Mike Florio Involved In High Scoring Affair, According To Incarcerated Bob







A source claims that NBC Sports' Mike Florio may have engaged in an affair with a colleague, which led to someone quitting their job. This according to Incarcerated Bob.

A source claims that NBC Sports’ Mike Florio may have engaged in an affair with a colleague, which led to someone quitting their job. This according to Incarcerated Bob.

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio, if I could borrow a lyric from the Mel & Tim song “Backfield In Motion,” is being called for holding on to someone else.

The mysterious Internet sports reporter known as Incarcerated Bob claims that the founder and editor of ProFootballTalk.com, who also appears regularly on NBC Sports Network as well as NBC during football season, “had an affair with an employee at NBC Sports,” adding that an “assistant quit and money was exchanged.” The tweet was punctuated with, “WOW.”

Why you might be led to believe this is true: Bob has somewhat of a track record of breaking stories. Also, consider this tweet from The Iron Sheik, which was tweeted over an hour before Bob’s tweet:

Why you might not be led to believe this is true: According to this YouTube video, Bob appears to have it in for Florio.

I’m sure Bob was well aware of Florio’s law background before going forward with this report.

And sure enough, a couple of hours after tweeting this rumor, he dared Florio to “get those lawyers ready.”

Are you ready for some hardball?


Mike Tannenbaum To NFL Network?







Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum could be headed to NFL Network to fill a GM void left by Michael Lombardi, who has taken a position with the Cleveland Browns.

Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum could be headed to NFL Network to fill a GM void left by Michael Lombardi, who has taken a position with the Cleveland Browns.

It was a rather ugly Black Monday this past New Year’s Eve, and Mike Tannenbaum was one of the casualties.

The now-former New York Jets general manager is currently in the news cycle taking full responsibility for one of his final actions in Gang Green’s front office – the ill-fated trade for quarterback Tim Tebow.

But it might not be the last you hear from him – at least in sports media, anyway.

On his Wednesday afternoon program, noted TSA grope victim Mike “Police Escort Denyer” Francesa disclosed that Tannenbaum is all but set to bring his general manager knowledge to television. “I heard that he may be going to the NFL Network,” Francesa said on his WFAN/YES Network show.

Given the source is Francesa, one may want to take it at face value. But indeed, NFL Network does have a seat in their “Front Office View” vacant, now that Michael Lombardi has agreed to join the Cleveland Browns as their new vice president of player personnel.

Currently, NFLN has one resident general manager in Charley Casserly, who had previous experience with the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, both of whom made the playoffs this past season (Casserly was also the previous NFL insider for CBS before joining NFLN). But I’m sure NFLN would like to have two GM’s to call on and rotate between editions of their daily programs like “NFL Total Access.”

Tannenbaum wouldn’t be the first Jets non-player to make the move to broadcasting. Former head coach Herman “You Play To Win The Game” Edwards joined ESPN in 2009 after following up his Jets tenure (2001-05) with three seasons coaching the Kansas City Chiefs. Edwards’ replacement, Eric Mangini, eventually joined Edwards at the Worldwide Leader after following up his three years on the Jets sidelines in the same position with the Browns – but not before ESPN analysts were a bit too excited to hear the Browns relieved Mangini of his duties.

Meanwhile, we did some searching on NFL.com, and noticed that a July 2010 Tannenbaum interview on “Total Access” comes up as a search result – but appears to have been removed from their website.


Mark Schlereth, Hannah Storm On ESPN's Candid Camera Questioning Tim Tebow's Future







ESPN viewers on Tuesday were treated to a private conversation between Mark Schlereth and Hannah Storm, and the topic was the future of Tim Tebow in the NFL.

ESPN viewers on Tuesday were treated to a private conversation between Mark Schlereth and Hannah Storm, and the topic was the future of Tim Tebow in the NFL.

Once upon a time, ESPN was a shameless promoter in Tim Tebow – and they weren’t afraid to show it.

Former ESPN personalities weren’t afraid to admit that the network was pro-Tebow.

Even more so after his trade to the New York Jets, where he would become a seldom-used backup quarterback.

So one year removed from leading the Denver Broncos to an improbable playoff victory, he’s watching the playoffs at home. And judging by his Twitter feed – so far this year, his tweets have consisted of nothing but retweets – clearly, he’s at a loss for words.

But it sounds like a couple of ESPN personalities aren’t.

On Tuesday, during coverage of Super Bowl Media Day, ESPN had inadvertently cut away from a press conference with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the middle of a conversation between Hannah Storm and Mark Schlereth.

They appeared to be talking about a quarterback – and it wasn’t Kaepernick.

Based on what we could gather, brand-new grandfather Schlereth – who should be hosting ESPN’s “SportsNation” by now – was discussing potential future use for Tebow – and it didn’t sound like his future was bright, in Schlereth’s view.

And Storm, who actually looks quite nice, thank you, weeks removed from that horrific gas grill incident, seemed to buy what the former Broncos guard was selling.

Here’s the transcript:


MARK SCHLERETH: He’s like a tight end, basically.

STORM: Oh, yeah, yeah… Oh, yeah… Yeah, that’s interesting.

SCHLERETH: But I, I have to tell you, I talked to a bunch of the Broncos coaches, and… I just don’t know if he’s a fluent enough athlete to go over and play tight end, because he doesn’t catch the ball naturally, either.

STORM: Oh. And — okay, okay, okay. Yeah… Sure. Sure.

STAGE DIRECTOR: Okay, stand by, guys…

JIM HARBAUGH: Well, the way he played, ugh…

And at that point, ESPN cut to another presser with Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Now, granted, Schlereth never mentioned Tebow by name. But it wouldn’t be the first time he spoke of the quarterback in a negative light.

Also, it’s actually not the first time an ESPN talking head spoke ill will of Tebow on the air (at least Merril Hoge knew he was on camera).

So what led to this snafu? Was it sabotage from a Worldwide Leader insider who sought payback on the network for going wall-to-wall Tebow for many times over the last year or so?

Remember, ESPN recently went on the record and admitted that they did spend a bit too much time on their air with “Tebow time.”

Depending on what franchise Tebow ends up with in the 2013-14 season, we’ll see if the network is true to its word (like, for starters, whether or not August 15 of this year will be a regularly scheduled broadcast day).

But regardless of which side of the Tim Tebow fence ESPN may be on, I’m sure this is one piece of embarrassing video that they wish never crashed their Super Bowl party.

Mike Francesa Needed A Police Escort For His Flight To New Orleans







Mike Francesa was accompanied by a police escort for his flight to New Orleans for broadcasts at the site of Super Bowl XLVII.

Mike Francesa was accompanied by a police escort for his flight to New Orleans for broadcasts from the site of Super Bowl XLVII.

Another Super Bowl is upon us.

Which means another Super Bowl media week is upon us.

Which means that many radio hosts will be broadcasting live from the site of the big game once again.

Including WFAN/New York and YES Network’s Mike Francesa.

You may recall last year in Indianapolis, he stirred the pot a little bit by suggesting (lying) that popular Bible-thumping quarterback Tim Tebow refused to appear on Rosie O’Donnell’s satellite radio show due to her sexual orientation – a suggestion that was negated by a photo of the two in the same room, a photo that happened to be taken by Francesa’s former radio mate, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who also dropped by Francesa’s show that week.

So on the Sunday before Super Bowl Sunday – one on which he still did his scheduled “Football Sunday” broadcast, despite there being just the Pro Bowl being played tonight – Francesa had to make a mad dash to LaGuardia Airport for a flight to New Orleans that departed around 2:15 PM or so.

And he apparently brought a companion with him for the trip.

“[Mike] Francesa is on our flight,” tweeted Bleacher Report senior NFL video producer Aaron Nagler. “He gets a police escort. Seriously?”

Ten minutes later, Nagler’s Bleacher Report colleague, Sirius XM executive producer Nick Kostos, confirmed this.

Wonder why that is? So someone can prod him in case he falls asleep on the flight? So none of the other passengers heckles him, or even dare say, “Helloooo” to him?

And is this police escort going to accompany Francesa for the duration of his travails in the Big Easy?

It sure isn’t easy being Mike Francesa.

Below is Francesa’s explanation, but first, here’s more Twitter reaction to the news that he boarded (we’re projecting, based on Twitter times) Delta Air Lines Flight 1705 from New York to New Orleans, with a police escort in tow. (You can already see the “falling asleep” jokes coming.)

And we have a tweet from somebody claiming to be sitting next to Francesa on the flight – and halfway confirming presence of security:

And last but not least, some fan art from Matthew Funtime:

UPDATE, 1.28.13: Yes, Mike Francesa discussed this news in the very first segment of his radio show of the week from Radio Row on Monday. And yes, he spun it as only Mike Francesa can.

And why not – here’s a transcript of the above clip.

RSN Surcharge On The Horizon For Verizon FiOS Subscribers – And Then Some







ESPN's Jon Gruden illustrates just how much bigger your cable or satellite bill is going to get with the rise of national and regional sports networks, and their accompanying rates.

ESPN’s Jon Gruden illustrates just how much bigger your cable or satellite bill is going to get with the rise of national and regional sports networks, and their accompanying rates.

It’s a given with ESPN’s per-household subscriber fee clocking in at a whopping $5.13 per, that live sports programming comes at the expense of the cable customer.

And that price only gets higher as the number of sports networks – regionally and nationally – expands.

So it came as no surprise last year that DirecTV started imposing a “regional sports fee” on its subscribers. The satellite provider admits that the fee, which is anywhere between $2.00 and $4.00 (and could actually grow higher at some point) was created in “an effort to manage rising programming costs,” yet it only affects new customers “in select zip codes” where DirecTV is obligated to deliver signals of “multiple sports networks” in their packages.

Now, it looks like cable operators have taken notice of DirecTV’s plan and are following suit.

Verizon has announced that some subscribers to its FiOS fiber optic cable service will begin seeing an RSN fee on their bills as soon as next month, and no later than the spring.

“Verizon has chosen a fee of $2.42 per month to address the skyrocketing incremental sports content costs associated with this popular programming,” confirms Verizon spokeswoman Heather Wilner, adding that they were in favor of this option, as opposed to “increased TV package charges” across the board.

At the same time, Verizon FiOS has created a new package, “Select HD,” for customers that could care less about live sports programming to begin with (or, if you prefer, an opportunity for cash-strapped families to have just a little of the “cable household” experience). The new channel lineup, at just $50 per month, has its pros and cons: You get CNN and MSNBC, but not Fox News. You get Centric, but not Comedy Central. You get the collection of “Music Choice” digital music channels, but not MTV (which these days, is a misnomer on MTV’s part).

Interestingly, Fox’s FX network is also included in this new non-sports-oriented “Select HD” package. FX has been known to carry a sporting event or two, but with the new Fox Sports 1 due to launch this summer, any sports broadcasts that may have aired on FX could easily end up on Fox Sports 1. Incidentally, Fox recently announced that Fox Soccer Channel, which hypothetically could have been relaunched as Fox Sports 3, will actually be rebranded FXX, gearing a younger demographic than the FX channel.

Getting back to the business at hand – the business of sports – how long will it be until Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, and the other cable operators begin conjuring up “regional sports taxes” for their subscribers? Especially now that Time Warner has heavily invested in rights fees for two popular Los Angeles sports franchises – the Lakers and the Dodgers – that will serve as the backbones of two new regional sports networks in Southern California? Los Angeles TWC subscribers will probably be the first ones to see some sort of RSN fees tacked onto their bills. New York City-area Time Warner Cable subscribers, who at this time last year were missing out on “Linsanity” as they had been engaged in an impasse with MSG Network, owned by TWC rival Cablevision, will also likely be hit with an RSN surcharge: the New York City area has four major regionals: YES Network (partly owned by the New York Yankees); SNY (partly owned by the Mets); MSG and MSG Plus (the latter of which was previously known as Fox Sports Net/FSN New York.

And what about Cablevision, who held out for the longest time (though about a month short of Time Warner Cable) in agreeing to carry NFL Network, since they did not see much value in a network that broadcasts only a handful of NFL contests every year? As long as they’re obligated to carry regional sports networks on many of their systems, you can bet they’ll also whip up an RSN surcharge. as well.

As for Verizon FiOS, the just-shy-of-$2.50 RSN fee will first apply to customers in three of the largest states, California, Florida and Texas, starting in February; Maryland and Virginia subscribers who opt to receive regional sports networks in their packages will start being imposed with the fee in April; all other FiOS customers, including those in New York City, will get hit with the surcharges in March.

If you’re a cable subscriber, it makes no sense complaining about these regional sports network surcharges, as long as regional sports networks exist. Ditto for national sports networks like ESPN, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network and the soon-to-be-launched Fox Sports 1.

For as long as live sports demands high viewership and commands top dollar among cable outlets, such surcharges from cable and satellite providers are going to be the norm.

UPDATE, 2.21.12: It has begun. Cablevision has become the first traditional cable company (Verizon’s FiOS service is fiber-optic borne) that will impose what they officially call a “Sports Programming Surcharge,” which will be just shy of $3.00 per month, effective in April. “The rising cost of programming has resulted in this sports surcharge, which is similar to those introduced by other TV providers,” said a Cablevision higher-up in a press release. This will only affect customers who subscribe to Cablevision’s Family or Value packages.

Of course, for many years, Cablevision owned a regional sports network, MSG Network, until they spun off their interest in Madison Square Garden in late 2009.

Hello Goodbye: Mike Francesa Thinks Boomer & Carton Callers Are "A Colossal Waste Of Time"







WFAN's Mike Francesa calls out his station's morning duo, Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason, for feeding "misleading information" to their audience regarding crank callers he's been receiving from fans of their show.

WFAN’s Mike Francesa calls out his station’s morning duo, Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason, for feeding “misleading information” to their audience regarding crank callers he’s been receiving from fans of their show.

WFAN/New York afternoon host Mike Francesa thinks that a certain caller code that WFAN’s morning team of Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason uses is not very amusing.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If you’re a regular listener of “Boomer & Carton,” you may often hear them taking calls from listeners who start the call by greeting them with a distinctive way of saying “hello” from a classic “Seinfeld” episode. Here is a 20-second primer:

So earlier this week, Francesa fielded a call from a listener who hit him with that greeting:

After receiving a couple more such calls on his show, most recently today, Francesa decided it was time to drop the gauntlet on his wakeup colleagues. He replayed a portion of their show in which they replayed the Francesa caller above, as well as another one (“Hey, Mike, this situation with [Darrelle] Revis makes me want to go, helloooooo, la la la”). In the clip Francesa plays, Carton is heard telling the audience that these listeners made the calls during “the Super Bowl ticket giveaway”. Francesa, whose radio show is also simulcast on television via YES Network, immediately shot that down.

“If someone would actually waste their time and line to do that, I’d disconnect them anyway just out of abject stupidity,” Francesa said, while confirming with his producer, Brian Monzo, that “those calls were not part of the contest.”

He added that Carton was giving his listeners “misleading information to make it seem like someone would do that, to, I guess, court favor (I believe the term he’s looking for here is “curry favor”) with them.

“If you’re gonna waste your time in the contest… and you’re gonna waste your time on that, that would be pretty dumb.”

And as you can tell by now, Francesa is far from impressed with Boomer and Carton’s followers playing the “Hellooo!” game with him.

“I guess this is exciting stuff, I don’t know,” he reacted after one of the calls.

After another, Francesa replied, “People have nothing better to do” – a sentiment one of WFAN’s morning co-hosts took issue with.

“What does that mean? What’s wrong with that?”, Boomer Esiason was heard asking after replaying the call.

Francesa was also steadfast that these crank callers punched out on their own, appealing he did not “hang up on” them, like Carton says.

“They hung up right afterwards,” he contends. “I didn’t disconnect them. I don’t disconnect the callers… They just hung up.”

You know that by Francesa addressing these crank calls on his show, it’s only going to encourage Boomer and Carton’s listeners to keep pulling Seinfeldian drive-bys on him.

“I would think there’s gotta be better things they can do with their time, but, hey, that’s up to them,” Francesa said. “Everyone does their own show.

“To me, it’s just a colossal waste of time.”

Here’s video of the segment via YES Network, courtesy of Bob’s Blitz:

Rachel Nichols' New Quarters Are At CNN, Turner Sports







Longtime ESPN correspondent Rachel Nichols, shown here interviewing Miami Heat forward LeBron James, is taking her talents to CNN effective immediately.

Longtime ESPN correspondent Rachel Nichols, shown here interviewing Miami Heat forward LeBron James, is taking her talents to CNN effective immediately.

Just days before the hysteria of Super Bowl XLVII media week begins, CNN makes a super steal.

They’ve hired Rachel Nichols away from ESPN, where she’s been entrenched for close to a decade, Next month would have marked her ninth year at the Worldwide Leader.

Instead, she’ll be hitting the ground running for Turner Sports, as well as the Turner-owned cable news network, CNN. According to a network press release, her first order of business is covering the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

What’s more, the network is also launching a new weekend sports show, expected to debut in the spring. Until then, you will most likely see her reports from New Orleans next week among currently-scheduled news-oriented CNN programming, such as “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer.”

And most importantly, Nichols will be CNN’s jack-of-all-trades when it comes to sports. She’ll “cover all major sporting events, including the Olympics” for the network, reads the press release.

Nichols’ hire, as well as the announcement of the yet-to-be-named weekend sports program she’ll be hosting, are the first actions by Jeff Zucker as president of CNN Worldwide. He got quite a lot of flak during his waning days as CEO of NBC Universal.

So it’s hard to fathom that the man responsible for turning Nichols into yet another in a long line of ESPN defectors of late, is the same person who greenlighted Jay Leno’s 10 PM (ET) primetime show.

“Her arrival,” Zucker said of Nichols, “is an important step in expanding the range of programming and storytelling on CNN.”

“I believe in Jeff’s vision for CNN,” Nichols said of Zucker. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the CNN and Turner Sports family.”

The scheduling of Nichols’ new show appears to be the first commitment to sports programming at CNN in quite awhile. Of course, for years, when they were the only game in town as far as cable news is concerned, they aired a nightly program titled “Sports Tonight,” which over the years was hosted by future ESPN talent such as Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, as well as Hannah Storm and Dan Hicks, who are now married. The show was hosted for seventeen of its 21 years by Nick Charles, who passed away in 2011. The show was renamed “CNN/Sports Illustrated” in 2006, as a nod to synergy with Turner’s sports news network, CNN/SI. The program was briefly placed on hiatus around the 2000 election, and was relaunched with a new interactive format the following year. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the show was shifted exclusively to CNN/SI until 2002, which is when the network ceased operations. The Sports Illustrated magazine is still a part of the Time Warner media umbrella.

Just a thought: With the many new sports networks and channels that have sprung up and are continuing to do so, does anyone see Nichols’ hire as the first step in a revamping of an all-sports channel by Turner? They own over a dozen cable networks, mostly in the news field. Turner is also part-owner of the NBA TV network. I realize Zucker is doing business only for CNN, and Nichols will be busy covering sports all the time for CNN – but wouldn’t it make more sense if she was reporting for a Turner sports news network? I mean, I can see Nichols doing live reports from New Orleans during Super Bowl week with Piers Morgan. But should it really be the norm for her to appear on CNN’s daily news programs? Are we really going to have Rachel Nichols appearing live from the NFL Draft on “Anderson Cooper 360”?

Yes, Nichols will be reporting across Turner Sports’ digital platforms as well as their television properties. But someone of her stature shouldn’t be relegated to a weekend CNN show and the Internet.

It would not surprise me if Turner concentrated on a new sports network in the near future.

Until then, the best of luck to Rachel Nichols in the next chapter of her sports media career.

She could actually lead frequent viewers of ESPN, NFL Network and the like to regularly sample CNN.