Jay Cutler Found Out Live On The Air That Lovie Smith Was Fired

This was the scene as Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler learned that head coach Lovie Smith will not be returning to the team.

With as many as a dozen head coaches potentially losing their jobs on the “Black Monday” following the 2012-13 season, it’s obvious that nobody’s job was safe.

Especially Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

Despite finishing with a 10-6 record, one that started 7-1, merely missing the playoffs claimed to be the dagger for Smith’s nine-year tenure on the Bears’ sidelines.

The timing of the announcement of the Bears parting ways with Smith couldn’t have come at a worse time for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. He learned of his coach’s fate right as he was on the air during a live appearance with WMVP/”ESPN 1000″ midday hosts Marc Silverman and former Bears wideout Tom Waddle, who also appears on NFL Network as well as the “Pro Football Weekly” TV series, which is filmed in Chicago.

Cutler was described as being “choked up a little” at the moment one of the hosts received a tweet from Adam Schefter announcing Smith’s dismissal. The reaction of the crowd that turned out at the live event at 115 Bourbon Street in Southside Chicago was anything but.

Listen as the awkwardness unfolds for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, live on the air:

Hannah Will Take Rose Parade By Storm After Recovering From Gas Grill Gaffe (UPDATE: PHOTOS)

Hannah Storm will make her triumphant return to broadcasting as hostess of ABC’s Tournament of Roses Parade after suffering first- and second-degree burns, causing her absence from ESPN’s “SportsCenter”. (Pictured: Hannah Storm, Bob Ley.)

If you’ve been wondering why Hannah Storm has been missing from ESPN’s airwaves or hasn’t tweeted for the last few weeks, well, here’s why.

She suffered first- and second-degree burns to her face, neck, chest and both of her hands and lost half of her hair as well as her eyelashes and eyebrows after an incident involving a propane gas grill on December 11.

Exactly three weeks since that ordeal, Storm, who had to be treated at a burn center not too far from her Connecticut home, will make her return to the air as hostess of ABC’s coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade.

“I’ve covered events with military members who have been through a lot worse than me, and they’ve come through,” commented Storm, adding, “I can do this. I’m fortunate.”

She even said as much on Twitter, noting today that she’s “especially thankful this New Year’s.”

I’m sure everybody is looking forward to the return of Hannah Storm on New Year’s Day.

Even Tony Kornheiser.

UPDATE, 1.2.13: So if you’re a well-known television personality who happens to be on the wrong end of a gas grill explosion, what’s the next logical step? Do a news item on it, of course, with exclusive photos of Hannah, post-burn:

NBC Sports Radio Moving Erik Kuselias To Morning Drive In April?

Eytan Shander and Amani Toomer currently host the late night airshift on NBC Sports Radio. But when the network expands to 24-hour, 7-day programming, they could be moved to a midday time slot, while evening drive host Erik Kuselias moves to mornings.

As you know, the new CBS Sports Radio Network officially goes 24/7 this week. Meanwhile, the NBC Sports Radio Network, which officially announced its formation a mere week prior to CBSSR’s unveiling, is on the air with three shows from 7 PM to 5 AM ET, and with the new year will come a new weekend schedule.

Upon the announcement of the NBCSR weekend schedule was a confirmation that the network would be 24/7 on April 1.

And on that day, according to a somewhat buried sentence in Richard Deitsch’s weekly “Media Circus” column, NBCSR shows currently on the air will be moved back to an earlier time.

In the case of Erik Kuselias, who hosts the 7-10 PM program, he will be appointed the “morning host” on the network, putting him back in the wakeup daypart since he departed The Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” program last May. (Kuselias currently appears on TV via NBC Sports Network.)

As for the duo of Eytan Shander and Amani Toomer, currently entrenched in the 10 PM-1 AM slot, they will be rerouted to middays, according to Deitsch. Of course, exactly what “midday” time slot they will get is yet to be determined. More than likely, they’ll be given a time slot starting at 12 Noon ET. That’s because NBC employee Dan Patrick’s radio show, which broadcasts from 9 AM-12 Noon ET, is not far behind from joining the NBCSR lineup, as the television simulcast of the radio show recently moved over to NBC Sports Network from Fox Sports Networks.

No word on whether or not NBCSR redeye host Dan Schwartzman will be given an earlier shift when the network goes 24/7 in April, or if any of the talent hosting weekend programming on the network (e.g. Jason Page, Anita Marks, NFL Network’s Brian Webber) will also be granted a daily show.

UPDATE: Mr. Deitsch has informed me that the previous report that had Kuselias going to mornings and Shander/Toomer going to middays was a misreading on his part. Which I can understand. Of course, given Kuselias’ prior experience in the morning daypart, I can also understand if Kuselias does get promoted to morning drive eventually. So while it’s not a done deal, I wouldn’t rule it out. In fact, that’ll be my first (and only) 2013 prediction: Kuselias will get mornings when NBC Sports Radio goes 24/7.

Michael Lombardi: "I Haven't Been Contacted" About Browns Position (Yet)

With the Cleveland Browns expected to terminate head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, a previous Browns employee for ten years, may put his burgeoining broadcasting career on hold.

With New Year’s Eve 2013 falling on the day after the end of the NFL regular season, today could be considered the eve of destruction, as about as many as a dozen teams are expected to potentially dismiss their current head coaches and/or general managers and other staff.

One of those teams linked to such speculation is the Cleveland Browns, who have not finished with a winning record since 2007 (and even that year, they missed the playoffs).

There are rumblings that new Browns owner Joe Banner will relieve head coach Pat Shurmur of his duties, and eventually reorganize the front office – with the name of Michael Lombardi surfacing, due to his past connection with Banner when both were working with the Philadelphia Eagles. And, of course, Lombardi himself had worked behind the scenes for the Browns from 1987 to 1996.

So when Lombardi was brought on Saturday night’s edition of “NFL Total Access” by telephone, he was given the opportunity to say – well, basically, the same thing he’s been saying ever since he’s been named the de facto GM by NFL bloggers.

After discussing the future of Shurmur under new team ownership, NFL Network’s Scott Hanson told viewers he was “doing my due diligence” in asking Lombardi the inevitable question about him possibly joining the Browns as their new general manager.

After razzing Hanson about his infatuation with the sweaters that he donned the last time he was working for the league in a management capacity, Lombardi said: “Look… Decisions haven’t been finalized, in terms of the front office. Once they do that, I look for the Browns to go get a coach first, and then make their decisions about a front office, and I haven’t been contacted, and that’s what I’ve maintained all along.”

And there’s a good reason as to why nobody from the Browns organization, or any team, for that matter, hasn’t reached out to Lombardi.

“Ultimately… you don’t get contacted until jobs have officially opened up, and they haven’t opened up yet.”

Word on the street is that the franchise will indeed be creating job vacancies on the day referred to by the mainstream football media as “Black Monday.”

And that means there’s a very good possibility that Lombardi might be contacted by the Browns, one of five teams he’s been employed by. Since leaving the Raiders in 2007, Lombardi started making regular appearances on NFL Network, and has been an NFL.com columnist since 2010 (this after working for a couple of years at the NationalFootballPost.com website he founded in 2008).

In addition to being an “insider” for NFL Network, he also just completed his first season co-hosting NFLN’s new Sunday early morning “First On The Field” program, alongside Melissa Stark, Sterling Sharpe and LaDainian Tomlinson.

But if the Cleveland Browns have their way, Michael Lombardi will be off the air – and on the clock.

Hub Arkush: Chuck Pagano Return To Colts After Beating Cancer Is "Selfish," Will Be "A Distraction" For Team

Pro Football Weekly’s Hub Arkush thinks it’s pointless for Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano to return to the sidelines for the team’s playoff run after beating leukemia. “I think it’s got to be a distraction.”

It was absolutely sobering to hear news after the Indianapolis Colts’ bye week that their new head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia.

Since offensive coordinator Bruce Arians took over on an interim basis, all the Colts have done, to paraphrase Skip Bayless, is win. And all the while, the team has not forgotten about Pagano, as personnel from players to cheerleaders showed support by shaving their heads in his honor.

As if it were some sort of Christmas miracle, Pagano has been cleared to resume head coaching duties. And on the eve of his return to the sidelines, he even sent an inspiring email to folks on LiveStrong’s email list. Pagano, of course, was the subject of an offshoot of the cancer campaign organized by the Colts, called “ChuckStrong.”

“After I was diagnosed with leukemia, my whole team rallied around me in ways I never expected,” Pagano wrote. “That’s the definition of teamwork.”

But for football publisher Hub Arkush, Pagano’s return to the Colts in the final week of the regular season is the definition of “selfish” at best.

“I know that this may be controversial, and I don’t wanna be Scrooge here, but why he is coming back is an absolute mystery to me,” Arkush told Sports Radio 610 in Houston this week. “It seems a little bit selfish. I understand I’ve never been in his position, but… I think it’s got to be a distraction, and I think Bruce Arians has done an outstanding job. They should not be screwing around with that.”

Arkush was asked by Brad Davies and Mike Meltser if he thought it was a good idea for the Colts to rest their starters, now that the team is locked into the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. But before eventually answering that question, he addressed his concern for the person who hasn’t been in action for a dozen weeks.

“If I’m Chuck Pagano, I rest myself.”

The publisher of Pro Football Weekly also took a similar stance this week on the nationally syndicated radio show that bears the publication’s name, which he co-hosts with Green Bay Packers radio announcer Wayne Larrivee.

“I don’t really understand why Chuck Pagano is coming back,” Arkush commented, adding that the coach’s cancer battle has been “a great story” and that “it’s obvious he had a huge impact” on the team’s amazing run, especially with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck under center. Arkush also believes that Arians should be a shoo-in for the NFL Coach of the Year for his work in keeping the Colts in playoff contention, winning nine of twelve games.

Pro Football Weekly is actually a pretty good publication. Not only do they have a corresponding radio show, they also have a weekly television program that runs on many regional sports networks during the football season – and many might have heard of it for the first time only after Dan Hampton predicted that the Minnesota Vikings would “hit” the New Orleans Saints “like Katrina” in the opening week of the 2010 regular season.

Having said that, this sounds like a point that Hampton, and not Arkush, might make.

While Arians deserves credit for coaching a team that has been .750 under his watch, and Luck also should get some consideration for playing out of his mind in a sensational rookie campaign (second only, perhaps, to Robert Griffin III), you can’t help but argue that the spirit of Pagano kept a fire burning like the light that remained on in his office as he underwent treatment.

So even though he’ll be back with the team physically in what will likely be the team’s final game in Indianapolis this season, no matter how far the Colts advance in the playoffs, it’s hard to say if Chuck Pagano’s return will be a head coaching version of Ronnie Lott or Kirk Gibson or Curt Schilling or Willis Reed.

But to suggest that “ChuckStrong” returning to the team at this phase is “selfish” is downright weak.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 17

 

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be working a game featuring the New England Patriots for the sixth time this season, when the Pats host the Miami Dolphins from Foxboro.

We’ve once again reached the final week of the regular season of the NFL. And so, as 2012 becomes 2013, 32 teams become 12 (with four of them on a bye week). And each and every game will be on Sunday. No Monday night game, and no Thursday night game. And the Sunday night game, as first speculated here, is going to be Cowboys/Redskins for the NFC East division title. And yes, both CBS and Fox have doubleheaders, except in markets where a team will be hosting a game, or a team fails to sell enough tickets (hello, Buffalo!). The SportsFans.org website actually tallied a grand total of fourteen games being blacked out locally this season, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leading the way with six blackouts. The San Diego Chargers are right behind them with four games – but they won’t be adding (subtracting?) to that total this year, as their home finale (which will likely be the finale of Norv Turner’s coaching career and A.J. Smith’s general managing career in San Diego) against the Oakland Raiders has been sold out. I guess they’re happy to see Norv and A.J. go, huh?

EARLY GAMES

CBS: Virtually everybody west of U.S. Route 31 will be watching the Houston Texans play the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, a.k.a. The House That Peyton Built. And Peyton’s eventual successor, Andrew Luck, is no Wally Pipp, potentially leading his team to a playoff berth in his rookie season. Just two weeks ago in Houston, the Texans defeated the Colts, clinching the AFC South division. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf call this rematch. Of course, every single game on this weekend’s roster is a rematch, as they’re all games between division rivals. Remember back in Week 1, when Mark Sanchez and the Jets blew out the Bills in New Jersey? Well, as you read in the opening paragraph, Western New York wants no part of the Jets again, which means Marv Albert and Rich Gannon will be working a game that will only be seen in New York City and Albany and their surrounding areas. Reminds me of last season, when the great Marv Albert did a Jets/Eagles game, while most of the rest of the country watched the Patriots vs. the Broncos (and Tim Tebow). The Cincinnati Bengals, who were notorious for games being blacked out last year, only had one such game this season – and it was their win against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. This week, the Bengals face the team that just beat said Giants last week, the Baltimore Ravens, and Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots are assigned to that game. The Pittsburgh Steelers, another AFC North team that defeated the G-Men this year, host the Cleveland Browns, in a game that will be called by Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein. And in a game that has no playoff implications whatsoever, the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) take on the Tennessee Titans (5-10), and for those who have the will to watch it, especially now that Maurice Jones-Drew just went on injured reserve, you’ll hear Don Criqui and Randy Cross interpreting game action for you.

FOX: Looks like the NFC North is going to be split between Fox’s top broadcast booths. First, the trio of Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa will work a game between the Chicago Bears, who are in danger of missing the playoffs, and the Detroit Lions, whose current losing streak pretty much puts an end to any playoff aspirations they may have had this year. Two more teams that also had playoff aspirations this season: the Philadelphia Eagles, who will likely part ways with head coach Andy Reid next week and quarterback Michael Vick next year, and the New York Giants, who have parted ways with the desire to win football games over the past couple of months. Earlier this year on a Sunday nighter in Philly, the Eagles beat the Giants; it would be the last game they would win until they got off the schneid in Tampa earlier this month. The rematch will be worked by Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick, the former Ravens head coach who has been rumored to assume Reid’s job next year. The other two matchups in Fox’s early game window all involve the NFC South division. The Atlanta Falcons, who clinched the division and the number one seed in the NFC overall, entertain the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; working this game will be Dick Stockton and former Buc John Lynch. And the Carolina Panthers travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (not in Benzes, I’m assuming) to take on the New Orleans Saints; assigned to this matchup are Ron Pitts and Mike Martz, who never worked for the Saints, though he did coach the St. Louis Rams.

LATE GAMES

CBS: For the sixth time this season, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be working a game involving the New England Patriots. The six-pack includes a trip to jolly ol’ England, as you recall. This week, the also-rans in last year’s Super Bowl host the Miami Dolphins. For the record, Gumbel and Dierdorf worked their previous matchup back in Week 13. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts actually called a Patriots game this season (granted, it was against a lesser opponent) and this week, they’ll be in Denver, where the Broncos, behind Peyton Manning, will face the Kansas City Chiefs (poor Ian and Dan). And calling the Oakland Raiders/San Diego Chargers game that will not be blacked out in Baja California are Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker (poor Bill and Steve).

FOX: This week’s Green Bay Packers/Minnesota Vikings game is assigned to the A-team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and for good reason: Adrian Peterson could break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. He needs about 200 yards to do so – which, given AP’s body of work, isn’t entirely impossible, but perhaps he can run the Vikings into the postseason, as a playoff berth is also on the line for Minnesota. As you read last week, this game was also a candidate, in my view, of being flexed into Sunday night this week. The St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, who ended the regular season in NBC’s Sunday night spotlight two years ago – and could have possibly done so again this season, especially if a “win or go home” situation presented itself – will settle for Chris Myers and Tim Ryan instead of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. And speaking of notable announcers, Gus Johnson will once again get the call for an NFL game, as he and Charles Davis work the regular season finale for the playoff-bound San Francisco 49ers and the January-could-not-come-soon-enough Arizona Cardinals.

My next roundup will be in roughly ten weeks, when NCAA March Madness once again takes its toll. Thanks for reading.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.