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What the Football with Suzy Shuster & Amy Trask: NBC’s Mike Tirico

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen
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May 21, 2024 8:22 pm

What the Football with Suzy Shuster & Amy Trask: NBC’s Mike Tirico

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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May 21, 2024 8:22 pm

NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico joins to discuss the NBC Sunday Night Football’s schedule. Mike also discusses how Tom Brady’s potential ownership stake in the Raiders could create issues for other owners. Also, why he thinks private equity ownership in the NFL is something that could be the hot topic at the NFL owners’ meetings.  

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Find out how to bring your ideas to life at Welcome to Now. All that matters now is what happens next. The Stanley Cup Playoffs. Eastern Conference Final begins Wednesday. Back with another What the Football.

Thrilled to be with you, Suzy and Amy. Mike Trico will join us shortly. But first, as always, I will tell you about Game Time, the fast and easy way to buy tickets for all the sports, music, comedy, and theater events near you. Game Time's got killer last minute deals, all in prices.

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Download Game Time today. Last minute tickets, lowest price guaranteed. As mentioned, Mike Trico will join us soon. But this is the week of the owner's meetings, Amy. And you are the woman who's been in those rooms where it happens. What are those meetings like? Well, first of all, Suze, there's two types of meetings. There's the big March meeting where teams bring a lot of staff and people bring their spouses. And they're very social meetings.

There's dinners, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then there are the meetings where the work gets done, the real work gets done. And those are designated two per-club meetings when a team owner can attend and bring one other person from the club. Or one per-club meetings when the team owner can attend.

And in most cases it is the owner or the team owner can designate someone to go. And quite often Al just didn't want to go and he said go to the one per-club meeting. The best way I can describe team owner's meetings to you, the two and the one per-club kind, junior high.

It's junior high school. Every single team wants to sit at the same exact spot in every meeting. There's three long, long, long rows of tables parallel to one another. And the head table perpendicular to that with the commissioner and league staff. Every team sits in the same spot at league meetings.

Okay, so then why don't you just put name cards down? Because what happens is someone has to go, quote, get the chairs, close quote. And my first league meeting, I remember going through a kitchen area at like 2 a.m. to make sure I got the right chair.

And what did I do? I ran into other GMs, CEOs and presidents of teams creeping through the kitchen area so we got the right seats. So at one point I say to the league office, why don't you just put name tags down on the seats so we don't have to crawl through the kitchen and the back channels to get into the room at 2 a.m. and put our names down.

Never happened. The other thing is, remember junior high? All right, all you kids who didn't have a place to eat lunch at the cool kids' cable like me, it's very much like junior high. Who are you eating lunch with? What table are you at at lunch?

And who are you going to dinner with? They're like junior high, Suze. Was there ever a time where you had animus between owners in the league meetings? I would put it like this.

Things got, what's the word on mute looking for? Things got tense at times. There was an exchange back and forth. Boy, there was a time where one team owner stood up behind the commissioner. It was Paul Taglia at the time.

Norman Bremen owned the Eagles. And he stood up behind the commissioner and he said, hey pal, you work for me. And I remember sitting in the back of the meeting room, because our table, of course, we were in the back where the bad kids were, and I was getting all excited when he said, hey pal, you work for me. Al had to tell me to calm down.

And yeah, there was a time where Carmen Policy and Steve Gutmann, so Carmen Policy then with the 49ers, Steve Gutmann with the Jets, they got into it. They went back and forth and one of them said to the other, I don't remember who said it, they said, you, sir, are alarmingly disingenuous. And the guy sitting right in front of me from Tampa says, he turns in his chair to me and says, hey, Amy, I hear you're kind of smart. What is alarmingly disingenuous? So I start to explain to him. Well, if he called him disingenuous, it would have been like he was calling him a liar.

But he called him alarmingly disingenuous, which really means he was calling him a f***ing liar. At which point Al Davis leans forward and says to me, he didn't ask you for a grammar lesson. So yeah, things get a little tense in that room and they also get pretty funny. I love it.

That's fantastic. What makes this owner's meeting very curious? There are two things. Obviously, there's the Tom Brady issue, whether or not he will be approved to be a partner, a limited partner, whether he will get his percentage approved or not. It doesn't look like it's going to happen this week, but I can't imagine where they are on this. There are so many complications with him calling the games on Fox, with him potentially coming off a white horse and coming in week 11, which he looks like he could do at any moment. I think those are issues that have been raised and will be raised. I think you're absolutely right.

It may not get decided at this meeting. And there's a lot of other league rules that will need to be adjusted if they want to make the changes to ownership that they're discussing, both with respect to Tom Brady and a potential conflict of interest, or even if there isn't an actual conflict, the appearance of a conflict, and also with the private equity issue. How did this happen? How did Tom Brady come to be a part, do you believe, of the Raiders organization? Oh, through Jim Gray. Jim Gray facilitated the relationship between Tom Brady and Mark Davis.

I'm certain Mark knew Tom before then, but maybe facilitated is not the right word. He has joined the two of them or united them with both respect to the Aces and now potentially with respect to the Raiders. What a lot of people don't know is back while with the team, Al had me sell an interest in the team for him. And Jim approached us at the time and wanted to broker a deal for someone. And I had to explain to him why that was not going to be a match for the Raiders. And it angered Jim a lot. He wanted to broker that deal. And now he has an opportunity to do that with respect to Tom and Mark. It's unbelievable.

I mean, it's a crazy story and it's kind of fascinating. Jim Gray has had an incredible career as a broadcaster, but also to be able to come back here again for the second time in this somewhat circuitous way. Obviously, he has the podcast with Tom Brady as well. Oh, that's right.

You're absolutely right. And again, to be clear, I'm not suggesting Mark didn't know Tom Brady, but Jim going back decades tried to broker a deal for an interest in the team and now he has an option to connect two people and it may result in the transfer of an interest in the team. Fascinating. The other thing that's coming up to play a lot is that of private equity. And we'll talk to Mike Tirico about that as well.

I'm sure he'll be interested in that. But what are your thoughts quickly on that? Well, there'll have to be a change to a number of other league rules as well. And by the way, Susie, this is something that is topical now, but this is a discussion that goes back decades. We were discussing this decades ago in league circles. It was not an official matter at league meetings, but as teams continue to increase in value, the number of potential individual buyers decreases.

So this is something that is now a hot item now, but there's a number of other league rules that will have to be changed as relates to team ownership if private equity is allowed in. We'll ask Mike Tirico all those questions, but first I want to tell you, as I always do, I tell you about game time. Because let's face it, everybody knows that I'm the one who's going to buy the tickets. And the family and three kids are always going to different places, different events, what have you, whether they're games or they're concerts. But the reason why I use game time, you guys, is I can see where we're going to sit ahead of time.

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Learn more at As promised, Mike Tirico. And the last time I threw back to you, Mike Tirico, was after interviewing Tommy Tuberville after the undefeated season for the Auburn Tigers in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl. So now let me just say to you, wow, back to you, Mike.

Wow. Who who would have known that we would reconnect on the air here on this pod with Amy there? And who would have known that Tommy Tuberville would have gone on to be a U.S. senator at that point?

I think I don't know which one was was less plausible, but they both happened and we're all here. So that's a good thing. It's good to see you both. I really want to say that I feel like it's more plausible that I'm talking to you.

Then she's a senator. I mean, come on, Mike. Give me some credit here. I just want to I want to note for both of you that when you last did this, there was no such thing as a podcast. That's really good. Good call, Amy. Good, good call. You win as usual.

Voice of Reason wins out. Yeah, those were it was it was fun. See, Susie, until you have resurfaced as gosh, I guess the Joan Rivers of TV sportscasting. Right.

Because Joan Rivers famously would fill in for Carson on The Tonight Show. So now when Rich is not there, you're there. But you scared me for a second because I thought, where the hell is he going?

I did too. And I'm going to murder you. So now I'm OK with it. Yes. Continue.

It was a really good set up and it delivered. Right. So now that you've emerged as this, people know that you have your on air life. But up until you started doing that, not many people knew about your truly incredible path from being production assistant, associate producer to making the jump to on air sideline reporter at ESPN.

ESPN are actually really ABC and and doing a couple of seasons of college football. Very, very few people know that. So, Amy, Mike and I used to sit next to each other in Monday night countdown meetings. OK. When he was hosting one and a countdown in Bristol and I would get there just in time for the meetings to start because I had zero interest in being on Monday night countdown. And I would look through the Sunday style section in The New York Times and Mike would sit next to me and he he he would call me Miss Manhattan behind my back and then to my face.

Because because. No, wait. No, wait a minute.

Wait, just just set it up for people. OK. You were working on the Sunday Morning Sports Center. I was. And then you would go back to New York. You go back to New York for an hour and a half drive, whatever it was, go back to New York, spend your Sunday, your Sunday night and then come back up Monday for our show, which was on Monday night. So just proper context of why you're coming back from Manhattan and you have The New York Times continue, please. And so I'd walk into the meetings late.

I would normally, as I'm sure you've seen me do this many times, bring some kind of foodstuffs from the city. Oh, she brings great food stuff here, Mike. No one would notice that I was late, but Mike would always notice.

Sauce in the blow. Yeah, that's right. And Mike would often say I was the only AP who worked for shoe money.

And he was right. That's true. That's true.

Well, you know, that's true. We've now learned Mike's nickname for you. I would like to establish for the record that I don't want to know what Mike's nickname may have been for me those years we stood side by side on the practice field. Remember up in Napa in Alameda? I don't want to know what your nickname was for me, but I will say, Susie, you do bring good snacks. There's always, you know, cookies and cinnamon rolls and really good snacks. And usually it's when I'm late and it's to hide the lateness.

Good to know. Anyway, Mike, you go, you go. Are you going to tell the best story of your sideline career or are we going to do that later? Oh, God, which one? Oh, is that in Nebraska or is it in Colorado? Colorado?

It's Colorado, Nebraska. It's the best of all time. And you got to hear the story.

I can't believe he's going to go right in the front door with this. So I'm doing maybe my my worst four day run of my career in terms of different different sports in different places, really five day run. It's a Thursday game at West Virginia on Thursday night on ESPN Friday. It's Thanksgiving afternoon on ABC, Nebraska, Colorado, Saturday and Sunday.

It's the golf skins game. And then Monday it's back to Connecticut from Monday night countdown. So I was lucky enough to get on a flight out of West Virginia on Thursday night because the Disney plane brought somebody to the Thanksgiving Day parade and was sitting idle. So we're able to get out to Nebraska, Colorado.

Two thirty Eastern Time on Friday. Me, Tim Brandt, Terry Bowden, Susie on the sideline. Nebraska's playing Colorado. The quarterbacks of the game.

This is the best part. The quarterbacks in the game are Fox Sports, Joel Klatt, quarterback for Colorado and the quarterback for Nebraska. You have it, Susie. Zach Taylor. That's right. Bengals head coach, Super Bowl head coach.

It's crazy. So Zach and I have talked about this a number of times. So in any case, Bill Callahan, who you know, Amy, very well. He's the coach of Nebraska. And he's gone. He's turned Nebraska around and gets Nebraska to go into Colorado when they were in the same division of the Big 12 at that point and beat them to win the Big 12 West. So he wins. Congratulations. They win. We go down to Susie.

As we're going down to Susie, they take a Gatorade can, dump it on Bill Callahan. I can't believe we're going to tell this story. Huh? Keep going. Keep going. You want to do it? Go ahead. You do the lesson.

You do it. Susie's laughing. I got to hear this. I got to hear this. All right, go.

It's such a good podcast story. Susie says to Bill Callahan, we go down to Susie. Good Gatorade dump.

Oh, Susie doesn't take any of the Gatorade stands. I bet that's the most satisfying dump you've ever had. Single best story ever. Everyone's like. Everyone's frozen. I'm like.

Oh, God, what did I just say? Oh, you didn't realize it on the air. She shouldn't because she was right.

She was absolutely right. Like he was getting criticized, like Nebraska and the NFL guy. What are you doing? Shit on all year. And it was a gratifying dump. Satisfying dump.

Gratify, gratify, gratify. Was that the same game where I went into the stands when a fight broke out? And and you were like, Susie, be careful. Don't get killed down there because a fight broke out.

And of course, like I love that newsy stuff. So I climbed into the stands. And you know what? Susie and I now have determined that we have something else in common, because when we were playing the Broncos, we're leaving the field and people start throwing snowballs at all our players. Lincoln Kennedy, one of our offensive linemen, is getting with snowballs on the sideline. So Lincoln starts going into the stands to confront the people who are throwing snowballs.

And of course, what do I do? I follow Lincoln into the stands because all five foot, maybe if I'm stretching three inches of me, needs to protect Lincoln Kennedy because he's so. So I follow Lincoln into the stands to protect him because I got to protect him like he protects our quarterback. And all I remember are our players laughing, saying, Amy, get out of the stands.

So there you go, Susie. You and I both went in the stands. We had some good run.

We had some good run. Now, I would just say this about you and people see it now when you fill in for Rich or that or you're there on the show with Rich. But in all seriousness, you made the jump from not being on air to being on air. And as a college football sideline reporter for the couple of years, you were really, really good.

Like, I mean that not because we were friends or I was friends with Rich or we went to your wedding, any of it. Like you did a really good job. If you would have kept doing that, you would have you would have continued to shine. People see it now when you're here. You're so comfortable. You're yourself.

You've got a nose for news. And you would have you were very good for jumping right in to a pretty high level of doing it from being off air. And it was just it was a fun couple of years. And when I list, you know, if I have a list of it, I don't. I really want to do this list of all the people I've worked with over the years. Like the writing down.

Oh, you wait. You were on the air with Suzy Schuster and Rich Eisen. I guess I was there for many, many, many different shows. So it's fun.

Fun part of your career. I'm glad we could share that. That just gave me a lump in my throat.

That was really, really nice. And as you OK, you're from Boston. I'll say it your way.

It's because you're wicked smart. Well, yeah, exactly. Thank you, Mikey. We can think Norby for that coming to an end. That's a whole different podcast.

I mean, I feel like, you know, you know, it's so great, Mike, about getting to be a certain age. You don't care. You don't care. You don't care.

You don't care. Yeah. Jim, Jim Beheim told me just to tell me Jim Beheim, Syracuse basketball coach, who's now retired. He's been a friend for many, many, many years.

We were talking about this last year when he was still coaching. He said, you know, at some point you get older and you're I don't give a blank meter doesn't register anymore. And that's about right.

You just get to the point where you don't get what are they going to do to you at that point? Right. And then there you go. And sometimes was it creates on the best radio or TV or podcast out there? Well, all I have to say is I got to work with you twice and I'm so grateful for it and I'm always better for it.

And I and I love you and adore you. But let's not bore the lesson. You know, the listeners out there, let's move on to what Amy and I were just talking about before that you joined us. And we're talking about this being Owners Week and all these owners meetings that are happening and what's happening behind the closed doors. And the prevailing thought was maybe we'd get a decision on Tom Brady and whether or not he will get his limited partnership and ownership. And what Amy and I were just saying was, how would you feel if you're going into a game with an owner as your analyst? How would you approach that?

Yeah, this is a fascinating one. I can tell you from the personal experience I had that was working with John Gruden that some folks still felt uncomfortable. Let's say Jay Gruden, John's brother, was a coordinator on a certain team and they were a team in Jay's division. Some felt uncomfortable that John would tell Jay things that was farther, farthest thing from the truth.

Believe me, it was so far from the truth. But I don't need to tell Amy this. There are people in the NFL who have the most massive case of paranoia out there.

And maybe it's legit. Maybe people who have stolen secrets know they don't want to give people a chance to steal their secrets. And that's why they're so secretive about stuff. It would create a different and a unique dynamic. I don't think that dynamic would exist with the players because I think the players will love talking to Tom because so many of them idolized him.

They want to glean something from the relationship if they don't have one already. What can Tom Brady share and tell me about playing quarterback or about being successful in the NFL? So I think it's multifaceted. But I do see the concern that some owners would have. I see some of the GMs and head coaches raising that level of concern. But I think it just comes down to the respect you have for Tom. And he's a unique guy.

He's a guy who's been around for a long time. And I would assume that most of the people in the league from an information standpoint on a broadcast would trust him. Now, does the league feel comfortable with having somebody who's got ownership and a team be in the booth? It happens in other leagues. So it's been done before.

I would guess that it would be OK. However, because it's the Raiders, as Amy can tell you, you never know. Well, you know, I'm smiling ear to ear at your reference of paranoia. As I'm sure you may recall, there's a great, great Raider lore story about a visiting team coming to play the Raiders. And the coach of the visiting team accuses Al Davis of having cameras in the ceiling of the visiting team locker room or in some location of the visiting team locker room.

You're spying on us. You've got cameras in the visiting team locker room. And wherever that person said the cameras were, I think it was in the ceiling area. Al's response was they weren't there. In other words, he didn't deny having the cameras and everybody be calm. There were no cameras. But instead of responding, there were no cameras. He simply said, that's not where the cameras were.

You know, I'll harken on my legal background for a minute, Mike, and say, what about disclosure? If you're sitting next to us, does he pose the question you're sitting next to someone in the broadcast booth who owns an interest in the team? Should that be disclosed during or before each game to the viewer?

I'm here with Tom Brady. Of course, he owns a piece of a team if he ultimately purchases an interest in the team. And I think there's an if associated with that for other reasons. And if he is broadcasting, what are your views about disclosing that to the viewer in each game he broadcasts?

Necessary? I don't think the viewer cares. If they do, they probably know already. But if they hear it, then you're covered. There's no the more transparency you can have with the viewers, the less doubt they're going to have about what you say or why you say it. And then, you know, if Tom's talking about the Raiders is critical of them at any point, if he does have a piece of the team at that point, that would ring in a very different tone and may add value to his career as a broadcaster as well. So, yeah, it would be fine. I don't think it would hurt anybody to say it for five seconds at the start of a broadcast.

But then you've got to determine when is it germane? Hey, that the Kevin Burkhardt and Tom are doing the I don't know, the Philadelphia Dallas game. And later on the schedule, Dallas is going to play this team and they play the Raiders later on. And that is a reason we have to disclose it.

What level of that do you have to do or do you do it at the start of the year and just move on? Either way. And look, I shared a silly story about paranoia, but the fact is paranoia is real. And there are absolutely positively unequivocally teams that would say, no, no, no, no, no. You can't have access to our practice because you work for another team and we don't want you seeing what we're doing.

There are those teams in the league. But but there is a contract that says that the broadcasters have access to practice. Yep. And to coaches and to coordinators.

So, you know, what does Andrew Brandt always say? There will be lawyers that would that would add to it because then you'd have conflicting documentation. Yeah. And that's a good thing that the league does that because no broadcast, no group reaches the fan base of the NFL like the broadcasters of an NFL game. So the ability to go to practice and talk to the head coach, talk to coordinators, talk to the players is really important in telling the story of the NFL.

And, you know, there's Amy, you might get things where guys are like, I'm not doing it. I don't like this person. I don't have time to do that. But the fact that they have to do it now is important. I think it's important on our side of the table, too, that we use it, that we respect it and we take care of that information properly. Then you get the best information to share with the viewers and it gets out and disseminated in the right way. If you misuse the information, whether a practice or in a meeting, and that happens once or twice a season, where there's a misunderstanding on something that might be off the record or on the record, then there's then there's a little ruffle feathers to smooth over with you and that team. And that's happened before.

That'll happen going forward. But I think this is a much different story. It's the do I want somebody from the opposition, quote, in my building? Would you ever, Amy, with the Raiders, let anybody from the Chiefs or with a tie to the Chiefs in your building? I don't need you to answer that because it's almost rhetorical. We know that answer is no. So it's going to have to be something that's hammered out way before.

Well, there was this dynamic Al Davis that I know that you knew. And when you're talking about people who refused to meet with broadcasters, sometimes it's owners, too. Absolutely.

About a thousand percent. It's hard to get to people when they don't have to. And when they have to look, this is there's a reason that the networks pay billions. And there's a reason that the audience is in millions because the information train is working. And we both share responsibility on each side, including our side, to handle that information. The right way to continue to get the access to the best information for the people. We work for the people at home.

Now, my checkmate come from NBC, Universal and Comcast. But truly, we do work for the people at home. And if we lose our credibility with them, then they have no reason to believe what we're saying when we are telling them something that's true. So I think it's a very important thing that we all have to manage. And this will be one that will be very fascinating to see how it plays out. And that this is with Tom Brady, that it is about a storyline about one of the greatest players in the history of the league, who could be an owner, who with folklore could come off the sidelines and come back in at any point for the Raiders or what have you.

That's just what makes this almost ridiculous to have this conversation, because it goes so much further than if he's sitting next to you or Troy or whomever, you know, or Kevin or whomever, whomever it's going to be, because God knows where Tom could show up anywhere in the world right now with what he can possibly do. It just becomes that much more complicated. Suze, the league is undefeated. The league is undefeated and complicated, controversial, but continuing to crank out storylines on a regular basis. It really is amazing. Just when you think you've maxed out, just when you think it's all done, the league comes up with something. I don't mean that they created it. It just happens. It's the most fascinating when you pull back at it. Why is football taken off and completely surpassed baseball as our national pastime?

Well, because it fits our lives. Give me five hours a week. Let me watch my team for three hours. Watch Red Zone for an hour. Watch 15, 20 minutes of a pregame show. Listen to this podcast or whatever it is. Give me five hours a week. I got my football team. I can talk about it in depth like I know what I'm doing. Feel like I'm on the inside. Baseball, you know, that's Wednesday and then a Thursday afternoon day game.

That's two sevenths of the week that you miss, you know, somewhat 70 percent of the rest of what's going on that week with a team. It just fits our lifestyle better. And then you've got, Amy, you live this firsthand and saw it up close. You've got 32 really smart, really rich, really competitive people in ownership, at least the first person. Obviously, the ownership groups have depth to them and they all want to beat each other while all collaborating to continue to make more money.

It's the most fascinating collection and set up. And it just feeds into the larger than life personality, the soap opera quality of it. Owners who you didn't think had a big personality all of a sudden become a big personality when it's their team in their moment moment. Coaches, players, they become household items. People get to know them.

People care about them. It's just such a cool dynamic. And Susie, when we worked on the show, the pregame show for Monday Night Football, Monday Night Countdown, 25 years ago, the league was big. But we never could have imagined that it gets to where it is now.

I just am blessed that all of us really have had a seat to watch the rise of this and get to know all the characters around it, because it's one of those fascinating things that we'll ever see in American sports, for sure. How do you keep everything straight? There's nobody who does as much television as you do. I pinged Mike on Saturday saying, hey, I haven't heard back from you. Can you do it?

And he said, well, I'm calling the freakiness right now. Oh, crap. So sorry. Bummer.

I really want to be a smart asset. Sorry, just finished the first segment of our previous broadcast, but thanks for watching. And by the way, it's a Saturday with three kids, Mike.

I mean, I'd already come from tennis and was headed to basketball. You guys were busy on Saturday. I was at the beach.

I know. And see, she wasn't watching either. Who's living your best life at the beach, Amy? Sorry, Mike. I was at the beach. It's OK. That's fine.

You know what, Suze? I'm still a fan and I still love it. And I was traveling the other day and then got in, wanted to watch game seven of Edmonton, Vancouver, and didn't watch the whole thing, but watch the third period.

Right. Because I just love game seven Canadian franchises. It's been so long since the Canadian team won the Stanley Cup.

I'm not covering hockey at NBC with ESPN's property and TNT's property. But I still love it. So I still have a love and a care for sports. I think that keeping it straight is years of doing it and being organized. And, you know, you don't need as much time to prepare for an event because you know how to.

And you have a lot of institutional knowledge. When I went back and picked up my notebook, that is the Kentucky Derby notebook, I've got the last eight years of shows in there. So I've kind of lived it and gone through it and know how to update it and be ready.

And during the year, OK, it's the Breeders Cup in November, but I'm keeping an eye on the juvenile so I can see which two year olds are the ones we're talking about for the run to the three year old Triple Crown in the spring. That's what you have to do. So it's all that. I love it. I still feel like I don't work. I feel like this is a hobby, not a job. And I'm just blessed that I have that feeling 30, God, I don't know, 32 years into doing network TV at this point.

So it's it's still a lot of fun. I love it. I don't know if people can hear me giggling and perhaps my mic. I was going to say perhaps my mic was killed because I was having what my husband would refer to as a giggle fit. But I just love that Mike texted you back. Suze, I'm calling the Preakness right now. I mean, right in the middle of calling it.

He texted you back. Casual. Calling the Preakness. It's just hilarious.

It's not even a humble brat. It's what he's actually doing. I'm actually calling the Preakness right now, Suze. Mike, you said something very, very wise. And it is so, so true, which is as to the NFL owners you referenced, as I often phrase it, competitors on the field, colleagues off the field. Yeah.

It's interesting, right? Because, you know, Jeffrey Lurie and Jerry Jones want to beat each other in the worst way. Twice a year, actually three times a year. They'd love to see each other in the playoffs and go for the sweep. And Philly's always watching Dallas and Washington, the Giants and everyone within, whether it's regional or divisional set ups are doing that. But when they close the doors at these owners meetings, they walk down the hallway and make the turn behind the velvet ropes and they sit down and do their deal. They're in business together. They got to figure out what's the next best step for our league and for our team.

And Amy, you had the front row seat at this. I find it fascinating sometimes what's best for your team is not best for the league may benefit you financially down the line as a franchise. And what do you do with those points? Afford Anything talks about how to avoid common pitfalls, how to refine your mental models and how to think about how to think. What's up, everyone?

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Just search BLEAV on YouTube or wherever you listen. Robert Kraft is an owner who routinely put what is best for the league ahead of what was best for his team. I saw that, as you said, I was in those meetings. I was there for almost 30 years and there were innumerable times I saw Robert Kraft and he was not the only team owner to do this. But he put ahead of his own interests the good of the league and what a lot of people don't realize as to Al Davis. Yes, there were major business disputes between the league and the Raiders. And I need to always turn into the eight year old that I am when I talk about this and say, but mom, they started it.

They filed the lawsuit. I just always have to add they started it. But the point is, notwithstanding those very significant business disputes, Al collaborated and cooperated with the league and team owners in many instances during those disputes as to what was best for the league.

You're absolutely right. And Amy, I think it's one of the fascinating things of the next 10 years in the league, because we had the Maris and the Rooney's and still do the Giants and the Steelers and Al Davis. Now Mark is taking over with the Raiders. But as we see with family ownership and the next generation having a louder voice, as the patriarchs of those families get a bit older, it's an interesting time to see how will that evolve? Who will be those large voices? Because the voices of Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft, those were the loudest voices in most influential and still are in many ways.

And who will be the individuals who step into that void a little bit? Because there are a lot of really, really great people who have helped build the league and a lot of brilliant people in those rooms. I mentioned Jeffrey Lurie, Clark Hunt, obviously inheriting the team after working side by side with his dad, Lamar Hunt, for so many years. So what's happening in Seattle, I think will be a fascinating story to watch over the next couple of years. So we're evolving into a time, and it's funny when Suzy brought up the owners meetings, I thought you were going to bring up the private equity part of it. Because to me, that's the biggest story, because now private equity is almost needed for some of these teams to continue with the leadership that they have, because the valuation is getting so high and there's such a big cost.

And at what level will you draw a line with private equity in the National Football League? I just think that that's the next, it's really nerdy. It doesn't, you know, would we rather talk about CJ Stroud going to have a sophomore jinx or is he going to have a great year too? Because Houston built around, I love talking about all that stuff, but the foundation, the house that everybody plays in, how that evolves and changes to me is always interesting to watch.

And I'm fascinated to see where that plays out for the league over the next six to nine months. Agreed, agreed, agreed. And first of all, I am a nerd and also it's okay to be a nerd. So kids, if you're listening and people call you a nerd, just own it.

It's okay to be a nerd. Look, when I started in the league and I walked into my first league owners meetings in the early eighties or the mid eighties, it was Lamar Hunt, Ralph Wilson, Dan Rooney, Wellington Mera. And you're absolutely right, of course, Mike, that, you know, these teams have now been passed to the next generation. But private equity is something to keep our eyes on. We all know it's a story in the league right now. What a lot of people don't realize is that allowing private equity or institutional ownership, if you will, has been a discussion in those league meetings for decades.

We were discussing that when I was still in the league. Nothing came to pass. I believe something will come to pass now.

But why now, guys? And I ask this increase value just because of the money and how much things cost. But is that really the only reason why they're allowing it now is just the sheer value? I'll let you take that, Mike, and then I'll add on to what you have to say.

Yeah, I think you nailed it, Susie. I think it has to be because the valuations of these teams are getting so large and so big that to do these these projects, you know, we have teams that are less likely to get a city to sign off on all the improvements for a stadium or the valuation or the amount of money that's just being transacted with all the money coming in and coming out. That private equity is a part way to help get other people under the tent of ownership. And many of these teams have minority owners that we don't really hear from or talk about.

But a lot of them are around the league. And just to have this great resource of resources in the private equity space involved, I think it's something that's almost inevitable at this point, Amy. Well, look, as the value of teams continues to increase and that value is just extremely high right now, the number of potential buyers who can do it, non-institutional buyers, get smaller and smaller and smaller. And look, when you are selling something, you want the demand to purchase it to be great. You know, let's use a supply and demand analogy. Susie, you're selling your house. You want more prospective buyers than you have houses and you want them in a bidding war.

So, you know, I'm conflating a lot of different issues here and I'm not doing it particularly well. But the fact is, as values continue to increase, there are going to be fewer and fewer people who can simply write the proverbial check. Because, look, there are limitations on how much debt can be placed on a team, how much debt can be placed on an ownership interest, how much it's been a discussion for decades.

Mike, you want to jump in? Well, just look at Washington, the last team to sell, right? And putting that together, it was a big haul to get the right group and the right amount of investors and who really had the money to do it, as Josh Harris ended up being the lead there. So when those situations come up and teams sell every few years, Amy nailed it. You just don't have the individuals who have the bandwidth to be good for that amount of debt in a transaction.

And you're going to need some help here, supplementally, along the way. It's way in the weeds of the business of sports, the nerdy stuff, like Amy said, which is cool. You know, the next one that's going to evolve is quarterback pay. You know, as Jared Goff gets his money, are we going to see a $50 million, $60 million quarterback? Or is there a cap there? Is there a point where you hit the ceiling and say, you know what? The quarterbacks are making too much of the salary cap.

Can a team find a way to win without paying 22% or 18% of their salary cap to a quarterback? There's always a chess game being played in the NFL, in the boardroom, in the bank account area, in the X's and O's, in the coaching staff, in building a team. That's why this thing has such life.

It has so many tentacles that constantly have, this is what, May? Who's talking about football right now? But we've got many camps and owner's meetings and the league has owned every month now in the most unique way and it's just spectacular. It really isn't. Look, we're all lucky to be on the rocket ship.

We really are. What's even funnier about that is you meet that point, then all I could think about was Brock Purdy, who's making nothing and taking his team to the Super Bowl. And it almost, the conversation becomes, as you said, so convoluted. And then the minute you started talking about the private equity, I started thinking about the different personalities of the owners, like what's happening in Carolina with an incredibly unpopular owner. And it loses that, in the olden days of football, when the owners had a vested interest because they knew the personnel. And you know this better than anyone, Amy, because you worked for an owner who lived and buried the Raiders. With these private equity people, they're running the biggest companies in the world.

Aside, this is just a little hobby. It will change the way you look at owners in the National Football League. Well, and Suzy, you and Mike raised a very interesting point, which is the recent commander sale. Because people are familiar with the fact that the league requires, in terms of ownership, there to be a controlling owner who owns a certain percentage of the team. And that the league limits debt on ownership interests and on the team as a whole. What a lot of people don't realize is there is in place a limit on the number of team owners there can be.

And the league pokes through entities to count the numbers. So, for example, when I sold a piece of the Raiders for Al, I sold it to an entity. I don't recall right now whether it was an LLC or a limited partnership. I think it was an LLC. But the point is, the league does not count an LLC or a limited partnership interest as one owner. They count it as how many bodies comprise that entity owner. So, is the league going to change the rule on this so that when private equity purchases, is it one owner or is it every single person who has an investment in that private equity fund? It can't be the latter.

So, this is going to require multiple rule changes. And by the way, it is fun to be a nerd. Yeah, a thousand percent.

It's fun to be a nerd. And that's the stuff that I think will be the building blocks that are put in place in the next 10 to 20 years of the NFL. As we're planning next August, preseason, September season, schedule, all that stuff. The people on these league committees are looking at the next 5, 10, 20 years of how the game, the guardian caps that players are going to wear this year. The emphasis on flag football that you're going to see a lot of for the next three years as flag football becomes an Olympic sport in 2028.

So, imagine this. At the league office, you're looking at the growth of international football over the years. You're looking at flag football coming into the Olympics and you're looking at 2028 and how those intersect. And now, are you really at the point after a lot of investment, World League of American Football, games overseas, Jacksonville going overseas on a regular basis, the international series spreading to South America this year?

Are you in Germany, Spain next year? Are we now at the point where you're ready to put teams over there or make sure there's a game every week internationally? And as you do that, the growth of flag football as an Olympic sport being played in multiple countries with the NFL helping to set up, learn how to, and growth programs in different parts of the world, much like the NBA did after the Dream Team in basketball. That's the growth spurt for world basketball. If this happens with football, now all of a sudden the player pool gets bigger again. And you could have players from all over the world who can play in the National Football League. So the investment in the future of the league on the financial side, on the field, all of this 20, 25 years down the road is not lost at 345 Park Avenue.

And I think that's one of the reasons we've seen this steady growth and globalization of the NFL. And it will continue because of the way that leadership is now thinking. They never think we've done it, we've got it. They think, what's next? And how do we make it better?

And how do we create another revenue stream? And that has kept them on top. They're like the Roman Empire. And that's why that game in Germany meant so much to Robert Kraft last year, because Germany has a huge amount of Patriots fans.

Because what did they take, a German kicker years ago? Is that where it came from originally, Mike? I think that there was something like that, right? And that's it.

It's world domination. But anyway. Was it Sebastian Vollmer playing for them? I think it was. Not Janet Kowski.

Does it tackle? No, Janet Kowski is one of my favorite Raider stories of all time. When Al drafted Janet Kowski and Loeckler, John Gruden's first year as head coach, I only heard that story a hundred times.

It was great. And I think it was Sebastian Vollmer. What you might not have heard, Mike, was the number of people running through the organization distancing themselves from Al's selection. We never would have picked him. Why did he pick him? We never would have picked him. And then when he started performing as he did, the story changed to, boy, I'm glad we picked him. Both of those guys lasted for a long time as Raider kickers and had brilliant careers. Usually you don't take a kicker and a punter in the same draft when you have a first year head coach who's an offensive wizard like you were, a young offensive wizard with an edge and all that stuff. But it worked out. It worked out for everybody over time, which is pretty cool. I mean, Mike, you've worked with everybody.

I'll ask you this before I ask you about the schedule. And I'm asking you, knowing that you probably won't answer it, but I'm going to push you to do it. Who's the person that you've worked with that you've just loved more than anybody that it was just you thought simpatico? And if you won't answer that, who's the person that has gotten away that you wish you could?

Well, I will answer it. And it's not a knock to anybody who I work with now who I love because Collinsworth is a friend, Gruden is a friend, Curtis Strange is a friend, and they're all really good friends and people I love deeply and care about and in touch with their families. If there's one person, instead of saying who was the best person, the one who made the biggest impact on me was Hubie Brown, basketball, who's still doing it at age 90. Hubie had done the NBA Finals for a couple of years, one year without Michaels, one year with Mike Green, and then Jeff Angundi and Mark Jackson started their run with Green. And Hubie and I were the number two team on ESPN and ABC for 10 years. And I got to just be around one of those revered people in sports.

Everybody loves Hubie. Everybody in basketball admires, appreciates, would tell him things they wouldn't tell other people. He had a career that spanned being an assistant coach with Lou Alcindor then and Oscar Robertson on the Milwaukee Bucks in the 70s, all the way to seeing Victor Wenbanyama now with San Antonio. He's seen modern basketball evolve. And he was the best friend, the best advice.

It was like working with your dad or your granddad. And he made the biggest impression on me. So as much as I love everybody the same in different ways, just like any of us who are blessed to have multiple kids, you know how you feel about them.

The one guy who had the biggest impact on me as a person and somebody whose relationship I cherish close to my heart was doing all the years of the NBA with Hubie Brown. I love it. So perfect. Before we let you go, because I know we've had you on forever and you're super busy, let's throw up the Sunday night football schedule very quickly so we can show it to anybody who's watching this. What sticks out at you? Which is the game you're most excited about calling right now?

Oh my gosh. The first one because it's the next one because that rematch would be pretty good. But then that Stafford game going back to Detroit rematch of the playoffs will be fun. The next one with CJ Stroud and Caleb Williams last year's and this year's, we pretty cool. I see the Cowboys and the Steelers, the bottom there. I'll tell you one that I'm really looking forward to. And that is December 1st, San Francisco going to Buffalo.

I have no idea who's going to be wide at that point. But December night, Orchard Park team that rarely comes in there, the Niners team, it's a terrific road team that just right off of Thanksgiving night in Green Bay with the dolphins at Lambeau on Thanksgiving night. That'll be fun. And as soon as you know this, Amy, you do too. When you look at the schedule, you can sit here and think 30 things about this schedule. And here's what you know, you have no idea which one's going to be the gym for the year.

And that's the that's the best part of the whole thing. You could not have given me enough money to convince me that we were going to be in Detroit for back-to-back playoff games when the Lions had gone three decades without one. And we were at the end of the season and they were two of the most memorable games I've been a part of when they beat the Rams and then the Buccaneers to get to the NFC Championship game last year. So the joy of the league is you never know. And that schedule will will test that one more time. But it'll be a blast traveling with Chris Collinsworth and Melissa Stark and our team and get the pleasure of Carrie Underwood finishes. We get started every Sunday night and get to end people's NFL Sundays for 18 straight weeks.

Pretty cool. If you are not at my house the weekend of the 24th of November, I'm just saying. I know it's an invitation. Well, not only did she just invite me, I will pour you a gorgeous, gorgeous glass of red.

It may or may not be intercept because I know you're going to say Charles Woodson right away, right? Well, no, what I was going to say is, Mike, that was an invitation. And because she invited you, I want you to know I'm probably going to crash. Let's go.

Well, you know what? Since you have to work early on Sunday mornings, Amy, ungodly early on the West Coast, we'll make it a Friday. We've invited ourselves for Friday night. We've invited ourselves. We'll be there.

We can't wait. That'll be that'll be the best of the best as you guys are. Love you, Mikey. Right back at you both. Thank you so much, Mike. Hope you've enjoyed this edition of What the Football.

Again, our thanks to Mike Tirico, who clearly we adore. We are going to take a hiatus for the months of June and July, and we'll be back in August with guest one for What the Football, the great Jim Nance. Amy, have a great summer. And hiatus is French for beach, right?

It's actually Spanish for tequila. You have a great summer, too, Suzy. Thanks. Thanks a lot, you guys. We hope we see you again this football season. Take care and thanks for taking in this edition of What the Football. Lord, we get it. They have chemistry. Jump in now or catch up on any of the past seasons of Talkville on YouTube or wherever you listen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-21 22:35:45 / 2024-05-21 22:58:30 / 23

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