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Ryan Clark Returns to Radio Row, Stars in New Super Bowl Ad

“You can see how excited everyone is… to at least almost feel normal. Other than the masks, we get to move around and convene and have different events like we normally do.”

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Stella Artois

As Super Bowl Sunday draws closer by the minute, various sports radio stations from around the country have taken their broadcasts on the road to Radio Row to interview guests, catch up with old friends, and feel the anticipation and excitement before kickoff.

This year’s matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams marks the first time the city of Los Angeles has hosted the Super Bowl since 1993 when the Dallas Cowboys won the championship at the Rose Bowl. Additionally, the Rams will try to become the first Los Angeles-based team to win a Super Bowl since the John Madden-led Los Angeles Raiders took home the championship in 1983.

With some signs of normalcy beginning to return throughout society, the buzz in the “City of Angels” is quite palpable both inside and outside of the area. Ryan Clark, a former NFL safety and current analyst on ESPN, joined The Pat & Aaron Show on 95.3 WDAE Tampa Bay, and spoke about the atmosphere not only surrounding “The Big Game” on Sunday, but also that of the week as a whole.

“It’s absolutely bonkers – it truly is,” said Clark, who won a Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. “You can see how excited everyone is… to at least almost feel normal. Other than the masks, we get to move around and convene and have different events like we normally do.”

Clark has always cherished the week leading up to the Super Bowl for the opportunities it gives people to see one another and reconnect. However, as a player, the focus is squarely on what happens on the gridiron Sunday. The game brings about conflicting interests. That is, a cultural phenomenon with league events, media coverage, and parties surrounding the most meaningful and decisive football game of the year.

“It’s about getting chances to see people you haven’t seen in years, or see people you haven’t seen in a year, and really enjoy what this is,” explained Clark. “It’s the biggest sporting event in the world. We have seven games in the NBA Finals, you have seven games for the World Series, but this is only one chance, one opportunity, and you got to savor every moment.”

On Thursday, Clark visited Radio Row himself, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, to experience the plethora of live broadcasts and to be interviewed by other stations.

“[There are] so many different people from so many different countries and [so many] opportunities to get athletes on,” said Clark. “It was really good to get back in that type of atmosphere.”

Clark, along with NFL legends Dan Marino and Eli Manning, recently starred in a new advertisement for Stella Artois titled “The Stella Substitutes,” in which they give bartenders tickets to Super Bowl LVI in exchange for filling in for the bartenders’ scheduled shifts.

“Tyrone is a bartender out here in L.A., [and] I got an opportunity to surprise him with tickets,” said Clark. “What we’ve gone through the last two years, people [have] not [been] able to truly enjoy life like we’re used to. We want to make sure that people are getting opportunities to share great moments with the people that they love, and so he’s going to get an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.”

Show co-host Pat Donovan was curious to know how many beers Clark’s ESPN colleague Mike Greenberg could drink “before he would be in the tank.” His response:

“A half a beer. [Greeny’s] one of the softest humans I’ve ever been around. I’m pretty sure Greeny would be one of those people that says beer has too harsh of a taste to actually drink and enjoy. He’s more like a very light dessert wine kind of guy.”

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Dave Rothenberg Can’t Stand Hearing Kenny Albert Mispronounce ‘Raleigh’

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it.”

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Dave Rothenberg has a tiny bone to pick with Kenny Albert, and it’s over the way Kenny pronounces the Carolina Hurricanes’ home city.

Talking on his show on ESPN New York on Tuesday, Rothenberg, who spent three years working in Raleigh on 99.9 The Fan, said he wished someone would get in Albert’s ear and correct the way he’s been saying it adding that it has made him wish one of the top play-by-play voices in hockey wouldn’t be on the call for the playoff series between the Canes and New York Rangers.

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it,” Rothenberg said.

Albert has been pronouncing the city’s name as “RAW-lee”. It is properly pronounced “RAH-lee”.

Co-host Rick DiPietro and the rest of the show crew thought Albert would take offense to the correction, especially since it’s such a minor thing, but Rothenberg thought that was ridiculous.

“See, no one can deal with tough love anymore,” Rothenberg said.

The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes series shifts back to Raleigh on Thursday for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.

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NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role

The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.

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Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.

Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.

Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.

In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).

One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

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Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance

Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.

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USA Today

The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.

Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.

Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”

Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”

Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”

Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”

Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”

And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”

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