Before former wide receiver Nate Burleson retired from the NFL, he was preparing for a career in media during his playing days and it has helped lead him to high-profile positions on NFL Network, The NFL Today on CBS, and now on CBS Mornings.
On The Big Suey on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Burleson talked about his journey to get to where he is today in the broadcast industry and while he wouldn’t be on-camera sometimes at the NFL Network during his playing career, he was taking in everything that he could.
“Even when I was playing, I was working in the media space,” Burleson explained. “Whether it was with the local teams (local radio), the team network. Every offseason, I would fly to California, go over to Culver City, and I would do the NFL Network. If you are playing, they aren’t paying. It wasn’t like I was making money. Sometimes, I wasn’t even on TV. I was just sitting back, rubbing shoulders, looking at what was going on behind the scenes.
“From the moment I entered the league (2003), that was the moment I did something in the media space every single year, whether it was with my team, NFL Network, or local news. Once I figured out how long my career was going to last and it was nearing the end, I did the broadcast boot camp that the NFL offered. I was a little bit of a “standout” and I don’t say that to pat myself on the back. We had all these applicants (over 1,000 submitted), 30+ guys were there. They were like, ‘Hey, you are a standout; you can be really good at this.’”
While the people at the broadcast boot camp saw Burleson as a standout, he had moments where he felt like a rookie as well. He had to learn the art of being on television and to try not to be like some of the former players at NFL Network that he grew up watching.
“The reason I bring that up is because when they were calling me a standout, I realized I didn’t know squat about being on TV, like the actual craft,” Burleson said. “Everything from the smallest of details like placement of your hands, body language, eye contact, being concise with your words, in and out of conversations, being a host vs. analyst. As they were complimenting me, I felt like a rookie in this entirely new space. It just made me want to work harder.
“When you go to the NFL Network after an 11-year career, I don’t look in the mirror and see a guy that shouldn’t get praised, but I am very self-aware of who I am when I am standing in the room with absolute legends. You walk into NFL Network and it’s Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Willie McGinest. All of these dudes that I have looked up to at one point. I thought let me sprinkle in a little bit of them in what I do on TV… Then, I figured out who I am.”
Once Burleson found out who he was as an analyst, he realized he could be that person who could connect the players from the past and the players today and that’s when everything started opening for him:
“I’m this young kid who was raised in humble beginnings from Seattle, a blend between a jock and a nerd. I love cartoons, I love writing poetry, I love hip-hop, I love watching movies, I’m a man of the people. I love black culture. I walk it, I talk it, I live it, I breathe it,” said Burleson.
“That’s who I am. Be that guy on TV because that guy resonates and that guy has a grasp of what’s going on in the league. He can touch the guys from yesteryear and he can reach and touch the guys that are playing today. Once I figured out my voice, it just seemed like doors started opening.”
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.”