As Troy Aikman’s contract with Fox is set to expire at the conclusion of the NFL Playoffs, the color analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is undoubtedly a highly sought-after free agent in sports media.
While Aikman has not ruled out a return to Fox, he recently suggested there is a chance Sunday’s NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams could be his final matchup in the Fox booth. There’s a possibility that Aikman could leave Fox to call games exclusively on Amazon’s new Thursday Night Football package with Al Michaels, the current play-by-play announcer on NBC Sunday Night Football. If Aikman were to leave Fox, the question then becomes who would be his replacement as Joe Buck’s new broadcast partner.
On Friday morning, The Mac Attack‘s Chris McClain and Travis Hancock spoke on the NFL playoffs and Carolina Panthers’ offseason with former NFL tight end Greg Olsen on WFNZ 610 AM in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Olsen started working as a Fox NFL color analyst full-time this season after occasionally calling games while an active player for the Panthers. Since going into broadcasting following his retirement from football in 2020, Olsen has received positive reviews. According to McClain and Hancock, he could be an ideal choice to join Buck in the booth.
“Olsen could end up somewhere in a front office down the line, but he’s doing a phenomenal job in TV,” said Hancock. “With the way he explains stuff [and] the way he talks [about] the game, if Troy Aikman does leave for Amazon and doesn’t do the Amazon-Fox double, Greg Olsen’s a natural number one with Joe Buck as well. I know that [Sean] Payton’s been named, but come on – Greg Olsen could very easily be their number one.”
Olsen has respect for Payton, who stepped down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints earlier this week and is reportedly contemplating an entry into sports media, whether in radio or television, in studio or in the booth. At the moment, Payton is not sure what is next for his football career, but Olsen knows from his experience playing against him that he was a savant of the game.
“I obviously had a lot of respect for his football mind and what he was able to do with those guys there,” said Olsen. “I understand from a fan standpoint, you always hate whoever you feel like is your enemy, but from the field I always liked competing against guys like that because they brought a good energy to the game.”
Olsen also talked about not being able to call any playoff games this year for Fox due to the way the schedule of broadcasting rights fell. Despite this, he looks forward to being on the mic for the big games down the road as his career in sports media continues.
“I’ve been sitting there watching every other network call multiple games,” explained Olsen. “Those are the games everybody wants. You want the marquee primetime night games during the regular season. You want playoff games. You want games that matter. That’s what every broadcaster really wants.”
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.”
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.
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.”