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Pat McAfee: ‘XFL Would Have Been Successful In 2020 If Not For Covid’

“I think honestly, first time ever, a spring league was gonna have success. Then Uncle Covid came through, got in the nachos in Seattle. The league shut down.”

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Pat McAfee was involved in ESPN’s coverage of the first attempted revival of the XFL. He made it clear on his radio show on Monday that it took extraordinary circumstances to derail that league.

Vince McMahon had secured broadcast deals with both FOX and ESPN. Many of the teams were drawing passionate crowds. McAfee says Dwayne Johnson and his ex-wife and business partner Dani Garcia are smart to incorporate as much from the 2020 league as they can when they re-launch the XFL in 2023, because it was going to be successful if not for a worldwide pandemic.

“It was gonna go,” McAfee said. “I think honestly, first time ever, a spring league was gonna have success. Then Uncle Covid came through, got in the nachos in Seattle. The league shut down. Bankruptcy was filed. It went up for sale and The Rock and Dani Garcia bought it.”

That point can be disputed. A market like St. Louis is proof that there were plenty of XFL fans in many of the league’s home markets, but the TV viewership did decline steadily each week, finally falling below one million viewers for a game in the final week of action.

Still, that is considerably better than 2001 when the league set a record in primetime in Week 1 and then immediately saw its audience disappear.

Eight cities were announced Sunday as the home bases for XFL franchises. Not a lot has changed. Five of the teams are staying in the same cities. One moves from one suburb to another and two have new homes.

McAfee says it is a brilliant move.

“They kept a lot of the very same fan bases, which I think was a very smart idea. They take the Dallas team and move it to Arlington, they take the Tampa team and move it to Orlando, took the Los Angeles team and moved it to Las Vegas.”

Disney will be the media partner of the XFL when it relaunches next year. The company will use ABC, FX and the ESPN networks to air games.

According to Pat McAfee, a successful spring football league wouldn’t just be a big deal for football fans or the league’s media partners. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should be excited about more than just what it means for his wallet.

“I don’t know if he ever had like a closing to the chapter of football. If he’s able to build his own f***ing league that’s successful, they’ve already partnered with the NFL, and his business mind is able to give opportunities to guys in his position, I think he would probably say ‘You know, I feel like I kinda closed that whole part of my life up,’ which is good for The Rock. It’s good for players that are going to get an opportunity here too.”

Sports Radio News

Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo: I Don’t Do As Much Prep As You Think

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo would much rather go with the flow for his radio show than try and put everything together ahead of time and hope it comes out well.

Russo was the featured guest on the Golf Digest podcast The Loop, and hosts Christopher Powers, Alex Myers and Steve Hennessey first congratulated Mad Dog on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last year. Russo mentioned how he had written a short speech but decided against that after seeing the other inductees run long with their speeches.

Mad Dog was asked about preparing for his SiriusXM sports talk show every day, and he said he really doesn’t put a ton of work into putting a show together.

“On certain days a little more, because on Mondays I do that NFL recap so that takes a little while to put that together at 5 o’clock – probably a couple of hours,” Russo said. “Outside of that not as much as you’d think. I mean obviously I’m gonna follow what’s going on.”

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you,” he added. “This segment do this, this segment do that. Sometimes when you sort of ad lib it, and you figure it out as you’re moving the program into the second hour and the third hour, it’s a better show.”

Mad Dog talked about how he likes that his radio show is the reverse of when he does First Take on ESPN or High Heat on MLB Network. He likes not having a rundown packed to the gills for his radio show.

“The radio is more of a host’s medium,” he said. “So it’s up to me what we’re going to do.”

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Sports Radio News

Stetson Bennett IV Fires Back at Steak Shapiro Over Parade Criticism

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Georgia walloped TCU last week to win their second straight national championship, and the Bulldog community came together toward the end of the week to celebrate with a parade.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV took part in the parade, but 92.9 The Game host Steak Shapiro wasn’t thrilled with how Bennett acted during the celebration.

Shapiro on Tuesday took a shot at Bennett, who appeared to spend some time fiddling with a cell phone during the parade.

Tuesday night, Bennett responded first with a quote tweet.

Bennett followed that up with a longer statement he posted under his quote tweet explaining the situation.

“I appreciate your concern with my image/intentions/loyalties/obligations (as well as your willingness to reach out to me to confirm them),” Bennett wrote. “You obviously thought quite deeply about some motives I might’ve had.”

Bennett said ultimately he was trying to soak up the moment with his teammates, and he was just trying to make sure the celebratory mood was set with the right music on his phone.

“So to finish it off nice and neat: I was controlling the aux and playing bangers so sed and Chris and I could have a blast on our last ride into Sanford,” he said. “That’s pretty much the gist of it.”

Bennett finished with a little dig of his own at Shapiro.

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro,” he said. “But to be fair, I’m not a fan of your work either.”

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Sports Radio News

Ryan Edwards Moves to The Sports Zoo on KOA

“Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.”

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Ryan Edwards is staying with KOA, but his hours are about to change. The Denver sports radio staple is moving off of Broncos Country Tonight to join Alfred Williams and Dave Logan on The Sports Zoo in afternoon drive.

“I am thrilled to join radio and football legends Dave Logan and Alfred Williams on The KOA Sports Zoo,” Edwards said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing a fans’ perspective to the Denver Broncos and all things Denver sports.”

Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.

He joined iHeart Denver in 2017. He was on Orange & Blue 760 before the company replaced the station with a conservative talk format. He moved to KOA in 2019, where he has worked on Broncos Country Tonight with Benjamin Albright.

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