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REShow: Deion Branch - Hour 3

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December 22, 2022 3:31 pm

REShow: Deion Branch - Hour 3

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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December 22, 2022 3:31 pm

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What's Right with Nick Wright is a rapidly growing podcast from the Fox Sports Podcast Network. You may know Nick Wright from co-hosting FS1's First Things First. This podcast gives Nick a chance to develop, deep dive, and defend his sharpest opinions. During the show, Nick faces off against a ticking clock, a team of producers, and even his own family to try and get his points across. New episodes drop Monday, Thursday, and Friday wherever you get your podcasts. It is Tom Pelissero on a Rich Eisen-less edition of the Rich Eisen Show.

Rich did call in earlier on. He's out in Pittsburgh to call the Steelers Raiders game on the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Conception. What am I talking about? Am I even awake over here? You got Christmas on the brain. Immaculate Conception.

Goodness gracious. Yeah, that's true. It's at least in the holiday spirit here. The call neck came on Saturday night, freezes face off in the open press box on NFL Network. Thankfully, one upside for me living in Minneapolis is they decided to build that stadium indoors.

That was not originally the plan. A lot of people don't remember this, but several years before US Bank Stadium came into existence, they actually had agreed to parameters of a deal and a lease up in Inver Grove Heights, which is north of the Twin Cities, to have an outdoor stadium, outdoor tailgating. They had a press conference. Bud Grant was there like the toughness is coming back. They had all these, you know, the fans dressing up in their horns and the face paint and everything be like, yeah, tailgating.

Then like the rug got pulled out from under that. What's happened sometimes in these deals end up building on the site of the Metrodome, even though it's like a 40% bigger footprint, but they built it there and indoors. And every week that I walk into that stadium when the Vikings are good, I spend a great deal of my time covering their games. I'm always just thinking, at least this is as far as I need to walk. It is across the street. It's about a 200 yard walk.

And now I'm indoors for the rest of the day. And then I watch all the other NFL network reporters doing their live shots like this weekend. I'll be covering the, if I make it out of here with the high winds back home, I will be covering the Vikings Giants game on Saturday and be the only one who's not absolutely freezing around the league. That game last Saturday, and I don't do a ton of sideline, like actual during the game sidelines.

Part of the process of that is, you know, you go through these production meetings and you meet with different people. You get a lot of different stories about, you know, whether it's the strategy of the game, changes that are being made, how the Vikings are going to approach it. Cause I had the Viking sideline, Lindsey Zarniak was doing the, the Colts sideline. You also have all these fun stories that we were going to tell, right about, you know, Kirk Cousins doing his brain training. That was one of the ones we were going to get into when all of a sudden it's 33 to nothing in the first half. You can't tell any of those, well, Kirk Cousins drains his brain.

No, you can't go to those stories. So I'm watching the whole thing unfold. It didn't feel like the Colts were outclassing the Vikings out physically than any of that. It just felt like everything that could go wrong was going wrong for Minnesota. Dalvin cook has a fumble. They have two huge breakdowns on special teams and give up big returns. Cousins throws a pick six. They had the first of two fumble return touchdowns that gets overturned.

This one was on forward progress. The second one was just nothing, just a total botch by the officials, but all that stuff went wrong. You're still not. And I walked back to the green room to eat something quickly at halftime.

You're still not thinking in that moment, well, this is going to completely turn around. Literally it never happened in NFL history, but I'll tell you this. And it was fascinating being that close to it because I'm, you know, on the sideline, you know, trying to watch Justin Jefferson going in out of the medical tent a couple of times, just looking in people's eyes, looking at the body language and everything when it was, remember it was also 36 to seven late in the third quarter in that game. When they scored to make it 36 to 14, I turned to Scott Landy, who was my spotter and said, they're going to win this game. Because even though this had never happened in NFL history, there are times that you can sense if you're reading energy and body language, and I'm not claiming I'm a fortune teller, don't ask me for betting advice on your face. That would have been super nice to get that text at 30, because we could have got amazing, probably 30 to one there. Scott looked at me and just goes, what are you talking about?

I go, just look. And if you just read the body language on the Colts players, you read the body language on the Vikings players, the energy in the stadium, like you could feel it. Now, a lot of things still had to happen.

They still almost didn't win it. You know, Jalen Rager gives up on a route and it's an interception. Cousins goes right over to him like, what are you doing?

But he's only running that route because Justin Jefferson's in the medical tent. There are all these things that had to happen, but you could just sense it that the only thing working against the Vikings was going to be time in that game. And sure enough, come all the way back, the biggest comeback in NFL history. And I think a lot of people saw the postgame interview that I did with Kirk Cousins.

Number one, in those moments, especially with a chaotic finish like that, Greg Joseph's being hoisted on people. I couldn't find Kirk Cousins. I'm out there looking, I know we're getting Kirk. I'm going, where is he? Eventually found him. He like, you know, he jumped into the prayer circle after the game and whatnot.

And then he comes up to me. I saw a few people commenting on Twitter on the video saying like, oh, he knew he's just playing it up for the cameras. I am telling you, looking that man in the eye, he had no idea that no one had ever come back from 33 points down. So when he looks at me, just goes in NFL history, in NFL history, that was the legitimate response.

Like, it's just, it was unlike any game I've ever seen. You know, Patrick Peterson came up to Kirk right before I was going to talk to him was just going, I told you five, we just needed five. And that's what he had told him in the locker room was, well, we just need five touchdowns.

Cousins said, I thought he was being sarcastic. In fact, they come all the way back. That's been the story of the Vikings this year, not these massive comebacks, but time and again, they have had to rally in the fourth quarter. They have had to win these close games. What's that going to translate into when you get into the post season and you got to get through the Eagles and you got to get through the 49ers and the Cowboys potentially? I don't know, but they quite possibly will have two home playoff games if they get the number two seed.

Now you're at home for the two games, assuming you win the first one. And they're tough, man. They've got a lot of talented players and they got one of the most unique weapons in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, which brings me to the annual poll that I do of executives for around the NFL. It's a big project every year because basically I text or call all 32 teams and put out messages. 26 got back in two days, which is pretty high percentage, though I definitely file away those six and who they were for next year.

Like, all right, I will remember, I got to stay on you next time. But 15 general manager, so half the GMs in the league. And it's always interesting to me. It's an early awards poll.

So we've only got three weeks of the season left. MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, and the Rookies of the Year. Just to see what the people who are in this every day and they're watching tape. You have some biases because you a lot of times you're thinking about the players who might have done something to you. If they blew up against you, you're probably going to be more inclined to vote for them. But it's always interesting to see where the numbers net out. How accurate have you found this to be about who eventually wins the award?

Because it's not intended to be predictive. It does, I think more than anything, it can influence some people because it may make you think about candidates you are not otherwise thinking about. But the difference is, I think that a lot of the voters, and remember, it's a 50 person panel. It's a lot of media people. It's some former players. A lot of those votes are based on, you know, quite frankly, I think a lot of the voters based on what we see year after year are influenced by highlights.

They're influenced by what they think and what the media is saying, as opposed to these guys are just watching it. And the executive of the year is always the most interesting one because then you're voting on your peers and seeing who you thought got over on other people on some of these trades and things through the course of the year. So the MVP is basically a two man race. It's Patrick Mahomes versus Jalen Hurts. Mahomes ended up winning with 16 votes. Hurts got six and a half. I thought that that was fascinating because that shows you that even though Jalen Hurts is having a phenomenal year, he's going to get a lot of votes for the actual award.

Patrick Mahomes is still the most unique player probably in the entire league. You can see the rest of the winners here. Justin Jefferson for Offensive Player of the Year. That one wasn't close. Nick Bosa got 17 and a half of the 26 votes. And by the way, the one GM who voted half votes on everything drives me nuts. He's having like four for each category. I'm like, I'm just going to take the first two. Okay.

We're just going to, we're going to drill this down. So it was just one guy who did it? There were a couple others, but mostly it was one person voted two people for every award. Garrett Wilson. That one was close because Garrett Wilson beat out Chris Alave and Damian Pierce for that award. They all got, Wilson got nine votes. Alave got six. Pierce got five.

That was really close. Kenneth Walker got three votes for that award as well. Sauce Gardner, not close. Got 18 votes. Tariq Woolen had a handful of votes.

Another good candidate. Coach of the Year. Nick Sirianni ends up winning.

That was another one where it was completely split. It was really Sirianni and Kyle Shanahan. Those were the two who had the most. Sirianni Bean got the best record in the league. They've been unbelievable since they made some changes like midway through last season. If you look at their record, I think they're 19 and four since like week 10 of last season. So it wasn't just this year. I mean, this has been going on for a while. And then Howie Roseman winning the Executive of the Year over his good buddy, John Schneider.

And Howie gets votes every year just because of all the different things that he does for roster building. The other fun part of this story, and I know I've seen you guys do this with my draft breakdown before reading some of the quotes. So Brockman, I figured I can't do it because I know who said these things. And so I'm inevitably going to say it the way that they said it. I just want to hear you.

Give me a few of your favorite quotes from the story. So I've been scrolling this and so we can kind of just go in order. Let's start with MVP. So Patrick Mahomes, this AFC executive said, I mean, why not? He's the best quarterback in the league hurts.

I can feel him being kind of sarcastic, like really hurts. Hurts is having a great year. Mahomes has 35 touchdowns. They win. They got a lot of weapons, but he's just so different.

And that's it. That really encapsulates what GMs and other executives think is Jalen Hurts having a great year. I always feel like this is the same reason that Bill Belichick didn't win the Coach of the Year award for like 15 straight years is you're always looking for the new thing. And again, I am taking nothing away from Jalen Hurts.

If he wins the actual award, he is more than deserving. But we take Patrick Mahomes so for granted. I think more than any player in the NFL, he does things on a weekly basis that we've never seen anybody do in terms of the types of throws, the plays that he makes in the crunch situation, and the fact that you took away his best weapon for a long time. Nothing against Travis Kelce. Tyreek Hill is a unique player. They brought in Juju and they're relying more on Mikol Hardman and they drafted a receiver, but you're taking that guy out and it seemed to have had a net zero effect. The entire offseason, we talked about every team in the AFC West except the Chiefs because the Raiders added everybody, because the Broncos went and got Russell Wilson, because the Chargers brought in Khalil Mack and JC Jackson. Who's on top?

Who's in line for the number one seed? Again, it's the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, a huge reason for that. Yeah, and that was the other quote that you had here from a different AFC exec. The games, when he's really on it, they're unbeatable. That's on him. You could argue Hurts and Allen, but whatever receivers they roll into KC, he makes it work.

And I think you kind of see that. You know, the anonymous quote that The Athletic had earlier this year was that Mahomes plays too much street ball. Yeah, well, street ball works when the play breaks down and he's got to run for his life and he does that. He does that little flip to Jerick McKinnon and McKinnon takes it 40 yards for a touchdown.

Like, he's incredible. Here's the other problem with the the street ball label too. What Mahomes does is not street ball. Yes, he creates off schedule, but a lot of the things that they do are built into the fabric of that offense in terms of the scramble drill and everything else. When Mahomes came out and nobody really knew because he came from Texas Tech and it's the air raid, teams are always skeptical. Does this guy actually know football? Mahomes was so impressive on the board.

That's how he ended up rocketing up the board. Ends up getting taken above Deshaun Watson, which everyone thought was crazy at the time. The Chiefs traded up to number 10 to go get Mahomes, but it was the fact that he does have a plan. Yes, sometimes he throws the ball left-handed or the alley-oop thing, the sky hook that he threw last week. I mean, he makes those plays, but it's all built into the structure of things. You could only do that because of one guy, which is, in my opinion, the definition of valuable.

I like this one, offensive player of the year, Justin Jefferson. Now, Mike, I can't curse, right? No cursing. Negative. This effing guy is good, man.

That's fine. He knows how to create separation. He catches everything.

I don't know why we're surprised. He was just like that at LSU. They had Chase too, but he was the clutch guy. Everybody thought, you know, the people who were skeptical on Justin Jefferson coming out were thinking, is he a slot? Even though you look at him, he's not built like a slot. He's not an undersized guy, but his sophomore year it would have been, because I think he came out after his junior, his sophomore year, he played almost predominantly in the slot. His last year at LSU, when they won the national title game, they moved him around more, but what everybody missed was the reason that they are playing him in the slot is because it's easier to get the guy the ball there.

If you're out on the perimeter, it's harder just to manufacture it and keep pumping them the ball. That's, Kirk Cousins said this to us in the production meeting last week when he was asked about the identity of the offense. He's like, well, facetiously, I'd say the identity of our offense is get the ball to Justin. No, that's seriously basically the identity of the offense and has been for most of this season, even though we saw last weekend Delvin Cook is still quite a playmaker himself. Here's one about your guy, TJ, Micah Parsons, who, oh, he had eight votes in defensive player of the year.

I'm trying to imagine that defense without him. I still think they're okay, but he's so effing good. I like when these guys curse about how good a guy is. There's a lot of, yeah, a lot of cursing. That's always one of the big takeaways. But that's how you know they believe it, right?

That's how you also know that it's an authentic quote. I always, there's always a great, you know, back and forth. I feel like I've seen the stories before where Matt Stone and Trey Parker on South Park have like these memos that go back and forth to the network of like, what are you and are you not allowed to say this week?

And I always have the, like, I have to battle for how many F words I can have in these stories because sometimes they're like, okay, we'll leave these in, but this one's just egregious. We got to take this one out. Got a few in there though. Yeah, there's a few in there.

Here's the last one is about Howie Roseman. He's playing three-dimensional football executive. I don't even know what that means.

It's like when people say there's 4D chess. It means that he's using everything, every weapon at his disposal, the draft, free agency, trades, he's doing it all. Yeah, and he goes back to talk about how they won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles. I considered that the hat tip, but nope, he did it again, that mother bleeper. And that executive, by the way, did sound, he was half joking, but kind of like, kind of pissed.

I can't, this guy did it again. Yeah, exactly. I mean, Howie, what he's done since he came back into that role, because remember when Chip Kelly took over the personnel side of things, there was that little stretch there where Howie was not in charge, but he built a Super Bowl winner back in 2017.

Basically had to tear things down, move on from the quarterback, everything that they did, and now has built it again where they've got the best record in the league five years later. That's a really hard thing to do. Also, there was love in that story if you still got open Brockman for John Schneider, the Seahawks GM. Yeah, I was just looking at that one.

That was the last quote. The whole world told Schneider they were gonna F-ing be not worth an S, which is true. I mean, I had them in the running for the top spot in the draft.

They're competitive. He drafts Woullen, and what F-ing round was that? And those two tackles, that was pretty brave, but just managing the quarterback position, that's hard to do.

John Schneider deserves a ton of credit. Yeah, it was not. It's easy now to go back and go, oh man, you know, they pulled one over on the Broncos. Everyone, practically everyone, was on board with Denver making that trade back in March. The reaction was, what are the Seahawks gonna do? They're just gonna play Geno Smith.

It's gonna be Drew Locke. Well, you look at it, Geno just made the Pro Bowl last night. Awesome this year. And their draft class, I think they've got 10 rookies who have played this year, and their draft class was two tackles who were both starting, Tariq Woullen in the fifth round. That's what F-ing round it was, and Kenneth Walker, who's a rookie of the year candidate himself. It's one of the best drafts that we've seen in the NFL and might be kind of like the, I want to say it was the 2010 draft where they got basically the foundation of the Legion of Boom and that team.

They may have done it again a decade later. And they're gonna have the top five pick. They have Denver's selection this year, which right now is number three.

Chance to keep building and Howie's got the Saints pick, which is quite possibly a top 10 selection too if they don't win the woeful AFC South. Take on this holiday season with the help of Navy Federal Credit Union. When you use the Navy Federal cash rewards card, you can earn up to 1.75% cash back on all purchases. You can redeem your rewards as soon as you earn them and using the Navy Federal mobile app makes redeeming easier than ever. Enjoy the rewards of cash back without any annual fee balance transfer or foreign transaction fees. There are no limitations on rewards and they never expire while your account is open. Learn how you can get cheered to last all year with the cash rewards card at Our members are the mission insured by NCUA. Rates are variable and range between 12.65% and 18% APR based on credit worthiness. ATM fees for cash advances are up to $1 and non-Navy Federal ATMs.

Message and data rates may apply. Visit for more information. Dion Branch, Patriots legend, also just won a bowl game. Did you realize this as an interim coach at Louisville? So much to talk to with Dion. What's going on with Tom Brady?

What's going on with his old coach, Bill Belichick? Talk to Dion next on the Rich Eisen Show. What's Right with Nick Wright is a rapidly growing podcast from the Fox Sports Podcast Network. You may know Nick Wright from co-hosting FS1's First Things First. This podcast gives Nick a chance to develop, deep dive, and defend his sharpest opinions. During the show, Nick faces off against a ticking clock, a team of producers, and even his own family to try and get his points across.

New episodes drop Monday, Thursday, and Friday wherever you get your podcasts. You're hanging out with some friends and putting back a few drinks. A few becomes a few too many. As the evening comes to an end and people start to head out, you think of calling for a ride. Ah, you live nearby. You can make it home okay. It's no big deal. What are the odds you'll get pulled over anyway? And even so, what's the worst that could happen? Your insurance goes up. You lose your license. You lose your job. You total your car. You kill someone. Everyone knows about the risks of driving drunk.

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It only takes one mistake to change your life or someone else's forever. Drive sober or get pulled over. Paid for by NHTSA. Tom Pelissero in for Rich Eisen who is in Pittsburgh to call the Steelers Raiders game on Saturday night on NFL network. Phone lines open near 844-204. Rich, let's go to the phones right now. Kevin in Seattle. Kevin, it's Tom Pelissero.

What's going on? Hey Tom. Hey Chris. Hey everybody. What's up brother? Long time listener.

Love you guys show. I've had a quick thought. Every time I hear the street ball moniker put on Patrick Mahomes, I don't understand how that is a negative. Like when people talk about street ball, I'm assuming they're talking like basketball, which in my opinion is the most exciting. Like watching street ballers play, you know, doing these amazing moves, making magic happen. I think it's a compliment. Like the fact that Patrick Mahomes gets called a street baller when he's doing this magic stuff. I think it's a great thing.

What are your thoughts on that? That was not a compliment as it was given. Right. It was too much street ball. Patrick Mahomes is also one of the best pocket passers in the NFL.

Right. The things that he can do, you know, just with the way that he can release the football, the quick release. Obviously he's got the arm strength and then he's got, you know, mobility. More mobility than you would think based on just how he kind of looks when he's just jogging around the field.

Like he doesn't look as if he has that escapability the way that he does. It's a fine line. There are players who play street ball in the NFL, but those guys in terms of like, if we're talking about as a negative, are the ones who are playing outside the scope of their offense. Again, this is stuff that Andy Reid has baked in to the offense.

Yes, there's nothing. They're not practicing. Well, maybe Patrick is left-handed passes and things like that, but you are doing things in the scramble drill. You are building things in to take advantage of his natural skills. I mean, that's, to me, quarterback is so contextual within the NFL. If Patrick Mahomes, who's unbelievably talented, but if he goes into a different situation and he's not with Andy Reid and he doesn't have the benefit of spending a year learning under Alex Smith and Andy being able to sculpt the offense around him because he's one of the greatest offensive minds in NFL history, is he the same guy? Maybe he is playing more street ball at that point, if we want to call it that.

Maybe he is having to make more things happen. The fact that he plays within the rhythm of that offense and distributes the football, everything else is just the extra. It's that next little thing that puts them over the top, which again, I go back to, this is on the level to me of Bill Belichick being the coach of the year, every year for probably 10 to 15 years. We are not consistently voting for Patrick Mahomes, for MVP, just because everybody wants something new. Everybody wants to think about a different player. Mahomes does things on a weekly basis. You do not see anybody else in the NFL do. Our guests right now join us on the Mercedes-Benz Vans phone lines played with at least one pretty good quarterback, guy who was an 11-year NFL vet, two-time Super Bowl champ, Super Bowl MVP, and now, I think most importantly, an unbeaten college head coach, Deion Branch is with us. Deion, it's Tom Pelissero. There's a lot I want to talk to you about, but first of all, take me through the process by which you end up being the interim head coach for your alma mater, Louisville, and not only that, getting a win to go to 1-0 all-time.

Correct, Tom. I appreciate you guys for having me. The AD Josh Hurd reached out to me and extended the offer once Coach Satterfield decided to take the Cincinnati job. He reached out and extended the offer.

At first, I was like, no. Honestly, and the reason being is because we've got 10 staff members that are coaches that are super qualified for the job, but I also understood the process that Josh and his selection committee went through and the reason why they came up with the decision to elect me. I think once that happened, it was a no-brainer once we had that conversation and talked that out.

Primarily, I was just thinking about those young men, knowing that had I told these guys I turned the opportunity down, they would have been pissed. You know, I've been actually been the player development for the university the past 11 months, and I've gotten to know these young men on a strong, strong level, a strong intimate level, and I know they would have been super proud of me and they're super happy that I did take upon this opportunity to be the interim head coach for them. It's the Fenway Bowl. That was the game that you coached in, and it's the only time I can really remember where the head coach has left to join the other team that you're facing in the bowl game.

On top of that, I mean, this is the keg of nails, right? This is a rivalry game. I have to imagine this meant a lot to you.

Oh, it meant a lot to me. You know, coaching this game for one back in Fenway in Boston, in the rivalry game. You know, I played against Cincinnati twice. We beat them both times. Coached against them once and we beat them again.

So everything was aligned for it to end the way that it ended. You know, the guys did an amazing job. All we can practice. The coaches did a phenomenal job. The three, four-time staff coaches that stayed back in, I had a bunch of GAs and QPs who filled in the void for the other coaches that left.

I can't extend my gratitude too far. The amount of work that those individuals put in to help me keep those young men locked in and prepared to go out and play the game, to play the bowl game Saturday. I can't thank those guys enough. And I pray and wish that all my coaches that were on board actually have an opportunity to get another job. And I think for the most part, some of those guys are actually getting picked up. So I'm super proud for the coaches and their families.

I went to Boston College. I've been to a number of Red Sox games through the years and every time that they have this game at Fenway, all I can think, Dion, is I don't understand how the field fits. Now I know that there's only one sideline, right? And there's police between the two teams. It's unlike any other setting, but I sit back and just go, they had to have shorted it, right? This field has to be four yards slimmer or only 95 yards long, something to make that thing fit in that stadium.

Yeah, and you know what? They did an amazing job with structuring the field. Actually, the turf was amazing. Everything was great. And the configuration, how they did it, it aligned. The only thing that was different was us being on the same sideline.

That is the only thing that was sort of weird. But in my entire Bill Belichick mode that I was actually doing the entire two weeks at the helm, I was making sure that I had our guys prepared for that type of setting. Because it's a little different substituting guys and you're going across the field.

You may be on one end, but your defense is subbing from the opposite end. So we were well prepared. We practiced this stuff for two weeks. And it looked as if Cincinnati did an amazing job as well, preparing for it. That was the only thing that was weird.

But as far as the layout, the configuration of everything, the surface, everything was great. I feel like you say you went into Belichick mode. With your personality, Dion, I don't know that you could ever go full Belichick. I can't go full Belichick. But as far as the preparation, I understand what it's like being under coach for numerous years.

I spent eight years with him. And I've always felt, and I'll speak this wisely, we were the most prepared team every week that we played against anybody. And that was simply because of the work that we put in throughout the course of the week before the games. And the only thing I did was just implement most of that, everything that the coaches have taught me, all of my coaches, but in particular coach Belichick, within those two weeks, I gave those guys everything that I had. That's been such a huge part of the Patriot wave for so long, Dion, for two decades now is they're always the team that's not going to beat themselves.

They're going to wait you out, make you win left-handed, and then make the other team beat themselves. So when you watch this season, and in particular something like what happened on the final play last week against the Raiders, where Jacoby Myers is trying to turn this into a lateral play and throws, I don't even know what you call it, an interception basically, and Chandler Jones runs 50 yards. What goes through your head thinking that this is the Patriots that just had that happen to them?

Yeah, even seeing that and how everything transpired, how that whole setting played out, that wasn't an actual the Patriot way. Going into the last play of the game, this wasn't like it was a Hail Mary. This was something they was trying to draw in the dirt to see if we can get in field goal range. Chances of that play actually, what they call it, Tennessee did it and it was a miracle with them. That's the only time it was successful.

The percentages of this play being successful is very low. So that's the first thing. I don't know who or why that even came about. I'm pretty sure coach had addressed that and then come up with the answer on why they came, tried to do that. That's something, but it was totally against the norm for any player that have played for New England or been around that program.

That was something that it was mind-boggling. These guys, the game is tied and you can go into overtime. I don't get it. I imagine you still watch the Patriots quite a bit. The struggles they've had on offense, Mac Jones is very outwardly frustrated about a lot of different things that are going on. What's happening right now in New England, Deion? Let's be honest, is the writing's on the wall.

I mean, losing for one, let's just say that. You get what I'm saying? The thing is, I don't foresee the leader. Who are the leaders on the team?

You get what I'm saying? That's the part I'm noticing and I think this is a young team and I think the younger guys are actually the ones who are taking more control of the team versus your veteran guys. The Matthew Slaters and the Devin McCordy, those are the guys who need to be in charge.

I want to believe that those guys have been trying, but you kind of get it. It's almost like when you're being led by a bunch of young men who actually doesn't have the experience of actually leading. I'm not saying Mac Jones is not a leader, but when you're looking at a scenario that plays out on, you know, Mac is over there fussing and stuff and doing all the extra stuff with the coaches, that's unpatriotic. Are you surprised that Mac is even still starting at this point, Deion? Because Tom was very emotional, or he still is, he's still playing very emotional, but a lot of it is directed at teammates to try to fire them up and get them to lock in. It's not directed at the play calling or the coaches, which is what seems to be happening with Mac.

Exactly. Yeah, and I'm pretty sure Mac is a little frustrated with his performance. I'm sure he's not performing as well as he would have thought he would be doing this season. So that could be one thing, but the thing is you can't be lashing out at your coaches. For the most part, you won't be lashing out at your teammates either, but it's understood. That is just being competitive and everything.

But as far as him playing and why he's still starting, honestly, right now I think that the coaches feel that Mac gives them the best chance to win the game. I don't know. I can't say who's the back of it or if Zeppi is that guy. You get what I'm saying? I wouldn't sit and say that, hey, Zeppi has shown them enough or if they feel like he hasn't.

That's not my decision. A few more minutes here with Deion Branch. Bill Belichick is 70 years old now, Deion.

He's obviously had unparalleled success in the NFL, all the rings going back to his days with the Giants. How do you foresee knowing Bill as well as you do and spending as much time with him? How does it end for him?

Does he walk away? Does he do what Bill Parcells did and go into a front office role at some point? How does Bill Belichick as the head coach of the Patriots end? Yeah, I can foresee Coach Belichick taking that route. You know, retiring but also still having his hands within the organization.

I can see that. That would be something that I'm sure Coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft will sit down and talk about and discuss here pretty soon. I don't think coach is going to sit around and watch this right here happen. I think he'll rather step to the side and allow Mr. Kraft to bring someone else in to see if they can kind of spearhead some of this stuff. But he'll still have his hands within the organization and help him make some decisions. That's my opinion. And I think that'll be a great choice. I think that'll be a great choice for the organization. But how long do I think Bill will probably stay around and continue being the head coach?

Who knows? He made his way around just to see if he can get this thing turned around for the guys, and which I believe they will at some point, maybe another year or two. And then he can possibly hang it up from that, especially being on the sidelines. And as for your old quarterback, Tom Brady, how does that end?

Will it ever end? Is Tom Brady going to still be playing at age 50? What do you foresee with him?

Hey, everybody asks me, man, you just never know with my big brother, man. Tom is a man of many tricks and trades. Who knows? Knowing Tom, it wouldn't surprise me if he came back another season. Right now, that deal that he has with Fox that's sitting on the table, it's just on the table right now. My guy, he has his mind set on something, something totally different from what we're thinking. Everybody's like, Tom, when we do speak, it's never about football and all of these things. It's always just about family and how you're doing, X, Y, Z. But me personally, I always ask, like, Tom, what are you chasing?

Because you're by yourself in every worker that you want, that you can think of, you're by yourself. What else are you chasing? You know, greatness has already have already been accomplished. You're already the greatest.

You get what I'm saying? But I honestly believe that this may be it, in my opinion. I think he will just shut off in the sunset, spend way more time with his family. And he'll be done. I think he'll be done.

But it wouldn't surprise me if he came back one more season. When you've asked him, what is he still chasing? What does he say? What is left for him?

Just laugh. Because, I mean, he knows there's nothing for him. There's nothing out there for him to chase. Only thing he's doing is setting the bar even higher. And I understand him on the competitive side.

You know, when you look at a guy who was drafted when he was drafted, who has always been denied and told that you can't do something, you go out and do it. You know, I think he's just putting these workers away. You know, he's pushing the bar.

And that comes with a great immense of discipline. And he has that. You know, now how long he's going to do it, I don't know. Like I said, it wouldn't surprise me. But I believe deep down the side, this may be his last season, in my opinion. But it wouldn't surprise me if he came back for one more. Bill Belichick, career winning percentage, by the way, 664.664. Deion Branch, 1,000. May want to leave it at that, Deion.

I'm just saying, I don't know if opportunity may arise somewhere down the line. But we appreciate you joining, man. Great catching up with you. Yes, sir.

Thank you. That is Deion Branch. Victor in the Fenway Bowl, Louisville's interim coach.

That was awesome stuff on Bill and Tom. Not many people know those two guys like Deion Branch does. Meanwhile, some other quarterbacks dealing with injuries. We got updates on Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts. Let's get to all those on the other side of this break.

It is Tom Pelissero in for Rich Eisen on The Rich Eisen Show. You can listen to the NFL and the NFL app on the Odyssey app on via Westwood One station streams, or by asking Alexa to open Westwood One Sports, sponsored by AutoZone. Free battery testing, free battery charging, and replacement batteries that fit your needs. That's what makes AutoZone America's number one sport. It's the only place in the world where you can win. It's the only place in the world where you fit your needs. That's what makes AutoZone America's number one battery destination. Get in the zone, AutoZone. You sing it? There it is.

Nice. Several starting quarterbacks not playing this week. Let's start out in Philadelphia, where Eagles coach Nick Sirianni had to say this about their plan against the Cowboys.

It's looking like it's going to be Gardner. Jalen did everything he possibly could to get his body ready to go. Just at the end of the day, he's not going to be able to do it. He tried like crazy, and I know he still wants to go. That's just the toughness. Jalen Hurts is the toughest player I've ever been around. Gardner will be our guy, and Gardner will be ready. Gardner worked his butt off for this opportunity against a really good football team and had a great practice yesterday. I think you guys have all heard that, how good a practice he had yesterday. A lot of energy out there, and he's ready to go. Howie Roseman could have traded Gardner Minshew at some point during this offseason. He did not for situations like this, where if you had a scenario where you needed somebody to play in a meaningful game, which this is still meaningful.

The Eagles trying to wrap the number one seed against the Cowboys on Saturday. You have one of the best backup situations in the league with a guy who's won games in the league. He started a bunch of games in the NFL, and he brings that kind of moxie and that swagger and everything else to the table with him. With regard to Jalen Hurts, my understanding is, this is not anything long term.

It's not going to require surgery. If he had to play this weekend, this was the Super Bowl on Saturday. Jalen Hurts could probably find a way to play, but what this injury needs is rest. So you've got an MVP candidate who you're counting on for what you hope is a deep playoff run. The full focus right now for the Eagles is just make sure he's healthy. Yeah, he wants to play. He wants to boost his MVP case.

He wants to help them wrap up the number one seed, but you saw him get driven into the ground. I mean, that could be, you see that and you're like, is this, you know, is his shoulder out? Is his collarbone that's broken? Fortunately, it's none of those things, but they knew very early on in the week that Jalen Hurts was likely not going to be able to play here, and so it'll be Minshew rolling out there. Another quarterback who's not going to play, Ryan Tannehill, officially ruled out by Titans coach Mike Vrabel.

Again, not a surprise. It was very clear early in the week that that ankle, even though he came back in somehow, there's, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a guy get carted off with shoe and sock off and come back in. That doesn't happen a whole lot in the NFL. He's dealt with ankle injuries, really both his ankles through the course of the season, but the right ankle's been the really problematic one. He has gutted it out.

Another dude who is super tough, would love to be out there. He's pushed before. It's just not realistic for him to go, and so it'll be Malik Willis, who he does run around a lot.

Somebody used the word street ball earlier. That is, there's a big piece of that to Malik Willis's game just in terms of he can create. Is he ready to fully run the offense like Ryan Tannehill does? No, but he is going to make some things happen, and he's, you know, he's learning and he's getting better over the course of time. His first NFL start was about two months ago against the Texans because Tannehill had the ankle way back then. Plus, he got sick, and now two months later, here he is. He's going to face that same Texans team, which I think Ritz actually crowned the Texans the moral victory champions of the NFL.

That's really what it sounded like. Talking about nobody's tanking because the Texans are not getting their doors blown off. They're actually in these games even though they've won one game on the season. Pros aren't going to tank, man. These are grown men out there playing. They're not tanking.

Like I said to Rich, tanking in the NFL is not what you think of tanking in the NBA or other sports where guys are just kind of going through the motions. It's a noon game. I remember back when Latrell Sprewell was playing for the Timberwolves, and they had that great run in 2003-04. Got to the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers. Kevin Garnett was the MVP, but Latrell would in daytime games, in the Sunday games, he would inevitably score like eight points because he'd be going through the motions. He was out probably all night before, but then he'd play in the prime time games. He played great. Sam Cassell, who was an all-time character who was on that team one time, was asked about it, and he said, Sprewell will play it in the daytime.

Spree come out at night. Like you can't just show up and just go through the motions in a game. You can't do it in the NFL, so guys are always going to play hard.

You tank, so to speak, by training away all your good players, and sometimes they play well enough, the guys are left, and the coaches do a good enough job that it kind of ruins it, and you win too many games, and you end up not having the number one overall pick. The Texans, despite their best efforts, still look like number one. As of now, they'd have to, I believe they'd have to win out or win at least their next two games in order to not end up with the number one pick, so they're in, you know, strong position here, but they're facing a backup quarterback and a guy who, that offense functions differently when Derrick Henry's not out there. Also out, LaBar Jackson. Again, not a surprise, has not practiced the entire week. The Ravens did hope initially when he suffered that PCL injury three weeks ago this would be the week that he'd be back on the field going against the Falcons instead. Still hasn't gotten back on the field. It does give you shades of what we saw last year when he had a week-to-week ankle injury. It turned out to be a bone bruise in his ankle and just never got back on the field, and also the Ravens once again are seeing themselves go from being in position to have a high seed and win the division to now you're looking up at the Bengals in the standings.

You're just hoping you can sneak in as a wild card and potentially pull off something if LaMar gets healthy and is available to you in January. Some more details, by the way, on the the story we started out with, which was NFL Sunday Ticket having a new home. It's going to YouTube TV, which is owned by Google.

This is from the Washington Post. Google slash YouTube will pay the NFL about 2.2 billion dollars annually under the seven-year Sunday Ticket deal. The NFL retains commercial rights to broadcast games in bars and restaurants. That could push the package's annual value to about 2.5 billion. So just the exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket, which was available on YouTube TV before, but a lot of people still had it through DirecTV.

Now it's all YouTube TV. 2.2 billion dollars annually. Why should anyone care about that? The owners are getting richer? Well, this also is a big driver in the salary cap, and without getting into a lot of wonky details on this, there's a media kicker in the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement by which the media deals, if they are high enough, if they cross certain thresholds, the percentage of the revenue the players get goes up. So it was 48 percent prior to those TV deals through, I think, 2033, the traditional ones with Fox and CBS and whatnot, and this deal through 2029.

Well, now that bandwidth could go up as high as 48.8 percent. 0.8 percent, but that is hundreds of millions of dollars that go towards teams. So the salary cap this year is, I think, about 208.

It now could easily be upwards of 220. We don't know exactly where the cap is going to land yet because there's also some benefits that they got delayed in COVID that the union has to decide how they pay out. But the point is, once that's paid out and now you've got these new TV deals and you've got the gambling revenue and the 17th game revenue and the extra playoff game revenue, the salary cap, which took a dip the year after COVID in 2021 because they had to basically start paying back the no interest, low interest loan that owners had given the players, the cap has the opportunity to spike here. The question is going to be for the union, do you want to pay out all the benefits now and kind of have a gradual rise or do you string it out so this year's free aging class doesn't bear the full burden of paying back those benefits?

It's an interesting type of, it's a cost, it's a cost and revenue issue that they have to work through. We'll know what the cap is come March. Don't be surprised though if it's a record upwards of 220 million and that that could potentially be going much higher than that in 2024 and beyond, which leads to some some questions. You talk about Lamar Jackson, he's going year to year as of now. If he does not take whatever the best offer is that the Ravens give him prior to middle of March when free agency begins, now you're going, I'm going to get tagged, but I'm going to bet that the salary cap is going to go even higher in 2024 and I'm that much closer and gaining leverage. If you think you can be healthy because he's taken all the injury risk, that's the biggest thing here. There's reasons no agent, he doesn't have an agent, no agent would have let him play last year in 2021 for like $3 million without a new contract. He's taken a different approach. It'll pay off if ultimately he does get the fully guaranteed contract he wants, but not starting that revenue stream now for Lamar Jackson is a risk.

It's one he's apparently willing to take. Thanks to Dionne Brandts, JJ Reddick, Mike Garofalo, Rich for calling in. I'm Tom Pelissero. We'll be back tomorrow on the Rich Eisen Show. How wrestling really works and how you get the ratings.

Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson explain on 83 weeks. You're either growing or you're dying. I think it'd be hard to recreate the kind of growth that WCW experienced between 95 and 98. This audience should be growing. The characters should be coming more and they're not. Everybody's gradually losing audience. Not that people will say, well, but the AEW is 15% ahead of where they were last year, but there's variables there. Let's see where we're at a year from now. 83 weeks on YouTube or wherever you listen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-22 19:43:37 / 2022-12-22 20:04:19 / 21

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