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Al Michaels: I Thought I Would Work With John Madden For 20 Years

“When you’re working with somebody like that, you have all the confidence in the world. You can go anywhere, and he’ll be right with you.”

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The National Football League recently lost an icon both on- and off-the-field with the passing of John Madden. After leading the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl championship in 1976, Madden embarked on a nearly 30-year broadcasting career, commentating football games on Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC Sports and remaining a fixture in the world of football. In 1988, Madden released his eponymous video game series, “John Madden Football,” which brought realism to fans seeking to learn and play the game of football. Of course, the video game series would eventually evolve into being called “Madden NFL,” and remains one of the most popular video games on the market each year.

For current Sunday Night Football commentator Al Michaels, having the opportunity to work with John Madden was something he had hoped would come to fruition when Fox Sports acquired the rights to NFC games in 1994. After a recruitment period akin to free agency as a player, Fox Corporation owner and media mogul Rupert Murdoch made him an offer of $8 million per year to call games on the network – a figure higher than any NFL player’s annual salary. Thus, Madden made the decision to pivot from signing a deal with ABC to join Michaels in 1994, to instead join Pat Summerall on-the-call for NFL coverage on Fox Sports.

Michaels appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Fox Sports Radio Wednesday morning, and discussed the elation he felt when ABC was able to secure the broadcasting services of Madden in 2002. Reflecting on the seven-year stretch they called games together, Michaels affirmed that what you saw was indeed what you got in terms of working with John Madden.

“He was full of life; full of energy; a great conversationalist [and] a great teacher but a terrific listener that wanted to learn,” Michaels said. “He loved traveling around the country [and] being with people… There wasn’t anything about John that said ‘Hey look, I’m a big celebrity.’ No – it was none of that. He was more interested in absorbing things than playing any sort of a role.”

On whatever network he broadcast games, John Madden’s personality shined through, and communicated the importance of the game being played to all parties involved. Having never worked together prior to 2002, Michaels knew that he would not need a dry run before the duo made their debut at 2002 Hall of Fame Game.

“I had heard him for over 20 years. He was always on the bus after Sunday Night Football, and he heard me do hundreds of games,” said Michaels. “John and I understood each other’s rhythms [and] by the second commercial [of our first game], I thought I’d be working with him for 20 years.”

As Al Michaels’ contract for Sunday Night Football on NBC is set to expire following the conclusion of Super Bowl LVI, rumors suggest he will start calling games on Amazon Prime next year as a part of its Thursday Night Football slate of games. He will undoubtedly continue to honor the legacy of John Madden by bringing fans unique perspectives and stellar commentary as his broadcasting career continues, and, just like Madden, be on the road again.

“The great thing about John is that he was so well-versed in not just football, but [in just] everything,” said Michaels. “When you’re working with somebody like that, you have all the confidence in the world. You can go anywhere, and he’ll be right with you.”

Sports Radio News

Cumulus Announces 790 The Score in Rhode Island is Officially On The Air

In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.

Jordan Bondurant

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After reporting last week that Kevin McNamara would be the station’s only local host in the programming lineup, 790 The Score in Providence, Rhode Island is officially on the air.

The station, which was last on the air in the market in 2008, has been revived and will serve as the market’s first sports and sports betting station.

“The station features a lineup of expert personalities that deliver unique sports talk and sports betting insights that entertain, inform, and engage,” said Holly Paras, VP and market manager of Cumulus Providence. “We think Providence sports and sports betting fans will love 790 THE SCORE!”

In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch some of the top national talent on the airwaves throughout the day and night. This includes hosts like Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.

McNamara will host his show Kevin Mac Sports Hour daily from 5-7 p.m.

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Sports Radio News

Paul Finebaum Will Make $700K Advance Ahead of Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher Book

Finebaum will make $700,000 plus royalties for the deep dive into the rivalry between the two SEC head coaches.

Jordan Bondurant

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Paul Finebaum

Though there’s still some time before a finished products reaches bookshelves, but ESPN’s Paul Finebaum is reportedly set to get a nice six-figure advance by Penguin Press.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Finebaum will make $700,000 plus royalties for the deep dive into the rivalry between the two SEC head coaches.

Back in the spring things came to a head between Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, as the two engaged in a verbal spat in separate press conferences over name, image and likeness.

Saban said Fisher and his staff utilized NIL and “bought every player” in the Aggies’ spring 2022 recruiting class.

Things got so heated and drew so many headlines that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey had to step in and try to get the former colleagues to cool it.

Finebaum is teaming up with Alabama beat reporter John Talty to write the book.

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Sports Radio News

Sports Gambling Podcast Network To Stage 24-Hour Fantasy Football Draft

“The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed Draft Day 2.0.”

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Sports Gambling Podcast

If you’re serious about Fantasy Football, the Sports Gambling Podcast Network is bringing back a tradition you’ll want to pay attention to. 

For the second year in a row, Ryan Kramer will draft 24 different teams over the course of a 24 hour marathon that will be streamed across multiple video platforms. 

“Fortunately, the analytics research is done so I can focus now on news coming out of the camps to sharpen my views and deliver the well-reasoned selections that people need to get an edge in their drafting,” Kramer said in a press release. “It’s a bit of an audacious undertaking, but the growing phenomenon of Fantasy Football deserves this level of commitment and our SGPN audiences always respond.” 

The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed “Draft Day 2.0”. All of the content will originate from the Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s studios in Los Angeles. 

The marathon will also be a fundraiser. The network is using GoFundMe to raise funds for a colleague named Darryl injured in a motorcycle accident earlier this year. A portion of proceeds generated from the sale of Sports Gambling Podcast Network branded apperal will also go to the effort. 

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