Paul Finebaum visits with Cole Cubelic and Greg McElroy every Monday morning on Jox 94.5 in Birmingham. During this week’s appearance, McElroy asked Finebaum why so many people are talking about NIL deals for college athletes and the NCAA Transfer Portal as if they would be the end of college football.
Finebaum’s answer sure sounded like he was calling out, not only fans that talk that way, but some of his own colleagues as well. His point was simple. You may not like what is happening, but it isn’t actually hurting college football.
“I’m tired of hearing it because it’s not true,” Finebaum answered. “You’re 100% correct. On Saturdays this fall, there will still be, depending on the game, millions of people watching. Cumulatively the numbers are massive. And there will be 90,000 people, 100,000 people in the stadiums and there will be millions of people around the country betting on football, which is really what drives it.”
Last week, Paul Finebaum was in Las Vegas as part of ABC’s coverage of the NFL Draft. He said that he had a conversation off-air with a coach that had come to college football after a career in the NFL. This coach told Finebaum that the NFL can orchestrate a level playing field in a way that can’t be done with college football players now.
There was no reason to think the coach was lying, but Finebaum said the point was irrelevant to the popularity of the sport.
“All the conversations that we hear, really don’t matter. Yeah, there will be people that leave college football to go back to the NFL. There will be people that say ‘You know, I’ve had enough of this. I’m retiring’ or ‘I’m moving to something else.’ That’s fine. That’s not going to effect the number of people interested.”
Finebaum was blunt about what he disliked about what he has heard. He said he did not want to contribute to a conversation he did not agree with.
That wouldn’t have always been the case though. He told McElroy and Cubelic in the morning that when he was in the early days of his radio career, he may have been one of the people predicting that the changing landscape of college football spelled doom and gloom for the sport. Now, he is a little more skeptical of that kind of talk.
“I spent so much time early on looking into illegalities, and I was passionate about it. I believed college football should be run honestly,” he said. “I don’t believe that anymore. I don’t believe it is an honest game. I want to vomit every time I hear an administrator talk about student-athletes because that’s not what they are anymore.”
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“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit.
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“He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
What does the future hold for Drew Brees? Andrew Marchand reports that he is set to leave NBC. Brees himself says nothing is decided yet.
On Monday morning, Boomer & Gio discussed why the former quarterback is in this position just one year after making his broadcasting debut. Gregg Giannotti noted that if Brees was brought to NBC with the idea that he would eventually be the top game analyst, the criticism he faced last year and the network’s decision to stick with Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth were likely unexpected blows to his ego.
“That’s a tough spot, man, for him,” Gio said. “The guy’s been beloved his whole career. He did go through a little bit of it when people were all over his ass for saying the wrong thing one time, but here he goes. He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
Boomer Esiason added that the criticism Drew Brees received for his work in the broadcast booth did not apply to his work on Football Night in America or the Sunday Night Football halftime show.
“He was good in the studio,” Boomer Esiason said. “I saw him in the studio and I liked him.”
Brees prefers calling games to work in the studio. According to Marchand’s report, that is what is at the heart of his potential exit from NBC.
The color commentator role may come with more prestige, but it isn’t easy. Esiason has experience with both positions. He calls games on the radio for Westwood One and has been a staple of CBS’s The NFL Today since 2002.
“Some guys are not meant to be game analysts, that’s all.”