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.”
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.
Tim Ryan Signs Extension With 49ers Radio Crew
“The Mercury News indicates that both Ryan and Papa will have their contracts come up at the same time – 2028.”
Just ahead of the San Francisco 49ers game on Thursday Night Football, the team announced its radio color commentator Tim Ryan has signed a contract extension to remain on broadcasts through the 2028 season.
Ryan kicked off his 10th season in the booth a few weeks ago. He has been calling games alongside Greg Papa since 2019.
The Mercury News indicates that both Ryan and Papa will have their contracts come up at the same time – 2028.
Ryan played four seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. He was a third round draft pick in 1990. He has been broadcasting ever since.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Howard Eskin: Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce Dating Rumors Are ‘All A Little Game’
“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast.'”
Whenever Taylor Swift performs a concert or goes out, there is generally a swarm of paparazzi that surrounds her. As one of the preeminent superstars in the world of music, there is considerable public interest in her life and upcoming projects. For years, fans of the artist have followed her dating life, which has included boyfriends such as Joe Jonas, John Mayer and Harry Styles.
Recently, many people are starting to believe that she could be dating Kansas City Chiefs star tight end and two-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce. In an appearance on Thursday’s edition of The Pat McAfee Show, Kelce was asked about the rumors and relayed that he invited her to a Chiefs game to watch him play.
“I’ve seen you rock the stage in Arrowhead [Stadium],” Kelce said his message read. “You might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead and see which one is a little more lit.”
Although Howard Eskin’s guest appearance on SportsRadio 94WIP took place before Kelce’s public comments, he diffused the dating rumors by recounting the situation that started the ensuing chain of events. Kelce attended Swift’s concert at Arrowhead Stadium and tried to pass along a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it to the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist. Since then, reports from The Messenger have indicated that Kelce and Swift have conversed and hung out several times. Additionally, Swift reportedly thinks that Kelce is “very charming,” and the duo is “seeing where things go.”
“She’s in Kansas City – he’s Travis Kelce,” Eskin said. “There’s people there, I’m sure, that handed her a number and she said, ‘Who is this?’ I would bet – yes – she doesn’t follow football.”
Amid his statement, Eskin was reminded that Swift is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, something she revealed at Lincoln Financial Field on her acclaimed slate of shows within “The Eras Tour.” The sports radio luminary then shared that Swift wore his Super Bowl LII ring after the team won the championship in 2018 and that he was invited to the premiere of the tour movie on Oct. 13 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Reacting to comments made by Philadelphia Eagles’ center Jason Kelce during in an interview with McAfee on Wednesday, he believes the disclosure of the dating rumors are helping fuel increased notoriety. Each week, the Kelce brothers record and release episodes of their podcast, New Heights, with Wave Sports + Entertainment, and Eskin thinks that reacting to the reports could equate to a simple publicity stunt.
“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast,’” Eskin said. “It’s all a little game. Entertainment Tonight did a story on Taylor Swift and her former boyfriend who was married to somebody else, and they played this small clip of the audio and said nothing because there is nothing to report other than Jason Kelce said, ‘I think it’s 100% true.’”
Steak Shapiro: Chris Russo’s Gummy Comment an ‘All-Time TV Moment’
“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’”
Steak Shapiro told his audience that he has been in the media business for a long time. What he saw on First Take on Wednesday was “one of the all-time TV moments that I have ever seen.”
That moment was Chris Russo’s admission that he will eat a THC gummy, drink a cocktail in the middle of the day and bet $10,000 on Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes to beat Oregon on Saturday.
“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’” He said Thursday morning on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.
He joked that promoting get drunk, betting thousands of dollars and taking drugs should be proof to critics that “ESPN ain’t that woke.”
Drew Butler, Shapiro’s co-host for the Thursday edition of The Steakhouse, said that what caught most people’s attention was the facial expressions and reactions of NFL analyst Marcus Spears.
He added that he was shocked to see something like that on ESPN, who just went through some very public layoffs which have drawn real criticism.
“They take a lot of heat for having to be righteous, politically correct, kind of milquetoast at times,” Shapiro agreed. “Listen, I don’t know that they’re related.”
He added that it would be different if Russo had said that he was going to roll a joint a get high. He said the afternoon that was described though is something that isn’t just unobjectionable to many, it is probably very appealing to a lot of people.
“Any women listening now may envision your husband just like this and any dude listening right now? Again, there’s plenty of guys that’ll wake up and run a marathon, right? Or just go hike for 4 hours. And that’s great, too,” he said. “But then there are other guys that want this out of their Saturday.”
“There’s certain entertainment in listening to a man who simply has nothing to lose,” Butler concluded.
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