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Mike Pritchard | Former NFL WR; NFL Analyst

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February 3, 2023 6:04 am

Mike Pritchard | Former NFL WR; NFL Analyst

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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February 3, 2023 6:04 am

Former NFL wide receiver and current NFL analyst for ViSN Network Mike Pritchard joins the show.

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Mmm, tastes like wellness just got a whole lot better. And when goals taste this good, it's easy to achieve them. Goalie, taste your goals. Learn more at today. Mike Pritchard. Mike's a Las Vegas native, but also works there now with Visa Network. He is the lead NFL analyst, a former NFL wide receiver himself, also a member of the Colorado athletic hall of fame, which is one of the reasons why we've connected with him.

Mike, thanks so much for a couple of minutes. I actually want to start with the NFL because even though there are no games this weekend, we had some big news. Last 48 hours dominated by the Tom Brady retirement conversation. When you think of him down the road, what will come to mind about the way he played the position and who he is to the league?

Ultimate competitor, Amy. I mean, I played with some great competitors and obviously played against some great competitors. And I mean, my hero, we had the great Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Steve Young, John Elway, Warren Moon.

It goes on and on and on. Jim Kelly, all these hall of famers. But I've never seen or witnessed from a fan's perspective, like I was since I've been retired, the drive that this man has had his entire career. It's like he was chasing something or something to prove each and every year.

And his will to win was at the top. That's what's made him the GOAT, his drive and initiative to fine tune his body, to fine tune his mechanics, to just turn himself into the best player possible. I mean, I think I have not seen an athlete get to that level.

Playing against the great Jerry Rice or playing with the great Deion Sanders. I mean, all those guys have those abilities and had those abilities, obviously. But there was something about Tom Brady and his more than two decades career that just defied the odds. And just defied father time. And he kept playing at a high level of excellence.

So that's what comes to mind for me. Incredible, incredible career. And a guy that just raised the level of the people around him. And I think as a quarterback, as a leader, that's exactly what you want for your legacy. In addition to raising the level of play of those who are on the field with him or even trying to play against him, it feels as though he's raised the bar for the quarterback position as a whole. The way the rules have changed and a lot of people lament the fact that the playing field is now tilted in the favor of the offense drastically. Even quarterbacks will tell you that. I hear Kurt Warner say it all the time.

How has it changed the most at your position over the past couple decades? Well, I think quarterbacks are specialized now. I mean, when I was playing, certainly we had our athletic quarterbacks and they were accurate and they were playmakers in their own right and great playmakers. But I think quarterbacks today, they start getting groomed right before high school or even during high school. They go to the Pete Manning camps and they get all these personal coaches and, you know, they're not playing multiple sports. They become specialized at what they do. And then all of a sudden they get to college and they fine tune that as well. And so we're seeing the elite players leave college early now after the three years you're eligible to get to the National Football League via the draft.

And a lot of these guys are opting for that route. So the type of player that we're going to start seeing come into the National Football League is going to be completely different. Tom Brady, but I think Pete Manning and these type of Hall of Fame quarterbacks have really specialized that position now for a lot of young players. Mike Pritchard is a former NFL wide receiver with the Falcons, the Broncos, the Seahawks. He is now the lead NFL analyst at Visa Network based in Las Vegas, which is his hometown. And we're excited to have him for the first time here on After Hours on CBS Sports Radio. It is significant that we have a Super Bowl in which there are two African-American quarterbacks for the first time. Why does it matter, Mike?

You know what, Amy, it is important. And I'm so supportive of the situation and the recognition of seeing two African-American quarterbacks start the Super Bowl. But I'm one, and I did this on Visa too when we first had the matchup. I mentioned that we have two air raid quarterbacks.

In other words, Texas Tech produced Patrick Mahomes and OU, and certainly Alabama produced Jalen Hurts. And I didn't even think about color, right? And that's where I hope we can get to as a society where we're not recognizing the first African-American or the first any ethnicity being for the first time. I mean, it is monumental. I don't want to discount that. But I also want to get beyond color.

I just want to get beyond all that notion from the past and really concentrate on the progress that everybody has made. You spent some time in Denver, both as receiver as well as an analyst or as a reporter. Sean Payton may not have been the Broncos' first choice. I guess we may never know that.

But he's there now. How do you like the fit with A. Russell Wilson that, as you noted, has struggled and is coming off a tough season? For my Broncos, I don't know what's going to happen. I really don't, Amy.

I hope for the best. But I know that you're right, it has to be a good fit. I mean, Sean Payton, he's a brand name. He certainly is. And he's getting paid for that, right?

Close to $20 million a year. And then you have another brand name and Russell Wilson. But like Giannis Atetokounmpo said, the Greek freak, you know, your ego is your past, though, right? And that's what I think we're living off of, or at least the Broncos are living off of, is the past of Russell Wilson promising the future will be better. The same thing with Sean Payton. The past of Sean Payton hopefully is going to produce a better future.

But you have to let go of those egos. And I wonder if those two individuals are going to be able to do that. Because I know Russell Wilson is setting his ways. And, you know, he's one of those quarterbacks that, you know, is he coachable at this point?

We're going to find out because I think Sean Payton is going to challenge him on that. So if it works out, it's going to work out handsomely. It's going to be a great situation.

I don't know when that's going to come about, to be honest with you, Amy. But if it doesn't work out, it's going to be more of a disaster like we saw this past season. When it comes to that type of a marriage where they weren't necessarily selected together, who should have the final say? Should it be an experienced coach or should it be the guy who's on the field with the football? Well, the coach should have the final say. I mean, if you think about the way the league has really worked, I mean, even the great Tom Brady was always coachable. And he has been coachable. We've heard stories about how Bill Belichick treated everybody to shame during those dynasty years of Tom Brady up there. And then certainly, I think to a certain extent, Tom Brady's first year in Tampa. But Russell has treated himself differently in terms of his new home and in terms of his old home. We've seen and read all the reports and heard all the reports about how Russell Wilson elevated himself out of that locker room.

And I get the sense that he's done that again in Denver. So you have to be a part of that team. That team has to believe in you 100 percent.

But more importantly, I think you've got to remain coachable. I mean, power struggles never work. And I don't sense that. I'm not going to even try to sense that's going to happen for this relationship.

But I know the last relationship, there was an issue there. So from the perspective of a former athlete and certainly for Russell Wilson, he was not the same player. His mechanics were different. He was not seeing the field like he once did. And so, again, he's got to let go of that pass and that ego and look out that front windshield with the new coach and help that new coach help him on the field as well. Mike Pritchard is an NFL vet, played with three different franchises in the league most recently. Or I should say when he retired, he was with the Seattle Seahawks after four years. We're glad to have him with us here on After Hours CBS Sports Radio. I bring up the Seahawks because they were one of the cool surprises or cool storylines that kind of came out of nowhere in 2022. I kind of feel like Pete Carroll could coach a water bottle and a pair of socks.

And he's proved that over and over again. But what stands out to you from this job that he did with this group of guys? Oh, I love Pete Carroll. I mean, I had the fortunate opportunity to play against him. He was a coach of the Jets, I believe.

Jets for the Patriots. I'm trying to remember back then, but he is a phenomenal motivator. I love his energy, you know, and I love the competition. I love the culture that he's created up there in Seattle. And they did surprise a lot of people this year. But I don't know if it was a surprise to Pete Carroll because he knows how to roll up his sleeves and he knows how to get the most out of his younger players. And that's exactly what Seattle did. They got a lot out of that rookie draft class. They got a lot of the newer players that they acquired because of the competitiveness, because of the competition and the culture that he's created. And nothing is given to you in the National Football League. We all now know that. But I think Pete Carroll and his staff really drive that home and really conveys that to the players. And they responded.

I mean, you know, Smith, the season that he had. Right. Oh, my goodness. Obviously.

Yeah. Obviously, a lot of those players responded in the right way. So it was a surprising year. At the same time, disappointing because, you know, once you get into the playoffs, you really want to proceed and grow and maybe make a run. But maybe that's an immediate future for the Seattle Seahawks. They have a great coach up there in Pete Carroll. Do you ever look at the NFL today and think how it's turned into a behemoth? NFL, we can never miss you if you don't go away.

It never goes away. And is that a bad thing? I mean, people really enjoy the league. It provides great entertainment. But my goodness, it really is a monstrosity.

No, it really is. I mean, I love the ownership situation in which the collective thought or certainly from a business standpoint, they want to grow. I mean, next year, we're going to have so many international games. And certainly that's where the growth is going to be.

The streaming aspect of the National Football League from from their partners. I mean, that's going to grow. That's going to continue to grow. And the National Football League and their philanthropic endeavors. That's that's still growing. We're going to have the Pro Bowl here in Las Vegas. And, you know, the great Warren Moon and Shannon Sharpe and everybody, Charles Woodson is going to be here along with all the Pro Bowlers and and really giving back to the community of Las Vegas and the youth, the young athletes as well.

So looking forward to that. And that's what the league has been about. And I'm a card carrying member of this monstrosity. And I couldn't be more proud of it, really.

I think it's a great product. It's appealing to everybody, the competitiveness on the field and certainly what the NFL is about off the field as well. I love that you describe it that way, being part of something like the NFL that really was underscored and came to light more for fans over the course of that week when DeMar Hamlin had suffered the cardiac arrest. And for two days, he was in the hospital.

We really didn't have much word. But the concern, the entire NFL and really the league, as we just mentioned, doesn't shut down for anything. But for those couple days and really for a good portion of that week, the NFL just stopped over concern for one of its own. And you could really feel the brotherhood, the fraternity that week.

Absolutely. I mean, I was done with the show and just went off air right when I saw the ambulance on the field there in Cincinnati. And, you know, you immediately start to try to find information as quickly as possible because you knew it wasn't a good situation for anybody.

And then you get the details. And you're right. I mean, it's it's it was a brotherhood from a former player's perspective. It put in a context, something that I think I took for granted as a player. And that is when every time I went into a stadium for a game, it was there was a subtle reminder over in the corner of my eye as I walked into the locker room. But it wasn't that vivid reminder. And it was the ambulance.

Right. I mean, every time you go into the locker room to get padded up and get taped up for a football game, there's an ambulance there and you don't really think about it. But what happened to the Mar Hamlin and when you saw the ambulance on the field, you just pray to God everything was going to be OK. But also, you know, with the doctors also in attendance and the training staffs and the EMTs, you know, tomorrow is going to get the best possible help you could receive at that moment. So, yeah, just put it in the vivid nature, I think, for a lot of people, certainly as a former player did for me. But I think for all the current players as well. So we're highly thankful of everybody that's involved with our safety out there on the field each and every game day.

Definitely saved DeMar's life. That emergency action plan. I didn't even know it existed. But the NFL has it for every game in every city where they go. And thank goodness for that.

Mike Pritchard is with us from Las Vegas, now the lead NFL analyst at Vison. And here we go. We got, well, still about a week or so until the Super Bowl. But this is the game, the event of the year. So initial thoughts on the Eagles and the Chiefs and how they match up. Well, Amy, I think we got a great matchup from a betting perspective, certainly what we're doing at decent. We're trying to cover all the angles and give everybody all the information necessary in which they can enjoy the game a little bit differently from a wager standpoint. So I think we got a spread of one and a half right now with Philly as a favorite. Right. That line's come down a little bit as Patrick Mahomes gets healthier and healthier and certainly his receivers get healthier and healthier.

We'll see what that number does. But the NFC was so top heavy with Philly and San Francisco. And so those two teams duked it out and Philly came out on top. It was unfortunate about Brock Furdy. But then in the AFC, I mean, you really had the quarterback for all in that conference in terms of the superstars, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow and Josh Allen. So it came down to Joe Burrow and I call him PSM too, because we had PSM one, which was Peyton freaking Manning.

But now we have Patrick freaking Mahomes now. So that guy, what he did on that bum ankle, his will to win, it was incredible. It was absolutely incredible what he was able to accomplish out there for his football team.

So I think when you have a competitor like this, PSM too, against the Eagles who are highly dominant and certainly a great team, I think we're going to have an outstanding game. So, Mike, I was just thinking of this as you're talking about these two quarterbacks, who are some of your favorite wide receivers in the NFL to watch today? I think I have love for Justin Jefferson's game. He is an incredible, incredible wide receiver. And, you know, I know he's going to get the respect. He's going to get honored this year.

And it's rightly so. Jamar Chase is incredible as well. Cooper cup, you know, I don't think you can cover him, you know, when he's right, when he's healthy, there's, there's a lot of great receivers. DK Metcalf, I mean, just the speed, the catch radius, Mike Evans, I can go on and on. And that's the beauty of the National Football League right now. There's so many great athletes that are just making a difference and it's spread across the league too. And from a wide receiver standpoint, because you have guys 6-4 and they're running 4-3. And again, they expand the catch radius and just are incredible, incredible players. I think Christian Watson as a young player is going to be phenomenal as he grows and matures up there in Green Bay. So, at the top, I put Justin Jefferson, Jamar Chase right there, Cooper cup, and in the top five, you know, like I mentioned, DK Metcalf as well. So, there's an excellent group of receivers in the league right now. You crossed paths with Ed McCaffrey in Denver, right?

I did. We were roomies for a year in Denver. Now that his son is in the league and obviously has a home with San Francisco, nine straight games with a touchdown, his versatility blows me away. But it's kind of cool to see his son in the league now, right?

It is incredible. Ed was a great athlete and I know his wife Lisa was a great athlete too. And, you know, they have several great athletes as some, as you know. But Christian, I was able to watch him in high school when I was out in Denver.

That's my second home. And he was phenomenal. And, you know, now that he's in the National Football League and doing great, great things. And he's with the right team right back out there in the Bay Area, not too far from Palo Alto where he set records at Stanford. So, no, he was an excellent pick up for the 49ers. And, you know, from a running back standpoint, you hope that he can stay elusive and stay healthy because I still want to see him do some work for a lot of years up there in the Bay Area with San Francisco. All right.

So before I let you go, pivot a little bit. You were part of a national championship at Colorado in Boulder and also part of the CU Athletic Hall of Fame. Coming off of National Signing Day, Deion Sanders, the new coach, is touting this class and certainly he brings a lot of attention. He's been able to bring some high profile recruits. What do you think so far of Deion in Boulder? I love it. I love Coach Prime in Boulder.

He loves Boulder. I mean, that press conference. And that was genuine, too. I had the fortunate opportunity to play three years with Deion in Atlanta, Deion Sanders. And his work ethic was very strong then.

He didn't take a rep off. It showed as he turned himself into the best of all time at his position, hands down the first ballot Hall of Famer. But his commitment to young men, his commitment to the process in instilling the work ethic or the knowledge that these young men are going to need to succeed. His commitment is at a fever pitch now.

It's never been at a higher level, I don't believe. So I think all that is awesome. And it's been a great beginning to what I believe is going to be impactful for CU and the football program and the institution as well. I mean, I think the state, I mean, the culture of college football, everybody is looking at CU right now. And everybody wants to be a part of it all because of Coach Prime. So he knows how to create attention.

He knows how to handle attention like this on the big stage. And certainly he knows how to get results. So I think we're heading in the right direction. I cannot wait until spring ball a little bit later on in the year.

And it's certainly when we kick it off for real later on in the fall. Did you ever have to match up with him in practice? I did.

I did. We used to fight, well not fight, physically. We would try to negotiate the front of the line for one-on-ones when to go up against primetime or Deon, right?

Because you knew you were going to get better. And, you know, at that time it was Andre Risen and Michael Haynes and me and a few other receivers, Drew Hill. And so we used to try to maneuver and, you know, would tie our shoe.

If somebody, oh I can't go this rep, you gotta go. And we would try to tie it to where we could go up against Deon because you know he was going to make it better. So absolutely, absolutely was able to sharpen my game going up against the great Deon Sanders in practice.

That is absolutely what you love. And also I feel like you were quite the name dropper, Mike. All of these people that you played with or against, this is when I cut my teeth on the NFL. So this is super cool to be able to connect with you.

I tell you what, it's not bad to name drop some of those players though when you played with them, right? There's incredible, incredible players to be, and that was my opportunity and certainly the time that I enjoyed in the league. A nine-year NFL vet who played in three different places and was a wide receiver and now is with Vison as their lead NFL analyst.

You'll hear him on the Pro Football Blitz on the weekends, but then also part of the other shows as we get closer to the Super Bowl on Twitter at MIPritchard. It is great to connect with you. You're welcome on the show anytime. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes. Amy, it was my pleasure.

I love the invite and absolutely I look forward to doing this again. Goalie gummies get you so close to your goals, you can actually taste them. The trick? Simply start with bite-sized steps like Goalie's apple cider vinegar gummies with added B vitamins for daily health. Or Goalie Ashwagandha gummies to help you relax, restore and unwind.

Tastes like wellness just got a whole lot better. And when goals taste this good, it's easy to achieve them. Goalie. Taste your goals. Learn more at today. Goalie gummies get you so close to your goals, you can actually taste them.

The trick? Simply start with bite-sized steps like Goalie's apple cider vinegar gummies with added B vitamins for daily health. Or Goalie Ashwagandha gummies to help you relax, restore and unwind.

Tastes like wellness just got a whole lot better. And when goals taste this good, it's easy to achieve them. Goalie. Taste your goals. Learn more at today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-03 08:27:23 / 2023-02-03 08:37:03 / 10

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