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Al Michaels: I Thought I Would Work With John Madden For 20 Years

“When you’re working with somebody like that, you have all the confidence in the world. You can go anywhere, and he’ll be right with you.”

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The National Football League recently lost an icon both on- and off-the-field with the passing of John Madden. After leading the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl championship in 1976, Madden embarked on a nearly 30-year broadcasting career, commentating football games on Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC Sports and remaining a fixture in the world of football. In 1988, Madden released his eponymous video game series, “John Madden Football,” which brought realism to fans seeking to learn and play the game of football. Of course, the video game series would eventually evolve into being called “Madden NFL,” and remains one of the most popular video games on the market each year.

For current Sunday Night Football commentator Al Michaels, having the opportunity to work with John Madden was something he had hoped would come to fruition when Fox Sports acquired the rights to NFC games in 1994. After a recruitment period akin to free agency as a player, Fox Corporation owner and media mogul Rupert Murdoch made him an offer of $8 million per year to call games on the network – a figure higher than any NFL player’s annual salary. Thus, Madden made the decision to pivot from signing a deal with ABC to join Michaels in 1994, to instead join Pat Summerall on-the-call for NFL coverage on Fox Sports.

Michaels appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Fox Sports Radio Wednesday morning, and discussed the elation he felt when ABC was able to secure the broadcasting services of Madden in 2002. Reflecting on the seven-year stretch they called games together, Michaels affirmed that what you saw was indeed what you got in terms of working with John Madden.

“He was full of life; full of energy; a great conversationalist [and] a great teacher but a terrific listener that wanted to learn,” Michaels said. “He loved traveling around the country [and] being with people… There wasn’t anything about John that said ‘Hey look, I’m a big celebrity.’ No – it was none of that. He was more interested in absorbing things than playing any sort of a role.”

On whatever network he broadcast games, John Madden’s personality shined through, and communicated the importance of the game being played to all parties involved. Having never worked together prior to 2002, Michaels knew that he would not need a dry run before the duo made their debut at 2002 Hall of Fame Game.

“I had heard him for over 20 years. He was always on the bus after Sunday Night Football, and he heard me do hundreds of games,” said Michaels. “John and I understood each other’s rhythms [and] by the second commercial [of our first game], I thought I’d be working with him for 20 years.”

As Al Michaels’ contract for Sunday Night Football on NBC is set to expire following the conclusion of Super Bowl LVI, rumors suggest he will start calling games on Amazon Prime next year as a part of its Thursday Night Football slate of games. He will undoubtedly continue to honor the legacy of John Madden by bringing fans unique perspectives and stellar commentary as his broadcasting career continues, and, just like Madden, be on the road again.

“The great thing about John is that he was so well-versed in not just football, but [in just] everything,” said Michaels. “When you’re working with somebody like that, you have all the confidence in the world. You can go anywhere, and he’ll be right with you.”

Sports Radio News

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.”

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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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Sports Radio News

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

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

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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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Sports Radio News

DeAngelo Hall Explains His Exit From Commanders Radio Booth

“I’m a fan first and it made it hard sometimes to go to work because my vision of what I thought it should be wasn’t ultimately what the decision-makers wanted to do.”

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Sports Illustrated

In a case of “you never know who’s listening”, 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C. got a surprise on Wednesday. Former NFL pro-bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall texted Brian Mitchell of BMitch & Finlay that he was listening and wanted to join the program.

After discussing some opinions of the Commanders and other rivals on the field, Hall made a point to address leaving the team’s radio booth as a color analyst. In April it was announced that Hall would exit the broadcast booth. At the time it was reported that the decision was Hall’s. On BMitch & Finlay he added more context by explaining that, “it just felt like it wasn’t the right situation for myself.”

Hall went further by adding that a deciding factor for his decision seemed to be the team’s vision for the broadcast.

“I need to see it. I’m a fan first and it made it hard sometimes to go to work because my vision of what I thought it should be wasn’t ultimately what the decision-makers wanted to do. And you know how I am guys, I speak my mind and I just asked to go my separate way. I still love the organization, I’m still rooting for them.”

The former Washington player joined Bram Weinstein and analyst Julie Donaldson when the Washington Commanders overhauled their entire broadcast crew after an organization-wide sexual harassment scandal mentioned former play-by-play voice Larry Michael.

Hall was sure to praise his former teammate taking his role. “But so hyped for London Fletcher. I told Julie and Fletch at separate times man, that Fletch was such a great teammate and an inspirational person in my life and my process of growing as a pro and as a man, that taught me so much about the game. I couldn’t be happier that she gets a hell of a replacement in London Fletcher.

“I’m hyped for those guys but I’m too pretty to be on the radio, guys, I need more face time,” Hall quipped. “I’m fighting to get in one of them booths. When you see Tom Brady making 10-for-375 I said ‘I’m in the wrong business.’ When you’re watching Tony and them guys I’m in the wrong business. I got to get off this radio and get my face in front of the tizzube.”

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