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MSG Networks Pairing of Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti Is Music to Rangers Fans Ears

“Mistakes are not acceptable. Not that anybody is standing there and hitting you over the head if you make a mistake, but you have to strive for perfection. You want to bring the best out of yourself and to the broadcast, and I think that’s always been the case.”

Derek Futterman

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The location a hockey broadcast is called from can have an effect on the way the game is presented and subsequently understood by viewers. Newer arenas around the NHL have had a focus on creating premium seating options to increase ticket sales and revenue, putting some broadcast teams at a disadvantage. Perched high above the ice on the Chase Bridge at Madison Square Garden, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti broadcast New York Rangers hockey on MSG Networks to millions of fans around the world.

Their broadcast booth is situated adjacent to other broadcast locations for home and visiting networks on television and radio and is suspended approximately 50 feet above the playing surface. The Chase Bridge, which runs parallel to the upper level, was created as part of a $1 billion transformation of “The World’s Most Famous Arena” completed in 2014. Most of the bridge’s south side is reserved for members of the media, giving them arguably the best view of the game whether it be basketball or hockey and enabling them to do their jobs well.

“We may have, arguably, the best broadcast location in the league,” Rosen said. “….Our location at The Garden has been moved in. It’s at a good level where you can see the game, see plays develop and feel the game.”

Being able to have clear sightlines of the game is important for both Rosen and Micheletti, both of whom prefer to call games in person rather than off of a monitor. Before the creation of the Chase Bridge, MSG Networks’ broadcast location was in the very back of the arena’s upper level, sometimes making it difficult to see the action and identify the players.

“The old position at the Garden used to be one of the worst because we were way back, high [up] and [did] not [have] good sightlines,” Micheletti said. “That was more difficult and even then I still wouldn’t watch [the game] off the monitor.”

Rosen and Micheletti are in the midst of their 17th season calling New York Rangers games together and have not just become one of the most prominent broadcast duos in the National Hockey League, but in all of professional sports. From their first broadcast together in the 2006-07 season to the present day, they have fostered chemistry and enthralled sports fans, helping spread the appeal of hockey to the masses.

That first broadcast, however, was not the first time Rosen and Michletti shared the booth – as the duo had previous experience calling games together as the secondary team for the NHL on FOX, national coverage of the league that lasted five seasons spanning from 1994 to 1999.

Their previous experience eliminated most of the difficulties that may have otherwise presented themselves due to John Davidson’s departure after 20 years working with Rosen. In essence, it allowed Rosen and Micheletti to be able to maintain the high standards that came with broadcasting games in the media capital of the world, doubling down on presenting a network-type product.

“We have always strived to present the highest-quality broadcast,” Rosen said. “Mistakes are not acceptable. Not that anybody is standing there and hitting you over the head if you make a mistake, but you have to strive for perfection. You want to bring the best out of yourself and to the broadcast, and I think that’s always been the case.”

“It’s like being in a top organization where you expect to win,” Micheletti added. “They do things right; they treat people right; and they provide whatever you need to be successful.”

From a young age, Sam Rosen was infatuated with sports and all they had to offer, listening to radio broadcasts and playing on the streets surrounding the Borough Park neighborhood in Brooklyn. Rosen had been born in 1947 in Ulm, Germany and immigrated to the United States with his parents and brother Stephen two years later.

By the time he was attending Stuyvesant High School, he was not only the captain of the baseball team, but also a track and field athlete and intramural basketball player. If you could not find him at school or around his neighborhood, the next best place to look would have been Madison Square Garden – but not the current structure (Madison Square Garden IV) above the metropolitan transportation hub, Pennsylvania Station, that houses the New York Rangers and New York Knicks.

Madison Square Garden III sat within the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan and was the home of the Rangers for the team’s first 41 years of existence. As a high school student, Rosen and his friends received general organization cards which allowed them to receive discounts around New York City, including for tickets at the arena.

At the time, hockey was generally played on Wednesdays and Sundays – and Rosen and his friends would make sure to board the subway train to arrive at the venue by 4:30 p.m. They wanted to make sure they would be the first ones inside so they could grab the best general admission seating and devised strategies based on which locations would allow them to see the complete sheet of ice.

“The doors would open and we would race up the stairs at the Garden to try to get to either the first two rows of the side balcony because then you could see the entire ice,” Rosen recalled. “Further up, you missed the near side of the ice. Or we went to the end balcony where you could see the entire game but one side was farther down; the other side away from you was pretty far away.”

Rosen has never been able to ice skate without holding on to another person or an object but even so, he found himself attracted to the game of hockey more so than other sports because of its speed and physicality. The unpredictable nature of athletic competition in particular drew him to want to build a career in sports media and is a motivating factor that eliminates the mundane of the long season and sustains his nascent enthusiasm for each and every game.

“You never know when you’re going to see the next great goal; the next great save in hockey; [or] the next great player,” Rosen said. “….You never know when that next great moment is going to happen and that’s what makes live sports as compelling as they are.”

Once he began matriculating at City College of New York, Rosen’s parents wanted him to study to work in a job typically associated with high stature, such as practicing law or working as a doctor or accountant. Yet he realized the subjects and topics within those professions were not of strong appeal to him in his early college years; therefore, he decided to pursue broadcasting by majoring in speech and minoring in journalism. On the side, he was taking weekly classes focused on television production at Brooklyn College where he would rotate studio roles with other students to learn the fundamentals of the industry.

Following the fall semester of his sophomore year, Rosen landed a part-time job as a desk assistant at the all-news station 1010 WINS where he would work with reporters, edit tape and observe how professionals did their jobs both in and out of the newsroom. It was during this time that Rosen met Jim Gordon, a broadcaster who worked a shift at the station by day and worked as a sportscaster by night for various New York teams, including the Knicks, Rangers – and as one of the original television voices of the Islanders on WOR.

Gordon, who Rosen affirms helped him the most throughout the early stages of his career, listened to his tapes and, through inculcation, offered feedback and pointers so he could improve at the craft. Eventually, Gordon hired Rosen to work as his statistician for New York Knicks radio broadcasts beginning in the 1969-70 season and helped him learn more about the industry. Rosen also continued to work in news for WNAB-AM in Bridgeport, giving him additional exposure into media and simultaneously expanding his skillset across different formats.

By 1971, Rosen was continuing working in both radio and television as a news broadcaster on WICC-AM in Bridgeport and weekend sports anchor on WTNH-TV in nearby New Haven. Two years later, he joined the United Press International Radio Network as an on-site reporter, covering sporting events from the venues at which they occurred. Most of Rosen’s responsibilities in that job took place before and after the event leaving him a large gap of time just to watch the game.

Since he aspired to be a sportscaster though, Rosen would use that time to practice his broadcasting skills and effectively compiled a demo reel. In fact, he was promoted to work as the radio network’s sports director in 1979 and reported with his colleague and future ESPN SportsCenter anchor Keith Olbermann from the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY at the iconic “Miracle on Ice” game where the U.S. Olympic ice hockey team defeated the Soviet Union en route to a gold medal finish.

“I would just go off to a quiet area; a lowly area in the press box, and I would do play-by-play for a period – whether it was hockey that I was covering or basketball,” Rosen said. “Whatever that was going on at the Garden, I would do that and use that. Jim Gordon being my mentor – he was a guy that would listen to my tapes and give me tips on what I needed to do to improve. That was basically my practice work – by being around professional sports, that was a positive.”

Sam Rosen has worked as the lead play by play announcer for MSG Networks since 1984 Photo MSG Networks

Early in his career, Rosen was trying to make connections around sports media and was doing so through his time covering games at Madison Square Garden. Similarly, he was remaining open to external opportunities, including learning about new sports for which he could provide commentary. One of the media executives Rosen had been trying to connect with during his formative years in the industry was Scotty Connell, who had been with NBC Sports. As if it were by chance, Rosen received a call from him one day after covering the U.S. Open Tennis tournament and they spoke about him joining a new all-sports network known as ESPN.

ESPN acquired the rights to NCAA college football games on tape delay and Rosen contributed to the broadcast as its play-by-play announcer. One of his earliest memories working in this capacity was in calling the Whitney Young benefit game between the Grambling State Tigers and Morgan State Bears from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Over his time at ESPN, Rosen went on to call a variety of different sports, including women’s field hockey, Australian rules football and table tennis despite not being familiar with some of them from the onset.

“One day, [Connell] asked me, ‘Is there anything you can’t do?,’ and I said, ‘Maybe, but if there is, I’ll find out how to do it,’” Rosen said. “Basically what I said to him was, ‘You know what? I’ll find out the nuts and bolts; the basics; the fundamentals; and I’ll be able to do the broadcast for you.’ That’s always been my philosophy and I think that helped me because you never know what comes along.”

By remaining versatile and staying ready for each new opportunity, Rosen became even more indispensable to his employers. In February 1977, Jim Gordon was supposed to fill in for Marv Albert to call a New York Knicks game against the rival New York Nets on the radio. However, Gordon fell ill. As a result, Gordon was asked by management if he could recommend another broadcaster to do the game, helping Sam Rosen land the opportunity. From that day on, Rosen officially became a part-time broadcaster for MSG Networks and took a similar approach to what he brought to ESPN.

“I did tennis at the Garden; I did volleyball at the Garden; [I did] boxing for the Garden for over 10 years,” Rosen said. “Whatever it is, I made sure that I could do it, do it well [and] know the sport – and whatever I didn’t know, I tried to learn from the people who did know.”

In 1982, Rosen was hired full-time by MSG Networks as the studio host for New York Rangers telecasts, providing pregame, intermission and postgame coverage with Mike Eruizione and, during the 1983-84 season, John Davidson. Today, John Giannone works in that role and he is regularly joined by analyst and former NHL goaltender Steven Valiquette.

Furthermore, New York Rangers legend and winningest goaltender in franchise history Henrik Lundqvist contributes to the broadcast as a studio analyst during select games while also working in a business operations role at MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment.

“I think they try to get… more expertise involved [and] different viewpoints involved, whether it’s former players who are a little older; some who are a little younger and recently retired; some coaches,” Rosen said. “I think you’re seeing more people to open up discussion [and] have more viewpoints during the course of the broadcast.”

While Rosen was working in the studio and filling in as a play-by-play announcer on the radio as needed, his mentor Jim Gordon was the voice of the Rangers on MSG Network. Gordon worked alongside color commentator and Hockey Hall of Fame member Phil Esposito beginning in the 1981-82 season after a previous stint with former NHL referee Bill Chadwick.

By the end of the 1983-84 season though, MSG Networks wanted to make a change and decided to give Rosen the opportunity to step into the lead play-by-play role. It was the realization of a lifelong dream for him, but the decision to accept the job was genuinely complicated because of his relationship and respect for Gordon.

“You look at it and realize it’s a difficult position to be in,” Rosen explained, “yet the decision was out of my hands and certainly for me and for my future, this was the best thing that had happened for me and the opportunity was the greatest thing that had come my way.”

From the time he landed the job, Rosen aimed to hone his craft and develop chemistry with Esposito, his on-air partner for the first two seasons. During those years, the Rangers were looking to sustain its championship-caliber organization after the team was defeated in the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals by the Montréal Canadiens. Throughout many games, players and fans alike were subjected to chants of “1940” by visiting fanbases, referring to the last time the Rangers had won a Stanley Cup championship.

For seven of Rosen’s first nine seasons as the lead play-by-play announcer, the team made the playoffs but failed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. An essential piece of the 1979-80 Rangers was its goaltender John Davidson and he went on to retire from the sport three years later at the age of 30 due to a variety of injuries he sustained over his career.

When Esposito left the Rangers broadcast booth to become the general manager of the team, Davidson was selected to take over the role. Rosen has a profound amount of respect for Davidson, calling him the “gold standard” of color commentators in sports history, as he pushed him to expand his knowledge about the game of hockey and strive for excellence.

“I used to think that I had a strong work ethic,” Rosen said. “When I watched John’s work ethic, I realized I had to raise mine by at least 50%, if not more, just to keep up with him.”

Over his broadcast career, Davidson worked as a color commentator for games both locally and nationally; in fact, he and Mike “Doc” Emrick were the lead broadcast team for the NHL on FOX, calling various Stanley Cup Finals together. Once FOX lost the NHL rights in 1999, Davidson continued working nationally for the NHL on ABC and later the NHL on NBC before he was hired as president of the St. Louis Blues in June 2006.

Sam Rosen teamed with former Rangers goalie John Davidson on MSG Networks for nearly two decades Photo MSG Networks

“You hired John Davidson because he was a great combination of personality, fun to be around, able to laugh and have enjoyment – yet he was able to relate what was going on on the ice at any level to the fan who didn’t know much about hockey to the experts of the game,” Rosen said. “He had a great rapport with the executives in the sport; the players in the sport; management – at all levels, he had this brilliant rapport and was able to transmit that over the air.”

Before the Stanley Cup Finals were broadcast nationally by FOX starting in 1995, hockey’s championship series had not been televised on network television since 1975. Because of this, it was difficult for hockey fans to watch these crucial games – and the impetus for the creation of NHL Network in 1976, which presented the Finals for the next four seasons.

From 1981 to 1994, Stanley Cup Finals games were broadcast on cable television on channels including USA Network, ESPN, and SportsChannel America. Despite the invigorating, fast-paced action though, hockey was struggling to compete with other sports at the national level, leading local networks to carry the Stanley Cup Finals to serve its psychographic sects of the marketplace.

Rosen and Davidson worked on MSG Networks as the local television broadcast team during the 1993-94 Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, a back-and-forth battle that went to the brink. As the seconds ticked off the clock in Game 7, it became apparent that the Blueshirts would snap their championship drought, which had reached 53 seasons (54 years) – and do it on home ice no less.

The sellout crowd at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” began to celebrate and burst in elation when the final horn sounded, leading Rosen to exclaim to millions watching in the New York metropolitan area: “The waiting is over! The New York Rangers are the Stanley Cup Champions – and this one will last a lifetime!”

Rosen did not compose the words in advance; rather, they came out in the moment amid a pressure-filled Game 7 environment at Madison Square Garden. The fact that he was able to encapsulate and put a script to an indelible moment in New York sports history speaks to his ability to thrive in pressure-filled situations.

Most New York Rangers fans can recite his words by memory, underscoring the power the moment still garners to this day and the moment when, perhaps, Rosen became the poet laureate of the team making arguably the most eminent call in franchise history.

“It had taken so long for the Rangers and there [had] been so many heartbreaks but here it was – this moment where they reached the pinnacle of success and it was perfect,” Rosen said. “….Just to see that [and] to feel it, it just is a moment that at times is unbelievable. It was great and just the singular greatest moment that I’ve had.”

In the years following the Stanley Cup Championship, Rosen continued calling Rangers games with Davidson as the team welcomed new players in its quest to capture another championship. In 1996, Rosen added a role as a play-by-play announcer for the NFL on FOX, demonstrating his versatility in balancing hockey and football roles – although he had previously called preseason football for the New York Jets and New York Giants in the early 1980s.

In that same year, Rosen began calling Stanley Cup Finals nationally for the NHL Radio Network distributed by Westwood One until the operation temporarily ceased in 2008. He worked with various color commentators over that time including Gary Green, Bill Clement and Eddie Olczyk, and his announcing style effectively carried over from television to radio.

Today, Rosen remains dedicated to his job, preparing for each game several days in advance and amassing as much information as possible to be able to convey the story taking place on the ice. He does it all for the benefit of Rangers fans, who hold high expectations for the athletes that call “The Big Apple” home from the moment they arrive on the scene. In this sense, Rosen is not only tasked with putting words to the action, but also serving as a journalist and enterprising stories he can reference or tell on the air.

“For me to help fans understand who these players are, where they’ve come from, how they’ve reached this point and what they’re trying to accomplish is part of my job and part of my role as a play-by-play announcer because I’m around the team most every day,” he said. “I’m able to see these guys and see them off the ice and on the ice. Whatever I can transmit to the fans, I think, is helpful and humanizes these players.”

His longtime partner John Davidson, though, has worked as a hockey executive since leaving the broadcast booth following the 2005-06 season, currently serving as the President of Hockey Operations and alternate governor of the Columbus Blue Jackets. As a result of his departure, MSG Networks needed to add a new color commentator who was capable of maintaining the standard set by Rosen and Davidson. Joe Micheletti has turned out to be the perfect fit.

“It wasn’t a matter of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get to know this guy’ and ‘What is he like?,’” Rosen explained. “No – we already knew each other; we worked together in big games on FOX – playoff games – [so] it was an easy transition from John to Joe.”

Joe Micheletti has worked with Sam Rosen to form one of the best local broadcast crews in the NHL since 2006 Photo MSG Networks

Joe Micheletti retired from hockey after representing the United States in the 1982 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament in Helsinki, Finland. Originally from Hibbing, Minn., Micheletti grew up around the game and attended the University of Minnesota where he played under Herb Brooks, the head coach of the U.S. Olympic Team during its gold medal run in 1980. 

Although he was drafted by the Montréal Canadiens in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft, Micheletti opted to play in the World Hockey Association. Beginning in 1979, he moved to the National Hockey League where he played for the St. Louis Blues and ended his career with a brief stint on the Colorado Rockies in 1982 – who would subsequently become the New Jersey Devils at the start of the next season.

Once Micheletti retired, he began working in the investment business and one day, received a call from St. Louis Blues broadcaster Dan Kelly. While Kelly opened an account with Micheletti, he also implored him to join him as a color commentator for games on KMOX-AM for the upcoming season, telling him it would be a good way to get back in the game and help his business.

In the 1980s, St. Louis, Mo. had many broadcasters who reached national prominence, including Jack Buck, Bob Costas, Dan Dierdorf and Jay Randolph Jr. Dan Kelly was in this category as well, as he also broadcast hockey games nationally for outlets such as USA Network, CBS and NHL Network – and the fact that he was asking Micheletti to join the radio broadcasts was completely unexpected. After taking some time to think about the opportunity, he agreed to take the job and began his broadcasting career “by accident.”

“At that time, and I didn’t have any experience nor did I necessarily have a want to get in that business, we were fortunate to have these great broadcasters and people,” Micheletti said. “They always made it sound like they show up and have a conversation with you which was the biggest mistake I made thinking that’s all they did.”

Kelly was a pundit when it came to sports broadcasting and sought to help Micheletti learn the industry, which sometimes came from being a tough critic. All of his assessments of Micheletti’s work, though, were intended to help grow the broadcast and help his partner improve as a color commentator so he could display his esoteric knowledge of the sport.

“‘Be a pro and remember there’s always two teams on the ice,’” Micheletti recalls Kelly telling him. “‘There’s always another team and other teams have great players and other teams make great plays. Keep that in mind and be fair.’ I learned that early from Dan and I think even though… fans just want you to be focused on their team, I think that I’ve always felt – and that’s through Dan who was one of the great broadcasters this sport has ever had and seen – to be professional.”

After two seasons working on radio with Kelly, Micheletti moved behind the bench to serve as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues – and helped guide the team during its run of 25 straight playoff appearances. He then signed on work as a color commentator for the Minnesota North Stars in 1991 on television, pairing with play-by-play announcer Dave Hodge – the longtime lead announcer of Hockey Night in Canada from 1971 to 1987. They were joined by former Hockey Night in Canada executive producer and sportscaster John Shannon, who ran the nearly 55 televised broadcasts.

“This was something new in broadcasting that I hadn’t done much of – which was television [and it] was totally different than radio,” Micheletti said. “I was looking at this as, ‘Boy, this is all brand new and now I’ve got a chance to learn from one of the great producers in hockey and I get to… learn it from Dave Hodge.’ It was so new to me and I was trying to learn how to be accepted in the business.”

Micheletti returned to the St. Louis Blues as a color commentator for its television broadcasts, pairing with JP Dellacamera beginning in 1993. At the same time, he continued working for the regional firm A.G. Edwards and received a call one day during work from someone claiming to work at Turner Network Television (TNT). Thinking that he was being deceived, Micheletti hung up the phone – but shortly thereafter, the person called back and immediately urged him to stay on the line.

It turned out that Micheletti’s work had been noticed from afar, leading him to be asked to broadcast the 1994 Winter Olympics from Lillehammer, Norway. Joining Micheletti as the play-by-play announcer was Jiggs McDonald, who was primarily broadcasting New York Islanders games locally on SportsChannel New York. The experience of landing the job was memorable for Micheletti, but determining how to prepare for an assignment of this magnitude initially confounded him.

In an effort to learn about the international players, Micheletti used his connections to compile a list of hockey contacts from countries including Norway, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. He would then set his alarm on the road to wake up at 2 a.m. in order to make calls to gather information and insight about the international game.

“I looked at it as the biggest challenge that I’ve ever had and it turned out to be that way but it turned out to be the most satisfying,” Micheletti expressed. “….I always thought the Olympics was the biggest challenge because of the restrictions you have in talking to people.”

Once he concluded that assignment, Micheletti began receiving calls from other national networks and went on to work four additional Olympic Games with CBS (1998) and NBC Sports (2002, 2006, 2010). Additionally, he worked as a color commentator with Sam Rosen on the NHL on FOX and was both in the booth and in-between the benches for the NHL on NBC. For the last seven seasons, he has been the color commentator for NHL Radio’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals, currently syndicated by Sports USA Media.

Prior to the 1998-99 season, Micheletti made a difficult decision to move from St. Louis to New York to work with Howie Rose as the color commentator for New York Islanders games on Fox Sports Net New York. Micheletti took over duties for Ed Westfall, the first team captain in franchise history who had been broadcasting Islanders games for 19 seasons – largely with Jiggs McDonald. Three years earlier, Rose entered the play-by-play role for the team due to McDonald’s departure to call games for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It really was great because I’ve always viewed this as no different than playing for a team [in] that I’m only just a part of it,” Micheletti said. Everybody’s got a job and everybody should try to get along and work hard and support each other. We really had that with the Islanders.”

In the early years of Micheletti’s tenure with the Islanders, the team was consistently finishing last in the Atlantic Division, making it difficult for some people to stay engaged with the game and the team at large. By the 2001-02 season, the Islanders, led by Alexei Yashin, Mark Parrish and Rick DiPietro, began to qualify for the playoffs but lost in the quarterfinals for three consecutive seasons.

Through these years, Micheletti and Rose worked with producer Kevin Meininger and director Larry Roth, both of whom are involved with New York Rangers broadcasts on the network today. Together with the rest of the broadcast team, they were able to present a product they could be proud of.

“It was tough because they were going through a lot of growing pains,” Micheletti said. “We had to really work to try and make the broadcast interesting and worthwhile while the team was going through their transition. I look back on those days very fondly working with Howie and that group.”

Once John Davidson left sports media to work for the St. Louis Blues in 2006, Micheletti transitioned from calling games on Long Island to doing so in Manhattan. He recalls being eager for the chance to work with Rosen on a local basis when the offer was made to him and was confident in his own knowledge and expertise to engender a seamless transition.

“I always had great respect for J.D. and what he did and I knew that he was such a staple with Sam and with the Rangers and that he had played there [along with] his status in the industry [and] how beloved he was in New York,” Micheletti said. “You either had to ask yourself, ‘No I don’t want to take that challenge because it’s hard to win,’ or you just… said, ‘Absolutely, I’ll do that.’”

Micheletti was familiar with the marketplace since he had been broadcasting Islanders games – but the situation differed from his last move in that he was stepping into a broadcast booth that had been together for 19 seasons (20 years). Nonetheless, he sought to be himself and take stock in what made him unique and appealing to viewers both locally and nationally.

“I know there’s always comparisons,” Micheletti explained. “I just said to myself, ‘You know what? I’m going to be myself. I’m not going to try to be him. I’m not going to try and fill shoes. I’ll leave the shoes over there and go to work and figure it out and deal with whatever I have to deal with.’”

MSG Networks announcers Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti believe they have one of the finest views in the NHL at Madison Square Garden Photo Derek Futterman

The landscape of sports media has experienced seismic changes since Rosen and Micheletti began working together, specifically in the means of distribution. Today, Rangers fans can watch the game over cable television, by streaming on various platforms or by watching through the MSG App, and there are surely more innovations to come as technology and consumption habits continue to shift. Yet the broadcast itself has stayed relatively consistent sans cosmetic changes, such as alterations in production music and graphics packages, and the addition of content related to sports betting and “wagertainment.”

“I think our approach to the game has been pretty similar and the same for a long time,” Micheletti said. “We’re not tired of doing what we’re doing and we try to have some fun and try to be prepared to do it.”

“From a personal standpoint, I don’t think that I’ve changed much at all,” Rosen added. “My personal approach has always been to try to transmit the excitement of being at the game; of seeing the greatest players in the world; and just some of them, the best that ever lived.”

Both Rosen and Micheletti make it a point to attend morning skate and attempt to talk to the coaches of both teams so they can ask questions about the current state of events. Before this though, they read as much as they can about the opponent and create notes to use during the game – even though much of their commentary comes from naturally reacting to gameplay on the ice.

“Sometimes you don’t need any of the notes that you’re taking because the game is so interesting and there’s things going on [that are] maybe the unexpected events of the game,” Micheletti said. “I’ve always felt [to] make sure you let the game breathe and don’t try to use your briefcase and your notes [to] dictate what you say. Let the game dictate that.”

In order to remind himself of the key components of his job as a color commentator, Micheletti carries a sheet of paper with him in the booth for each broadcast containing reminders. One of the points at the top of his list simply reads, ‘Why?,’ prompting him to consider the reasons for something happening. Another point on his list says ‘Behind the play’ to alert him to watch the action off the puck, as it can be a determinant for concurrent occurrences and supplements Rosen’s description of the game. He has been doing it for the last 17 years as the color commentator for Rangers games and does not figure to stop the practice any time soon.

“When the puck is at the point, I try to watch in front of the net; see who’s doing what and watch the benches,” Micheletti said. “I keep the puck off to the side and I’m trying to watch everything else that’s going on [down] on the ice which the play-by-play guy can’t do. He’s got to focus on where the puck is and who’s doing what. Part of my job is to find things that happen in just watching a game that maybe people don’t see that I can point out.”

As a former assistant coach and professional player, Micheletti knows the importance of being adaptable and collaborative within a team setting. Rosen and Micheletti are parts of the broadcast paradigm, and it takes a cohesive synergy and respect for everyone’s role to steadily augment the end result and consistently raise the bar.

Madison Square Garden is often a sense of pride for Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti for MSG Networks Photo Derek Futterman

“When you’re with really qualified people that know the business, then to me it’s easy to have a discussion about being better; improving; helping somebody; whatever it might be,” MIcheletti said. “….It’s just like anything else – when you’re with somebody that thinks they have all the answers for everything, that generally doesn’t work. It doesn’t work with me; it doesn’t work with most people that want the team and the group to have success.”

Rosen is in his 38th season and 39th year as the play-by-play voice of the New York Rangers, and continues to bring fans countless numbers of memorable moments including power play goals by Artemi Panarin; highlight-reel saves by Igor Shesterkin; and shrewd defensive plays made by Adam Fox.

“I think that I’ve been able to show the people at Madison Square Garden and the people who I’ve worked alongside with and certainly the fans that I’ve been able to serve and work for and bring my style to how important this job was to me and how important it was to treat it as significant as it was,” Rosen said. “Sometimes words can’t adequately describe how much this job has meant to me and how much I value its importance in entertainment; in television; and to the people who are out there watching and listening.”

Rosen was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as the recipient of the 2016 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding achievements as a hockey broadcaster. Traveling to Toronto, Ontario with his family to see the plaque was an emotional moment for Rosen – indicative of his journey and the strong expectations he placed onto himself.

“The Hall of Fame to me was always about the players,” Rosen articulated. “You think about players – the greatest players of the game – watching them play and then being honored and inducted into the Hall of Fame. For the people in this sport – in hockey – to say you are going to be remembered for all time as one of the best is just an honor that is hard to describe.”

While there has been some speculation over the years regarding when Rosen may retire, he feels he is in a good place and looks to continue calling Rangers games for the years ahead. He cannot pinpoint an exact date as to when his career may end; however, he has advised his family to watch his broadcasts and make him aware if it looks like he is hanging on or losing his ability to be informative and entertaining to the viewers.

“I love what I do and I think as long as I’m healthy and as long as I still can bring that same enthusiasm to the broadcast, I would like to keep doing it,” Rosen said. “Certainly there will reach a point where it’s time to step aside and let the next person take over, [but] I love what I do and that doesn’t change whatsoever.”

Micheletti did not receive a formal education in broadcasting; rather, he learned by working in the business after playing and coaching. Fortunately, he has worked alongside adept broadcasters over the years, including Dan Kelly, Ken Wilson, John Forslund, Mike “Doc” Emrick, Jiggs McDonald, Kenny Albert, Howie Rose and, of course, Sam Rosen.

“With Sam, I want to make sure that I don’t interrupt his call because it’s been so good for so many years and still is,” Micheletti said. “….When you get a chance to work with somebody like Sam, you pinch yourself and I still do. I’ve been so fortunate in my career because I got to start with a Hall of Famer and I’m hoping I finish with a Hall of Famer.”

Younger broadcasters, including Brendan Burke and Bill Spaulding with the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils on MSG Networks, respectively, exude a passion for the game that pervades itself towards the viewing audience. Sports, in essence, are a form of entertainment and excitement – characteristics of which Rosen remains keenly aware – and his portrayal of the event has led him to be thanked on the street by fans. It keeps him cognizant of the impact the broadcasts have in the New York marketplace, penetrating beyond the bounds of the “Rangerstown” community, and further motivates him to be his best each day.

Michelle Gingras serves as MSG Networks rinkside reporter during Rangers broadcasts Photo MSG Networks

“The fans are passionate,” Rosen said. “You hear it every night at the Garden [and] you see it wherever we go around the league…. I hope that any young broadcaster coming along understands that and appreciates the good fortune that they have to be at these games and to see these great athletes that they’re seeing on a game-by-game basis.”

Even though he has been involved in media for nearly six decades, Rosen keeps up with industry trends and tries to tailor the broadcast to the fans. With the advent of social media and the instant dissemination of information, presenting unrealized perspectives and storylines evinces the responsibilities associated with a beat reporter. Rosen is regularly around the team; the difference in his role from that of a beat reporter is that he publishes his “story” during the game and reports before and after to enrich it in the moment.

During the game, rinkside reporter Michelle Gingras contributes her storylines to the broadcast and interviews players in-between periods and after the game, affording Rosen and Micheletti a chance to see what is going on five floors below them on the event level.

“There’s a constant flow; a constant stream of information out there,” Rosen explained. “[In] my role, what’s changed is not only do I need to provide information that some people may not have known, but also to relate to the players’ approach to things.”

One aspect of broadcasting hockey that he hopes is prioritized though is accommodating the networks and broadcasters to give them the ability to effectively call the game. Part of that comes from the location in each arena from which they are working and Rosen considers himself lucky to have a great sightline at Madison Square Garden.

Moreover, he enjoys broadcasting games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto; Rogers Arena in Vancouver; and especially from the press gondola at Bell Centre in Montréal. Conversely, the broadcast locations in other arenas, including Prudential Center in Newark; UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y.; Rogers Place in Edmonton; and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas are high up and pulled back away from the ice, making them less than ideal.

MSG Networks announcer Sam Rosen pointed out four NHL arenas that are more difficult to broadcast from in clockwise order the home of the Devils Golden Knights Maple Leafs and Islanders Photos Derek Futterman

“We are a ticket-driven sport and they build those suites and they make a lot of money for the individual teams – I understand that,” Rosen said. “….The league has always said to the broadcasters, ‘We need you to call a great game; we need you to be enthusiastic about our sport,’” Rosen expressed. “Well, sometimes it would be great if the league could somehow use its influence a little bit to give us help to make it a little bit easier for us to do the job that they would like to see us do.”

Regardless of the location of the broadcast booth, though, the on-air duo of Rosen and Micheletti is unmistakably distinct and audibly representative of a sound associated with New York Rangers hockey. Whether it is Rosen expressing, “It’s a power play goal!” over the custom-made goal song “Slapshot;” welcoming viewers back from the intermission by saying, “New York Rangers hockey on MSG Network is presented by Chase;” Micheletti breaking down the opponent in the broadcast open; or the duo exchanging answers to the Cadillac Trivia Question each game, their broadcasts have become tradition for fans of the “Original Six” franchise.

Jobs broadcasting professional sporting events are hard to come by in general, and there is surely a long list of aspiring announcers who wish to occupy the broadcast booth at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in the largest media market in the world. For those setting those goals, it is important to stick to them and shoot towards them with full force, or in Rangers’ hockey terms, as hard as a Mika Zibanejad slapshot – having played professionally notwithstanding. Doing so may create memories sure to “last a lifetime.”

“You might love hockey, but if there’s a football opening and you can do football, go for it,” Rosen said. “Never lose sight of your ultimate goals – it’s great to have ultimate goals – but be versatile and have the ability to change course and go for it where that opening presents itself and do that game and do that sport as well as any other sport.”

“Don’t treat it like just because you played the game that suddenly you’re going to become a good broadcaster and know how to do it because it’s a job,” Micheletti added. “People work awfully hard in the industry to get these jobs so be respectful of it, take advice, ask questions and watch yourself and listen to yourself when you’re doing it because a lot of times I didn’t; I still try to do that. Then rely on people that are really good in the business to help you out.”

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Who is Next if Charles Barkley Leaves NBA Television?

“Many entertaining and interesting analysts grace the television airwaves today, but none are Charles Barkley. His exit would create a massive issue for the NBA as it would take away its top TV star, and the league’s best program outside of games.”

Jason Barrett

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Say it ain’t so Charles! TNT’s shaky future with the NBA has pushed Charles Barkley to the brink of exiting television. Though it’s possible his remarks on Friday night were voiced to put pressure on the league to do business with TNT or to increase offers from other networks, if he is being truthful, next season will be the last hurrah for Sir Charles on Inside The NBA. With no Barkley on the show, it likely creates additional changes as well.

Should Barkley depart, many will be sad and disappointed. However, once time passes, the love and appreciation for what Inside The NBA delivered will be remembered forever. Simply put, it’s one of the best shows ever created on sports television.

The NBA’s move away from TNT opens the door for NBC and Amazon to build their own NBA programs. ESPN meanwhile will likely fine tune their roster and approach to try and seize the opening created by TNT’s best show going away.

But subtraction doesn’t always lead to addition for networks. There still needs to be something special to entice viewers to watch. A perfect example is this year’s NBA crew on ESPN. Mike Breen is still exceptional but the chemistry with Doris Burke and JJ Redick isn’t close to what existed with Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson. When people know each other, like each other, and understand what each brings to the table, chemistry is produced. That is the special ingredient that has made Inside The NBA a hit for decades.

Many entertaining and interesting analysts grace the television airwaves today, but none are Barkley. His exit would create a massive issue for the NBA as it would take away its top TV star, and the league’s best program outside of games. Increased rights fees can be celebrated all day long, but being talked about before and after the games is vital. That’s what Inside The NBA delivers unlike any other NBA program.

So that raises an important question, if Chuck leaves, who’s next?

Draymond Green is an obvious choice, and the odds on favorite. TNT has been including him on shows for a while now so he can blend in with Shaq, Kenny, and Ernie. He’s a champion, well spoken, unafraid to speak his mind, and is an accomplished host at The Volume. His familiarity with younger viewers is another advantage. The only issues, he’s not as funny as Barkley, and he may wish to continue playing. If he does, that creates a problem. Should he choose to retire after the 2024-2025 season, and if the Warriors part ways with Steve Kerr, could Green’s coach join him on set? Kerr did work for TNT before heading to Golden State.

LeBron James will likely be pursued too, likely even more than Green given his star power. But are networks going to want to pay the game’s most popular player Tom Brady money to work on a pre/post game show? Is that really what LeBron wants to do? If the cast involved LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or a mixture of LeBron’s friends, maybe that gets his attention. But James can create his own content and make millions off of it. There’s also no guarantee he leaves after next year especially if his son doesn’t get drafted.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are two other talented stars with strong chemistry who could sit opposite Shaq and command the viewers attention. They’re not Barkley, but they’re stars with chemistry who alongside Shaq could speak the same language. Pierce especially has shown he’s unafraid to speak his mind. Plus networks do like personalities with ties to popular teams such as the Lakers and Celtics. I personally can’t see the network turning to Paul and Kevin to fill Barkley’s spot. If LeBron and Draymond are still playing though, and nobody can fill Chuck’s shoes, adding championship players with chemistry isn’t a bad Plan B.

Vince Carter, Jamaal Crawford and Steve Smith were mentioned by Barkley as guys he could potentially pass the baton to. I can’t see that happening. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez, Kevin Love, and Andre Iguodala may also be options if they desire to work in TV. Each offers insight, personality and an ability to speak and present themselves well on camera. Most are accomplished and familiar to NBA fans too. Steph Curry will also be courted by networks when he stops playing. I just can’t see him leaving in a year. He’s more reserved, though his dad has excelled as a television analyst in Charlotte.

Barring something out of the box being done such as a network luring Michael Jordan to television, Bill Simmons being hired or the next crew featuring coaches such as Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, and Doc Rivers or the Van Gundy Brothers and Mark Jackson, replacing Barkley is a tall order. His exit likely means Kenny and Ernie go too. Shaq is the one of the four who could transition to a new cast. He has more years ahead if he wishes to stay involved.

All good things do eventually come to an end but there’s plenty of gas left in the tank for Barkley and Inside The NBA. Holding on to the show for a few more years makes the most sense right now. The league is in even stronger financial shape following new rights deals with networks. As big as those wins are though, they’ll feel much less special if its flagship program and top television star are gone after next season.

Barrett Media Music Update:

Last week I revealed that Ron Harrell, Robby Bridges, and Kevin Robinson were joining our Music Radio writing team starting July 15th. Today, we have two more additions to announce. I’m thrilled to share that Bob Lawrence and Keith Berman will join Barrett Media as weekly columnists when we launch on July 15th.

Bob currently serves as Market Manager for Seven Mountains Media overseeing the company’s Parkersburg, WV/Marietta, OH markets. His radio resume includes previously serving as GM of the RAB’s National Radio Talent System, Corporate VP of Programming/Content at Saga Communications, CEO of Pinnacle Media Worldwide, and Market Manager for New South Radio in Jackson, MS. Adding Bob’s experience and perspective will help folks in management, programming, content, and sales.

Keith meanwhile has great history writing in this arena. He spent 7 years at Radio and Records working as a format editor, news reporter and features writer. After R&R shut down, he teamed with Kevin Carter to launch RAMP (Radio and Music Pros), spending 3 years co-writing daily issues until leaving the site in 2012. His passion, knowledge, and love for the industry remains high, and I’m excited to have him on board as we make our move into the music radio space.

In addition to adding Bob and Keith, I’ll have an announcement soon later this week regarding our editor. It’s been an extensive process, that’s involved a lot of phone conversations. I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone the past few weeks, but have made my decision. With the launch less than 30 days away, there’s plenty to do and the right leader is important.

Lastly, I’m hiring a few features reporters and have interviewed some excellent people. Our job post on the website and LinkedIn produced nearly 200 applications in one week. I’ve got a specific plan for how I want to lay this out, so I’m hoping to nail things down with interested writers this week, and have a final announcement next week. We’re almost there.

Thumbs Up:

Sports Radio 610: I loved the creativity from Sports Radio 610 in Houston last week. The station took June 10th and turned it into 610 Day. Shows welcomed back former hosts Nick Wright, Rich Lord, and Josh Innes for conversations, which included stories and behind the scenes details about specific issues. Innes in particular hadn’t been on the station in more than 10 years, so it was a very cool moment. The buzz even led to Houston’s Mayor John Whitmire declaring June 10th, Sports Radio 610 Day. Great work by Parker Hills and his team.

X: Social media platforms have their fair share of warts but X made an improvement this week. Elon Musk’s company made Likes private. After doing so, an increase of activity followed. I’ve never liked seeing high profile people torn to shreds based on what they clicked like on. Assumptions get made and they’re often overblown. Individuals deserve to use their accounts how they wish. The only ones hurt by this move are the media outlets looking to generate traffic over it. If you think losing an opportunity to play Peeping Tom on people’s activity is still an issue, remember, the thought still lives in their head, even if you saw it on X.

Steve Stone: Simplicity can make a big difference in branding when used right. This 30 second video promo from Steve Stone is a great example. I saw it on LinkedIn last week, and thought it was easy to follow, highlighted what’s provided, and the tag line at the end (More Than a Voice, An Advantage) was excellent. Steve’s attention to detail for marketing himself always stands out in a strong way. A great lesson for today and tomorrow’s leaders.

Pablo Torre’s ‘The Sporting Class’: The conversations between Pablo Torre, John Skipper and David Samson are always must-listen/watch if you enjoy sports media business content. The past week’s discussion on WNBA rights was smart, interesting, and the type of insight you look for if trying to learn and understand what’s going on in the industry. Just a fantastic show that should be on your radar each week if you work in the media business.

Thumbs Down:

Tim Cato: When coaches or athletes take the media to task, many like to rip them for it. But sometimes it’s justified. That was the case last week when Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd put The Athletic reporter under a heat lamp for a ‘long ass question’. Too often writers and hosts use questions to show how much they know or they’ll tiptoe around sensitive issues or combine 3-4 questions at once trying to get everything in. The problem with that, it rarely results in good answers. Less is always more. It may not feel as deep but better responses come from short questions built around Who, What, Where, Why, When and How.

KC Morning Sports Radio: Kansas City listeners have had the luxury of waking up, driving to work, knowing that Nate Bukaty would be alongside Steven St. John on WHB, and Josh Klingler would be mixing it up with Bob Fescoe in 610 Sports. Yet in the span of two weeks, Bukaty and Klinger each announced they’re stepping away from FT hosting. That leaves Fescoe and St. John either operating solo, utilizing contributors or working with new partners.

It’s strange to see both shows change at the same time. However, if there’s one advantage, it’s June, and football season is still nearly three months away. Hopefully each show gets stronger, but for today, KC radio listeners have lost something from the shows they’ve consistently depended on.

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Eavesdropping: Mind the Game with LeBron James and JJ Redick

“To have a guy like Kyrie Irving as the ultimate wild card, that’s like having a ‘Draw 4’ in your hand every time someone deals you cards in Uno.”

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Graphic for an Eavesdropping feature on Mind the Game with LeBron James and JJ Redick

Back in March, it was announced that two popular names in the sport of basketball would be coming together to produce a new basketball podcast. The co-hosts are LeBron James, considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, along with ESPN NBA analyst JJ Redick, who was the 2006 National college player of the year and played in over 900 NBA games mostly with the Orlando Magic, the LA Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The podcast is produced by James’ company Uninterrupted as well as Redick’s ThreeFourTwo Productions. Redick said back in March, “It’s meant to be a very free-flowing conversation about the sport and about the game. If you look at it in a very simplistic way, it’s just about basketball.” So as the NBA Finals are going on, I decided to eavesdrop in on Mind the Game with LeBron James and JJ Redick.

Before I get to the episode, I should point out that since the podcast was first launched, the Los Angeles Lakers fired their head coach, Darvin Ham, and Redick’s name has been mentioned as a possible replacement, especially now that Dan Hurley has turned down the job to remain at UConn. This adds another layer to the podcast and is something Stephen A. Smith has called an “an egregious thing to do. I am not talking about the podcast itself, I’m talking about the timing.”

Smith believes James wanted to showcase Redick’s knowledge of the game and that the podcast is somewhat of a ploy by James to get the Lakers to hire Redick. Smith thought with Ham on the coaching hot seat, the March debut of the show made it obvious to him there was more meaning behind it than just these two guys deciding to do a podcast together

Regardless of the reasons for it, there is really only one way to describe the podcast when you listen in, and that is that it’s a Masterclass on basketball. This is not two talking heads sitting around generally analyzing the two teams and then making predictions on the NBA Finals series between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks.

Interestingly, although the title of the episode is “NBA Finals” and it is billed as an NBA Finals preview, the Eastern Conference finals had not concluded yet. This led to a humorous line from Redick at the beginning when he said they were recording the episode with the Mavericks up 3-0 in their series with the Minnesota Timberwolves. “We are going to go a little bit on the assumption that Minnesota will not be the first team to come back from a 3-0 deficit,” he said. “Could happen. I’m not saying it couldn’t. In which case this whole episode is fu**ed.”

Fortunately for them, but not so much for the Timberwolves, they did not come back, and Dallas did move on to play Boston in the Finals. However, with Minnesota still involved at the time, it allowed for Redick to ask James about Anthony Edwards and the comparison between himself and Edwards as both made deep playoff runs at the age of 22.

“I didn’t even know what was going on,” James said. “I was 22 years old; I’m trying to take in as much information as I possibly could. But more importantly I just wanted to go out there and not overcomplicate myself with information and just go out and play free. As a 22-year-old I felt like that’s what I should be doing.”

James said it was a little bit like playing with house money. Nobody expected his team to be where they were, they were the clear underdogs in a series against the veteran San Antonio Spurs, and James felt complete freedom just to go play the game, which Edwards was experiencing as well.

From there, you really get to see why this is not just your regular old basketball podcast for fans. This is a high-level course and if you have not taken the prerequisite courses (meaning you really understand the game), you may not even understand what it is they are talking about.

One of the major features of the show is Redick working on his coaches’ white board and actually drawing up plays. In this case he started out with a set the Boston Celtics are known to initiate their offense from and goes through many of the various options they have out of this configuration.

Redick and James say the set is called a ‘Horns 2’ or a ‘V2’ set up. Redick explains. If you are watching the show on YouTube, you will see definitions put up on the screen which helps you follow along on what the two hosts are talking about.

For this particular setup, the definition explains a ‘Horns’ set as “a half court set in which two bigs set ball screens on both sides of the ball handler with one big rolling to the rim and the other popping above the three-point line.”

The next subject brought a great question from Redick to James about the difference between being an underdog in a series versus being the favorite.

“Going into a Finals when you’re the underdog, you definitely have a different demeanor you have a different feeling,” James said. “It’s a different weight that’s on your shoulders and in your mind and on your back and on your chest. You can feel less anticipation. I have been on both sides. I have been the favorite and lost and have been the underdog and won.”

There are some laughs between the two hosts who have really good chemistry together. But mostly it is just straight, high level, basketball talk. Almost like two coaches sitting in a room watching tape and talking to one another in a language only some can understand. The show, however, is filled with little nuggets you can learn to be a better basketball fan and to understand why teams do things in certain situations.

One discussion on the episode was about whether a team should foul late in a game when they are up three and the other team has the ball. The idea, of course, is that they can only score two points from the free-throw line. This is something that has been talked about by many analysts over the years. However, on Mind the Game, James and Redick go into a discussion about why you should consider fouling when you are up six points, and the other team has the ball. James said the idea here would be to keep things as a two-possession game and not allowing the other team to potentially hit a 3 and make it a one-possession game.

As the two got more into the Celtics-Mavericks matchup, Redick asked James what the absolute best thing was the Celtics did that the Mavericks would have to contend with. “Passing and dribble penetration,” James answered. This brought the white board back out and Redick and James broke down the Celtics offense. “The spacing is what starts everything for them offensively,” Redick said about Boston as he diagrammed on his board.

At this point, video clips are introduced and add to what James and Redick described. First, Redick would draw up a few things Boston may do offensively and then video would play showing exactly what they had talked about. This led into the discussion of how Dallas could stop Boston’s offense and James said, “You can’t give the other team too much of the same.” He described switching up the defensive looks and even talked about how pushing an offensive player slightly off their spot can change things in a big way.

The hosts will often refer back to things they have talked about or reviewed in previous episodes, but if you are not familiar with terms like the aforementioned ‘Horns’ or ‘V2’ set or what a flare is, or a thumb up/thumb down play or what it means for the defense to blitz an offensive player, you may have a tough time keeping up.

Fortunately, James and Redick do speak the same language and as long as you can follow along with their high-level basketball IQ’s, you will enjoy their uncanny recall of players, games and even certain plays. So far, the YouTube channel for the show has 653,000 subscribers and this particular episode had been viewed over 789,000 times at the time I tuned in, so obviously it is something basketball fans are enjoying.

As the show wrapped, both hosts threw out major flowers to James’ former teammate Kyrie Irving who has been playing well for Dallas. This is another great thing you hear during Mind the Game, which is what someone like James thinks about other players in the league. “I would call him The Wizard all the time,” James said about Irving. “There was nothing on the basketball floor that Kyrie couldn’t do. Sitting here watching him, I’m so fu**ing happy and so proud to watch him to continue his growth. At the same time, I’m so fu**ing mad that I’m not his running mate anymore.”

Redick said Irving can be an X-factor in the Finals and James replied, “To have a guy like Kyrie Irving as the ultimate wild card, that’s like having a ‘Draw 4’ in your hand every time someone deals you cards in Uno. …he’s the most gifted player the NBA has ever seen, he has the best gifts I’ve ever seen of any NBA player.”

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Chase Daniel Making YouTube Content as Unique as His NFL Career

Daniel and 23 others were chosen to attend the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp where they had the chance to meet and get coaching from media executives from all of the different NFL broadcasting partners.

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Photo of Chase Daniel at NFL Broadcast Boot Camp
Photo Courtesy: Chase Daniel X Account

Chase Daniel had a well-documented, somewhat unparalleled NFL career. 13 years, five starts, 273 career passes and over $40 million in compensation. He has been called a ‘Backup QB Legend’ by some and the ‘Backup QB GOAT’ by others. A former Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Daniel went to Missouri after having been named the EA Sports National High School Player of the Year. He has always competed, always been one of the hardest working people on the team and generally succeeded beyond expectations.

As his NFL career was winding down, Daniel started doing work for the NFL Network. In 2022, he did 30 shows for the network while he was still playing for the Chargers. He did not play last season and did say that while he has not yet filed the paperwork, it was ok to “break the news” he has retired from playing.

As for the work he did with the NFL Network while still playing, Daniel said, “I think that just sort of scratched the itch a little bit as part of their Monday post-game show. It was really valuable reps, valuable from what I was able to learn.”

Daniel credits his on-air teammates, Omar Ruiz, Adam Rank and DeAngelo Hall for teaching him a lot about television. He said his first full year away from the game, he didn’t want to go all-in, rather dipping his toes in as he was acclimating to home life and being ‘Dad’ and ‘Coach’ to his kids.

“But I ended up loving doing that stuff. I did Total Access on Fridays, and I was on all their draft coverage and all their combine coverage which was awesome.”

Daniel was also doing two different podcasts, one with The Athletic and one with Trey Wingo. And while he still plans to be a part of a national television platform, it is something else that he started on his own and continues to do mostly on his own, that has been drawing a lot of attention his way.

Daniel, like many former athletes, started a YouTube show, The Chase Daniel Show. Initially it was going to be an interview-style presentation, but Daniel had an idea he thought could really hit if done the right way. “I knew in the back of mind, if I could somehow find a way to break down quarterbacks in a way that really hadn’t been done before, there would really be a market for it,” he said.

While he said it took him a while to figure out how to draw on video like an NFL analyst working on a telestrator, once he did it didn’t take him long to see he did have something many people were interested in. His first breakdown video of Justin Fields, then with the Chicago Bears, was viewed over 160,000 times and at the time Daniel had less than 1,500 subscribers on the YouTube page. He is now nearing 50,000 subscribers.

“Well, this is a hit, let’s start doing it,” Daniel said he remembered thinking. He said by October of last year he really had it the way he wanted it and continued to crush it with breakdown videos.

“I never want to come across as condescending or smug, I want to be a teacher,” Daniel said when asked why he chose to do this style of analyzing football. “I want to be able to further the game of football from a standpoint of your mother-in-law and the nerds of football can both understand what I’m talking about. It has been such a fun thing. It’s probably the thing I am most proud of, the YouTube channel.”

As for what is to come this season and how he plans to grow the channel and the content, Daniel said he is not quite ready to reveal all of what is to come but he has a lot of big plans in the works.

“We are just excited to continue to make this better,” he said. “It is a very big, strategic mission for me this year, to make it even better and to get it to 100,000 subscribers. I think you’re going to see even more in-depth breakdowns. I think you’re maybe going to see some live breakdowns.”

Daniel mentioned the possibility of airing live shows this season on YouTube and also on X. He also talked about the possibility of doing some alternate broadcast style shows where he brings others on to his platform to break things down with him.

Daniel also is very active on social media and says he tries to reply to as many of the comments he gets about his videos as possible. His whole goal is to really have a one-on-one relationship with those tuning in for this content.

“I tried to base my whole YouTube channel off of ‘you and me.’ I’m in one person’s computer screen or on one person’s phone, but I am talking to you. If you’re watching my video, you are inside an NFL QB room with me, and we are watching the game the day after we played it, and this is what my QB coach is going to say for 12 plays. And this is what is going to be said in a meeting room and I am going to teach ball.

“I know from being around two hall of fame coaches to being around a hall of fame quarterback, to being in seven different quarterback rooms. I know what is actually being coached. And I love breaking down film.”

As for what exactly he’ll be doing on the network television side this fall, those conversations are still ongoing as he and his representatives with Rubicon Talent work through the various options. In April, Daniel and 23 others were chosen to attend the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp where they had the chance to meet and get coaching from media executives from all of the different NFL broadcasting partners.

“I wanted to go because I want more opportunities and I wanted more coaching on how to call games,” Daniel said. “I think that is one of the more difficult things to do. Because you may think you are going to call it one way, but the game may play out much differently. I feel like that’s where I am good. I feel like I can see something happening in real time and automatically understand from a strategic standpoint what is happening and why it is happening.”

Daniel said he got great feedback from a lot of high-level executives and that a lot of it now is just about timing and “getting in somewhere.”

In explaining what the boot camp was, he said, “It was two and a half full days. I am a note taker, and I took copious amounts of notes. We had Fred Gaudelli (Pete Rozelle Award winning NFL TV producer) teach a class for 90 minutes talking about what it’s like to call a game and telling us what is expected of us. He reminded us, “You serve an audience.”

“They did this for podcasts, talk radio, game calling on radio, game calling on TV,” he said. “They taught you everything for the first two days with panels and groups, then the last day is ‘Let’s see what you learned.'”

Daniel said that last day consisted of calling parts of a game, getting feedback and doing it again before getting more feedback. That continued throughout the time with the various sections of the industry they were working on. He said while calling a game, he was getting feedback from NBC Sunday Night Football coordinating producer Rob Hyland.

Daniel said, “I’m a football player at heart, I like to be coached. A lot of times you don’t get coached in TV. That was the best part of it was all the feedback and coaching that I got.”

As for which direction he’d prefer to go as it relates to working in the studio or calling games as a color analyst, Daniel said he would like to do both and can see himself excelling at both.

“I love to grind, I love to be in it,” he said. “I enjoy it and I see the value in it. There aren’t a lot of people who root themselves in pure facts and film. I can have my opinions, but I deal in what I see on film, and I say what I see. Thats what I try to base my opinions off of.

“I see the value that I can bring to networks where I will crush it in the studio and would be the most prepared guy out there if they put me in the booth. For me, there’s a fire that burns deep to be out there and wanting people to see what I see as I coach ball.”

Daniel says he tries to be his own style but does point to the way Tony Romo started talking “in front of the play” as a way to describe what he likes to do. He says he watches a lot of old games and will listen intently to the broadcasters and sometimes he will turn the sound down and call the game himself.

Daniel, now 37 years old, says he was raised “old-school,” and that he was taught from a very young age that he was to work hard at every single thing he does. While his media career is just getting started, in typical Chase Daniel fashion, his hard work is already putting him out ahead of the pack.

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