Earlier this week, the National Football League AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals hosted a pep rally at Paul Brown Stadium in their home city where the team gave away 30,000 free tickets to fans to send the team off to Super Bowl LVI in style.
The stadium was loud with chants of “Who Dey?” for the home team and featured player introductions, appearances from team alumni and speeches from members of the team to the fans in “The Jungle,” all concluding with a fireworks display that lit up the Cincinnati skyline along the Ohio River.
As the Bengals seek to #RuleItAll this Sunday in “The Big Game,” ESPN2 and the NFL Network both promoted the event and said they would broadcast it to fans who could not be at the event in-person.
One of the people who was unable to attend in-person was Mo Egger, afternoon host at ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati. Egger had hosted his Monday afternoon show from Twin Peaks Restaurant in West Chester Township, Ohio, and had to run some errands after it concluded at 6 p.m. While he was unable to attend the pep rally in-person, he disclosed that he listened to it on his car radio with Lance McAllister and Dave Lapham serving as on-air hosts.
“I think [they] did a very good job of describing what was unfolding on the field,” said Egger. “You got to hear all of the speeches; You got to hear the players being introduced… [It] was really, really good.”
Once Egger returned home at approximately 7:40 p.m., he turned on ESPN2, which said it would broadcast the pep rally on television. In fact, he had promoted it himself on his radio program earlier that day.
To his surprise, the network showed a 90-second cut of the rally, with shots of Bengals fans being at Paul Brown Stadium, and then moved on. Upon turning to NFL Network, which also said it would broadcast the pep rally, it was a similar situation: a short clip showing the event, followed by a brisk transition.
“Compared to what we were told [the networks] were going to show, they didn’t really show anything,” said Egger. “That’s okay, but you can’t tell me that you’re covering the pep rally and then give me a handful of seconds – a few morsels – of the pep rally.”
Egger’s frustration with the networks apparently misleading their viewers is something he views as a type of wrongdoing in sports media. While Egger was able to see plenty of clips from the pep rally on social media, other people may not have utilized or known to utilize that option to enjoy the event from afar, diminishing the congeniality that the NFL-produced event sought to foster.
“[I] love the NFL Network,” said Egger. “[I love ESPN]. ESPN2 last night: ‘We’re carrying the pep rally.’ Awesome! Great! If you’re not going to do it, don’t say you’re going to do it. Last night, they said they were going to do it and, well, they didn’t.”
Nonetheless, for Egger and other Cincinnati sports fans, the Bengals winning the AFC championship and having a chance to win their first Super Bowl game in franchise history is quite surreal, and they are just trying to take it all in prior to kickoff on Sunday.
“The scene… at Paul Brown Stadium: festive, celebratory, hopeful, vibrant. It was one of those [moments] that makes you kind of pause and go, ‘Holy crap. This is happening,’” explained Egger.
“A handful of times last Friday, I had NFL Network on when I was around the house, and they’re talking exclusively about the Bengals. Then… as I’m driving around, and I was in the car for a better part of an hour-and-fifteen minutes… I said to myself: ‘I am listening to a Bengals pep rally before the team leaves to go play in the Super Bowl. This still doesn’t seem like real life,’ and yet it is, and the planes have landed, and the team is in Los Angeles.”
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Joe Buck: Minneapolis Miracle ‘Easily the Most Exciting Singular Moment’ of Career
“It was easily the most exciting, singular moment that I’ve ever been a part of calling games for now 30 years on the network level.”
Joe Buck has what could be labeled as a sometimes contentious relationship with Minnesota Vikings fans. However, he believes a moment including the franchise is one of the finest moments of his storied career.
During an appearance on SKOR North’s Purple Daily, Buck told Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad the “Minneapolis Miracle” — Stefon Diggs’ 2018 game-winning touchdown catch against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round — is one of the biggest moments of his broadcasting legacy.
“People ask me ‘What’s your favorite call of your career?’ They go, ‘What’s your favorite baseball call? What’s your favorite football (call)?’ That’s always my favorite football call. Because it’s a walk-off moment. You don’t really get that very often in football compared to baseball, obviously,” Buck said.
“If you do, it’s usually the kicker which, in that moment, I think the instinct for Diggs was unbelievable because he made that catch. And you’re thinking okay, ‘They got a shot of the game-winning field goal’. And he turns around, and nobody’s there. It was right down in front of us in this incredible, great stadium, with the best view we could possibly have. Your natural instinct is to go ‘Okay, get out of bounds’ and he spins around, nobody’s there. And he goes down the sideline, and they walk off with the win. I mean, it was easily the most exciting, singular moment that I’ve ever been a part of calling games for now 30 years on the network level.”
Joe Buck was asked about his relationship with Vikings fans. During a playoff game in 2004, Buck called Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss’ touchdown celebration a “disgusting act” as he pretended to moon Green Bay Packers fans. He claimed it was “unfortunate that we had that on our air live”.
The comments have been criticized for nearly two decades, with Buck admitting he went too far.
“I hear that back and it kind of gives me a little bit of a jolt because I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t believe that that’s what came out of my mouth’, but I have to live with that. And I’m not saying that I regret it, but it feels a little over the top.”
Joe Buck added that his wife — Michelle Beisner-Buck — preceded him at ESPN, and said Moss was the colleague that treated her the most, with Buck saying Moss “and I have become really good friends. And I don’t think Randy cares about it. So, you know, I guess I’ll just move on and hopefully everybody else can too.”
Anthony Lima: 97.1 The Fan in Columbus Does ‘Homer Radio’
“Down in Columbus on 97-point homer or whatever they are, all they did every day with Beau (Bishop) and all those guys, every day was ‘We’re not gonna lose.'”
Ohio State suffered its third consecutive defeat to Michigan on Saturday. 92.3 The Fan morning co-host Anthony Lima argues Buckeye fans in the Ohio capital have been told what they want to hear by 97.1 The Fan.
During The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima Monday, Lima turned his anger about the Buckeyes’ third consecutive loss to their chief rival into a rant about the “homer radio” provided by 97.1 The Fan to its Columbus audience.
“I was the only guy in the state of Ohio (saying Ryan Day wasn’t capable of beating Michigan),” Lima said. “Down in Columbus on 97-point homer or whatever they are, all they did every day with Beau (Bishop) and all those guys, every day was ‘We’re not gonna lose. We’re never gonna lose to Michigan. My god, Ryan Day picked up right where (Urban Meyer) left off. He’s just gonna take this to the next level.’ On the homer radio down there, that’s what they did, and you didn’t see it coming.”
Lima’s co-host, Ken Carman, laughed and covered his mouth in surprise during Lima’s rant.
“This is the man I wanted,” Carman joked after Lima concluded. “I’m glad I got him. I’m glad he pulled that out. He’s mad. You are unhinged.”
Bob Fescoe: Scott Hanson Doing NFL RedZone Outside During Evacuation ‘Would Have Been Spectacular’
“We don’t know what’s going on here, but you’ve got to protect Scott Hanson at all costs, don’t you?”
On Sunday’s edition of NFL RedZone, longtime host Scott Hanson announced during the fourth quarter of the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills that personnel inside of the studios needed to evacuate the premises. Outlining a scenario that never occurred during his broadcast career, Hanson explained that viewers could hear the alarm blaring over the top of his right shoulder and that the control room left the most competitive game on the screen. Before leaving the studios, he expressed that while they did not know the nature of the emergency, everyone was remaining calm and following protocols.
“So to be continued, hopefully, although this game is in the fourth quarter,” Hanson said. “I will come back and give you a live update if and when I am able to. Thank you for your understanding and your patience, and here is 3rd-and-13 for the Buffalo Bills.”
On Monday morning, 610 Sports Radio co-host Josh Klingler mentioned the emergency and how people who were watching RedZone were witnessing something brand new on the program. Fescoe, who was watching another game in the process, had the program on a different television on mute and had no idea it was happening. Yet he did look up several times and realized that the Eagles-Bills game had not moved from the screen, leading him to think about what could be going on.
“He’s a pro – Scott Hanson – he’s done this thing for a while,” Klingler said. “And so I guess the production facility in New York or New Jersey took over for a little bit.”
Fescoe was amazed at how Hanson’s statement on the air ended in repeating the down and distance within the game rather than leaving the studios immediately upon his explanation. The dedication to the craft he displayed reminded Klingler of when 610 Sports Radio broadcast from a stairwell in the midst of a tornado. Despite the ambiguous emergency, NFL RedZone remained on the air and presented viewers with a game that was in the critical stages, and those involved in the program were eventually able to re-enter the studios.
“We don’t know what’s going on here, but you’ve got to protect Scott Hanson at all costs, don’t you?,” Fescoe said. “He is, other than the football personnel people, the players and the coaches; he’s like one of the most famous NFL people right now that everybody knows.”
“I’m surprised they didn’t go, ‘Well, we’re going to keep one person in the studio in Scott Hanson, and the rest of them need to evacuate, but we’re going to keep this thing on the air,’” Klingler replied.
An on-air contributor for the program articulated that a viable backup plan for the program could have been to take Hanson’s phone and put it against the screen so he could continue to commentate to the audience. The production could then take a remote outside to switch between the games so fans would not miss the pivotal witching hour, which Hanson has long affirmed is where wins and losses are often decided. In order to see the games for himself, he could use NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube and YouTube TV, although Fescoe believes that Hanson would have cursed out the service for limiting the amount of games he can watch in multi-view mode.
“But people would watch that; that would be entertaining,” Fescoe said. “I think the one thing that we did learn through COVID is that the media doesn’t have to take themselves seriously when it comes to this production stuff. Throw a headset on a guy in a hotel room and call it a day. Hanson outside doing games off his phone would have been epic. It would have been spectacular.”