The path for many sports radio hosts is not a straight line. It sometimes resembles the Telestrator scribblings of former NFL broadcaster John Madden. Although the journey for Steve Cofield isn’t as jagged as a Madden drawing, it certainly hasn’t been a beeline either.
Cofield has been a radio host at ESPN Las Vegas since 2007. He’s originally from New Jersey. Before landing in Vegas, Cofield covered prep and college sports for a local newspaper. When one of his friends from Rutgers, Ryan Williams, got a gig at Sports Fan Radio Network in Vegas back in ’96, Cofield drove out to Sin City with him.
After meeting with the PD, Cofield was offered a job at the same network three months later. He worked there until the company folded in 2001. Cofield had a cup of coffee at WBT in Charlotte and then made his way back to Vegas where he bought a two-hour block to broadcast his show from 2004-07.
That’s dedication in my book. Cofield was able to make a lot more money than he was spending while also building his brand and refining his chops. It led to an opportunity at ESPN Las Vegas, a place he’s called home for the past 16 years.
That’s a cool story.
In our chat below, Cofield talks about how the perception of Vegas has done a complete 180 in multiple ways. He also describes the town’s interest level regarding the potential relocation of the Oakland A’s, adding to the Strip, and being featured next to a stripper pole in Sports Illustrated.
Vegas, baby. Enjoy!
BN: It’s obvious how much it’s changed, but how would you put it into words what sports radio was like when you started in the ‘90s, to what it is now in Vegas?
SC: Yeah, it’s completely changed. Obviously, the professional sports teams coming here changes what we do on a daily basis. I think it’s also changed the image of the market. When I first got here in ‘96, and I was doing that national network, we were absolutely a pariah, outlaws out here. I’m not saying the shows were, but anything based here sports-wise was just thought to be all gambling talk. And obviously, the Sin City moniker – like what’s wrong with people who are doing radio in Vegas and live in Vegas?
Vegas is totally different now. Slowly but surely things changed.
The funny thing is, there was actually an SI writer named Ian Thomsen, who came out to Vegas and wanted to do a piece on the future of major league professional sports in Vegas, like when were we going to get it. Myself and my co-host at the time were partly featured in the story. They actually did a little photo shoot. That guy got a kick out of the fact that back in the day we were doing brokered, and even the station, did a lot of business with strip clubs. We would take their money. We actually did a photo shoot at a strip club. It was so weird because my partner and I were onstage leaning against the stripper pole. He just thought that was the greatest thing ever.
The topic at the time was like, hey, is this a pro sports market? We were very in favor of Vegas and tried to explain to him like, hey, there’s people here from a population standpoint. It’s growing, people will support the teams, everyone doesn’t live on the Strip. There’s lots of normal people here.
Vegas is very transient. We’re up to a population of 2.3 or 2.4 million, so the city has grown. From a show standpoint, the show I did in 2014, I’m not going to say it’s completely different, it’s 90% different than it is now.
BN: What percentage of your show is devoted to local talk?
SC: Well, it depends on the year. Right now, since we don’t have the Raiders in training camp yet, I’d say at the peak, we’re probably 70% local. Maybe at worst, like 55% local. I think we can do Raiders 11 months a year.
I’ve been joking the last couple weeks about where baseball is right now especially for younger listeners. I’ve been joking that this is kind of like the three week sweet spot for us to talk baseball and then that’s it. We’re probably done except for a topic here or there.
I think our audience is so into the NFL with the Raiders here and with gambling and with transplants that if an A’s related story came down, I might talk about the Falcons and Bijan Robinson before I would talk about the A’s.
The NFL, I can’t even quantify. What is it 50 times bigger than Major League Baseball? Almost every NFL team is more interesting than an average Major League Baseball story. Maybe that’s going to change in five years. I don’t know. I don’t know how it’s going to work out with the A’s. And I like baseball. I play fantasy and I gamble. But baseball has its place and football is king. We could do national college football stuff over most sports almost every day.
But yeah, we try to do local; we talk a lot about the Raiders. Obviously, the Vegas Golden Knights got on the show a lot this year. I’m actually part of the broadcast team for UNLV men’s basketball and football and a little bit of women’s basketball. If UNLV was like the sixth most popular topic in 2014, it might be the 12th now because there’s so much going on here. The market has just changed.
The Raiders dominate, Vegas Golden Knights dominate. We have a good WNBA person on the show. We do a good amount of the Aces and WNBA. So yeah, the show has changed a lot.
BN: Is there any buzz at all about the A’s coming to town?
SC: The buzz that I hear is negative because it’s another one of these state and county funded deals. So most of what you’re going to get on social media is negative. Our show, it’s me every day and I have a rotation of four or five other dudes who are with the company. Our show was, I’ll say 90% against it. I don’t know if there’s buzz because we don’t really talk about it positively.
I don’t want to say like, hey, there’s no buzz and it’s all negative because that’s what we’re putting out. I think there’s a little bit of buzz, but there’s apprehension too because people are annoyed that they pushed us through from a money standpoint. People are smart here.
I actually think this is one of the more savvy sports markets because we didn’t have it. We didn’t have major league sports before and we were fine. We have all these transplants here so they know sports. They know who the A’s are. They know what they’ve done over the years. We have a lot of Northern Californians so they know what the A’s have been doing.
I think it’s a bizarro vibe. We definitely want Major League Baseball here. I think people are enthused to get a stadium here. But most people I talk to want an expansion team. I’ve been saying a bunch of times, I’d rather have the Rays. I want a good organization. Bill Foley and VGK have raised the standard here, they’ve raised the bar. That dude got the arena done without almost any public money. All he does is spend to win and if that means making tough changes, he makes the changes. He’s a model owner. That’s the standard he set. They just won a Cup in six years. If the A’s come in limping and are like, ahh, give us five years to build, people here are going to be like, I don’t think so.
BN: That’s what I was thinking. If this was like a Golden Knights expansion type thing, do you think there’d be way more buzz than there is with it specifically being the A’s?
SC: Yep, billion percent. Yeah, because people have already seen it. What they did is virtually impossible. It is crazy. The league gave them a little bit of a head start by softening some of the expansion rules, but the bar they set is almost impossible to reach.
Now people are like, oh, all our new teams better be as good as the Knights. It’s like, well, the A’s right now, I don’t know what they are this year, a 45- or 50-win franchise that’s still rebuilding. When they come here, there’ll be all that excitement the first two, three years about the stadium, and then we’ll see from there. Vegas people, it’s a small town but you better give them a really good reason to go down anywhere near the strip, or they ain’t goin’. You need to win.
BN: Is Vegas the one market in America that actually does less gambling talk now than before it became legalized on a state-by-state basis?
SC: We don’t do less now. We do about the same. Do we do as much as other markets? We might not. [Laughs] Which is weird because gambling is part of our show every day and I have one block where we try to bring on an insider and do some picks and stuff. But I mean, we make bets all the time within the show. A lot of stories are framed by whatever event is going on with the odds.
But here’s the thing, we have deals with books, but the way deals are made right now where programming is kind of forced to do sportsbook talk based on behalf of whoever, FanDuel or BetMGM or DraftKings or whoever else, we don’t have anything like that where they force us to do gambling. But we do it. We’ve always done it. We’ve done a live Sunday preview show from the Westgate for, I don’t know what it is, probably 17 years now. It’s always part of the program. I think most of the audience understands it. It’s still a pretty big part.
I’ll go back to 2010, our pro sports at the time with local interests were sports gambling, different boxing promotions, we were very big into the UFC for about 13 years. We would travel to boxing and UFC on the road and do the home events with special shows on Fridays and whatever days. That was kind of our pro sports back then. Now it’s Raiders first, then the rest of the NFL, then college football. Where UFC and boxing and sports gambling used to be, they had a higher status on our show, they’ve been dropped down a little bit.
BN: You guys didn’t go from zero to 60 with professional sports teams, you’re like zero to 150 or something like that. For you, who’s been there this long, that’s gotta be a trip, right?
SC: Oh, it’s amazing. What’s going on right now, we have F1 coming up in November. They’re still finishing an $80 million construction project on the Las Vegas Strip and the adjacent roads. The world’s richest sport is coming here.
We have the best team in the WNBA. We’ve got NFL here, which who knows how many thousands of people that’s bringing to the market every week. This new thing the Sphere is amazing. I think that’s probably going to host some sporting events, more like UFC and boxing down the road and might be a big video game haven. Then to your point, the A’s, we’re the number one destination to move or expand in Major League Baseball.
The funny thing is I speak about it like it happened quickly. It didn’t. In the early 2000s, there was still nonsense. The NFL had, I think it was like a 52-inch TV rule. For some reason, they tried to crack down in 2003 or ‘04 on Super Bowl parties. They said they were going to have people on the ground measuring the TVs. They actually did scare a bunch of casinos into making their Super Bowl party smaller.
There was stuff like that. There was advertising. Vegas the TV show wasn’t allowed to be pushed in commercials on an NBC Super Bowl. Within the last, what, seven years Tony Romo had his fantasy football thing cancelled. That’s pretty recent history. So to come this far this quickly, and obviously, a lot of it is the legalization of sports gambling in whatever it is now, 30+ states, that normalizes what we do here, so people aren’t as afraid.
Actually, I think other markets are now more aggressive than we are because there’s no sportsbook at Allegiant, there’s no sportsbook inside of T-Mobile Arena. And there are sportsbooks popping up in arenas and stadiums and for the Super Bowl. I was sitting outside of Talking Stick for the Suns. They have a big FanDuel sportsbook like adjacent to the building. We don’t do that yet. That’s how far and fast it’s come.
It’s funny, people are now cocky. They’re like, oh, we’re getting an NBA team. Of course we’re going to get one, LeBron wants one. There’s a group that’s got a building plan down at the south end of the strip about five miles down from Mandalay Bay. They’re going to build a separate arena, so the NBA team might not have to use Foley’s building, and we’re going to have another 20,000 seat arena five miles down from the Strip.
BN: How about going forward, is there anything specifically that you would like to do in your broadcasting career?
SC: That’s a funny one because I always say this, radio is so tumultuous, and the company I work for Lotus Broadcasting is actually really loyal, really loyal, so the fact that I’ve been on here in some form since 2004 is pretty amazing because that doesn’t happen in a lot of markets.
I want to see our show grow. I think if the A’s come here and NBA comes here, I’m going to look at all of the opportunities to further build a brand, and do cool shows and cover all these cool athletes. This place has worked out way beyond any expectation. I think we’ve made enough connections around town being here for whatever it is 27 years and 19 local, that’s hard to walk away from. I don’t know how people jump from market to market every four and five years because so much of what you get in terms of inside information, that takes a while to build connections.
Dude, I’m a weirdo. I want to live somewhere where I’m comfortable. I’m not stressed. I don’t have to drive a whole bunch. The audience is chill. There really are no rules here, so you can kind of do whatever you want within reason. It’s a great place to live, the weather’s great for most of the year. At this point, I’m old enough where I’m just completely averse to cold weather. I travel to cold weather markets, but it’s for like three days and I’m like, yeah, back to Vegas where a bad day is 56 degrees.
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 finding 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
- Sports Radio News2 days ago
Boomer Esiason: Dave Portnoy, Washington Post Article ‘Classic Example of Cancel Culture’
- Sports Online2 days ago
Dave Portnoy Accuses Washington Post of Tortious Interference
- Sports Radio News5 days ago
104.3 The Fan Unveils New Lineup with Josh Dover & Phillip Lindsey, DMac Out