If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. It’s a similar concept in radio and TV. If a host wants to be outspoken and unpredictable, it might result in royally ticking off some listeners along the way. This is something that OutKick’s Dan Dakich knows a thing or two about.
The funny thing is when Dakich’s detractors get revved up and say negative things about him, they often fail to notice one key element — they’re engaged with what he has to say. That’s the name of the game for a host. And there is no denying that Dakich has been flat-out captivating throughout his career.
But what about the times Dakich makes a mistake and says something regrettable? The former Indianapolis radio host describes his stance on apologizing. Dakich also talks about his quest to be a greater villain, being incredibly shy, and includes an awesome story about how the name of Don’t @ Me came to be. Enjoy!
Brian Noe: What do you think about signing your new extension with OutKick?
Dan Dakich: You know what, I’m thrilled. One of the things that I have enjoyed way more than I thought, or I didn’t even imagine, was being on a team. It’s funny, I’ve got about five people that are with me every day and they’re just great. It’s just wonderful people. Everybody is on the same page, whether on a broader spectrum with Clay, or whether it’s Jonathan Hutton and Chad Withrow or Tomi Lahren. Now Charly [Arnolt] is going to join us. It’s really fun.
It’s been a great experience and I was thrilled when they came to me. My contract wasn’t up until September, and they came to me a few months ago about an extension. Obviously, I was honored and flattered that they wanted me around. I’m excited as hell and I’m having the time of my life, I really am.
BN: How does doing a show for OutKick compare to terrestrial radio?
DD: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s more scripted. You’ve done TV so you know, it’s way more formatted. I didn’t know that initially. In fact, when I first started, I’m like, yeah, I don’t really need any of this scripted stuff. Not scripted in terms of what I’m going to say, but scripted in terms of the segments. Really with radio for years, I would have an idea and it was much more ad-libbed. This is ad-libbed, but it’s more structured because it’s streaming, it’s TV. It’s way different in that sense.
There are some shows where they call it writing the show. So basically everything you say is written. Mine is not. Mine is ad-libbed with parameters. We’re going to have Burgess Owens on, the congressman from Utah. My team gives me all the information and then I kind of develop what I want to say. It’s way more organized than the way I did local radio.
I was very, very ad-libbed with local radio to the point where sometimes somebody would hit me with a story literally before I went on, and I would lead with that and talk about it all day. This is way more scripted the night before and the day of.
It took me a minute to get comfortable because like I said, initially, I’m like, no, I know what I’m going to talk about. I think at first I kind of was like, yeah, I don’t need it. And then, pretty soon into it I’m like, okay, I do need it, but it doesn’t mean I like it. And now it’s like, oh man, this is the only way you can do it. Because again, I had never really done a TV show; I had never been the host on TV. It’s way different than doing it on radio, so it did take me maybe six weeks or so until I’m like, okay, I kind of got this.
BN: How would you describe your style and what you try to accomplish each time you do a show?
DD: I try to entertain. That’s kind of my thing. I’ve always said, look, I’m not a journalist. I’m not trying to break stories. I’m not Schefter. I’m trying to entertain you with opinion. I’m trying to educate. I’m not trying to be the Walter Cronkite journalist.
I figure people tune in to the radio, and they can be entertained in different ways. Like my abrasive style, sometimes that’s entertaining to some people, off-putting to others. Or if you’re joking about yourself and you’re telling a story, or you’re ripping somebody, that’s part of entertainment too.
Entertainment isn’t Bob frickin’ Hope up there telling jokes for 20 minutes. That’s kind of my personality, always has been from where I grew up. We’re sarcastic, and you had to have thick skin. That’s kind of what I’ve always been. When I got hired by Kent Sterling at the radio station, that’s what he told me to just be, so I’ve kind of gone with it.
I didn’t set out to be controversial, which I guess I am. I swear to you, you know how it is. People say, well, you’re a hot take guy. Everything I do is based on my experience, literally every single thing. Sometimes the experience is different than what the public wants to be true. People are so passionate about sports, or they’re so passionate about politics, that when it goes against what they believe, or maybe what they want to believe, it pisses them off. And so all of a sudden, I become controversial.
I’ll give you an example, one time Cassius Winston was playing. He was a senior. Staff at Michigan State said, you know, he’s gone through so much — I think it was the year his brother died — and he’s not in great shape. So I said on the air, once Cassius gets back into better shape, he’s going to blah, blah, blah. Oh shit, people are like “You called him fat. I can’t believe, here’s a guy who’s brother died.”
I didn’t call him fat, I just said what the coaching staff said. A couple of media guys crushed me. I’m like, man, that truth went against what the narrative was and so I become the hated and controversial when it’s just simply what I was told by staff.
BN: Some listeners and viewers consider a host apologizing to be a sign of weakness. What do you think about saying you’re wrong or apologizing if you screwed something up?
DD: I have no problem with it. And people that know me, know that over the years I’ve said, God, I screwed that up, so many times. I have no problem with that. My biggest problem with that would be if it were something that I wasn’t prepared for.
You know this, you get on a show and sometimes you like hearing yourself talk and you’re ranting, and the next thing you know, you say something stupid, and you’re like, ahh crap, I didn’t mean it that way. Or you got a fact wrong because your brain’s moving a million miles an hour.
I’ve never had a problem apologizing. I’ve never looked at apologies as weakness. I’ve always looked at it as something that you just should do. And I think many radio hosts, and I think people in general, look at it as weakness and don’t understand that it’s actually a way of connection. Saying I was wrong is a way of connecting with somebody on a more personal level than somebody just either not willing to admit it, or trying to make an excuse for it. I think it’s something you absolutely should do.
BN: Putting your current role with OutKick to the side, what has been the most fun you’ve had in your broadcasting career?
DD: I loved Mike Tirico, Allison Williams, Bart Fox, who was our producer, and Scott Johnson, who was our director on Tuesday nights. I loved the Monday night dinners. We would book to get to Iowa City or Michigan State, and my wife would come with me. We would go to dinner and we would laugh our nuts off and crack on each other. Occasionally, other guys from the truck would be there. I loved that so much.
We called it the last supper when Tirico announced that he was leaving ESPN and that he was going to go to NBC. It was the same thing with Jason Benetti on Friday nights. My wife thinks Benetti and I are America’s odd couple because he’s a liberal, I’m a conservative. He’s really, really smart. I’m pretty stupid. We’re just an odd couple and my wife would go bananas. I miss those things.
That was the most freaking fun. Other than playing or winning a big game as a coach, or anything personal with my kids and my wife, I’m not sure professionally I’ve ever had more fun than the night before with either Benetti and the crew, or the night before with Tirico and the crew.
BN: It’s funny, Dan, when you talk about laughing your nuts off and having fun at a dinner, it just makes me think that sometimes the way you’re perceived to be on the air, there are a lot of listeners that don’t really know you. Do you ever feel like you might know the radio version of me or what I’m banging on, but you don’t really know me?
DD: Oh man, all the time. I get people saying you’re so arrogant. I’m like really? If you really knew me, I don’t think there’s anybody that’s ever really been around me that would think that. I’m an incredibly shy person.
If I go to a party, my whole life, I sit in the corner. But I have these people tell me, oh, you’re so boisterous and you’re this and that, and I’m like okay. [Laughs] My mother gets a real kick out of it. She’s 87 years old and she listens every day.
But yeah, in my world — and I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging or trying to make myself look good — but two things, one, money never really mattered to me, and two, I’ve always liked the relationship part of it. Whether it’s, I don’t know, whoever, the janitors at Assembly Hall. I knew all their names. I remember Kelvin Sampson walking up to me, he goes, how do you know all these guys’ names? I go, “Well, I play softball with that guy, play baseball with that guy.”
My wife’s fascinated by it too. Somebody will come up to her and go, I met Dan and he was really a nice guy. And she’s like, well, yeah, what do you think he’s a dick all the time? That kind of thing.
BN: [Laughs] When your mom listens, what do you think she likes the most about you, and likes the least about you stylistically?
DD: My mother, we call her “the holiest of women”. She’s a church lady. She goes to church and then of course at five though she’ll have a vodka and relax. But she doesn’t like when I go at people. She doesn’t like when I go at Chris Ballard or something like that. And she likes our bikes program. She loves our bikes program because she and I remember when I got a blue Sting-Ray Schwinn bike. I remember the Christmas and so she likes when I talk about my kids, my wife and our bikes program.
She hates it when I go overboard criticizing somebody because we quote, we’re all God’s children, Daniel.
BN: [Laughs] That’s good. I like that. Where did the name Don’t @ Me come from?
DD: You know, this is really high tech shit I’m gonna give you right here. I wanted to name it Sack Up because that is our family’s motto. My dad would be like, you fell down, sack the hell up, let’s go. Or the teacher’s too hard? Really? Sack the hell up, let’s go.
I guess FOX thought it wasn’t good, or dirty, or I don’t know. It was literally my wife, myself, we were in Nashville and a guy came up and he goes, hey Dan, we can’t really name it Sack Up. I go, okay. He goes, well, what do you want to name it? I looked at Leigh, my wife, I go, I always say don’t at me. He said, perfect, that’s the perfect name. Okay, so that’s how high tech we are on Don’t @ Me. There ya go.
BN: As far as your coaching background, what do you tap into when you’re doing a show?
DD: You got to dominate the mic as a coach. You can’t get in front of your team and be weak. You can’t be in front of your team and be reserved; you’ve got to dominate the room. That’s the biggest thing. I remember, I was talking to a class and I go, what do you guys think is most important? Well, knowledge, sure, you’ve got to study. One guy said, you gotta be loud. I go, well, let me put it another way, you gotta dominate the mic. Just dominate that microphone. And it’s the same thing in coaching. If you’re going to sell kids on a particular scouting report, you’ve got to dominate. That really is the main thing that I took.
The other thing is you’ve got to talk to the listeners like you’re coaching your team. I remember telling Urban Meyer before he was on FOX, he was on ESPN doing a noon Big Ten game. He calls me and goes, all right, man, what do I do? I go, well, you talk to your team. You explain like you’re explaining to your team. Those are the two things that I always say and I picked up.
BN: Going forward is there anything in particular that you’d like to experience or accomplish in the future?
DD: This is going to sound really stupid. [Laughs] You know how when people go give speeches at colleges, people riot. They attacked Tomi Lahren the other day, and people get all mad. I want to get to where people get mad if I’m giving a speech somewhere. How f–ked up does that sound, right?
One of the highlights, my buddy Bart Fox was our producer when the whole crowd at Michigan State chanted we hate Dakich one day because of some stuff I put on Twitter. Izzo talked about it after the game and all this crap. Well, my buddy Bart, when I call him, his ringtone is the crowd chanting, we, hate, Dakich. It’s unbelievable. And so I want to get that in the political realm. When I go somewhere, I want an assassination attempt. [Laughs] Or I want some crazy political zealot to go nuts on me or something.
And look, I know I’m on the wrong side of the media. I understand that, I get it. When something gets picked up, the piling on factor happens. With me, I can literally tell you when something happens, okay, Jeff Goodman is going to come out and be a pain in the ass. This guy’s going to get mad and I know the cast of clowns that are going to come out of the woodwork. I love it.
You said it earlier, just don’t go through life being anonymous, or not at least standing up or saying what you think because it seems boring to me if you do.
Tricia Whitaker Will Find The Story That Matters
“My role is to really bring the viewers down to that level of the dugout and into the clubhouse.”
When St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run in his final season in the majors last September, the baseball world erupted in mass jubilation. Although the milestone achievement occurred during a road game, the fans still showered one of the sport’s quintessential athletes with praise as they witnessed the fourth player enter this exclusive pinnacle of power hitters. For fans watching from afar, they were treated with crisp, vivid footage of the moment since the matchup was exclusive to Apple TV+ as a part of its Friday Night Baseball slate of games.
The game broadcast featured field reporter Tricia Whitaker, who had just joined the Apple TV+ presentations to begin the second half of the season. Being there as one of the voices tasked with keeping viewers informed and captivated by the action was a special experience that she will never forget.
“You’re talking about the best cameras in the entire world capturing one of the most iconic players ever,” Whitaker said. “I thought the call was amazing; I thought the quality of the shots was amazing [and] I’l never forget that broadcast, ever, because it was so cool.”
Whitaker grew up in Bloomington, Ind. and would journey to Wrigley Field with her father once per summer to watch the Chicago Cubs. Through those games, she realized that a ballpark was her ideal future workplace.
“We just didn’t have a ton of money, [so] I would sit in the nosebleeds with him once a summer and that was the biggest treat in the world,” Whitaker said. “I just realized that I loved telling stories and I loved sports, so I decided to do that.”
Whitaker’s journey in the industry genuinely began as an undergraduate student at Indiana University Bloomington where she adopted a mindset to seize any opportunities offered to her. Despite having no knowledge or previous reporting experience, she accepted a role to cover a tennis match and quickly started preparing. After one of her professors saw her nascent media acumen, they recommended she audition for the university’s student television station to hone her skills. Whitaker earned a spot and began covering Indiana Hoosiers basketball and football for the show Hoosier Sports Night. From there, she simply kept on accepting anything in her purview.
“Your best asset is your availability, so I basically just said ‘Yes’ to everything,” Whitaker articulated.
Once it became time to search for a full-time position, her experience and tenacity helped her land a role at WBAY-TV in Green Bay as a sports reporter and anchor. After two football seasons working there, Whitaker relocated closer to home to report for WTTV-TV Channel 4 in Indianapolis. The time was valuable for her to cultivate new relationships with those around the industry while strengthening existing ones, serving as a foundational aspect of her reporting.
“If they don’t trust you to tell their stories, they’re not going to talk to you,” Whitaker said. “You have to be able to have a good relationship with the players; with the coaches and everybody involved.”
At the same time, Whitaker felt compelled to make a lasting contribution to Indiana University through teaching and inspiring the next generation of journalists. She is now an adjunct professor for the IU Media School and wants her students to know how integral it is to make themselves available while being open and willing to try new things to make inroads into the profession.
“There’s always a story to be told, so even if it’s a random event that you don’t think anyone’s paying attention to, there’s people there; there’s human stories and their stories matter,” Whitaker said. “That’s what I always try to tell my students is [to] just find that story that makes people interested in it and find that story that matters.”
Over the years working in these dual roles, Whitaker became more skilled in her position and proceeded to audition to join the Tampa Bay Rays’ broadcast crew on Bally Sports Sun as a field reporter. When she received news that she had landed the coveted job, she remembers starting to cry in her closet while trying to organize her clothes. After all, Whitaker had just learned that she would get to perform the role she idolized when she was young. The access her role gives her to the players and coaches on the field is not taken for granted.
“I’ll interview hitting coaches about a guy’s hands and where they’ve moved and about his stance,” Whitaker said. “….In the next hit, I’ll tell a story about a guy who drinks a smoothie every day before the game and he feels [that] putting spinach in it has really made a difference or something like that. My reporting style is pretty much all of it, but I do like to do the human interest stories more than I like to do anything else because I think that’s unique.”
After each Rays win, Whitaker takes the field and interviews one of the players on the team. Earlier in the season, she remembers speaking with Rays outfielder Jose Siri after he drove in three runs against the Detroit Tigers; however, the broadcast was not on Bally Sports Sun. Instead, she was doing the interview for Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+, a national broadcast property the company pays MLB an estimated $85 million annually to carry. Going into the interview, Whitaker knew that she would need to appeal to more than just Rays fans and appropriately started the conversation by asking about the game.
Yet she also knew that it was “Salsa Night” at Comerica Park in Detroit and thanks to her work with the regional network, was cognizant of the fact that Siri likes to dance in the dugout. As a result, she concluded the interview with a request for Siri to demonstrate his salsa dancing skills, something that made an ordinary conversation stand out.
“I tried to personalize it a little bit to help people get to know Jose Siri a little bit better because I think that’s important,” Whitaker said. “….You make sure you talk about baseball, but then you add a little flair to it; add a little personality to it. Everybody loves salsa, right?”
The Apple broadcasts require Whitaker to prepare as she executes her role with the Rays, keeping her wholly invested and consumed by baseball. There are occasions where she is afforded the luxury of reporting on Rays games for her Friday night assignment, but they are rare. Therefore, she needs to become familiar with two teams by reviewing statistics, reading local reporting and conversing with those involved. She keeps her notes on her cell phone and makes lists of what she is going to do during the day to keep herself organized and focused.
Throughout the week, Whitaker actively prepares for the Friday night matchup and meets with her producer to contribute her ideas and learn about the macro vision of the broadcast. The Apple broadcast, aside from using high-caliber technology, also regularly equips microphones to place on players that allow viewers to hear what is transpiring on the field. Whitaker, along with play-by-play announcer Alex Faust and color commentator Ryan Spilborghs, coordinate with the production team throughout the game to present an insightful and compelling final product.
There was criticism of the Apple TV+ live game baseball broadcasts during its inaugural season, but the noise continues to diminish in its sophomore campaign. Whitaker views her role as accruing a confluence of stories about the game and more insightful looks at the personalities on the field. Before each contest, she interviews a player in the dugout and asks questions that put the season in context, granting a comprehensive understanding about a subset of their journey.
“We try to get their thoughts on the season so far at the plate, but also try to get to know them on a personal level,” Whitaker said. “My role is to really bring the viewers down to that level of the dugout and into the clubhouse.”
It is considerably more facile to execute such a task before the game than it is during gameplay because of the introduction of the pitch clock. While it has undoubtedly sped up the game and made the product more appealing for fans of all ages, its actualization threatened the viability of unique aspects of baseball broadcasts. The Apple TV+ crew may work together once per week, but over a 162-game season spanning parts of seven months, there is a perdurable bond and unyielding chemistry evident therein.
“Everybody on that crew – and I seriously mean this – is so supportive no matter who you are as long as you do your job well,” Whitaker said. “They don’t even think about the fact that I’m a female in sports [and] they just support me. They help me take constructive criticism because they care and because they truly see me as an equal.”
Whitaker has had the chance to report from Wrigley Field with Apple TV+ and vividly remembers her experience of stepping inside as a media member for the first time. It was a surreal full-circle moment that has been the result of years of determination and persistence to make it to the major leagues.
“I walked into Wrigley and I started to tear up because I remember when my dad and I used to go there and I was 12 years old,” Whitaker stated. “If you would have told me at 12 years old [that] I would be doing a national game at Wrigley, I would have told you [that] you were lying because I just wouldn’t have thought that was a possibility.”
Although Whitaker is receptive to potentially hosting regular sports programming in the future, she has found the joy in her roles with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Apple TV+. Being able to experience historic moments, including Pujols’ milestone home run, and then diving deeper into the situation makes the countless flights, hotel stays and lack of a genuine respite worthwhile. She hopes to continue seamlessly fulfilling her responsibility this Friday night when the New York Mets face the Philadelphia Phillies at 6:30 p.m. EST/3:30 p.m. PST, exclusively on Apple TV+.
“There’s always a story to be told, and if you’re good at your job, you’re going to find that story even on a day where you’re like, ‘Oh gosh, there’s nothing going on,’” Whitaker said. “I take that pretty seriously.”
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Radio Advertising Can be the Secret Weapon For In-House Digital Marketers
“The trend of businesses gaining digital marketing proficiency presents a unique opportunity for YOU.”
Remember when in-house marketers were primarily focused on traditional media and needed help navigating the digital and social media landscape? Well, the tables are turning!
The rise of digital-savvy in-house marketers is opening up exciting opportunities for radio ad salespeople. As local businesses increasingly invest in digital marketing, some are fiding they need your expertise in radio advertising.
Borrell Associates has released their latest Business Barometer, and included in the findings was a slight but noticeable shift favoring traditional forms of broadcast media. Let’s dive into how sports and news radio ad salespeople can leverage this shift to target businesses with proficient digital marketing people on board who may need to know more about the potential of radio advertising.
1. Digital-Marketing Trending UP!
Borrell Associates’ recent findings indicate that businesses are increasingly proficient in digital marketing. They are adeptly managing their websites and social media channels, driving results through online campaigns. However, this digital surge doesn’t necessarily translate to expertise in traditional media, such as radio. Hey, do you know a business like that? And make sure you know of an outsourced digital agency you can refer who can handle your clients’ digital and social media for very few dollars. You can help manage the rest of the budget!
2. Target In-House Buyers
Make a list of businesses you know that have in-house people who are digital-oriented or younger owners who handle mostly digital advertising independently. Or, how about the in-house marketing person who only takes on marketing initiatives like events or sales promotion and knows nothing about advertising? Get ’em!
3. We create demand
One of the unique selling points of radio is its ability to generate demand and send more customers to Google or your client’s website. Digital marketing can often direct buyers seeking a specific purchase but can’t create lasting impressions and build demand and loyalty like your station. Use this advantage to demonstrate how radio can reinforce the brand story and enhance the effectiveness of digital campaigns.
4. Surround the listener
Recognize that businesses with digital marketing expertise may want holistic solutions. Sell packages that combine digital and radio advertising. Include your streaming endorsements with social media and geo-fencing. They get it and will be impressed with reaching their target audience across multiple touchpoints.
5. Be the Teacher
Your prospects may be experts in digital marketing, but they might not fully understand the potential of radio advertising. Take on the role of an educator. Provide resources, case studies, and success stories that showcase how your station and radio have boosted digital-savvy businesses’ results.
6. 1+1=3 for Creativity
Collaboration is key when working with clients with a digital marketing team. Involve them in the creative process of writing and producing radio ads. Creativity could be their strength, and they will bring fresh perspectives to your production.
The trend of businesses gaining digital marketing proficiency presents a unique opportunity for YOU. Maybe your client is struggling with their digital strategy. Imagine that now they may be seeking you out to help them understand what they have already read about buying radio advertising. It’s time to adapt your approach and position radio as a complementary and powerful tool in the digital marketing person toolkit.
Jeff Caves is a sales columnist for BSM working in radio, digital, hyper-local magazine, and sports sponsorship sales in DFW. He is credited with helping launch, build, and develop SPORTS RADIO The Ticket in Boise, Idaho, into the market’s top sports radio station. During his 26 year stay at KTIK, Caves hosted drive time, programmed the station, and excelled as a top seller. You can reach him by email at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @jeffcaves.
Bill Parcells Shaped The Media By Giving Them Hell
“Parcells doesn’t belong in a studio chatting with a quarterback. He belongs in a temper tantrum screaming at a sportswriter.”
Two of the most talked about media stories of the past couple of weeks intersect in the form of one legendary NFL head coach – Bill Parcells.
In the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ potentially season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1 of the NFL season, many media pundits harkened back to 1999 when then-Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde suffered a similar injury in the first game of the season. Like Rodgers, Testaverde was a veteran signal-caller looking to bring the long-suffering Jets to a Super Bowl.
One week after Rodgers’ injury, Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley was in the media mechanism for an exchange with a reporter after his club fell to 0-2. Staley took issue with a query about whether the team’s monumental playoff collapse last season versus Jacksonville has carried over to their slow start this season.
ESPN’s First Take included video of Staley’s comment on their September 19 show building it up as some rash, heated interaction between coach and press. It was not. In fact, Staley merely directly answered the question asserting this season has nothing to do with last season.
Both of these headlines find common ground in the person of Bill Parcells. Parcells was the head coach of the Jets in 1999 when Testaverde’s season ended in that fateful game vs. New England. In addition, he was notorious for some truly vitriolic run-ins with post-game reporters.
Forget about Staley or even the infamous press conference rants of Jim Mora (“Playoffs!?”), Herm Edwards (“You play to win the game!”), and Dennis Green (“Crown ‘em!”). To the media, Parcells was Armageddon, Three Mile Island, and Hurricane Katrina rolled into one. Never has there been a football character so inexplicably loved and despised.
In New England, Parcells’s arrival as head coach of the Patriots in 1993 signaled the turnaround of the franchise, but fans refuse to vote him into the team’s Hall of Fame because of his unceremonious jump from to the Jets after the 1996 season.
When that happened, Parcells again grasped the media spotlight stating, “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” He was referring to new owner Bob Kraft taking final say personnel decisions away from Parcells.
Like him or not, Parcells, known as The Tuna, rejuvenated five NFL franchises. The New York Giants were a mishmash of Joe Pisarciks and Earnest Grays before Parcells turned them into two-time champions.
Patriot fans actually cheered for the likes of Hugh Millen and Eugene Chung until Parcells came to town and brought in players like Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Adam Vinatieri, and Tedy Bruschi, laying the foundation for a dynasty.
And the Jets? They were living off the fumes of Joe Namath’s Brut 33 until Bill Parcells constructed a team that went from 1-15 in 1996 under Rich Kotite to 9-7 and 12-4 in 1997 and 1998 respectively with Parcells.
The Cowboys were 5-11 under Dave Campo in 2002. The next year, they went 10-6 with Parcells. Miami was 1-15 in 2007. The next year, with Parcells as executive VP of Football ops, they won the AFC East with an 11-5 record.
The Catholic church has its Apostle’s Creed. Those who follow the gospel of The Tuna have A Parcells Creed, and it goes as follows: I believe if a reporter asks Parcells if he outcoached a colleague, that reporter will be called a “dumb ass.” I believe that the media are “commies” and “subversive from within” as Parcells once labeled them.
I believe in using the media to denigrate young players to keep their egos in check. After Jets QB Glenn Foley had a solid preseason performance a few years back, the New York media surrounded the redheaded QB as if he had won the Super Bowl.
Parcells walked right in front of Foley and sarcastically asked, “Do you mind if I get past Sonny Jurgensen over here,” referring to the similarly redheaded Redskin quarterbacking legend.
In 1995, when all of New England was agog over a rookie running back named Curtis Martin, Parcells slyly commented to the press, “Well, we’re not carving his bust for Canton just yet.” And of course, there was the late Terry Glenn. When asked how the former Patriot wideout was recovering from an injury, the Tuna spouted, “She’s doing just fine.”
Parcells’ stints as a studio analyst on ESPN, although insightful, seemed out of place. He would sit there, dressed in a dark blue suit talking strategy with fellow ESPN gabber Steve Young. Honestly, he looked like a rotund funeral director searching for someone to embalm.
Parcells doesn’t belong in a studio chatting with a quarterback. He belongs in a temper tantrum screaming at a sportswriter.
I interviewed Boston media personality Steve DeOssie about Parcells. DeOssie was the defensive signal caller for the New York Giants (1989-93) when Parcells was the team’s head coach. He again played for Parcells in New England in 1994.
He told me, “Parcells realizes that the media is the enemy. Let’s face it, the media cannot do anything positive for a team, but they can put stuff out there that could lose a game. The bottom line with Parcells is whether it helps his team win.”
“He loves the camera and the camera loves him. He enjoys that part of the business. The media can spin it any way they want. Parcells does not suffer fools gladly and a lot of media types don’t like being called out in press conferences.”
Another Boston media legend also gave me his reflections of Parcells. Bob Lobel is the most revered sports anchor of all-time in New England. He stated, “I did a one-on-one interview with Parcells awhile back. He is so down to earth yet has this aura. It’s easy to be in awe of him.”
The national perspective is similar. When Troy Aikman was an analyst for FOX Sports, the current Monday Night Football color commentator credited Parcells with restacking the Cowboys’ roster and bringing winning back to Dallas.
When asked about playing for Parcells with the Jets, FS1’s Keyshawn Johnson offered, “He taught me how to do things, how to pay attention.”
Even people whom Parcells fired maintain a respect for him. Sirius NFL Radio’s Pat Kirwan was the director of player administration for the Jets when Parcells arrived in 1997.
Kirwan told me, “Parcells rebuilds a franchise from top to bottom. He evaluates everyone from the trainers to the doctors to the equipment guys. In 1997 when Bill came to the Jets, I knew I was qualified, but I also knew that Bill would let me go.”
In a September 12, 2023 story, New York Post reporter Brian Costello interviewed Parcells about the Rodgers injury.
This master of media mind games famous for the quote, “You don’t get any medal for trying,” revealed his visceral core telling Costello, “You are charged with winning games under any circumstances … They’re not canceling the games. They’re not canceling them. You’re coaching them. It’s your job to get your team ready to play to the best of their ability.”
John Molori is a weekly columnist for Barrett Sports Media. He has previously contributed to ESPNW, Patriots Football Weekly, Golf Content Network, Methuen Life Magazine, and wrote a syndicated Media Blitz column in the New England region, which was published by numerous outlets including The Boston Metro, Providence Journal, Lowell Sun, and the Eagle-Tribune. His career also includes fourteen years in television as a News and Sports Reporter, Host, Producer working for Continental Cablevision, MediaOne, and AT&T. He can be reached on Twitter @MoloriMedia.
Barrett Media Writers
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