Unscripted: Dan Patrick Mocks ESPN Management

Yesterday I reported that ESPN management attempted to script questions that ESPN radio hosts asked Those Guys Have All The Fun co-author Jim Miller during three interviews about the ESPN-centric book on Tuesday.

Former longtime ESPN on-air talents Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen talked about the unprecedented practice on Patrick’s nationally syndicated FOX Sports Radio and Direct TV show on Friday.

Dan Patrick: “Did you see the report from Sports by Brooks that the mothership (ESPN) had the (ESPN book) author (Jim Miller) on and they had scripted questions to ask him?

Rich Eisen: “No. No! On which show?

Patrick: “Mike & Mike and ..

Eisen:  “The magical van peezy (Scott Van Pelt)? I heard he had a very good interview with him.

Patrick:  “They had recommended questions for the author. How silly is that?!

Eisen: “When he goes on next week with (Bill) Simmons I imagine that won’t be happening.”

Patrick: “Simmons wants to be anti-ESPN while being all things ESPN. … From what I’m told, there were suggested questions that you may want to ..

Eisen: “The horse is out of the barn with that book.

Patrick: “I know, it’s silly.

Eisen: “700 pages worth!

Patrick: “I know, it is silly. That’s what Sports by Brooks is reporting and this is dead solid here.

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Crosby ‘Way More Talented Than Gretzky’? Uh, NO

Wayne Gretzky, the undisputed most dominant team sports athlete of all-time, turned 50 earlier this week.

Wayne Gretzky

(Not Great. Greatest.)

While guesting on the Dan Patrick Show today, another NHL great, Jeremy Roenick, was asked to compare Gretzky to Sidney Crosby.

Instead of the usual, reverential platitudes about both, Roenick gave an unvarnished (and much appreciated) opinion this morning that absolutely knocked me off my barstool chair.

“The era now, the players are so much better. The goaltenders are so much better. The equipment is so much more advanced, it would really hard to compare the two eras, but Gretzky was by far the smartest player but I think Sidney Crosby is definitely way more talented than Wayne.”

Bless Roenick’s heart, but no one in modern sports history was more dominant when compared to his peers than Gretzky. Save perhaps Babe Ruth in the immediate seasons after he became a full-time hitter.

As proof, the chart below shows Crosby and Gretzky compared to their peers during their best statistical seasons.

Wayne Gretzky Sidney Crosby Statistical Comparison

 (Top statistical seasons: Crosby ‘06-07, Gretzky ‘81-82)

It was tough to pick Gretzky’s best statistical season, because there were multiple years in his career that he rung up similar numbers. Crosby has led the NHL in scoring once so far in his still-young career, so his body of work is incomplete. But consider that Gretzky accrued the above numbers at age 20.

It’s folly to ascribe Gretzky’s ability to any one personal characteristic. The only evaluation you need is to look at his jaw-dropping numbers compared to the best his peers had to offer at that time to verify that he wasn’t great. No, Gretzky was the greatest. Read more…

Dan Patrick: Star Witness In Upcoming ESPN Book

The co-author of a much-anticipated book about ESPN, Jim Miller, linked this photo to his Twitter account recently and called it the book’s working cover.:

ESPN Book Cover

Reading about the documentation of the manufacturing of a sports media monolith isn’t my cup of tea. That is, unless Dan Patrick is around to talk freely about his experience at ESPN, which he did for the book. (Not a coincidence he’s top left in the photo.)

Just this week the former SportsCenter anchor’s candor when it comes to his career at ESPN - and his untimely departure - was on display in a profile on the rise of his daily Direct TV show and during the show itself.

Speaking to Eric Deggans of Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center, Patrick offered the following appetizers:

On October 25, Patrick’s show will become available on 25 more regional sports networks owned by Fox Sports, Comcast and MSG – a deal that marks the first time DirecTV has sold one of its original shows into the syndication.

And if this latest move with The Dan Patrick Show works out, he expects it won’t be long before he’s dealing with The Mothership once again. If you have a concept, they will eventually swallow it up and make it theirs,” he said. “I guess you’re supposed to take that as a compliment; ‘Wow ESPN stole your idea.’ I’ve already heard from some of their talent who are curious about how I pulled this off. I think they hope I succeed so they’ll have a place to land, too.”

Patrick hinted that his departure was at least partly due to his unwillingness to cede the uniqueness of his personality to ESPN’s fastidious, branding overlords:

While some at ESPN may act as if they supported the franchise which eventually helped define the network from Day One, Patrick remembers it differently. He talked of being reprimanded for acting on air as if they were bigger than the network, warned to stop calling their program “The Big Show” and instead remind viewers “This is SportsCenter.”

(They wound up saying the phrase in such a sarcastically overblown way, it became a catchphrase in ways the executives hardly intended.)

“I remember walking out of that meeting saying ‘I’ve got three kids; I can’t get fired,’” Patrick said. “Olbermann looked over and said ‘F— ‘em.’ He gave me the guts to let me be who I was. And it should have been embraced a lot more than it was.”

So in 2007, Patrick decided to close the book on 18 years in Bristol, Conn., and move on, building a new show that broadcasts in a studio one mile from his house and allows him to be at home for dinner almost every night.

Then there was Patrick this week referring on his show to ESPN’s practice of “confirming” news broken by other main media outlets. Patrick cited ESPN’s most-recent poaching of the news of the Randy Moss trade - which was reported first by Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. Read more…

USC AD: If Bush Had My Soul He’d Return Heisman

Former star USC quarterback and NFL player Pat Haden guested on the Dan Patrick Show today. Haden, who was recently hired as USC Athletic Director, was asked by Patrick during the interview: “If you were Reggie Bush, would you give back the Heisman?

Pat Haden on the Dan Patrick Show

(Audio of Haden’s comment about Bush returning Heisman below)

Haden, after a long pause and sigh, replied: Read more…

Rex Ryan Dad To Tony Dungy: Pipe Down, Buddy

Longtime NFL coach Buddy Ryan was quizzed today on Philadelphia radio about criticism Tony Dungy leveled at Ryan’s son Rex about the Jets Coach’s penchant for f-bombs on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

Buddy and Rex Ryan

(Surprising tho, no calls for Dungy to get off Buddy’s lawn)

While needling Rex Ryan about his obscenity-laced presentation during the HBO program yesterday, Dungy also suggested that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tell the Jets coach to tone down the expletives during the show.

Here’s the transcript of Buddy Ryan’s comments today about Dungy on Vai Sikahema and John Gonzalez‘ show on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly: Read more…

Dungy Wouldn’t Hire Ryan Because Of Profanity?

Despite admitting that he hasn’t seen the show this year, today on the Dan Patrick Show former NFL Coach Tony Dungy criticized Rex Ryan about the Jets Coach’s profanity on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

Dan Patrick Tony Dungy and Rex Ryan Dan Patrick Show

(Transcript, audio of Dungy’s comments below)

Dungy to Patrick:

“I have not watched it, I’ve gotten the reports, I’m disappointed with all the profanity. I think Rex can make his points without all that. But he’s trying to endear himself to his team and he’s doing a great job of it.”

Read more…

Monty: Court Gagged Pics, Vids Of ‘Sexual Nature’

Tuesday I reported that European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie had been granted an injunction by London’s high court to gag U.K. media outlets from publishing embarrassing photos of him.

Paula Tagg Colin Montgomerie Photos

Wednesday I reported that Montgomerie’s former girlfriend, Paula Tagg, was thought to be the person behind the possible embarrassing material featuring Montgomerie.

Sports Illustrated’s Golf.com reported today that Montgomerie was indeed granted that injunction in London on July 8, with it applicable only to material in Tagg’s possession.

The gag order, reportedly granted by Mr. Justice Eady, legally bars Tagg from revealing, “the private details of a personal, intimate and sexual relationship … concerning acts of a sexual nature … any such information recorded in the form of a photograph or still image or moving images.Read more…

Report: Ex-Girlfriend Behind Monty Tabloid Story?

Thanks to some online investigative work by Ryan Ballengee at WaggleRoom.com, we now have a U.K. main media outlet reporting that one of Colin Montgomerie’s ex-girlfriends may be behind the embarrassing photos that reportedly spurred Monty to allegedly obtain a superinjunction from London’s high court against U.K. tabloid NEWS OF THE WORLD.

Paula Tagg Colin Montgomerie Photos

Last month, Charles Sale of the LONDON DAILY MAIL wrote:

These distractions may have something to do with Monty’s former girlfriend, model Paula Tagg, having taken advice from PR and publicity ringmaster Max Clifford - with the concern being how any story about Monty will impact on his preparations for the match against the United States at Celtic Manor in October.

Clifford is a reknowned celebrity publicist in the U.K. who has plenty of experience in representing clients in various snits involving News of the World and other tabloids. Read more…

CBS Reporter Feherty: Monty Is Blocking Tabloid

Earlier today I cited several transatlantic sources in reporting that European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie has allegedly been granted an injunction by London’s high court to block embarrassing photos of him from being published by the British tabloid NEWS OF THE WORLD.

Dan Patrick Show Colin Montgomerie David Feherty

In addition to my report, CBS golf reporter David Feherty said today on the Dan Patrick Show that Montgomerie has indeed obtained, “an injunction filed to keep this story out of the newspapers.

More Feherty on the injunction:

You can do it in the United Kingdom for a certain length of time but the chances of this remaining a secret until after the Ryder Cup I think are just zero. I’m not sure what’s going on, but it’s not very good.

The 2010 Ryder Cup is being held from Oct. 1-3 in the United Kingdom - at Celtic Manor Resort on the outskirts of Newport in South Wales.

The full transcription of the interview and audio of Patrick and Feherty on Montgomerie’s situation is below.

Dan Patrick:I’m hearing there’s a story in the News of the World and it has to do with a prominent golfer. Have you heard anything about the player filing an injunction against the newspaper to keep the story out of the press?Read more…

Eisen Contract Up August 1, New Deal Unsigned

NFL Network lead host Rich Eisen guested on the Dan Patrick Show this morning and was asked about my report yesterday that he was “fearful” for his job after the NFL recently hired former ESPN programming chief Mark Shapiro. (Shapiro was in part responsible for ESPN not renewing Eisen’s contract in 2003 - leading to his departure from the network.)

Rich Eisen appeared on the Dan Patrick Show to talk about Mark Shapiro joining NFL Network

Audio of Eisen’s remarks and a transcript of his comments are below.
Read more…