As Super Bowl Sunday draws closer by the minute, various sports radio stations from around the country have taken their broadcasts on the road to Radio Row to interview guests, catch up with old friends, and feel the anticipation and excitement before kickoff.
This year’s matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams marks the first time the city of Los Angeles has hosted the Super Bowl since 1993 when the Dallas Cowboys won the championship at the Rose Bowl. Additionally, the Rams will try to become the first Los Angeles-based team to win a Super Bowl since the John Madden-led Los Angeles Raiders took home the championship in 1983.
With some signs of normalcy beginning to return throughout society, the buzz in the “City of Angels” is quite palpable both inside and outside of the area. Ryan Clark, a former NFL safety and current analyst on ESPN, joined The Pat & Aaron Show on 95.3 WDAE Tampa Bay, and spoke about the atmosphere not only surrounding “The Big Game” on Sunday, but also that of the week as a whole.
“It’s absolutely bonkers – it truly is,” said Clark, who won a Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. “You can see how excited everyone is… to at least almost feel normal. Other than the masks, we get to move around and convene and have different events like we normally do.”
Clark has always cherished the week leading up to the Super Bowl for the opportunities it gives people to see one another and reconnect. However, as a player, the focus is squarely on what happens on the gridiron Sunday. The game brings about conflicting interests. That is, a cultural phenomenon with league events, media coverage, and parties surrounding the most meaningful and decisive football game of the year.
“It’s about getting chances to see people you haven’t seen in years, or see people you haven’t seen in a year, and really enjoy what this is,” explained Clark. “It’s the biggest sporting event in the world. We have seven games in the NBA Finals, you have seven games for the World Series, but this is only one chance, one opportunity, and you got to savor every moment.”
On Thursday, Clark visited Radio Row himself, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, to experience the plethora of live broadcasts and to be interviewed by other stations.
“[There are] so many different people from so many different countries and [so many] opportunities to get athletes on,” said Clark. “It was really good to get back in that type of atmosphere.”
Clark, along with NFL legends Dan Marino and Eli Manning, recently starred in a new advertisement for Stella Artois titled “The Stella Substitutes,” in which they give bartenders tickets to Super Bowl LVI in exchange for filling in for the bartenders’ scheduled shifts.
“Tyrone is a bartender out here in L.A., [and] I got an opportunity to surprise him with tickets,” said Clark. “What we’ve gone through the last two years, people [have] not [been] able to truly enjoy life like we’re used to. We want to make sure that people are getting opportunities to share great moments with the people that they love, and so he’s going to get an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.”
Show co-host Pat Donovan was curious to know how many beers Clark’s ESPN colleague Mike Greenberg could drink “before he would be in the tank.” His response:
“A half a beer. [Greeny’s] one of the softest humans I’ve ever been around. I’m pretty sure Greeny would be one of those people that says beer has too harsh of a taste to actually drink and enjoy. He’s more like a very light dessert wine kind of guy.”
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”