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Stephen A. Smith Zings Chris Russo Leaving ‘Mike & the Mad Dog’ For More Money

“I remember this big-time show called Mike & the Mad Dog, it was an institution… But you know something? Mad Dog left! And why? Got his own damn channel!”

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The NFL keeps drawing major sports headlines despite being in the offseason, thanks to big-name player movement throughout the league. Wednesday’s big news was wide receiver Tyreek Hill being traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Miami Dolphins.

What necessitated the trade was Hill wanting a new top-dollar contract, which the Chiefs apparently weren’t willing to provide. But he got that deal from the Dolphins, who will sign him to a four-year, $120 million extension. (Hill will receive a guaranteed $72.2 million in the deal.)

On Wednesday’s First Take, Chris Russo couldn’t believe that Hill wanted to leave a Super Bowl contender with one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and one of the sport’s best all-time coaches for a team with quarterback uncertainty, a new head coach, and possibly more difficult path to the playoffs for “an extra couple o’ dollars.”

Stephen A. Smith pointed out the obvious: Hill is going to the Dolphins for money. A whole lot more money. Sure, winning a Super Bowl is important but Hill has a championship. Now, he’s going to be paid an exorbitant salary, going from $18 million annually to $30 million.

But the discussion turned funny when Stephen A. drew the comparison to someone else who once left a successful franchise for a bigger paycheck. Russo left Mike & the Mad Dog after a 19-year partnership with Mike Francesa to eventually sign a lucrative deal with SiriusXM that included his own show, allowed him to program an exclusive channel, and provided a show on MLB Network, High Heat.

“I remember this big-time show called Mike & the Mad Dog, it was an institution,” said Smith. “It started sports talk radio. It was doing its thing, OK? But you know something? Mad Dog left! And why? Got his own damn channel! And I’m sure that wasn’t for ‘an extra few bucks,’ OK? You made a business decision! What’s wrong with Tyreek Hill doing that?”

That compelled a hilarious response from Russo, who yelled “I was there 19 years!” Molly Qerim was highly amused.

Mike and the Mad Dog reunited earlier this month at the 2022 BSM Summit, where Francesa revealed that Stephen A. was considered as a possible replacement for Russo. Russo mentioned that Smith grew up as a huge fan of the show, which was indicated in his remarks during that First Take segment.

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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