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Jalen Hurts Gets PAID! (Hour 1)

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2023 7:19 pm

Jalen Hurts Gets PAID! (Hour 1)

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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April 17, 2023 7:19 pm

Where does Jalen Hurts rank in the NFL? l How does Hurts contract extension impact Lamar Jackson? l Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner


Live from the police show, you're not overly ostentatious, studios of CBS Sports Radio here in beautiful New York City, sitting on top of the 10th floor of 345 Hudson Street. Welcome on in to a Monday edition of the Zach Gelb show across all of our great local CBS Sports Radio affiliates, Sirius XM, Channel 158, and that free Odyssey app. 855-212-4CBS, number to jump on in. 855-212-4227, you can always get at me on Instagram where I'm straight flexing, or via the good old cesspool of Twitter, at Zach Gelb.

That's Z-A-C-H-G-E-L-B. The commissioner of the NHL as the Stanley Cup playoffs are back. Gary Bettman's going to join us coming up 40 minutes from now, and hour number two will be joined by Carrington Valentine, a quarterback out of Kentucky, as we get set for the NFL draft next week.

It will be in Kansas City for that, doing shows there Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. And then at 8 20 p.m. Eastern, 5 20 p.m. Pacific, the Kings are looking to take a 2-0 series lead tonight over Steph and the Golden State Warriors. Kings pre-imposed play by play man as well Kyle Draper will join us. But first up, producing this extravaganza for the next four hours, we're reunited and we feel so good after only doing this show one time last week has had me pinch hitting other parts around the network as no other than Hot Take Kiki.

I don't know about that Hot Take Kiki. And we got some news to discuss on this Monday, and we found out about this earlier this a.m. that Jalen Hurts gets paid, an ollie paid. He got a very lucrative deal, five years, $255 million, $179 million of that guaranteed. And I think some people go like, wow, I can't believe it. But I don't think you actually should be shocked by this whatsoever, because this is what happens in the NFL. And it's a gamble.

It's a risk. But we've seen teams be able to survive when you pay quarterbacks early and it doesn't pan on out like the Eagles not that long ago gave Carson Wentz a big time extension. They ended up making it work out with Jalen Hurts eventually. You look at a team like the Rams, they give a big deal to Jared Goff.

It didn't work out. They ended up winning a Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford. So there's this idea when you take a quarterback in the top 10, in the top five and it doesn't work out, it sets your franchise back for years and years and years. People aren't wrong on that. But the Eagles and Rams have showed you there are ways to still not only survive, but then also thrive when you don't find a way to get the pick right in one and two of the draft like what the Eagles and Rams did all those years ago.

Now, I don't think it's a great formula in keeping your job. I don't think everyone has a great contingency plan like a Les Snead was to go get Matthew Stafford and say F all those draft picks or Howie Roseman at the time drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round was not a popular pick in Philadelphia. But clearly with the year that Jalen Hurts just had, he exceeded all expectations, is the best quarterback in the NFC and is now in that hopper of deserving of a payday. And we've seen from NFL teams that if you wait and wait and wait, the price only goes up. And I think we could all say that Hurts is the guy in Philadelphia and is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL based off what he did for last year. Do you maybe want to see some more time? Absolutely.

And him repeat it. But if Hurts and I expect him to have another big year next year in an NFC that is not all that good, the Eagles are the best team on paper, maybe they'll have Bijan Robinson after the draft next week. You already have guys like AJ Brown, Devontae Smith and Dallas Goddard and the preeminent offensive line in football to begin with. But if Jalen Hurts had another monster year, then this price of what it is today only keeps on going up and up and up when you have quarterbacks like Joe Burrow in line for an extension, like Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson clearly in line for extensions as well. And we said this all the time, and I'm not saying it applies here, but we've seen quarterbacks get paid that are not great quarterbacks, but they get great money.

Great money. In this case, I do view Jalen Hurts as a great quarterback, and he has the belief inside that locker room from players that I know personally or when I've been in that locker room just observing that team operates by the heartbeat of Jalen Hurts. And it's very tough for a player to walk into a locker room. I know sometimes it happens just naturally because of the quarterback position, but not all quarterbacks are great leaders. Like Carson Wentz had success early on in his career in Philadelphia, but was not a great leader. And him not being able to stay healthy and his lack of leadership amongst the entire locker room is a big reason why he's no longer there. And Jalen Hurts comes into that locker room and not the easiest situation in the world, and he's a consummate professional. And remember, that's a locker room that has Brandon Graham. Super Bowl hero's been around that team forever.

A guy like Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson. We're talking about elite talent. We're talking about big names, household names in Philadelphia that also have a Super Bowl ring on their finger. But this was the year we're coming off a playoff appearance a year ago, and there was a lot of critics out there and a lot of people, deservedly so, skeptical about the ceiling of Jalen Hurts. There was a lot to prove for him this year.

And not only did he do an A-plus job from a leadership standpoint, but on the field, he was A-plus-plus. He was in the MVP conversation, and probably Mahomes would have won it regardless. But if Hurts didn't get hurt, and I think missed those two games at the end of the year, it would have been a whole lot closer of a race.

And let's be real. You look at that Super Bowl. I know you'd rather be the winning quarterback than the losing quarterback. And I'm not saying Hurts is better than Mahomes, and you'd rather have Hurts over Mahomes for the next 5-10 years, but Jalen Hurts outplayed Patrick Mahomes big time in the Super Bowl. And not only outplayed him, when you objectively look back at the Eagles roster and the Chiefs roster and how they performed in that Super Bowl, Jalen Hurts was the best player on the field. So when you see the numbers today, 5 years, 255 million, 179 guaranteed, I get why it's startling.

I get why some people say, wow. But that's what happens now in this QB market. And I'm just curious, as we're talking to 200 stations around the country, East Coast to West Coast, what is the national view of Jalen Hurts? Because when I look at Jalen Hurts, I think the two quarterbacks that are slam dunks, the two best quarterbacks in the NFL, it's Mahomes and Burrow, one and two in that order. After that, I do think there's a healthy debate for who's the third best quarterback in football. Now, Hurts has taken the Eagles farther than where Josh Allen has taken the Bills. But the more reps and the more consistency we've seen from Josh Allen is the tiebreaker for me there.

And I put Josh Allen in at three. But right now, I can't tell you after that, that there's a better quarterback entering 2023 in the NFL than Jalen Hurts. Now, it may not be by leaps and bounds, but I do think Jalen Hurts right now today, April 17th in the year of 2023 on paper, is the fourth best quarterback in football.

And think about that statement. Because after they lost that playoff game to Tampa Bay, a lot of people in Philadelphia were like, all right, Hurts was okay this year, but he's got to take that next big step because eventually he's going to be in line for an extension. And if you pay a quarterback great money and he's not great, you could survive from it. But you do look back at your team and then you had that feeling of we invested all this money, we're eating up and directing so much of the salary cap to one player, and you don't have a feeling that player can win you a Super Bowl. What Jalen Hurts showed you this year is that there is a window in Philadelphia where you believe not only in the team, but most importantly, you believe in that quarterback. So to go give him a five-year extension, $255 million, $1.79 guaranteed, there's a risk in everything.

I am a believer, though, in Jalen Hurts. And I do think a few years from now, you're going to look back at this deal and say, wow, it's a bargain. Like, remember, Hickey, when the Mahomes contract came out and everyone was like, oh, that's even with how great Patrick Mahomes is, that's a double-digit commitment.

Like, how do you do that? The Mahomes contract could be one of the greatest bargains in sports right now. Because imagine if Patrick Mahomes was hitting the open market this year. Imagine that? That that contract would go right through the roof.

It would be crazy. And I do have confidence in Hurts in the next few years where you're not going to look back and say, you regret this contract. He was elite on the field this year.

He's elite in that locker room and he's elite off the field. And if you win over that locker room and you play great and you have big postseason moments, which he had, you're almost better if you take care of that contract now and run the risk of having to try to find a way to maneuver out of it later down the road, then not paying him the likelihood that he repeats the individual success this upcoming year. And then when other dominoes still fall, the price just gets greater and greater and greater. And maybe giving him that deal now keeps two, three years from now, because there's still, I believe what, two years left in the contract or a year left on the contract. It still maybe lets you keep an extra guy or two that you would have lost if you would have waited a year or two from now to go pay Jalen Hurts.

So Hickey, I can't sit here today and say, I'm shocked. You know, my jaw hits the floor by this deal because what Jalen Hurts did this year puts him in that conversation of one of the better quarterbacks in the league entering 2023. And it's perfect timing for him because he just wrapped up your number three in this league. And it's the perfect storm in order for him to get this big fat payday that he got today. And we keep on seeing this trend that teams do prefer if they think they have that guy to hopefully take care of it earlier rather than later in the contract negotiations. Not always the same.

Like, look at the Ravens. That's taking forever. But you're hearing the conversations now for Burrow, for Herbert, who were in the same draft class as Jalen Hurts. And the expectation is that all are getting deals pretty damn soon. And it just, is it this year or is it next year? But eventually all those deals were going to get done. Without a doubt, there's no one on this planet right now today that should absolutely be criticizing the Eagles for the deal that they gave to Hurts.

Because also what are they supposed to do? Last year of his deal, what do you play as well again? What if the Eagles make it to the NFC title game as the top three of the MVP? Well, one, I'm sure he's gonna be a little upset that he didn't get a deal after this year. That's right, because he's a second round pick, no fifth year option. No fifth year option, so maybe he's more likely to leave. Or the price is gonna go through the roof.

You're gonna pay a lot more than what you did right now. Like I said, you have to right now get in early for almost any single quarterback that you feel you can build a team around and go forward with. This is even in two years, even maybe this time next year, with Justin Herbert still due to come, we think will come this offseason.

Joe Burrow, same thing. Maybe Lamar Jackson, he's gonna get a contract at some point. Lamar, whether it's this year from the Ravens, this year from another team, next year from another team. Trevor Lawrence is due next year.

So even by this time next year, we're heading to the 2024 season. We're gonna see Hertz maybe fifth on that list in terms of highest paid quarterbacks. And just like Mahomes, you quickly will go from sticker shock of that's a lot of money to in two or three years.

Wow, that's a real bargain for whatever team gave the extension. And look at a guy like Kyler Murray. Kyler Murray basically got the same guaranteed money. Now it's less per year for Kyler Murray than it is Jalen Hertz.

But it's not even close. I'd much rather have Jalen Hertz right now for the next five years than Kyler Murray. Like I think Kyler Murray is a good quarterback that has elite potential, but we haven't seen it throughout an entirety of a season like the way that we just saw it this past year for Jalen Hertz and what he was able to do. And I don't have any real doubts about Jalen Hertz. Like I'm not telling you that he's definitely gonna go win a Super Bowl, but if you ask me, do you think he won a Super Bowl?

I don't say you would say no right now. You have a great GM. You have a coach that succeeded all expectations and the quarterback, you want to talk about one of the better stories in the NFL?

You want to talk about one of the better stories that you'll ever see? This guy was benching halftime of a national championship game. Then State at Alabama comes back, bails about in the SEC title game when Tua gets hurt, transfers, ends up going to Oklahoma and becomes a Heisman finalist, then gets drafted in the second round. First year in Philadelphia, you know Wentz was still there. You had Doug Peterson on his way out as well. And then the last two years, you know, year one wasn't great, but you saw some flashes. And then that next year, which ended up being year three in Philly, he almost won the team Super Bowl. He had a 10 point lead at halftime.

And he's nowhere really at fault for being the reason why they lost that game because outside of the fumble, he played as perfect of a game that you could play in a Super Bowl. And now it's about the consistency, but I don't have any reasons to doubt, especially when you maybe have to wait a year. And then if you wait a year, the price is only going to be larger than what it is now.

And it's already a large price tag of five years, 255 and 179 guaranteed. So when I get to the top 10 quarterbacks in football, I don't think the first eight in whatever order you want in reason is all that debatable. And I know we've probably done this conversation like 5,000 times and it changes almost every time. But I thoroughly examined it and this is my list right now. Mahomes is one, Burroughs two, Josh Allen three, Jalen Hurts four, I put Rogers five, Trevor Lawrence six, Justin Herbert seven, Lamar Jackson eight. Like, Hickey, you would agree, heading into 2023, that those, even if you disagree, maybe one or two spots or someone, those are the eight best quarterbacks in football. Yes.

After that, it gets tricky. Because for the ninth and 10th spot, like you could look at Dak, I didn't think Dak played well last year, and he has postseason problems. Tua went healthy, was exceptional last year, but I can't bank on him being healthy. Kirk Cousins is solid, he's very good in the regular season.

Don't trust him in the postseason. Deshaun Watson definitely can be in that conversation. And I think if he did this list two, three years ago, he definitely would have been in the top 10, but there's a lot of Russ to knock off after you basically missed two years. And you're looking around and it's like, okay, Stafford coming back from injury, Russell Wilson, he can't be that bad as what he was last year for what he's done in this league. You kind of hold your nose when you look at the ninth and 10 spots now. And I know you could bank on potential other guys, like maybe a Justin Fields emerges this year and takes off. Is Gino Smith, Jared Goff, are those guys going to replicate what they did last year?

Does Kenny Pickett take a big step in year number two? Like there's other guys in the conversation, but like right now, and I think I hold my nose when I do this and you can kind of flip flop you can kind of flip flop whatever order you want, nine and 10, I'd probably put Russ now ninth. And then Stafford, even though he's coming off the injury, and I don't have a lot of optimism with Stafford, I would put him at 10. Like who would be your ninth and 10th guy right now? Because when you ask that question, it's like, you don't really feel great or confident about any of these guys. Going into 2023, I would say Stafford nine, Kirk Cousins 10.

Wow. Now the Stafford answer doesn't surprise, surprise me because you're a Stafford guy, but you have been extremely critical of Kirk Cousins. I think last year you made the case that Baker was going to be better in the NFC than Kirk Cousins. And you still don't like Kirk Cousins, but you put him in at 10.

Explain that one. Well, it's just, he's been consistently good in the regular season. He absolutely has questions in the post-season, but you look around, so does everyone else right now that you're talking about that you listed that is in consideration and the ones you feel better about in the post-season.

And not your guy, Russ. I do think Russell Wilson will have a better season this year. That's your guy, you said they're going to be the playoffs this year. I do, but I can't say going into 2023, after what we saw last year, that right now Russell Wilson is a better quarterback than Kirk. I think he will be, but that's projected.

Like this is right coming to 2023 based on basically how they did the last year. Kirk Cousins has a lot of playoff question marks, but in the regular season, he's really solid every year. Dak playoff question marks, same thing.

I'd rather have Kirk than Dak right now. There's Sean Watson questions about how he played. Like, yeah, there's no good answer at number 10, that's for sure. You know me, I never usually set out calling you an idiot, a moron, and a dope. I really can't call you an idiot and a moron and a dope on this one, Hickey. I know you tried hard. I know you looked at every avenue, turned over every stone.

What way can I say he's an idiot? So we'll take it. But that's what shows you after number eight, a lot of questions about quarterbacks right now in the top 10. And also the difference from AFC elite quarterbacks to NFC. We just went through Mahomes AFC, Borough AFC, Allen AFC, Hertz NFC, Rogers. Eventually we think AFC, Trevor Lawrence AFC, Herbert AFC, Lamar, we think AFC. That's not even close.

That's seven to one. Makes you think, Lamar, go get a deal done with an NFC that the Ravens end up saying, eh, we're not going to match an NFC team offer to kind of balance it out. It is the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio.

We'll take a time out when we come on back in five minutes. We know Jalen Hertz is now paid. What does that mean for Lamar Jackson? Lamar Jackson? I may have a change of heart.

We'll discuss that next on the other side. Zach Gelb show, CBS Sports Radio. So Hickey, I don't know about you, but today when you saw the Jalen Hertz news, like the first thing that comes to mind after you process the eagle side of it and the Jalen Hertz side of it is, all right, what does this mean for Lamar Jackson? That is the immediate thought. And right away, when I was thinking about what this means for Lamar Jackson, I thought about it from the Lamar Jackson angle of what would I do if I'm Lamar. And the first thing I would do today if I'm Lamar is I see what Jalen Hertz just got, which is deserved for Jalen Hertz, but how quickly that deal got done and how long it's taking my deal to get done. And remember, Hertz has representation. Lamar Jackson outside of his mother and I guess that business partner with the athletic gear that may or may not be representing him, but isn't allowed to do so because he's not authorized and not approved by the NFLPA. He doesn't really have any representation.

He's representing himself. Now, I do think Lamar can eventually get this deal done, but at this point, it's just ego. And if I'm Lamar, I'll be picking up the phone and calling Nicole Lynn, who is the representative and the agent for Jalen Hertz, who by the way, very cool story here. Jalen Hertz got a DM from Nicole Lynn saying, did you select an agent yet?

If not, I would love to represent you. I think this is when he was leaving Oklahoma after his year there. And he ends up signing with Nicole Lynn and now look at the deal, the historical deal, the highest paid contract to NFL player, depending on how you look at it.

That's what happened today. So my first thought today, Hickey, was Lamar Jackson should give a phone call to Nicole Lynn and say, it's time for you to represent this deal, you know, represent me and get this deal done, whether it's with another team or the Baltimore or the Baltimore Ravens. My first thought was he should lower his number of years, get a short term deal, fully guaranteed, get back on the market sooner rather than later.

I think that's the only way. If he still is dead set on getting a fully guaranteed deal, go to Kirk Cousins rap. Otherwise that deal is never coming.

So like the Kirk Cousins way, like you were just saying, what, three years? Three for 150? Yeah, it'd be more than, remember Kurtz was three for 90. It'd be way more than that.

Go, go for that. Get back on the market age 29. I would assume that's a deal. If you're the Ravens, if you're more worried about, let's say years than money, lock it up. You still get $50 million a season. So you're still highly compensated and go, you know, again, go play three years show.

You can help be healthy. So you can win playoff games and you'll get that Deshaun Watson like deal in three years from now. Now, you know, what's crazy. I can't say that you're wrong. If you're fully still stuck on the idea of him getting a fully guaranteed deal. But I just think that this is more ammunition for the Ravens to go to Lamar and say, if it's true that he's still asking for a fully guaranteed deal, which you have no clue what the heck he actually is asking for. Look at what Jalen hurts just got. And I know Lamar could say, I have the unanimous MVP.

He doesn't. Well, you've also been hurt the last two years and I'm a big believer in Lamar. And he's also had a lot more playoff success in a shorter time than you've had.

So we talked about it all the time. You don't necessarily need to be a better player to get a better deal. And in this case right now, entering this year, I do think Hertz is a better player than Lamar Jackson, but it's not like Lamar doesn't belong at the table of getting a deal in the ballpark, if not exceeding what Jalen hurts just got. And you know me, I have been in lockstep with you that Lamar is never going to sign a long-term deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

I actually have a change of heart in that now. I think Lamar is going to get a deal done with the Baltimore Ravens and for some reason, and maybe I'm just getting caught up in the moment and I'll feel differently about this like tomorrow, but right now, after seeing this deal, you know, eventually burrow and Herbert are going to get paid as well. And I don't think anyone's getting a fully guaranteed contract unless you are right. It's on a shorter term deal, like a three-year deal. Cause then that's different than the Sean Watson five-year deal. I do think this Jalen hurts deal is going to be used as a framework for the Baltimore Ravens to get a deal done.

Cause just look at it. Kyler Murray got like a buck 79 guaranteed. And I know there's some, some sense here with, with Jalen hurts, but it's about 179 guaranteed as well. And I much rather, as I said, I've hurts over Kyler Murray.

I could see it. And even even Rapport revealed today that Jalen hurt that Lamar Jackson had an offer on the table for 200 million guaranteed. So I kind of think eventually now that they're going to get a deal done and it will be somewhere where it's like 50, 51, $52 million a year. And maybe it ends up being 200 million guaranteed. So Lamar, I guess could save some face on this, but I'm thinking that it's similar like five years, two 55, maybe five years, two 60, and it ends up being 200 million guaranteed.

That is where I just felt that emotion today. And it's so weird hickey because we've been, we don't usually agree on a lot of things and we don't do contrived radio, like some other shows, but I'm starting to now disagree with myself that Lamar is never going to get a deal done in Baltimore. And also for it, he hasn't had anyone bite yet. And I know that could change after the draft, but another part that also has me thinking this way is maybe the Ravens are just going to let some other team, if they ever like to do so, do their homework for them and do the dirty work because they keep on trying to give Lamar every chance to see that he's not going to get the guaranteed deal. And you don't know what he wants, what he doesn't want.

And there's been multiple reports out there that have contradicted one after another after another. Oh, you just saw Jalen Hurts not get a guaranteed deal. I'm going to assume that Herbert and Burrow don't get a guaranteed deal.

You look around, no team so far have made a move. So even if he does agree to terms with another team, the Ravens ultimately can match it. And I can't see another team offering him a deal that is that much better than this deal that Jalen Hurts got where the Ravens and all of a sudden go, okay, we're going to go ride with Tyler Huntley or we're going to go draft the quarterback in the draft this year or next year, even though, right, the Casa said they're exploring it or they'll have some great contingency plan that's going to produce a better player than Lamar Jackson. I still think at this point, I'll be shocked if a deal gets done.

I don't think the Hurts for me does not change anything. How I feel about the Raven, just because number one, we're going to see that deal again, get topped once, probably twice this off season with Burrow and with Herbert. And you mentioned the $200 million guaranteed. You go back to the report where they gave them 133 guaranteed. There was, is it one of those technicalities where sure it could be $200 million fully guaranteed, but there's a lot of strings that a lot of backdoor sort of, it's really not.

It's dressed up to make it the number look bigger than it truly is. And that's why Lamar turned it down. Lamar, I think at this point is still, I think I would be shocked if he changes his stance. I think he is too dug in on what he wants. He's again, there's only like the Sean Watson, but no one's guaranteed deal was the only one ever given out. So it's not like he was looking at that saying, Oh, like that's a common practice.

I deserve that. So it was like, right. That was the only big time contract given out. So he's already on an Island to begin with going for this massive deal. I just don't think at this point, he's gonna, he is going to step away from that. I think at this point, he's more likely to play the franchise tag one year, then bet on himself of getting that deal next year compared to signing a lesser deal in his mind with the Ravens. But here's the thing, the more and more signs that keep on going, keep on showing Lamar that he is not going to get that fully guaranteed deal.

Eventually you have to come, come off of that. Now he may wait two more years bank on himself. And then if he gets injured one more year, you know, two more years, someone will give him a deal, but he's not going to get that much better than what he would get right now.

And it's, it could maybe only go down. If, if, and this is a big, if he gets hurt once again, the next two years. So it's like at this rate, if you want to run that risk of the next two years, playing out this year and next year in a franchise tagging them, walking after that, okay, you could do that. Cause I don't think the Ravens would then franchise tag him from the financial standpoint, three years in a row, but you either agree to a term with the team this year. And I do think the Ravens would match it, or you get the deal done independently with the Ravens, or you do what you're saying. You wait the next two years. I think out of those options, waiting the next two years is just dumb. If Lamar is going to operate that road. And that's why once again, I would call Nicole Lynn and just get this deal done. And I do think she could get this deal done.

I would say within 72 hours, if you do hire an agent. Alrighty, Zach Gelb show, CBS sports radio, the commissioner of the NHL, Gary Bettman will join us next as the Stanley cup playoffs are back. You're listening to the Zach Gelb show.

We continue. This is that Gelb show coast to coast on CBS sports radio. We welcome back playoff hockey. I'll be in attendance Saturday night at the world's most famous arena, Madison square garden. Hopefully the range will have a nice lead in the series. I'm looking forward to another hopeful long run for my blue shirts, but as we welcome back in playoff hockey, we now welcome in the commissioner of the NHL.

And that is Gary Bettman commissioner. First off, I appreciate you doing this. Thanks for the time. How are you? Good to be with you. It sounds like you're a Rangers fan. Yes, very much. So I've invested a lot of money this year in this team, Gary. So I'm looking forward to a nice long run in the playoffs. You know, what's great about our playoffs is no matter who you root for, they're going to be exciting. They're going to be competitive. I mean, there's really nothing like them, particularly our first round and go into a game at attendance is just a second to none. When you look at all the sports for playoff hockey, but when we look at a team storyline here, commissioner, clearly the Bruins are the talk of the star of the Stanley cup playoffs, just with the historical season that they've had. And you know, in this sport, just like you said, anything could happen. We've seen that the top dogs go out often, but when you have a team like this, it's been so special for the sport. They were incredible this year records for most points and most wins.

You look at the competition composition of the team. It's hard to see any weaknesses, but don't remember. Don't forget. It wasn't too long ago. Let's remember when Tampa Bay has a extraordinary regular season. What four years ago, we then got eliminated in the first round for zip by the Columbus blue jackets.

So you just never know. No, you truly don't. And I was watching ESPN early this morning and we all love PK Subban. And he said that Connor McDavid, when you go to individual storylines, may be the best player to ever play the game. And he's never seen a player to play the game like Connor has, which is saying something since Wayne Gretzky, as you know, was the face of your sport for so many years. Just when you look at McDavid's season, commissioner, 64 goals, 89 assists at 153 points.

How do you kind of process what he was able to do? Well, PK's analysis is shared by lots of people. Connor may be the best hockey player on the face of the earth, and frankly, may be the best athlete when you think about everything he has to do and how physical the game is. Wayne is and will always be the face of the game.

But Connor shows that you can go from generation to generation and the sport always renews itself and can even get better. It's kind of crazy because we know McDavid is the biggest star in the sport right now, but for so many years, it was Crosby and Ovechkin. For them not to be in this postseason, even though I can't stand the Capitals and Penguins, commissioner, it is a little bit bizarre.

Well, I don't know that it's bizarre, but it is unique for us. At this juncture, Sid and Ovi are sensational players. They're great representatives to the game, and yeah, there's a bit of a shock for them not to be in the playoffs, but again, this is just another indication of how the game is moving forward and getting younger. Commissioner Gary Bettman here with us on the Zach Gelb show. We know the Knights have been successful in Vegas. They've been in the league since 2017. Seattle just finished it up in second season now in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That's going to be an atmosphere coming up later on in the week. When you get to the topic of expansion, are you guys looking to add more teams, commissioner?

You know, it's a great question, and I get asked it all the time. We just had two incredibly successful expansions, as you said, with Vegas and Seattle. We're getting continuously additional expressions of interest, whether it's Salt Lake City, Quebec City, Atlanta, Houston, but we don't have an active plan, and we're not actively pursuing expansion at this point.

I don't know that we will. I wouldn't rule it out, but at least at this point in time, we're pretty content with what we have with our 32. So then what do you make when you see that report today by Zach Klein at WSB-TV about this proposal in Georgia in Forsyth County about an hour away from Atlanta, where there could be just so conveniently an 18,500 seat stadium potentially being built? Well, that goes to the point that we're getting expressions of interest, but we're not doing anything with them at this point in time in terms of focusing on a plan of expansion, at least for the time being.

And I'm not suggesting we're going to, at some point in the future, actively pursue expansion, but it's not something that we're focused on right now. The Coyotes, they've been a big topic of conversation. Could you see them maybe moving to Houston? I'd like them moving to Tempe into a brand new building. They're in Tempe now, actually, playing at ASU. There's a referendum on May 16th, which is the last step in the approval process for the team to pursue the project. Alex Morello is the owner. He wants to create a mixed-use development around an arena.

He's doing it all privately, and our hope is that the people of Tempe will approve their referendum on May 16th and everything can move forward. The 5,000-seat stadium that they played in this year, I'm sure you went to a game or two out there, I would assume. I know that you obviously won a bigger stadium and it was a different circumstance, but what did you think of the atmosphere out there? It was incredible. It was actually a lot of fun.

Obviously, it doesn't work in another on a temporary basis, but it was a lot of fun. It was loud. Fans were engaged. Everybody's literally on top of the ice, and it's great that ASU was willing to share their facility because based on the way things played out in greater Phoenix, there was really no place else for the Coyotes to play, which is why we're so anxious and hopeful that the referendum gets approved and we can move forward and see this team anchored there forever. The commissioner of the NHL, Gary Bettman, here with us. When you look back at this TV deal, now two years in with TNT and then also ESPN, are you happy with the way that hockey's being portrayed to their fans on television? We are thrilled.

TNT, ESPN, ABC, ESPN Plus, doing a fantastic job of not just covering the game, but promoting the game and creating content around the game. The reaction we're getting from fans is all positive. Ratings are up since we began this relationship two seasons ago, and it's just been an incredible ride and they've been great partners. You've been doing this for a long time, commissioner. What still motivates you? What still drives you about being the commissioner of the NHL? I love the game and I love all of the people associated with the game, whether it's the players, the team personnel. Ownership has been incredibly supportive and I think we've got the world's best fans. The game has never been more widely followed. The game has never been more exciting, more compelling, more competitive, more entertaining. It's based on speed and skill, and so we're looking at a situation where there's great opportunity for us to continue to grow the game, and that's what excites me. You're going to turn 71 in June, so happy early birthday to you. Thank you, thank you.

How much longer do you want to do this, by the way? You know what, I love what I do, and as long as the people that I report to, namely ownership, are pleased with the work that we do, and as long as I've got the energy to do this, which I have, I want to keep doing it because it's an honor to be associated with this game, and we're having a lot of fun growing the game. The last few years, it's been a challenging time in our country, and I love the way how quickly you guys, in a safe manner, brought the sport back. What did the last few years teach you, Commissioner Gary Bettman? Well, first of all, obviously everybody was challenged by COVID, not just the hockey or the sports world. Everybody had to deal with a horrible two years. What it taught me is you've got to work very cooperatively with whoever is necessary to enable your organization to move forward.

You've got to be flexible, you've got to do your homework, and you've got to work hard. Before we let you run, just being in the New York area, I hear this complaint a lot from my Ranger fans, my fellow Ranger fans. The common fan feels like they're getting priced out of MSG. What's the message to the Ranger fan with how expensive these tickets are to get to a playoff game?

What do you say to them? Well, the answer is the economics are dictated by the marketplace, and like you, there are a lot of fans who want to be in Madison Square Garden, and there are only about 18,000 people lucky enough to be in that building and to soak up that atmosphere, and it's great to go to a game there. What was attractive to you about Seattle when you were looking to expand hockey back there? The fact of the matter is we know it's a great sports town. They had a real void in winter sports, particularly after the NBA left, and we've always coveted the opportunity to go there and be in a great vibrant market.

We just need an arena, and David Bonderman and his partners stepped up to build an arena, really transformed the old key arena, and we're invested in bringing NHL hockey to a great place, and we're thrilled to be there. Well, Commissioner, appreciate you doing this. Thanks so much for the time. Thank you.

Great to be with you. Enjoy the playoffs. There he is, the Commissioner of the NHL, on the day that the Stanley Cup playoffs returned, Gary Bettman joining us on CBS Sports Radio. For me, the biggest takeaway is expansion. He, right now, says there are a lot of cities that are interested, but there's no active plan to expand past the 32 teams right now. Like, he didn't say that that couldn't change.

He left that door open. You hear about the plan in Forsythe today in Georgia, which about an hour away from Atlanta. There's been a lot of talk about Houston as well, and other cities like the Commissioner did talk about, but I know Seattle's been very successful, and Vegas has been super duper successful. You're already at 32 teams. You know why it would happen? It's because of money, money, money, money, but how many more teams do we need? I don't think it's necessary, but you always follow the dollars and cents, not necessarily what makes all the time cents in these scenarios.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 20:16:21 / 2023-04-17 20:33:17 / 17

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