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Deitsch Asks Writers About Worst Team They Covered

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Richard Deutsch has an interesting and fun piece series going up at The Athletic today. He has asked 39 different sports writers to recap tales from the very worst team they covered. The answers span all four major US leagues plus the WNBA and college sports. They also vary in reasons about what made each team the worst.

The series begins with NFL beat reporters talking about their season(s) in hell. The NHL will be in the spotlight on Tuesday. It’s Major League Baseball on Wednesday. The NBA and WNBA stories come Thursday. College teams are highlighted on Friday. Here is the full schedule:

NFL (Monday)

  • 1990 Denver Broncos (Adam Schefter)
  • 1994 Dallas Cowboys (Dale Hansen)
  • 2000 & 2001 San Diego Chargers (Jim Trotter)
  • 2003 New York Giants (Tara Sullivan)
  • 2008 Detroit Lions (Nick Cotsonika)
  • 2010 Denver Broncos (Lindsay Jones)
  • 2012 New York Jets (Kimberley A. Martin)
  • 2012 Philadelphia Eagles (Les Bowen)
  • 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars (Ryan O’Halloran)
  • 2017 Indianapolis Colts (Stephen Holder)

NHL (Tuesday)

  • 2003-04 Pittsburgh Penguins (Trenni Kusnierek)
  • 2005-06 St. Louis Blues (Jeremy Rutherford)
  • 2007-08 Atlanta Thrashers (Craig Custance)
  • 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs (James Mirtle)
  • 2010-11 New York Islanders (Katie Strang)
  • 2011-12 Columbus Blue Jackets (Aaron Portzline)
  • 2013-14 Vancouver Canucks (Jason Botchford)
  • 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres (John Vogl)

MLB (Wednesday)

  • 1983 California Angels (Gene Wojciechowski)
  • 1988 Baltimore Orioles (Richard Justice)
  • 1993 New York Mets (Frank Isola)
  • 1995 Oakland A’s (Pedro Gomez)
  • 1998 Florida Marlins (Dave O’Brien)
  • 2002 Chicago Cubs (Teddy Greenstein)
  • 2011-16 New York Yankees (Marly Rivera)

NBA/WNBA (Thursday)

  • 1998-99 Cleveland Cavaliers (Jason Lloyd)
  • 2005-06 Portland Trail Blazers (John Canzano)
  • 2005-06 New York Knicks (Howard Beck)
  • 2008-09 Los Angeles Clippers (Lisa Dillman)
  • 2011 Tulsa Shock (Kelly Hines)
  • 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers (Dave McMenamin)
  • 2014-15 Brooklyn Nets (Tim Bontemps)
  • 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers (Derek Bodner)

Colleges (Friday)

  • 1994 Kentucky Football (Pat Forde)
  • 1997 Maryland Football (Seth Emerson)
  • 2002 Stanford Football (Jon Wilner)
  • 2002-03 Villanova Basketball (Dana O’Neil)
  • 2014 Michigan Football (Angelique Chengelis)
  • 2015 Idaho Football (Michael Shawn-Dugar)

As for the first piece, the highlights include Dale Hanson of WFAA-TV in Dallas talking about the 1994 Dallas Cowboys, who were a good team according to their record. Hanson says that the hiring of Barry Switzer to replace Jimmy Johnson changed everything about the team’s culture. “But with Switzer’s ‘leadership,’ players were out of control. And there was no one to rein ‘em in. As one player said to me late at night near closing time in an Austin bar, ‘we have a curfew but Switzer’s coaching so who really cares.'”

Jim Trotter of NFL Media said one player ruined his experience with the 2001 San Diego Chargers. “That was the first time I saw up close how a team could splinter if one of its purported leaders was more concerned about himself than the club. That player was quarterback Doug Flutie, North America’s beloved underdog.”

The real gem though is from Nick Cotsonika, who now writes for NHL.com, but in 2008 was a beat reporter covering the Detroit Lions. He writes about the first NFL team to ever go 0-16 with some real fondness for just how terrible they were. “As the losses piled up, each game became more important, not less. It was like covering a team chasing history, only this team was trying to run from it and tripping over its own feet. No NFL team had gone 0-16 before. Kicker Jason Hanson said the Lions were so bad they had something to play for now. It says something the kicker was the one with the cred and the guts to tell it like it was.”

You can read the full piece here if you are a subscriber to The Athletic.

 

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Women Downloading Sports Betting Apps Faster Than Men

“Mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year.”

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The sports betting space saw a surge of new participants come into the realm last year. The fastest growing population? Women.

According to data compiled by Global Wireless Solutions, a mobile insights consulting firm, new female participation in the online sports betting market is nearly doubling the pace of their male counterparts. In their findings, mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year. New male users were up too from 2020, coming in at a 63% increase in 2021.

These very large spikes start to make the $4.3 billion made in sports betting revenue in 2021 seem like just the beginning.

Some of the numbers can be explained by the sheer volume of new available legal bettors. In 2021, five states launched online sports betting (Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Virginia and Wyoming).

This year stands to see even more of an increase with several more states implementing online sports betting (New York came online in January) and adding to their already legal retail offerings or at least deep into negotiations attempting such a feat as soon as possible.

Global Wireless Solutions also found the most effective sportsbook to bring new female users into the fold was by far and away FanDuel. That company signed up 1.7 million new female users while DraftKings attracted an estimated 900,000 new female customers. Men, according to GWS, still outpace women by 250% as a consumer base.

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Mike Francesa: Chris Russo Will Be On My Podcast

“When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

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WFAN legend Mike Francesa is settling into his new podcast opportunity with BetRivers, and has left the door open for a reunion with his longtime colleague and friend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Francesa was responding to questions on his show, with the newest episode out Monday, when he said he would be able to book Russo for an appearance down the road.

“Listen, I’ve gone on Dog’s shows a couple of times. I could definitely get Dog as a guest one time,” Francesa said.

The last time the two shared a stage and microphone was back in March at the BSM Summit. Francesa said he will make sure whenever Russo does come on, it will be at a time that makes the most sense.

“We will do that at an opportune time,” he said. “Maybe right before the football season or maybe late in the baseball season. When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

Whenever the reunion happens, best believe it will be a must-listen. It will mark the first time the two have been on a podcast together.

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Andy King To Lead Buchwald Agency’s Podcast Division

“The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.”

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Veteran sports programmer Andy King is entering the podcasting world. He has joined the Buchwald Agency. He will help clients develop and sell podcast ideas.

King comes from SiriusXM, where he had been since 2015. He was the director of sports programming and helped create podcasts for the company featuring high profile talent including Let’s Go with Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald and Digging Up the Past with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.

Prior to joining SiriusXM, Andy King spent 15 years in Miami. Before leaving, he had risen to program director at 560 WQAM.

The Buchwald Agency largely deals with clients from the entertainment world. The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.

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