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Seth Wickersham Defends Book On WEEI Amid Criticism From Bill Belichick

“According to NBC Sports’ Chris Collinsworth, the six-time Super Bowl-winning coach was not happy about the book.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: NBC

Editors for ESPN writer Seth Wickersham wittingly scheduled his book on the New England Patriots dynasty, It’s Better To Be Feared, to be released close to Tom Brady’s return to New England.

That fact meant Bill Belichick would hear about all of the different storylines dug up from its pages. According to NBC Sports’ Chris Collinsworth, the six-time Super Bowl-winning coach was not happy about it.

“Bill Belichick was hot. Getting ready to play a game like this. All the stories, all the books, all these things start coming out,” Collinsworth said. “And he was like, ’20 years, and you’re going to take 10 seconds out of this conversation this year and 20 seconds out of that conversation in that year, and somehow you’re going to make this into something it wasn’t? We had a great relationship. We learned a from each other. I learned a lot from Tom Brady.’”

Belichick is probably one of the last coaches anyone expects to feed into media narratives, but we are all human, and the Teflon mentality wasn’t working this time around.

“When he got to talking about ‘you guys in the media,’ we both threw up our hands and said ‘Woah Woah,’” Collinsworth said. “But it was an emotional thing for Bill. He did not like that people were trying to portray it besides something very, very positive for the two of them.”

Wickersham actually answered pointed questions about his sourcing and vetting process when weaving a tale like the one in this book. The writer went in-depth on the topic last week on WEEI as he sat in-studio with Merloni and Fauria.

“The people who I quoted in the book,” Wickersham said on last Friday’s show. “For the most part, were people who witnessed things firsthand. Who were in those meetings. Who were playing in those games. Those are the primary sources I relied on.”

Wickersham prefaced that with his process for smelling out BS. He interviews each subject then picks out a few things to use from conversations held over hours at a time. After he identifies those key nuggets he then goes back to the source and makes sure he has all of the context correct about the information.

The painstaking process is a necessary evil to make sure aggrieved parties like Belichick can’t just cast aside well-reported journalism as fake news. The book’s title is fitting after Wickersham showed no fear in his quest to accurately report on the greatest dynasty in NFL history.

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97.5 ESPN Hosts Want Ian Eagle to Broadcast Deshaun Watson’s Return to Houston

“Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn? I don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely. I don’t want Tom McCarthy and Tiki Barber.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The Wheelhouse

The news of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s 11-game suspension was the story of the day in sports talk radio on Thursday, and for good reason.

Watson will be eligible to return to the Browns in Week 13 following the team’s bye week. It just so happens that Cleveland is scheduled to play at Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans, in Week 13.

Call it fate, or call it a calculated move by the NFL. ESPN Houston host Brad Kellner said on The Wheelhouse on Thursday that the league knew what they were doing when they landed on an 11-game suspension for Watson.

“This is the umpteenth time that the NFL has made a decision for money and ratings,” Kellner said. “This is what they do. It’s why they’re king. Of course they’re opening themselves up to criticism. But oh my god, that game, the ticket sales and the TV ratings? It’s gonna be maybe the most-watched NFL game the entire year.”

With it being an AFC matchup, CBS will likely carry coverage of the much anticipated contest. Host Cody Stoots said those tuning in to watch everything unfold on television shouldn’t expect the network to shuffle the assignment deck and have its top broadcast team on the call.

“From a TV perspective, you’re not gonna get Nantz and Romo and Tracy Wolfson,” Stoots said. “They’re gonna do the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals that week, just looking at the schedule. But you gotta get the number two team to the Texans/Browns, though. Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn? I don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely. I don’t want Tom McCarthy and Tiki Barber.”

Stoots, Kellner and Jake Asman both tossed around the idea of the game being flexed to NBC for Sunday night, but Kellner said the game will likely stay where it is on the schedule.

“They might just leave it at noon to try to minimize the headlines, even though they could’ve done that a lot better by giving him a full season suspension,” Kellner said.

Stoots added that having the game kick off at noon local time would probably be the smartest thing for the league to do in an effort to downplay Watson’s return. But the broadcast crew calling the game won’t be the bottom of the barrel either.

“They’re gonna act like it’s not a big deal, and you shouldn’t be focusing on this game, and then all of a sudden Ian Eagle is going to call his first Texans game all season, because they don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely breaking it down,” Stoots said.

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Jim Rome: ‘Al Michaels Was Only Talk2 Guest That Didn’t Cancel After Jim Everett Fight’

“People don’t want to associate or be attached to you if they think you’re toxic like that, and he didn’t cancel.”

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Jim Rome has different, deeper conversations on The Jim Rome Podcast than he does on his CBS Sports Radio show. The latest episode features former Notre Dame and NFL star Manti Te’o.

The interview is a promotion for Netflix’s latest Untold documentary, The Girlfriend That Didn’t Exist. In the episode, Te’o talked about the friends that stood by him while so many were laughing at him being the victim of a catfishing scheme.

Rome related. He took Te’o back to 1994.

Right after his infamous interview with Saints quarterback Jim Everett aired on his ESPN2 show Talk2, Jim Rome says he was labeled as toxic and he and his producers felt the consequences.

“All the sudden, no athletes wanted to talk to me initially and people were cancelling their appearances on the show,” he said.

One person that didn’t cancel was Al Michaels, who was working for ABC at the time.

Not only did Michaels not cancel, but he was on Talk2 the night after the infamous interview, which turned into a physical altercation aired.

“I said ‘Al, I cannot tell you how much this means to me,. Why did you not cancel?’. He said ‘Because you’re a friend and I knew you needed it and I knew it would make a difference.’ You never forget stuff like that, do you?”

Rome told Te’o that he understands that Michaels, whether he knew it or not, was taking a risk. The broadcast legend showing up was proof that he was in Rome’s corner and helped Rome regain some credibility that he was worried could have been lost forever.

“People don’t want to associate or be attached to you if they think you’re toxic like that, and he didn’t cancel.”

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Joe Starkey, Voice of the Cal Golden Bears and of “The Play,” To Retire After 2022

“It has been an incredible privilege to have the best seat in the house to watch Cal football since 1975,” Starkey said.

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Joe Starkey

Joe Starkey will call it a career after the 2022 season, his 48th as voice of the California Golden Bears.

Starkey, best known for his call of “The Play” during the 1982 Cal/Stanford game, will turn 81 in October.

California will have a memorable season for Starkey’s final one with the team. Cal plays Notre Dame for the first time in 55 years. They will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of “The Play” when the two teams square up in the 125th edition of the Big Game.

“It has been an incredible privilege to have the best seat in the house to watch Cal football since 1975,” Starkey said. “My first position in sportscasting was in 1972, and I have had some truly special assignments. But of all the places I have worked, the one constant has been Cal football.

Cal will celebrate “Joe Starkey Day” for the team’s regular-season finale against UCLA. Starkey began his career at Cal in 1975 and has been on the call for 538 of the 545 Cal football contests since. He celebrated his 500th Cal game against Oregon on Sept. 29, 2018.

“Joe Starkey’s commitment and service to Cal football have been unwavering for nearly a half-century,” Cal’s Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. “I’m excited to celebrate and honor all of Joe’s great work over the years and make 2022 his best season yet with the Bears. He will always have a home in Berkeley and with Cal football.”  

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