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Bickley & Marotta: NFL ‘Devalued’ Sport With Thursday Night Football

“It’s just laughable how hypocritical the NFL can be to even stand on the platforms of player safety.”



This week’s Thursday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals was a thriller, ending with Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas coming up with an interception to beat his former team. The highly-anticipated quarterback matchup between 37-year-old veteran Aaron Rodgers and 24-year-old newcomer Kyler Murray kept fans entertained all throughout the contest, despite other star players, such as Green Bay’s Davante Adams and Arizona’s J.J. Watt, being out for the contest.

On Friday morning, Bickley and Marotta on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station in Phoenix recapped the primetime contest and let callers give their thoughts and opinions on the Cardinals’ first loss of the season. One caller, who said he drives for a living, mentioned the shortcomings of Thursday Night Football as a product for the National Football League, and how the change in game scheduling for teams ultimately hinders the on-field product.

Thursday Night Football continues to be a disgrace for the NFL,” said the caller Friday morning. “Players aren’t able to play because they don’t get enough rest; they are dropping all over the field. Every Thursday night, it’s the same thing.”

The NFL recently negotiated new media rights deals with various broadcast networks, such as Fox, NBC, and ABC; however, Fox’s contract to broadcast Thursday Night Football, in which they pay $660 million a year to the league, was recently renegotiated to end at the conclusion of this NFL season. According to the Standard Media Index, the average cost of a 30-second advertisement on Fox’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts was just under $500,000, and the league expects to generate even more revenue with its new deal with Amazon Prime. 

Amazon is set to pay $1.32 billion annually to become the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football for the next 11 seasons, the first sole streaming provider to secure a broadcast deal of this magnitude with the National Football League. The subscription-based streaming service seeks to innovate the way sports broadcasts are presented, and will lead what is thought to be a new era in multimedia dissemination.

While having an exclusive, primetime contest makes sense from a logistical standpoint for the NFL in order to maximize ratings and revenue, Bickley and Marotta agree that from a football standpoint, it is not exactly practical in offering the best product on-the-field, sacrificing long-term health and sustainability for short-term gain.

“It’s just laughable how hypocritical the NFL can be to even stand on the platforms of player safety,” said Dan Bickley, co-host of the morning drive program and former columnist at The Arizona Sun. “They’ve just devalued the game.”

While a recent study performed by scholars at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and Northwestern University suggested eliminating Thursday Night Football would not significantly impact the injury rate, fans around the league continue to question the NFL’s commitment to player safety. After all, Thursday Night Football does significantly shorten the practice and ramp-up time for NFL teams who previously played in a Sunday contest that calendar week.

Referencing a dangerous play that happened in the game, co-host Vince Marotta echoed Bickley’s sentiments, saying the league continues to be duplicitous in its commitment to protecting the players.

“Immediately prior [to the dangerous play] happening was a public service announcement [about] how important players safety is,” said Marotta, “and I thought to myself, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ And it really hits home when it’s a team you’re invested in [playing] on Thursday Night Football.”

Thursday Night Football broadcasts will continue on Fox for the remainder of the 2021 NFL season before shifting to Amazon Prime a year earlier than originally anticipated. Streaming is largely thought of as the future of watching live sports, and with the move, the National Football League will attract and draw a new audience to platforms such as Amazon Prime to watch the game’s best go at it in prime time for 15 regular season games — even if it superficially augments the risk for the occurrence of injuries before, during or after the game.

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Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”



Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”



When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”



Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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