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Michael Irvin’s Suits Have Elevated Him To The Next Level As A Broadcaster

“My suits are like my cape. They turn me into Superman. Without them, I really feel like Clark Kent.”

Derek Futterman

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As the Los Angeles Rams hoisted the historic Vince Lombardi Trophy on their home field at SoFi Stadium after their thrilling comeback in Super Bowl LVI, the conclusion of another football season had arrived.

A thrilling month-long stretch of close games, dating back to the Week 18 Sunday Night Football thriller in Las Vegas between the Raiders and Chargers with a playoff berth on the line, had perhaps launched the greatest stretch of big games the National Football League has ever seen in its 101 years of existence.

Whether it was three consecutive divisional round games ending on a field goal, the back-and-forth battle of AFC quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen decided in overtime, the late-game heroics of both the Bengals and Rams to secure conference championships, or what we just witnessed Sunday, these playoffs generated immense levels of excitement and engagement across multiple platforms of dissemination, leading to record ratings and revenue.

At the same time, the NFL had storylines surrounding the action both on and off the field, and there undoubtedly remains plenty to talk about over the coming months as the delay of baseball becomes more imminent. The retirement of Tom Brady has amplified debates regarding who the greatest athlete of all-time may be. Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the league alleging discrimination in hiring practices seeks to foster significant change to a system NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged as not doing enough in trying to promote diversity.

There’s also the injury to Odell Beckham, Jr., the nostalgic Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show, and uncertain future of Green Bay Packers quarterback and NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers to talk about as well, just to name a few of the other storylines.

One of the people who will keep the football conversation alive is NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver and commentator for NFL Network and ESPN, Michael Irvin. Known for his flamboyance and passion for football, Irvin delivers his analysis and opinions about the game periodically, appearing alongside Stephen A. Smith on Mondays as a co-host on First Take, a show which has consistently improved its ratings since its reformatting in September.

Whenever he appears on camera, fans can look forward to seeing Irvin’s wardrobe for the day. On Tuesday’s Damon and Ratto on 95.7 The Game, Irvin said his suit gives him special powers.

“I didn’t have my suit on First Take last week because the box didn’t come,” explained Irvin. “My suits are like my cape. They turn me into Superman. Without them, I really feel like Clark Kent.”

Irvin’s father, Walter, was a roofer, and worked from sunrise to sundown every day. Growing up around him inspired Michael to work hard and make a good life for himself. After his father’s death, he used the clothes he wore when he helped his father as motivation to perform at the highest level on the field.

“I took the clothes [I wore] when I worked with him, sat them on the wall in college and said to myself: ‘Brother, if you don’t make it in this, you’re going back to that,’” Irvin reminisced. “Every time I saw a [defensive back] lined up, all I saw was [my father working] on that damn roof. I said: ‘Brother, I’m about to hurt you if you don’t get out the way. I’m not going to do that all my life.’”

Throughout his post-retirement job as a football analyst and commentator, Irvin strives to remain grateful for the opportunities he has been given and has worked hard to earn. Despite many long days, including the 8.5-hour NFL GameDay broadcast leading up to Super Bowl LVI, Irvin knows that if he told his father about his current occupation, his father would not be able to find any complaints.

“It’s the greatest job in the world,” said Irvin. “I just witnessed the greatest season, at least in the playoffs, in the world, right here as we came out of a pandemic. Sometimes it gets tough. Sometimes it gets hard. But man, it’s the greatest gig in the world.”

“They pay us to do it – it’s unbelievable,” added KNBR co-host Damon Bruce. “Michael, you’re the only man who sounds like he’s better dressed than everyone on the radio.”

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Chris Curtis: It’s Obscene How Announcers Think Someone Else’s Achievement is About Them

“Allow the call to stand for what you are celebrating don’t make the call about you.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab of Chris Curtis of WEEI
Screengrab: WEEI

The city of Boston just went through a championship win with the Boston Celtics taking home the NBA Championship this year. But it was the championship won by the NHL’s Florida Panthers, their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, that had The Greg Hill Show on WEEI talking this morning. Hosts Greg Hill, Jermaine Wiggins, Courtney Cox and producer Chris Curtis had talked about the game earlier, but later got into the final call by the Panthers’ radio announcers and Chris Curtis was not a fan of it at all.

“Can we just get to this unbelievable sound?” Curtis asked. “…I really think we should rip someone that doesn’t work with us.”

Curtis then played the audio of the last ten seconds of the broadcast with Panthers broadcasters Doug Plagens and Bill Lindsay.

“Ten seconds left, 2-1 Panthers,” Plagens said. “A dream 30 years in the making is real. The Florida Panthers have won the Stanley Cup.” This was followed by Lindsay yelling, “Lord Stanley is coming hoooooome.”

“Stop it right there,” Curtis said. “First of all, Lord Stanley, if he was cryogenically frozen like Ted Williams, would never return to a place he never visited, which is Sunrise, Florida. There is more hockey in Sudan than there is in Southern Florida. It is obscene how these people all across radio, mostly Syracuse ‘johnnies’ that think someone else’s achievement is about them.

“You are the conduit to the audience to enjoy…Maybe there are a handful of people that grew up watching the Panthers. Yesterday meant a lot to them. Allow the call to stand for what you are celebrating don’t make the call about you.”

Then, Curtis really went in and started with a local announcer who does something similar to what he was describing the Panthers’ announcers did.

“Sean Grande does this all the effing time,” Curtis said. “He writes out soliloquies. Sean, you didn’t do anything, you’re just telling us what they did. It’s not about you, you dullards. Bill Lindsay screaming on Doug Plagens of course Syracuse master’s degree, that’s where you learn to talk like someone who sounds like someone you have never met in your life while they’re trying to be relatable.”

“He went to Newhouse, Curtis,” Hill chimed in.

“If you need to go to Newhouse to get a job, you’re not that good,” Curtis said.

Wiggins disagreed a bit with Curtis’ take saying, “I like a homer broadcaster who feels the emotion of getting into it. The color guy who played for the team who gets emotional when you win.”

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Boomer Esiason: People Watch Stephen A. Smith ‘Because of Him and What He’s Going to Say’

“What other alternative or where else can he go?”

Barrett Sports Media

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Graphic for the Boomer & Gio Show and a photo of Stephen A. Smith

With reports coming out that ESPN had made an initial contract offer of 5 years and $90 million dollars to Stephen A. Smith, various sports show hosts have weighed in and given their opinions. Such was the case during Boomer & Gio this morning on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti.

“Have you seen any of this Stephen A. Smith contract stuff that’s going on?” Giannotti asked.

“I have seen it, yes,” Esiason said. “Listen, the guy works his ass off, he is definitely a firestarter for that network and quite frankly he has built himself into a one man show.”

Giannotti replied, “He’s had success. He’s one of the bigger voices in sports if not the biggest voice in sports.”

Esiason added, “What’s different about him compared to Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or somebody else – people are going to tune in to watch the football game no matter who is doing it. People are watching him because of him and what he’s going to say.”

Giannotti reviewed the report of how much was offered and mentioned the other reports that say Smtih is looking for closer to $25 million per year. He also mentioned Dan Le Batard saying he thought ESPN had lowballed Smith with the offer.

Giannotti said, “This is one of those things that is just hard to calculate. I don’t know how much money they would lose if he wasn’t there. This is something I’d love to know…how many advertising dollars, how many things that they sell because he is there equates to a loss if he leaves?”

Esiason then said, “Here’s what I would ask. What other alternative or where else can he go?” He then later added, “In our medium on a national basis…both he and Pat McAfee have brought eyeballs or attention to ESPN for different reasons, and I think that if they can extract that kind of money out of those companies, good for them. I have no problem with any of it.”

Giannotti continued to ask about the ad dollars, but Esiason explained there were a lot of other factors that come into play.

“I don’t know about the advertising,” he said. “I think it’s more about the subscription services. I think it’s more about the fact that they use him in every single aspect they possibly can…He’s on that morning show…but then he’s all over the NBA playoffs, he’s all over the NFL playoffs. He’s all over everything. I couldn’t even imagine. I know what it was like for me when I was doing NFL Today, Monday Night Football and this radio program. It was exhausting…I know that he has complained about how much he is asked to do over there.”

All of this led to a discussion about a weekly Smith guest on First Take, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo. “I tell you what, when he is on there, I find him to be extremely entertaining,” Esiason said. “The interaction between the two of them is about as entertaining as it can get on television…If I was ‘Dog’ I would quit [SiriusXM] cuz nobody hears you and go over [to ESPN] and take a full-time spot over there and get paid.”

“I don’t know if they’re offering a full-time spot for him over there, he’s like a novelty,” Giannotti replied.

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ESPN Chicago Announces 2024 Football Fest with Adam Schefter and Field Yates

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Graphic for ESPN Chicago's Football Fan Fest
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN Chicago on Facebook

ESPN Chicago announced the return of Football Fest, an event they started in 2022. The 2024 edition will take place at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on Sunday, August 25. ESPN NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Field Yates are back as guests and will share insights and engage with fans throughout the event.

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned,” said Danny Zederman, director of content for ESPN Chicago in a release. “We listened to fan feedback, and we’ve added new ways for fans to interact with their favorite ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities, as well as a live onstage version of our fan-favorite, unfiltered podcast Crosstalk Unhinged with Carm, Jurko, Waddle, and Silvy.”

ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities will be available for meet & greets with fans taking photos and signing autographs. The Good Karma Brands owned station says the event “will consist of live programming from local and national experts on the upcoming football season, fantasy football, as well as games, vendors, and more.”

$10 tickets for the event are on sale through Ticketmaster.com.

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