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Mike Francesa Expected to Return to WFAN

Jason Barrett

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WFAN is in the center of turmoil once again. The focus of the chaos? The highly coveted afternoon drive timeslot and longtime FAN host Mike Francesa.

The New York Sports Pope gave two years notice to The Fan that he’d depart the station at the end of his contract in 2017. During that period WFAN looked at a number of potential options to occupy the drive time slot, eventually settling on Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott.

But after just five months on the job, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that WFAN is pushing the panic button and planning to bring back Francesa. The move clearly puts Carlin, Gray and Scott in an awkward spot, although initial indications are that the station would have them work a shorter show in between Joe & Evan and Francesa. The trio signed two-year deals upon joining the station.

The plan would be for Francesa to host a three or three-and-a-half-hour show, likely from 3p-6p or 3:30p-6:30p. This is assuming that both sides can get past their prior tensions. Francesa has publicly taken swipes at CMB and Boomer Esiason, and Boomer and his former partner Craig Carton also showed they weren’t afraid to return the favor.

The news began to gain momentum on Tuesday morning when Francesa offered a cryptic response to Newsday.

“This is for those who started this campaign in recent days,” said Francesa. “I didn’t decide to go back to WFAN until I was told I better not go back. For those behind it, that was the moment I decided to return.”

The Fan issued a statement to confirm that talks were ongoing between the two parties.

“WFAN confirms that we are in ongoing discussions with Mike Francesa about the possibility of him returning to the station. We also confirm that we are very proud of our current line-up at WFAN and that any potential future engagement with Mike will not result in any talent departures. As a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending negotiations and have nothing further to add at this moment.”

BSM reporter Brandon Contes points out that the biggest surprise in this story is that Francesa clearly had no post-WFAN plan. He spent two years discussing and celebrating his departure, making it clear he wasn’t retiring. However, he never mapped out his next venture. Stern, Russo, and Greenberg knew their next move, Francesa didn’t.

The about face also raises questions about WFAN’s management. After receiving a two year notice that Francesa would be leaving, the station couldn’t hire a show that it was willing to give even a six month commitment to. Were the options really that small? And what happens the next time Francesa leaves the station? Is a talent going to receive a fair shake or be shown the door six months later?

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Freezing Cold Takes: Mike Francesa Believes Every Word He Says, Skip Bayless Doesn’t

“He has a knack for saying things defiantly and within a real brief period the opposite happens,” he said.

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Dan Patrick, Freezing Cold Takes

Fred Segal, the creator of the popular Freezing Cold Takes Twitter account, didn’t hold back
when it came to talking about some sports media personalities who are kings of the freezing cold take.

Talking to Dan Patrick on Wednesday, Segal said if there was a Mount Rushmore for hosts who
are often wrong or point out the obvious, FOX Sports host Skip Bayless would be one of the
faces.

“There’s things that he posts that are completely obvious that he can’t possibly think those things rationally,” he said.

Segal has a new book coming highlighting some of the best cold takes centered around the NFL.

“And he also has what feels to be a gimmick, his schtick, where he zeroes in on a player and decides, ‘I am going to constantly berate and say negative things about him and spin any positive into a negative.”

Segal thought of LeBron James and Aaron Rodgers as two athletes in particular that Bayless
likes to rip on.

He also said he’d add Mike Francesa to that Mount Rushmore as well, but for different reasons.
Patrick said the difference is that Francesa is just trying to be right and not troll.

“Out of all the people who try to be provocative on-air and are really concerned about being
entertaining, Francesa is completely honest with everything he says,” Segal said. “But he’s so
defiant about what he says.”

He added that Francesa has this ability of being so confident in what he’s saying, only to end up wrong nearly instantly after saying it.

“He has a knack for saying things defiantly and within a real brief period the opposite happens,” he said.

Segal mentioned Francesa saying the New York Jets would never get two first round draft picks
in a trade for Jamal Adams in 2020. Well, the Seattle Seahawks gave two first rounders to the Jets for Adams and a fourth round pick.

Patrick at least credited Francesa for owning his takes.

“He’s genuine in how bad some of his opinions are,” Patrick said.

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Pat McAfee Announces Partnership With NFL Films

“You’re going to make our show better and hopefully we make NFL Films a little bit better as well.”

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Pat McAfee Show

The Pat McAfee Show is breaking another barrier with his program. Today he revealed that his show will be teaming up with NFL Films to feature league footage on the show. They will also team up for at least one feature element between the two.

On the show, McAfee was discussing the debut of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions with two of the coordinating producers of the show, Keith Cossrow and Ken Rodgers. After talking about the first episode, McAfee made the announcement.

“We will have NFL footage rights for the show every single day,” McAfee began. “We will also be creating, probably an Emmy-winning Mic’d Up type thing on the side with NFL Films. I don’t think this has ever happened before. I think this is one of the first times that something like we run has teamed up with NFL Films and the NFL.”

McAfee then told the two how happy he was to be partners with the group. “You’re going to make our show better and hopefully we make NFL Films a little bit better as well. We are very lucky and pumped to be a part of it, Keith.”

“Seeing you guys work, seeing how committed you are it reminded me of the way we are back here,” said Keith Cossrow. “What you guys have all built together is really special. What you’ve built Pat, is special. We could not be more excited at NFL Films to help build your show into something bigger. We are going to produce a weekly feature every week all season with you about the brilliance of our players in the NFL.”

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Dave LaGreca: WWE Will Improve Without Vince McMahon

“I don’t think Vince McMahon ever truly loved pro wrestling. He loved that term, ‘sports entertainment.’ He looked at pro wrestling the way a lot of mainstream people look at pro wrestling.”

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Wrestling fans have connected with SiriusXM’s Busted Open, because they trust host Dave LaGreca to be honest with them about what is good and bad in the sport. One target that he has never been afraid to go after is former WWE boss Vince McMahon.

“You can’t think about it,” he said on the latest episode of The Jason Barrett Podcast when asked how the company has responded to his criticism in the past. “You kinda have to block it.”

One of LaGreca’s most famous rants is about the appearance of zombies at a WWE pay-per-view event last year. During that rant, Dave LaGreca shouted over and over that Vince McMahon hates pro wrestling.

He told Barrett that he doesn’t regret the rant and still believes every word of it.

“I stand by that statement. I don’t think Vince McMahon ever truly loved pro wrestling. He loved that term, ‘sports entertainment.’ He looked at pro wrestling the way a lot of mainstream people look at pro wrestling.”

Dave LaGreca is a wrestling fan. He said he and people like him have plenty of reason for optimism with McMahon’s son-in-law Triple H taking creative control of the company’s storylines.

“Triple H looks at pro wrestling as an art form. He’s said it before. He appreciates it. He respects it. He grew up an NWA fan. I am very high on the next 3-6 months with Triple H at the helm of creative.”

Barrett followed that up by asking what could come next for Vince McMahon. Dave LaGreca had a simple answer.

“Watches!”

New episodes of The Jason Barrett Podcast drop every Tuesday morning.

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