked for and yet Dave is still the best because I’ve never had a guy give me the plan so that you can buy in. I need to work for a guy like Dave Tepper. As you well know, there are plenty of guys out there that just want you to shut up and do what I’m telling you to do. Well I’m the creative entity here. I need you to give me a little more leeway than that.

I’m hoping this works because I don’t want to make any more tough decisions. I know I’m a Denver guy. I know for some people they’ve said maybe you need to get out and test yourself elsewhere. Why? I know this town. I know this community. I know what they want. I’ve been on Patriots radio where I’ve tried to break down why I thought the Broncos were going to win. “Oh you’re a homer, you suck. You’re not negative enough.” All right man, that’s cool. But that’s not how we do it out here. We help each other out here. It’s a competitive situation but people are polite. 

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It’s a different vibe out here than the East Coast. And the LA guys; it’s all about getting seen and getting heard. I respect it. I’m not knocking the way anybody does it but I do think there’s an advantage for me to understand how it operates here, and to your point, I’d have to go to some place that vibes like Denver for it to work. I am not everybody’s cup of tea and I know it.

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Who is Next if Charles Barkley Leaves NBA Television?

“Many entertaining and interesting analysts grace the television airwaves today, but none are Charles Barkley. His exit would create a massive issue for the NBA as it would take away its top TV star, and the league’s best program outside of games.”

Jason Barrett

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Say it ain’t so Charles! TNT’s shaky future with the NBA has pushed Charles Barkley to the brink of exiting television. Though it’s possible his remarks on Friday night were voiced to put pressure on the league to do business with TNT or to increase offers from other networks, if he is being truthful, next season will be the last hurrah for Sir Charles on Inside The NBA. With no Barkley on the show, it likely creates additional changes as well.

Should Barkley depart, many will be sad and disappointed. However, once time passes, the love and appreciation for what Inside The NBA delivered will be remembered forever. Simply put, it’s one of the best shows ever created on sports television.

The NBA’s move away from TNT opens the door for NBC and Amazon to build their own NBA programs. ESPN meanwhile will likely fine tune their roster and approach to try and seize the opening created by TNT’s best show going away.

But subtraction doesn’t always lead to addition for networks. There still needs to be something special to entice viewers to watch. A perfect example is this year’s NBA crew on ESPN. Mike Breen is still exceptional but the chemistry with Doris Burke and JJ Redick isn’t close to what existed with Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. When people know each other, like each other, and understand what each brings to the table, chemistry is produced. That is the special ingredient that has made Inside The NBA a hit for decades.

Many entertaining and interesting analysts grace the television airwaves today, but none are Barkley. His exit would create a massive issue for the NBA as it would take away its top TV star, and the league’s best program outside of games. Increased rights fees can be celebrated all day long, but being talked about before and after the games is vital. That’s what Inside The NBA delivers unlike any other NBA program.

So that raises an important question, if Chuck leaves, who’s next?

Draymond Green is an obvious choice, and the odds on favorite. TNT has been including him on shows for a while now so he can blend in with Shaq, Kenny, and Ernie. He’s a champion, well spoken, unafraid to speak his mind, and is an accomplished host at The Volume. His familiarity with younger viewers is another advantage. The only issues, he’s not as funny as Barkley, and he may wish to continue playing. If he does, that creates a problem. Should he choose to retire after the 2024-2025 season, and if the Warriors part ways with Steve Kerr, could Green’s coach join him on set? Kerr did work for TNT before heading to Golden State.

LeBron James will likely be pursued too, likely even more than Green given his star power. But are networks going to want to pay the game’s most popular player Tom Brady money to work on a pre/post game show? Is that really what LeBron wants to do? If the cast involved LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or a mixture of LeBron’s friends, maybe that gets his attention. But James can create his own content and make millions off of it. There’s also no guarantee he leaves after next year especially if his son doesn’t get drafted.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are two other talented stars with strong chemistry who could sit opposite Shaq and command the viewers attention. They’re not Barkley, but they’re stars with chemistry who alongside Shaq could speak the same language. Pierce especially has shown he’s unafraid to speak his mind. Plus networks do like personalities with ties to popular teams such as the Lakers and Celtics. I personally can’t see the network turning to Paul and Kevin to fill Barkley’s spot. If LeBron and Draymond are still playing though, and nobody can fill Chuck’s shoes, adding championship players with chemistry isn’t a bad Plan B.

Vince Carter, Jamaal Crawford and Steve Smith were mentioned by Barkley as guys he could potentially pass the baton to. I can’t see that happening. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez, Kevin Love, and Andre Iguodala may also be options if they desire to work in TV. Each offers insight, personality and an ability to speak and present themselves well on camera. Most are accomplished and familiar to NBA fans too. Steph Curry will also be courted by networks when he stops playing. I just can’t see him leaving in a year. He’s more reserved, though his dad has excelled as a television analyst in Charlotte.

Barring something out of the box being done such as a network luring Michael Jordan to television, Bill Simmons being hired or the next crew featuring coaches such as Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, and Doc Rivers or the Van Gundy Brothers and Mark Jackson, replacing Barkley is a tall order. His exit likely means Kenny and Ernie go too. Shaq is the one of the four who could transition to a new cast. He has more years ahead if he wishes to stay involved.

All good things do eventually come to an end but there’s plenty of gas left in the tank for Barkley and Inside The NBA. Holding on to the show for a few more years makes the most sense right now. The league is in even stronger financial shape following new rights deals with networks. As big as those wins are though, they’ll feel much less special if its flagship program and top television star are gone after next season.

Barrett Media Music Update:

Last week I revealed that Ron Harrell, Robby Bridges, and Kevin Robinson were joining our Music Radio writing team starting July 15th. Today, we have two more additions to announce. I’m thrilled to share that Bob Lawrence and Keith Berman will join Barrett Media as weekly columnists when we launch on July 15th.

Bob currently serves as Market Manager for Seven Mountains Media overseeing the company’s Parkersburg, WV/Marietta, OH markets. His radio resume includes previously serving as GM of the RAB’s National Radio Talent System, Corporate VP of Programming/Content at Saga Communications, CEO of Pinnacle Media Worldwide, and Market Manager for New South Radio in Jackson, MS. Adding Bob’s experience and perspective will help folks in management, programming, content, and sales.

Keith meanwhile has great history writing in this arena. He spent 7 years at Radio and Records working as a format editor, news reporter and features writer. After R&R shut down, he teamed with Kevin Carter to launch RAMP (Radio and Music Pros), spending 3 years co-writing daily issues until leaving the site in 2012. His passion, knowledge, and love for the industry remains high, and I’m excited to have him on board as we make our move into the music radio space.

In addition to adding Bob and Keith, I’ll have an announcement soon later this week regarding our editor. It’s been an extensive process, that’s involved a lot of phone conversations. I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone the past few weeks, but have made my decision. With the launch less than 30 days away, there’s plenty to do and the right leader is important.

Lastly, I’m hiring a few features reporters and have interviewed some excellent people. Our job post on the website and LinkedIn produced nearly 200 applications in one week. I’ve got a specific plan for how I want to lay this out, so I’m hoping to nail things down with interested writers this week, and have a final announcement next week. We’re almost there.

Thumbs Up:

Sports Radio 610: I loved the creativity from Sports Radio 610 in Houston last week. The station took June 10th and turned it into 610 Day. Shows welcomed back former hosts Nick Wright, Rich Lord, and Josh Innes for conversations, which included stories and behind the scenes details about specific issues. Innes in particular hadn’t been on the station in more than 10 years, so it was a very cool moment. The buzz even led to Houston’s Mayor John Whitmire declaring June 10th, Sports Radio 610 Day. Great work by Parker Hills and his team.

X: Social media platforms have their fair share of warts but X made an improvement this week. Elon Musk’s company made Likes private. After doing so, an increase of activity followed. I’ve never liked seeing high profile people torn to shreds based on what they clicked like on. Assumptions get made and they’re often overblown. Individuals deserve to use their accounts how they wish. The only ones hurt by this move are the media outlets looking to generate traffic over it. If you think losing an opportunity to play Peeping Tom on people’s activity is still an issue, remember, the thought still lives in their head, even if you saw it on X.

Steve Stone: Simplicity can make a big difference in branding when used right. This 30 second video promo from Steve Stone is a great example. I saw it on LinkedIn last week, and thought it was easy to follow, highlighted what’s provided, and the tag line at the end (More Than a Voice, An Advantage) was excellent. Steve’s attention to detail for marketing himself always stands out in a strong way. A great lesson for today and tomorrow’s leaders.

Pablo Torre’s ‘The Sporting Class’: The conversations between Pablo Torre, John Skipper and David Samson are always must-listen/watch if you enjoy sports media business content. The past week’s discussion on WNBA rights was smart, interesting, and the type of insight you look for if trying to learn and understand what’s going on in the industry. Just a fantastic show that should be on your radar each week if you work in the media business.

Thumbs Down:

Tim Cato: When coaches or athletes take the media to task, many like to rip them for it. But sometimes it’s justified. That was the case last week when Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd put The Athletic reporter under a heat lamp for a ‘long ass question’. Too often writers and hosts use questions to show how much they know or they’ll tiptoe around sensitive issues or combine 3-4 questions at once trying to get everything in. The problem with that, it rarely results in good answers. Less is always more. It may not feel as deep but better responses come from short questions built around Who, What, Where, Why, When and How.

KC Morning Sports Radio: Kansas City listeners have had the luxury of waking up, driving to work, knowing that Nate Bukaty would be alongside Steven St. John on WHB, and Josh Klingler would be mixing it up with Bob Fescoe in 610 Sports. Yet in the span of two weeks, Bukaty and Klinger each announced they’re stepping away from FT hosting. That leaves Fescoe and St. John either operating solo, utilizing contributors or working with new partners.

It’s strange to see both shows change at the same time. However, if there’s one advantage, it’s June, and football season is still nearly three months away. Hopefully each show gets stronger, but for today, KC radio listeners have lost something from the shows they’ve consistently depended on.

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Eavesdropping: Mind the Game with LeBron James and JJ Redick

“To have a guy like Kyrie Irving as the ultimate wild card, that’s like having a ‘Draw 4’ in your hand every time someone deals you cards in Uno.”

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Graphic for an Eavesdropping feature on Mind the Game with LeBron James and JJ Redick

Back in March, it was announced that two popular names in the sport of basketball would be coming together to produce a new basketball podcast. The co-hosts are LeBron James, considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, along with ESPN NBA analyst JJ Redick, who was the 2006 National college player of the year and played in over 900 NBA games mostly with the Orlando Magic, the LA Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The podcast is produced by James’ company Uninterrupted as well as Redick’s ThreeFourTwo Productions. Redick said back in March, “It’s meant to be a very free-flowing conversation about the sport and about the game. If you look at it in a very simplistic way, it’s just about basketball.” So as the NBA Finals are going on, I decided to eavesdrop in on Mind the Game with LeBron James and JJ Redick.

Before I get to the episode, I should point out that since the podcast was first launched, the Los Angeles Lakers fired their head coach, Darvin Ham, and Redick’s name has been mentioned as a possible replacement, especially now that Dan Hurley has turned down the job to remain at UConn. This adds another layer to the podcast and is something Stephen A. Smith has called an “an egregious thing to do. I am not talking about the podcast itself, I’m talking about the timing.”

Smith believes James wanted to showcase Redick’s knowledge of the game and that the podcast is somewhat of a ploy by James to get the Lakers to hire Redick. Smith thought with Ham on the coaching hot seat, the March debut of the show made it obvious to him there was more meaning behind it than just these two guys deciding to do a podcast together

Regardless of the reasons for it, there is really only one way to describe the podcast when you listen in, and that is that it’s a Masterclass on basketball. This is not two talking heads sitting around generally analyzing the two teams and then making predictions on the NBA Finals series between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks.

Interestingly, although the title of the episode is “NBA Finals” and it is billed as an NBA Finals preview, the Eastern Conference finals had not concluded yet. This led to a humorous line from Redick at the beginning when he said they were recording the episode with the Mavericks up 3-0 in their series with the Minnesota Timberwolves. “We are going to go a little bit on the assumption that Minnesota will not be the first team to come back from a 3-0 deficit,” he said. “Could happen. I’m not saying it couldn’t. In which case this whole episode is fu**ed.”

Fortunately for them, but not so much for the Timberwolves, they did not come back, and Dallas did move on to play Boston in the Finals. However, with Minnesota still involved at the time, it allowed for Redick to ask James about Anthony Edwards and the comparison between himself and Edwards as both made deep playoff runs at the age of 22.

“I didn’t even know what was going on,” James said. “I was 22 years old; I’m trying to take in as much information as I possibly could. But more importantly I just wanted to go out there and not overcomplicate myself with information and just go out and play free. As a 22-year-old I felt like that’s what I should be doing.”

James said it was a little bit like playing with house money. Nobody expected his team to be where they were, they were the clear underdogs in a series against the veteran San Antonio Spurs, and James felt complete freedom just to go play the game, which Edwards was experiencing as well.

From there, you really get to see why this is not just your regular old basketball podcast for fans. This is a high-level course and if you have not taken the prerequisite courses (meaning you really understand the game), you may not even understand what it is they are talking about.

One of the major features of the show is Redick working on his coaches’ white board and actually drawing up plays. In this case he started out with a set the Boston Celtics are known to initiate their offense from and goes through many of the various options they have out of this configuration.

Redick and James say the set is called a ‘Horns 2’ or a ‘V2’ set up. Redick explains. If you are watching the show on YouTube, you will see definitions put up on the screen which helps you follow along on what the two hosts are talking about.

For this particular setup, the definition explains a ‘Horns’ set as “a half court set in which two bigs set ball screens on both sides of the ball handler with one big rolling to the rim and the other popping above the three-point line.”

The next subject brought a great question from Redick to James about the difference between being an underdog in a series versus being the favorite.

“Going into a Finals when you’re the underdog, you definitely have a different demeanor you have a different feeling,” James said. “It’s a different weight that’s on your shoulders and in your mind and on your back and on your chest. You can feel less anticipation. I have been on both sides. I have been the favorite and lost and have been the underdog and won.”

There are some laughs between the two hosts who have really good chemistry together. But mostly it is just straight, high level, basketball talk. Almost like two coaches sitting in a room watching tape and talking to one another in a language only some can understand. The show, however, is filled with little nuggets you can learn to be a better basketball fan and to understand why teams do things in certain situations.

One discussion on the episode was about whether a team should foul late in a game when they are up three and the other team has the ball. The idea, of course, is that they can only score two points from the free-throw line. This is something that has been talked about by many analysts over the years. However, on Mind the Game, James and Redick go into a discussion about why you should consider fouling when you are up six points, and the other team has the ball. James said the idea here would be to keep things as a two-possession game and not allowing the other team to potentially hit a 3 and make it a one-possession game.

As the two got more into the Celtics-Mavericks matchup, Redick asked James what the absolute best thing was the Celtics did that the Mavericks would have to contend with. “Passing and dribble penetration,” James answered. This brought the white board back out and Redick and James broke down the Celtics offense. “The spacing is what starts everything for them offensively,” Redick said about Boston as he diagrammed on his board.

At this point, video clips are introduced and add to what James and Redick described. First, Redick would draw up a few things Boston may do offensively and then video would play showing exactly what they had talked about. This led into the discussion of how Dallas could stop Boston’s offense and James said, “You can’t give the other team too much of the same.” He described switching up the defensive looks and even talked about how pushing an offensive player slightly off their spot can change things in a big way.

The hosts will often refer back to things they have talked about or reviewed in previous episodes, but if you are not familiar with terms like the aforementioned ‘Horns’ or ‘V2’ set or what a flare is, or a thumb up/thumb down play or what it means for the defense to blitz an offensive player, you may have a tough time keeping up.

Fortunately, James and Redick do speak the same language and as long as you can follow along with their high-level basketball IQ’s, you will enjoy their uncanny recall of players, games and even certain plays. So far, the YouTube channel for the show has 653,000 subscribers and this particular episode had been viewed over 789,000 times at the time I tuned in, so obviously it is something basketball fans are enjoying.

As the show wrapped, both hosts threw out major flowers to James’ former teammate Kyrie Irving who has been playing well for Dallas. This is another great thing you hear during Mind the Game, which is what someone like James thinks about other players in the league. “I would call him The Wizard all the time,” James said about Irving. “There was nothing on the basketball floor that Kyrie couldn’t do. Sitting here watching him, I’m so fu**ing happy and so proud to watch him to continue his growth. At the same time, I’m so fu**ing mad that I’m not his running mate anymore.”

Redick said Irving can be an X-factor in the Finals and James replied, “To have a guy like Kyrie Irving as the ultimate wild card, that’s like having a ‘Draw 4’ in your hand every time someone deals you cards in Uno. …he’s the most gifted player the NBA has ever seen, he has the best gifts I’ve ever seen of any NBA player.”

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Chase Daniel Making YouTube Content as Unique as His NFL Career

Daniel and 23 others were chosen to attend the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp where they had the chance to meet and get coaching from media executives from all of the different NFL broadcasting partners.

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Photo of Chase Daniel at NFL Broadcast Boot Camp
Photo Courtesy: Chase Daniel X Account

Chase Daniel had a well-documented, somewhat unparalleled NFL career. 13 years, five starts, 273 career passes and over $40 million in compensation. He has been called a ‘Backup QB Legend’ by some and the ‘Backup QB GOAT’ by others. A former Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Daniel went to Missouri after having been named the EA Sports National High School Player of the Year. He has always competed, always been one of the hardest working people on the team and generally succeeded beyond expectations.

As his NFL career was winding down, Daniel started doing work for the NFL Network. In 2022, he did 30 shows for the network while he was still playing for the Chargers. He did not play last season and did say that while he has not yet filed the paperwork, it was ok to “break the news” he has retired from playing.

As for the work he did with the NFL Network while still playing, Daniel said, “I think that just sort of scratched the itch a little bit as part of their Monday post-game show. It was really valuable reps, valuable from what I was able to learn.”

Daniel credits his on-air teammates, Omar Ruiz, Adam Rank and DeAngelo Hall for teaching him a lot about television. He said his first full year away from the game, he didn’t want to go all-in, rather dipping his toes in as he was acclimating to home life and being ‘Dad’ and ‘Coach’ to his kids.

“But I ended up loving doing that stuff. I did Total Access on Fridays, and I was on all their draft coverage and all their combine coverage which was awesome.”

Daniel was also doing two different podcasts, one with The Athletic and one with Trey Wingo. And while he still plans to be a part of a national television platform, it is something else that he started on his own and continues to do mostly on his own, that has been drawing a lot of attention his way.

Daniel, like many former athletes, started a YouTube show, The Chase Daniel Show. Initially it was going to be an interview-style presentation, but Daniel had an idea he thought could really hit if done the right way. “I knew in the back of mind, if I could somehow find a way to break down quarterbacks in a way that really hadn’t been done before, there would really be a market for it,” he said.

While he said it took him a while to figure out how to draw on video like an NFL analyst working on a telestrator, once he did it didn’t take him long to see he did have something many people were interested in. His first breakdown video of Justin Fields, then with the Chicago Bears, was viewed over 160,000 times and at the time Daniel had less than 1,500 subscribers on the YouTube page. He is now nearing 50,000 subscribers.

“Well, this is a hit, let’s start doing it,” Daniel said he remembered thinking. He said by October of last year he really had it the way he wanted it and continued to crush it with breakdown videos.

“I never want to come across as condescending or smug, I want to be a teacher,” Daniel said when asked why he chose to do this style of analyzing football. “I want to be able to further the game of football from a standpoint of your mother-in-law and the nerds of football can both understand what I’m talking about. It has been such a fun thing. It’s probably the thing I am most proud of, the YouTube channel.”

As for what is to come this season and how he plans to grow the channel and the content, Daniel said he is not quite ready to reveal all of what is to come but he has a lot of big plans in the works.

“We are just excited to continue to make this better,” he said. “It is a very big, strategic mission for me this year, to make it even better and to get it to 100,000 subscribers. I think you’re going to see even more in-depth breakdowns. I think you’re maybe going to see some live breakdowns.”

Daniel mentioned the possibility of airing live shows this season on YouTube and also on X. He also talked about the possibility of doing some alternate broadcast style shows where he brings others on to his platform to break things down with him.

Daniel also is very active on social media and says he tries to reply to as many of the comments he gets about his videos as possible. His whole goal is to really have a one-on-one relationship with those tuning in for this content.

“I tried to base my whole YouTube channel off of ‘you and me.’ I’m in one person’s computer screen or on one person’s phone, but I am talking to you. If you’re watching my video, you are inside an NFL QB room with me, and we are watching the game the day after we played it, and this is what my QB coach is going to say for 12 plays. And this is what is going to be said in a meeting room and I am going to teach ball.

“I know from being around two hall of fame coaches to being around a hall of fame quarterback, to being in seven different quarterback rooms. I know what is actually being coached. And I love breaking down film.”

As for what exactly he’ll be doing on the network television side this fall, those conversations are still ongoing as he and his representatives with Rubicon Talent work through the various options. In April, Daniel and 23 others were chosen to attend the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp where they had the chance to meet and get coaching from media executives from all of the different NFL broadcasting partners.

“I wanted to go because I want more opportunities and I wanted more coaching on how to call games,” Daniel said. “I think that is one of the more difficult things to do. Because you may think you are going to call it one way, but the game may play out much differently. I feel like that’s where I am good. I feel like I can see something happening in real time and automatically understand from a strategic standpoint what is happening and why it is happening.”

Daniel said he got great feedback from a lot of high-level executives and that a lot of it now is just about timing and “getting in somewhere.”

In explaining what the boot camp was, he said, “It was two and a half full days. I am a note taker, and I took copious amounts of notes. We had Fred Gaudelli (Pete Rozelle Award winning NFL TV producer) teach a class for 90 minutes talking about what it’s like to call a game and telling us what is expected of us. He reminded us, “You serve an audience.”

“They did this for podcasts, talk radio, game calling on radio, game calling on TV,” he said. “They taught you everything for the first two days with panels and groups, then the last day is ‘Let’s see what you learned.'”

Daniel said that last day consisted of calling parts of a game, getting feedback and doing it again before getting more feedback. That continued throughout the time with the various sections of the industry they were working on. He said while calling a game, he was getting feedback from NBC Sunday Night Football coordinating producer Rob Hyland.

Daniel said, “I’m a football player at heart, I like to be coached. A lot of times you don’t get coached in TV. That was the best part of it was all the feedback and coaching that I got.”

As for which direction he’d prefer to go as it relates to working in the studio or calling games as a color analyst, Daniel said he would like to do both and can see himself excelling at both.

“I love to grind, I love to be in it,” he said. “I enjoy it and I see the value in it. There aren’t a lot of people who root themselves in pure facts and film. I can have my opinions, but I deal in what I see on film, and I say what I see. Thats what I try to base my opinions off of.

“I see the value that I can bring to networks where I will crush it in the studio and would be the most prepared guy out there if they put me in the booth. For me, there’s a fire that burns deep to be out there and wanting people to see what I see as I coach ball.”

Daniel says he tries to be his own style but does point to the way Tony Romo started talking “in front of the play” as a way to describe what he likes to do. He says he watches a lot of old games and will listen intently to the broadcasters and sometimes he will turn the sound down and call the game himself.

Daniel, now 37 years old, says he was raised “old-school,” and that he was taught from a very young age that he was to work hard at every single thing he does. While his media career is just getting started, in typical Chase Daniel fashion, his hard work is already putting him out ahead of the pack.

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