Twitter gets a bad wrap most of the time, but every now and then it produces something we can all cherish. Rich Eisen helped facilitate that this week when he requested comedian Frank Caliendo work his magic on a rare NFL play.
Late in the third quarter of Thursday night’s battle between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, Seattle punter Michael Dickson had his initial punt attempt blocked, only to pick it up seconds later and punt it again.
The second go-around was successful, but the referees still threw penalty flags because they weren’t sure if what Dickson pulled off was legal. They quickly confirmed in the rule book and upheld the quirkiest play of the NFL season so far.
Rich Eisen knew exactly what the clip needed: commentary from Pat Summerall and John Madden.
So he called on famous comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo to revive the voices, for America.
Frank Caliendo saw the bat signal go up and heeded his friend’s request. The comedian is famous for his impressions and had a long stint on FOX NFL Sunday doing comedic segments from 2003-12. He has also done bits for a variety of ESPN shows as well.
Madden: “Russell Wilson might have them cut that finger off and get back in the game.”
Summerall: “Dickson back to punt…It’s blocked! He’s trying to get it back.”
Madden: “He’s scooping it up, what’s he going to do now?”
Summerall: “Looks like he’s gonna kick it again?”
Madden: “He did kick it again, Pat!”
Summerall: “Sure did.”
Madden: “You know, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that! Have you ever seen that, Pat?”
Summerall: “I just did.”
Madden: “But is it legal?”
Summerall: “We’re about to find out.”
Madden: “That’s a double punt right there.”
Summerall: “And speaking of doubles! Coming up later tonight, a special double episode of Murder…She Wrote, except on the west coast.”
Summerall passed away in 2013, but Frank Caliendo is still carrying the torch for him and the great John Madden today.
In addition to Summerall and Madden, some of Caliendo’s best known impressions from the sports world include ESPN NFL Draft Expert Mel Kiper Jr and Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
MGM Seeks Full Control Of BetMGM App
“We have 50% now. I would like more. I would need more.“
MGM Resorts will seek to gain control of its U.S.-based sports betting venture BetMGM if DraftKings succeeds in purchasing Entain. Entain and MGM Resorts each own 50% of BetMGM. Under the terms of the shared-ownership agreement, a new owner of Entain would need MGM’s approval before operating BetMGM in the U.S.
DraftKings’ bid towards purchasing Entain would be a $22.4 billion acquisition. They would need to present a formal offer for the company by October, per United Kingdom regulations.
“We have 50% now. I would like more. I would need more,” MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said on Tuesday at the Global Gaming Expo.
Entain’s software provides sports betting odds, player management systems, and other core technology underpinning sports betting. Hornbuckle said that MGM wants long-term control over the tech, preferably through taking over BetMGM. MGM attempted to purchase Entain in January with an $11 billion bid.
BetMGM is expected to bring in over $1 billion in revenue next year, thanks in some part to the NFL’s approval in-game advertising of sportsbooks.
Bob Costas: I Am Not As Good As I Used To Be
“Maybe it’s 90% there now, there’s probably 10% where it’s not quite what it used to be.”
On Friday, Bob Costas will add another playoff game to his illustrious play-by-play resume when he is on the call for Game 2 of the ALDS between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros (2 PM ET, MLB Network). He will be joined on the call by Jim Kaat, Buck Showalter, and Tom Verducci.
Costas was a guest this week on The Adam Schein Podcast. During that conversation, Schein did ask Costas about why he chose Syracuse and what it meant to him. The two of them are both in the WAER Hall Of Fame at the university. Schein was inducted this year.
Schein asked Costas if he feels like he is as good at anything as he is at calling baseball. Costas gave an interesting answer: he isn’t as good as he used to be.
“In watching some of [my old] games, I can tell I had a consistently better rhythm and anticipation. Maybe it’s 90% there now, there’s probably 10% where it’s not quite what it used to be. You have to try to figure it out. The way a guy who has lost a little velocity on his fastball has to figure out how to approach this hitter and get this hitter out in a little bit of a different way.”
As you watch the broadcast, Bob Costas told Adam Schein that he hopes the viewer is reminded of another legendary baseball play-by-play man.
“What I’m hoping for is that a baseball fan who watches this says not only that Bob and Jim Kaat and Buck Showalter made good points, but that it had a certain feel to it, it had a certain rhythm to it. The greatest of the great, Vin Scully, who worked alone essentially. He didn’t just provide lyrics and his lyrics were great. The way he presented it almost had a melody to it. That’s what you aim for. Whether you ever achieve it is another question, but that’s what you are aiming for. That there’s just something not just accurate and competent, but something pleasing about it.”
Whether or not Bob Costas thinks he is still what he once was as a broadcaster, if he is calling your favorite team’s games, it still provides the recognition and prestige that not many other broadcasters can match.
ESPN Launching Digital Betting Show Ahead Of UFC Events
“When Brett and I break down each matchup, the goal is to educate the audience and provide information that is easily understood.”
The UFC and betting are deeply intertwined, and ESPN is ready to capitalize on that relationship with a new show. Brett Okamoto and Ian Parker are the hosts of Best Bets on the ESPN MMA YouTube channel, airing before every pay-per-view UFC card.
“The UFC fan base continues to grow, and we need to keep raising our game to best serve them,” ESPN vice president of production Glenn Jacobs said in the announcement. “These three new shows give fans a lot of unique content to enjoy across a variety of ESPN’s platforms. Our MMA team is excited to add a betting show to the mix, with the addition of Ian Parker, which will give fans the latest information they need to get ready for Fight Nights and PPVs on ESPN+.”
Parker is joining ESPN in a more defined role after appearing on multiple Professional Fighters League broadcasts this year. Previously part of the Florida Panthers sales team in the NHL, Parker has busted down obstacles for 12 years, waiting for this chance.
“When Brett and I break down each matchup, the goal is to educate the audience and provide information that is easily understood,” Parker said. “We don’t just say who will win, but how. Also, we explain how to find value based on the odds of the various prop bets that are based on how the fight will be decided and when…It’s been years of hard work. Sometimes, you have to keep grinding until you get your shot. This is the opportunity I’ve been working for.”
Fans shouldn’t expect to hear Parker rip any fighter too much if they don’t cash a ticket for him and the viewers.
“I never call any fighter a loser or a bum,” he continued. “I have too much respect for the blood, sweat, and tears behind their journey to get in there.”
The first live version of the show airs next week.