Earlier this week, the National Football League AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals hosted a pep rally at Paul Brown Stadium in their home city where the team gave away 30,000 free tickets to fans to send the team off to Super Bowl LVI in style.
The stadium was loud with chants of “Who Dey?” for the home team and featured player introductions, appearances from team alumni and speeches from members of the team to the fans in “The Jungle,” all concluding with a fireworks display that lit up the Cincinnati skyline along the Ohio River.
As the Bengals seek to #RuleItAll this Sunday in “The Big Game,” ESPN2 and the NFL Network both promoted the event and said they would broadcast it to fans who could not be at the event in-person.
One of the people who was unable to attend in-person was Mo Egger, afternoon host at ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati. Egger had hosted his Monday afternoon show from Twin Peaks Restaurant in West Chester Township, Ohio, and had to run some errands after it concluded at 6 p.m. While he was unable to attend the pep rally in-person, he disclosed that he listened to it on his car radio with Lance McAllister and Dave Lapham serving as on-air hosts.
“I think [they] did a very good job of describing what was unfolding on the field,” said Egger. “You got to hear all of the speeches; You got to hear the players being introduced… [It] was really, really good.”
Once Egger returned home at approximately 7:40 p.m., he turned on ESPN2, which said it would broadcast the pep rally on television. In fact, he had promoted it himself on his radio program earlier that day.
To his surprise, the network showed a 90-second cut of the rally, with shots of Bengals fans being at Paul Brown Stadium, and then moved on. Upon turning to NFL Network, which also said it would broadcast the pep rally, it was a similar situation: a short clip showing the event, followed by a brisk transition.
“Compared to what we were told [the networks] were going to show, they didn’t really show anything,” said Egger. “That’s okay, but you can’t tell me that you’re covering the pep rally and then give me a handful of seconds – a few morsels – of the pep rally.”
Egger’s frustration with the networks apparently misleading their viewers is something he views as a type of wrongdoing in sports media. While Egger was able to see plenty of clips from the pep rally on social media, other people may not have utilized or known to utilize that option to enjoy the event from afar, diminishing the congeniality that the NFL-produced event sought to foster.
“[I] love the NFL Network,” said Egger. “[I love ESPN]. ESPN2 last night: ‘We’re carrying the pep rally.’ Awesome! Great! If you’re not going to do it, don’t say you’re going to do it. Last night, they said they were going to do it and, well, they didn’t.”
Nonetheless, for Egger and other Cincinnati sports fans, the Bengals winning the AFC championship and having a chance to win their first Super Bowl game in franchise history is quite surreal, and they are just trying to take it all in prior to kickoff on Sunday.
“The scene… at Paul Brown Stadium: festive, celebratory, hopeful, vibrant. It was one of those [moments] that makes you kind of pause and go, ‘Holy crap. This is happening,’” explained Egger.
“A handful of times last Friday, I had NFL Network on when I was around the house, and they’re talking exclusively about the Bengals. Then… as I’m driving around, and I was in the car for a better part of an hour-and-fifteen minutes… I said to myself: ‘I am listening to a Bengals pep rally before the team leaves to go play in the Super Bowl. This still doesn’t seem like real life,’ and yet it is, and the planes have landed, and the team is in Los Angeles.”
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.”