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Laurence Holmes: ”Quarterback’ is Better Than Last Five Years of ‘Hard Knocks”

“Peyton Manning has put together – whether it’s his own thing or the group of people that he’s put together – he is able to produce compelling football television.”

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Laurence Holmes

With the premiere of HBO Sports and NFL Films’ documentary series Hard Knocks approaching, anticipation is building for the start of the National Football League’s regular season. Many sports media personalities have argued that the series has tapered off in recent years, radiating more contrived discourse than ever before. Whereas the series used to somewhat mark the beginning of football, it is being somewhat overshadowed by the Netflix hit documentary, Quarterback.

The eight-part Netflix original series from Omaha Productions and NFL Films gives viewers unparalleled access to three quarterbacks at different stages in their careers. Patrick Mahomes is a young superstar and former league MVP; Kirk Cousins is a veteran trying to win an elusive Vince Lombardi Trophy; and Marcus Mariota is fighting for his starting job with the Atlanta Falcons, and all have different stories to tell threaded by the sport.

Once it premiered, the series quickly catapulted to the No. 1 spot among Netflix shows, amazing and enthralling sports fans. 670 The Score sports radio host Dan Bernstein, however, is not among that cohort. In fact, he never heard of the series until it was mentioned to him by his co-host, Laurence Holmes, nor did he know much about its structure until discussion on the “Transition” segment.

“Peyton Manning has put together – whether it’s his own thing or the group of people that he’s put together – he is able to produce compelling football television,” Holmes said. “….This series has been better than the last five years of Hard Knocks.”

The New York Jets are reluctantly being featured on the training camp edition of Hard Knocks this year, with the first episode set to premiere on Aug. 8. Newly-acquired superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers has generated considerable intrigue, along with reigning offensive and defensive rookies of the year, Garrett Wilson and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, respectively. Led by head coach Robert Saleh, the team is looking to snap a 12-year playoff drought.

Hard Knocks has dropped off, I think,” 670 The Score host David Haugh said. “I don’t know if it jumped the shark necessarily, but I will still likely watch that [although] it’s not the same as it used to be.”

“It’s performative now,” Bernstein added. “It’s become more self-aware and more performative and less sort of ‘fly on the wall,’ check out this kind of thing.”

Although Bernstein does not watch much television in his free time, he is willing to hear Holmes out and give him a chance. Tonight, he will be watching the third episode of the series centered on the hits quarterbacks have to take and the ongoing recovery process so they can discuss it on the air on Wednesday.

“They’re all pretty good,” Holmes said. “I don’t know that you need to watch them in order, so why don’t you watch Ep. 3, which is the ‘pain’ episode.”

“Okay, you tell me,” Bernstein replied.

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Mike Felger: iHeartMedia Adding ‘The Rich Shertenlieb Show’ is a Good Sign

“Anything that gets people to turn the radio on I am for.”

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Screengrab of The Off Air Show with Mike Felger joined by Kendra Middleton
Screengrab from 98.5 The Sports Hub Facebook

Mike Felger had Kendra Middleton as his guest on the latest edition of The Off-Air Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Facebook page. In between finding out about Middelton’s influencer career and the dirty pics she gets sent to her from men, the subject of The Rich Shertenlieb Show came up. Shertenlieb started this week on Boston classic rock station 100.7 WZLX after being off the air for over six months since he left The Sports Hub and show partner Fred Toucher.

About the new show, Felger said, “I’ve sampled it, I think it sounds good. It sounds like Rich. It sounds like what it would sound like when Fred was off, and Rich was in.”

Felger has talked before on the show about wanting the industry as a whole to be successful and that was what stood out to him about iHeartMedia adding Shertenlieb to mornings. “I’m glad that he got that gig…Anything that gets people to turn the radio on I am for,” he continued. “I just want the industry to be good, I want radio to be strong, the industry to be strong, I want people to listen to the radio. I want radio companies hiring radio hosts to do radio shows. I take that whole thing as being healthy.”

While Felger wants his company to win, he wants the other companies to have just enough success to continue doing what they are doing. “I hope Fred and Hardy beat him soundly in the morning in the ratings, but I want Rich to do well, do well enough,” he said. “I want ZLX and iHeart to do well and do well enough. I want them to have a good business and a strong revenue stream. I am rooting for that and Rich personally as well, who I know, and I wish personal success to him. I’m more interested in iHeart hiring a real radio host to do a real radio show in Boston and obviously paying him enough to it. That’s a good sign and I hope it does well enough that more radio stations keep doing that and whatever gets you to turn on the radio, I am for.”

Middleton said she had not yet heard the new show but said, “I think the rotating third chair is an interesting concept. I was shocked to see Ted [Johnson] go. The rotating third chair is going to be an interesting thing in the industry.”

The pair talked about rumors ZLX might flip to all sports eventually and try to get the Boston Red Sox play-by-play rights, which are not up again until after the 2028 season. Felger asked Middleton if all of that were to happen, “Is that a good or bad thing for The Sports Hub?”

“I think both,” she said. “Obviously it’s going to pull listeners away from The Sports Hub, but it’s doing that already in the mornings because the nature of another show being in town. But I think the competitiveness and forcing people here to be on their ‘A game’…I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing. Competition is never bad.”

Felger later added, “Sports radio is so lucrative that a third company has decided to come in and do it, that’s how I read that, that’s good…I want radio to be strong. Radio, not just The Sports Hub, radio as a medium, as a business. So, if iHeart flipping to sports means sports radio is strong, I am for it.”

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Sports Media Reacts to the Possibility of Losing ‘Inside the NBA’

“It’s must-see television, it always is.”

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Photos of Shaquille O'Neal, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley
Photo Courtesy: TNT Sports

Many in sports media have reacted to the news today that NBC will claim the final NBA media rights package. This means that longtime NBA partner TNT is out after next season and, most likely, Inside the NBA will come to an end next year as well.

On 670 The Score in Chicago, Dan Bernstein said, “I’m genuinely unhappy about it because it appears that the last season of the NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA is next year and then it’s over. Unless somebody just throws a ton of money and picks that whole show up and grabs it and says, ‘What’s your number’ for everybody we want to just take the whole show, everybody involved and make it part of what we do…it sounds like it’s over and that sucks. That’s the best sports studio show ever.”

Steak Shapiro from 92.9 The Game in Atlanta said upon reading the news, “That stinks… What great entertainment does is allow you to be entertained and take a deep breath and say, ‘I just enjoy this, this is my hour and a half or two hours watching Shaq, Kenny, Charles and Ernie Johnson Jr. hanging out.'”

Rich Eisen spent time on his show talking about it and said, ” I’m telling you guys I would be stunned if they were all a package deal going somewhere else.” He later added, about the show, “It’s must-see television, it always is.”

Several others took to social media to post about the show:

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Andy Gresh: ‘Greg Olsen Got Pushed Out for the Greatest Player in the History of the Game’

“Even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

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Photos of Andy Gresh and Greg Olsen and a logo for WEEI
Gresh Photo Courtesy: Audacy Olsen Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

The Sports Emmy Awards were handed out last night and one particular award caught the attention of WEEI’s Gresh & Fauria show in Boston. Hosts Andy Gresh and Christian Fauria talked about the category of Outstanding Personality/Event Analyst where the nominees were Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Greg Olsen, Bill Raftery, John Smoltz and Tom Verducci.

Olsen won the award, and the show played the audio from his acceptance speech. “I think there’s a lot of people wondering what I’m going to say right now,” Olsen said. “Coming into tonight, people asked me, they say, ‘What’s your biggest threat to your future in the business?’ And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, Brady and this,’ and I think it’s Andy from ‘Toy Story.’ If he gets in, (Cris) Collinsworth, (Troy) Aikman, we’re dead. But I really appreciate it.”

Olsen later added, “I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is I love talking football, I love talking ball, I love studying it, I love seeing where the game is going. Wherever that takes me, whatever level it is, I’m more committed to the game of football now.”

It was the “I don’t know what the future holds” part of what Olsen said that caught the host’s attention. They took that as Olsen pouting and not being happy to be on the No. 2 FOX Sports NFL team. Fauria used the term “pushed out” and Gresh wanted to make a point about that.

“Again, Greg Olsen got pushed out for the greatest player in the history of the game,” Gresh said. “And they’re not firing him, they’re moving him to the No. 2 spot… and guess what, if you don’t keep that gig, the only thing that’ll be on the epitaph of the career resume is that you got bumped by Tom Brady. You’re good, settle in for No. 2, wait your turn somewhere else…but even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

Fauria painted the picture a little differently as he is not of the belief Tom Brady is going to be a great NFL analyst. “It’s funny because here comes a guy who was just recognized by all his peers…deciding between all these guys, he was the best one,” he said. “And he got pushed out for a guy who has never done it before…and there is not some sort of given that he is even going to be good at it. He could suck at it.”

Gresh replied back, “If you are at the FOX upfronts and you got a chance to go in a room, are you going to pick the one with Greg Olsen or the one with Tom Brady? …Brady is not going to let himself fail at this. He is not going to look like a big idiot.”

“Just the assumption that Brady is going to be great at this I think is a stretch” replied Fauria.

As for Olsen, Fauria believes if he continues the way he has started, he will come out on top in the end. “I guarantee you at some point in time, when his contract runs out, and he tells all the streaming services that all exist now, he ends up being the guy. He’s fine. And he lost his job to the greatest football player ever.”

Gresh is not nearly as big of an Olsen fan and said, “If Greg Olsen was so great, are the other networks going to fall all over themselves to try and hire this guy? Will ESPN say, ‘maybe we will get rid of Aikman and put Olsen in there?'”

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