Sudden Death For Pro Football Weekly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro Football Weekly announced that it is ceasing publication after 46 years. In addition to the magazine, the PFW brand was also attached to a weekly TV series that aired on many regional sports networks. Two special issues of PFW will be published later this month.

Pro Football Weekly announced that it is ceasing publication after 46 years. In addition to the magazine, the PFW brand was also attached to a weekly TV series that aired on many regional sports networks. Two special issues of PFW will be published later this month.

The harsh reality of the newspaper industry in the 21st century is that the survival rate is not very favorable – whether you’re an employee of the paper, or the paper itself.

Just this week, we saw the Chicago Tribune sever ties with its entire photography unit, which consisted of just over two dozen people.

And at the end of the week, we saw one of America’s longest-running sports publications, Pro Football Weekly, announce that they have played their final down.

The publisher and editor of the magazine, Hub Arkush, wrote a goodbye message on PFW’s website on Friday, explaining that their attempt to “build a bridge for [us] from the rapidly deteriorating world of old media to the new, exploding market of digital media” was confounded because, “try as we might, we couldn’t get enough of you to pay what it cost us to deliver it.”

Arkush also shared what would be the penultimate post on the magazine’s website: a notice that Chicago-based bankruptcy trustee Tailwind Services LLC has assumed the assets of the publication, which was also based in the Windy City. A table also broke down the sad facts: liabilities totaling $8.5 million, or roughly 45 times as much as the assets listed.

Indeed, Arkush explained that he and all of his PFW colleagues “have worked at greatly reduced pay and, at times, no pay at all for a very long time and under the most difficult of circumstances and pressures to avoid this outcome.” He added that for “every single writer… the pay was always small, when it came at all, and yet they almost never complained and all that most of them ever wanted to know was what they could do to help.” He lauded the “commitment” of the PFW staffers as the publication neared its predictable but unfortunate end.

In recent years, despite its antiquated name, Pro Football Weekly was more of a brand than a publication. As the magazine continued, they also made a foray into the digital world, not just with new articles posted to its website, and a Facebook and Twitter account to promote them, but an iPhone app, as well.

“PFW” also lent its brand to a weekly radio show, which was carried by many terrestrial and Internet radio stations. That show actually came into my crosshairs late last year, when Arkush, who had co-hosted the show, had commented that Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano’s return to the team after successfully overcoming a cancer diagnosis would distract the team as it entered the playoffs. (It was the .750 record of interim head coach Bruce Arians, now with the Arizona Cardinals, that was largely responsible for the Colts’ successful 2012 campaign.)

Since the end of the recent NFL season, I couldn’t help but notice that regular “PFW” radio co-host Wayne Larrivee, best knwon as the radio voice of the Green Bay Packers, had been largely absent from the broadcast. On many weeks, Arkush would start the show with a message that Larrivee was “on assignment”, but in recent weeks, those messages fell by the wayside, leading many to believe that he had exited the show. No word on the future of the radio show, which actually posted a brand new episode this week.

Also in doubt is the future of the weekly television series that bore the publication’s name. Arkush also co-hosted this show, as well. The regular crew for the TV series consisted of Comcast SportsNet Chicago personality Pat Boyle as general host, with WMVP/”ESPN 1000″ Chicago midday host and NFL Network analyst Tom Waddle and WSCR/”670 The Score” Chicago personality and Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton also serving as co-hosts. It was just a few years ago that the television series would receive negative publicity for not one, but two things that Hampton said in the same show. During the Week 1 preview of the 2010 season, while breaking down the Dallas Cowboys’ season opener vs. the Washington Redskins, Hampton had opined that the Cowboys “think they are Clint Eastwood [but] they’re more of the Brokeback variety,” a reference to gay cowboys from the movie “Brokeback Mountain.” And in the final segment of that show, Hampton commented that in the season’s “kickoff” game between the Minnesota Vikings and the then-Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, the Vikings would pull an upset by hitting New Orleans “like Katrina,” a reference to the devastating hurricane that ravaged the state of Louisiana five years earlier. Hampton would issue an apology for both remarks on the next show. (However, that would not stop Hampton from making a veiled reference to one of his foot-in-mouth comments on the very next show.)

Alas, we don’t know if both “PFW” programs in either the television or radio mediums will be back on the air for the 2013 NFL season. There are plans to publish two special issues of the magazine, previewing the upcoming football season, as well as a fantasy football forecast, later this month – the proceeds of which will go directly to PFW’s creditors. But outside of those issues, the future of the publication is unclear. “The trustee [Tailwind] is now accepting bids on all of the Pro Football Weekly assets, and it is my greatest hope that someone with the necessary resources will come along and attempt to revive PFW,” Arkush wrote. He added that he would gladly cooperate in the return of the PFW brand, “but I’m afraid it is largely out of my control.”

Prior to this year’s NFL draft, Pro Football Weekly received a lot of buzz for Nolan Nawrocki’s scouting report of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who would eventually be taken by the New York Jets in the second round.

Who knew that it would be the last real signs of life for the publication, as it was in its death throes behind the scenes.

Sapp Attack: Warren Sapp Gets Loopy During Houston Radio Interview

Retired defensive tackle Warren Sapp went on the offensive during an interview with Nick Wright and John Lopez on Sports Radio 610 in Houston. Sapp, promoting his autobiography, "Sapp Attack," didn't take kindly to a question he perceived was related to his bankruptcy situation.

Today is the day that “Sapp Attack,” an autobiography from former NFL player and current NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp, officially hits the shelves (provided the bookstore in your neck of the woods hasn’t closed up shop yet).

And as you would expect, Sapp has been going on a whirlwind promotional tour to talk about his book. He even showed up on Fox News Channel last night.

But most of Sapp’s interviews to promote his book will be on radio shows, mostly sports radio programs. For instance, he spent two-thirds of an hour with WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Monday.

The next day, on KILT-AM/”Sports Radio 610’s” morning show, “In The Loop With Nick And Lopez,” Sapp was lucky to get two-thirds of a ten-minute segment.

You can tell based on Sapp’s attitude during most of the interview that it wasn’t going to end well. Co-host Nick Wright set the tone when, upon introducing Sapp to the program, he told listeners Sapp’s Twitter handle is @QBKilla. “Bad follower,” Sapp scoffed at Wright, who then asked why Sapp would drop the “iconic” @QBKilla handle for his current eponymous one, @WarrenSapp? “Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble… in corporate America, that “killa” thing kind of scares you,” he explained. So he did not dump the old @QBKilla handle because NFL Network had excluded it from his chyrons in the wake of that Bountygate “snitch” situation? That’s news to me.

Anyway, halfway through the interview – at around the three-minute mark or so – co-host John Lopez apparently hit a nerve with Sapp. He didn’t bring up the Bountygate thing (he still stands by his word that Jeremy Shockey was the snitch, by the way). Nope, Lopez opted to go on a tangent and asked Sapp what his “stance” was on whether or not the NFL should employ certified financial advisers to look after its alumni’s funds. “Clearly, it’s been in the headlines, you’ve had some difficulties financially,” reminded Lopez, who eventually asked for Sapp’s take on why “so many pro athletes have trouble with their finances one they’re done playing sports.”

“You have to ask so many athletes having financial problems doing whatever they’re doing,” Sapp countered. “I’m only one man.”

Shortly after, Lopez gave Sapp’s book a plug, referring to “Sapp Attack” as his “memoir.”

“It’s not a memoir,” Sapp instructed. “More than anything, it’s my story… I didn’t do this like the President… Mine’s just one life, one voice, one brand.”

For the record, Warren: A memoir, according to the all-knowing Webster’s Dictionary, is indeed an autobiography. And I know what Warren’s getting at – he did this book all on his own, without any help. If that’s the case, then who’s this David Fisher fellow sharing author credits with him?

Back to the interview: In an attempt to have Sapp provide listeners with a preview of what to expect in the book, Wright asked: “So tell us about you… Aside from football, what is your story?”

“What are you asking me, my man, are you asking me about the bankruptcy or whatever?,” replied Sapp as if he thought Lopez had still been speaking to him at that point. He then exhibited some unnecessary roughness when Wright said it was Lopez “was referring to” Sapp’s bankruptcy.

“No, I’m asking you the question, I mean, not referring to it. If you have a question, ask a question, but if you refer anything, that’s not a question; we’re just sitting here having a general discussion, then, right?”

“Right,” Wright responded. “Correct, Warren.”

Sapp then went on a 45-second diatribe which he called “general discussion about the NFL.” At one point toward the end, it sounded like he shed a little light on an ill-fated low income housing construction deal which served as the catalyst for Sapp’s filing Chapter 7. Sapp started talking about how the league “does a wonderful job” with “resources” and for any potential people with which one may plan to do business, “the NFL will run ’em through the ringer and give you a report on what they think that person is… My situation was totally different from that. I had a real business partner that did some crazy things, and I needed to pull the ripcord, and I pulled the ripcord.”

Wright’s next question was why Sapp was “selling Jordans on eBay.” Sapp vehemently denied that, then explained that it was the bankruptcy court that was selling his lot of over 200 pairs of Air Jordan sneakers. “You’re sitting here reading a story, and now you want to tell me what I’m doing,” Sapp exclaimed. “You’re putting me in a ringer… sitting there, telling me something you’re reading.”

At that point, Wright urged Sapp to “tell your publicity people to send out better press releases,” referring to the part that labels Sapp’s book “a no-holds-barred memoir” – hey, didn’t Sapp put a moratorium on the “M-word”?

“You’re doing a press tour, and then you get pissed when people ask about the questions of the day,” Wright told Sapp. “I don’t know if this is the best approach, but I appreciate you joining us; good luck with the book.”

That’s right: just as Warren Sapp was lecturing the Sports Radio 610 co-hosts about the difference between a question and a “general discussion,” Nick Wright went ahead and pulled the ripcord on him.

After the abbreviated interview, Wright complained about how “we couldn’t ask [Sapp] a question without getting pissed.” He also claimed that Sapp “did the exact same thing” with Francesa on WFAN as well as Howard Stern on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. (Yet he still managed to have up to six times as much airtime on those shows as he would on that Houston station.)

Lopez also read from the aforementioned press release and focused on how Sapp promised he would “share… opinions about the state of pro football today and its future” – hence why Lopez sprung the “financial planners” question on Sapp.

“Listen, the guy’s too sensitive to do a book tour right now,” Wright told listeners. “I cherish my Jordans. If I had to sell them on eBay, I’d be pissed, too.”

Wake up on the wrong side of the bed and excoriate a couple of hosts to the point that they decide they’ve heard enough and cut the interview short. Way to promote your book, Warren.

He sure looked happy to be there at a book signing in New York City earlier today.

“Sapp Attack”. If it doesn’t fly off the shelves, its author will fly off the handle.

Showtime Shows Warren Sapp The Door

Showtime will not be retaining Warren Sapp's services when "Inside The NFL" returns this fall. This development comes on the heels of news that NFL Network will likely part ways with Sapp when his contract expires this summer. Sapp recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

When the next season of “Inside The NFL” is underway, Warren Sapp will be on the outside looking in.

In a move anticipated back when he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month, Sapp has been dumped by Showtime’s seasonal weekly NFL digest. The news of his Showtime contract non-renewal was first reported by Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Sapp is an alumnus of the University of Miami). Jackson was also told that the other three “Inside The NFL” regulars, James Brown and Phil Simms from CBS (Showtime is a division of CBS) as well as NBC’s Cris Collinsworth, will all be returning when the show begins its fifth season on Showtime, and its 36th season overall – you may recall the series was waived back in 2008, when then-HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg cited changes in “the television landscape” as the reason for its dismissal.

This year at the Sports Emmy Awards, “Inside The NFL” was nominated for “outstanding weekly studio show,” while Brown and Collinsworth also earned “outstanding” host and analyst nods.

Not too shabby for a show that’s been canceled by HBO. So I guess you can call “Inside The NFL” the “Family Guy” of sports shows.

As we learned from Sapp’s bankruptcy report, Showtime paid him $45,000 annually during his four-year tenure with “Inside The NFL.” Right underneath that listing, on page 34 of the report, is a blurb that read, “Debtor’s employment contract with NFL Network ends on August 31, 2012, and unknown if contract will be renewed.”

What led to Sapp’s removal from “Inside The NFL” – his calling out former Saints player Jeremy Shockey in the team’s “Bountygate” ordeal – is likely what will also lead to his eventual departure from NFL Network, where he’s been an analyst since his retirement from the NFL. Following his labeling Shockey “the snitch,” Sapp finished out that week on “Total Access,” but with his Twitter handle at the time, @QBKilla, being stripped from his on-air chyrons. He would then be absent from NFLN’s air for the entire month of April, and then some. He would return to the network’s “Total Access” program on May 2 – the day Junior Seau died in what has been ruled a suicide. And as I recently reported, his NFLN chyrons now include his current Twitter handle, @WarrenSapp.

While Sapp will desperately be searching for a new source of income in an attempt to overcome his financial woes, he’ll most likely find ways to keep himself busy. In addition to finishing out his stint at NFLN, he’s also appearing on a celebrity dating show on Fox. Titled “The Choice” (not to be confused with an “American Idol” ripoff on another network whose name rhymes with “The Choice”), Sapp and a cast of celebs ranging from Dean Cain to Carmen Electra choose regular Joes and Janes who throw themselves at the celebs, begging to go on dates with them.

He’ll also probably be going on a book tour to promote “Sapp Attack,” a new memoir, of which excerpts appeared in a review of the book by the Tampa Bay Times’ Gary Shelton.

As for that side project of his that we blew the lid off of – “The Judge Sapp Show”? The website of the firm that paid people to be in the audience of the show has announced that taping has just about wrapped up. And I’ve come to find out that when the shows, which were taped in late April, see the light of day, it will be via the YouTube channel of NOC (“Network Of Champions”), as opposed to a broadcast television outlet.

But who knows. If the “Judge Sapp” web pilot takes off – or, if you prefer, “goes viral” – it could potentially lead to a major distribution deal.

Lord knows Warren Sapp could use it, now that both of his television revenue streams are all but adjourned.

Warren Sapp Will Not Be Resurrected On NFL Network

NFL sources are saying that Warren Sapp's employment at NFL Network is "likely over." He's been absent from NFLN's airwaves for the previous two weeks, after he named former Saints player Jeremy Shockey as the "snitch" in the team's "Bountygate" scandal. This pre-recorded appearance, replayed on Wednesday's "Total Access," appears to be the last time Sapp graces the network's airwaves.

It certainly isn’t a very happy Easter for Warren Carlos Sapp.

After the NFL Network analyst declared on March 21 via Twitter that the “snitch” in the New Orleans Saints “Bountygate” scandal was former tight end Jeremy Shockey, he was absent from NFLN’s airwaves. He did finish out that week, with his last appearance on the network (in pre-recorded form) on the Saturday “week in review” edition of “Total Access” of that week. Since March 22, his Twitter handle at the time, @QBKilla, had been removed from his on-air chryons. Since then, he changed his Twitter handle to @WarrenSapp.

Now, news has emerged from the Boston Globe’s Greg Bedard that, per league sources, Sapp’s March 24 appearance on NFL Network should be his last, as his tenure there “is likely over.” (You have to scroll all the way down to read the blurb… talk about burying the lede.)

This on the heels of Sapp filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida.

As an NFL Network observer, I should point out that, in the previous two weeks, Sapp’s likeness was seen (albeit briefly) in promos for “Total Access” – though, it looks like they’re going to have to update those promos now. Also, during a segment on Wednesday’s “Total Access” setting up a debate as to which position New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning – who led the team to a second Super Bowl this past February – should appear in this year’s installment of the “Top 100 Players” after being overlooked from last year’s edition, NFL Network played video clips from last year of analysts reacting to the snub – including Sapp.

“He’s ranked lower in quarterback rating than Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler,” Sapp argued on June 12. “David Garrard is higher than [Manning] in the quarterback rating… When you’re a quarterback of a ball club, and you’re name is Manning, you don’t give the ball away more than any other quarterback in the league.”

Sapp wasn’t identified on the replayed piece. In fact, if you listen closely and compare Wednesday’s replay (at 1:10) to the original June 12 clip (at 3:39), another panelist’s calling Warren’s name – right when Sapp said “… in the league” – was edited out of the piece when it was recycled on Wednesday.

You don’t have to be Zapruder to figure out that NFLN is in the process of washing their hands completely of the former “QBKilla”.

(And note that when the show returned live after playing the June 12 clip, Lindsay Rhodes responded, “I’m sure he could have gone in a totally different direction with all of that” – can’t confirm if that was a dig at Sapp or not.)

Anyway, it appears that that will be Sapp’s final appearance on NFL Network’s airwaves. And when you factor in his final official appearance back on March 24, his final two appearances on NFLN have both been Memorex.

Bedard notes via a source that “Sapp’s next on-air appearance has not been determined.” So it looks like he’s as good as done over there.

Sapp still appears on many video segments on the website – to date, the only one the league-run network has scrubbed was the one from their library of videos was from March 21, when Rich Eisen asked Sapp to elaborate on his tweet insisting that Shockey was a “snitch.”

Hopefully, Sapp lands on his feet soon, especially with his financial situation. The next likely landing spot would be ESPN – and as I just speculated as I broke down the unofficial 2012 NFL schedule that was leaked last week, a Buccaneers/Raiders “Monday Night Football” broadcast on ESPN (scheduled for September 9) would be an ideal spot for Sapp to cut his teeth at the Worldwide Leader (Sapp spent his entire NFL career with those two franchises).

Or, I don’t know, maybe he can find work as a journalist.

Pitch Black? Mets' SNY Network Might Be Victim Of Madoff Settlement

The New York Mets, who had been involved with the infamous Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff, reached a settlement with a Madoff trustee, preventing the case from going to trial. The Mets own 65% in the regional cable network SNY, and failure to reap enough funds for the Madoff settlement could lead to big changes at the network. Pictured, ironically, is how SNY broke the news of the settlement on their air.

On Monday, a trustee, representing hundreds of victims of Ponzi scheme artist, Bernard Madoff, was set to go to trial, in which he would seek upwards of $300 million from the New York Mets, a trial which would no doubt serve as a disconcerting sideshow to a 2012 season that many sports prognosticators project will be a futile one well before the first pitch of the regular season is even thrown.

Just before jury selection was set to begin for the trial, Mets chairman/CEO Fred Wilpon and team president Saul Katz have reached a settlement with the trustee, Irving Picard, for $162 million, or just over half of Picard’s original asking price.

Still saddled by the franchise’s involvement with Madoff, the Mets will likely find it difficult to invest in talent, and could be confined to the basement of the National League East division – if not the league itself – possibly until their current player that bears the highest price tag, injury-plagued pitcher Johan Santana, turns 40.

Which makes you wonder about SportsNet New York, or SNY. A network which the Mets own roughly two-thirds of (and in return, SNY owns 16% of the Mets). A network that itself may have been financed by Madoff: Katz tried passing off a $54 million payment in 2004 from Madoff’s wife, Ruth, as an investment toward the initial capital of SNY, which went on the air exactly six years ago on Friday, March 16; though last year, a general counsel for the Mets said that payment was deemed unnecessary and returned within 24 hours.

One part of the settlement agreement is that the Mets aren’t obligated to make any payments until 2015. Which should give them a good deal of time to raise some of the assets. But with a team projected to be a cellar dweller long into the next President term, their ability to do so will be limited. Earlier this year, it was reported that revenues at the Mets’ ballpark, CitiField, had dropped significantly since the stadium opened its doors three years ago, with sales for premium seats cut literally in half, from $99.3 million in 2009 to $50.6 million last year.

It’s bad enough thinking about how many empty seats, premium or otherwise, there will be at CitiField in the years ahead. Imagine how many eyeballs will be chomping at the bit to rush to SNY to watch the team.

At the midseason point last year, the regional cable network’s average ratings suffered a 29% decrease from that same point in 2010, with their market share among the worst in Major League Baseball.

Buoyed by its existence in the largest market, the Mets’ average of 175,000 homes placed that number in the top 5 in terms of home viewership. But that can only take you so far. It’s possible that with the underperforming play that everybody expects, this team can fall out of this category’s upper echelon.

This would be a convenient time to remind you that the Mets’ current radio home, sports radio pioneer WFAN, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer, is set to start what is speculated to be the final year of a thirty-year relationship with the team, dating back to WFAN’s predecessor, country station WHN. As the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman accurately predicted in February 2011, WFAN sister station WCBS-AM, the current radio home of the New York Yankees, re-upped with the Pinstripes for only one year, which would coincide with the expiration of the current WFAN/Mets deal. All signs point to WFAN obtaining Yankees radio rights in 2013, and kicking the Mets to the curb.

In fact, the future of the Mets is so dire, their longtime Albany affiliate dropped them in favor of the Red Sox. (In fairness, they recently added a new affiliate in the area last week.)

Even though a settlement means the Mets are absolved the responsibility of $141 million (perhaps more) to Madoff’s victims, it’s clear that the foreseeable fortunes of this franchise are bleak. Which is why, if ticket sales and television ratings fall even further, the Mets may have no choice but to gut SNY.

Just as the Mets are hard-pressed to hold onto popular players due to their financial predicament, SNY’s talent roster may also be forced to part ways with the network, as well. Everyone from the famed Mets field reported Kevin Burkhardt to studio host Adam Schein (also heard on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio) might be affected. (By the way, how’s that deal with Tiki Barber working for them?)

It may very well be in the realm of possibility that SNY could air more infomercials than the ones currently running in the late-night and mid-morning hours. Hard to fathom, given the fare currently offered by the network.

But if you’re a cash-strapped team that needs to come up with mime figures, to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs – or, in the Mets’ case, breaking loose with notable talent.

Indefatigueable New York Times columnist Richard Sandomir, who has been on this Mets/Madoff saga like white on rice (he was at the courthouse and immediately tweeted that there would be a settlement no sooner than it was announced) respectfully disagreed with my view. “I don’t see any effect,” he told me via Twitter. “It operates separately from the Mets, with healthy subscriber fees that pay the freight.” (Remember that the Mets owns 65% of SNY.)

That’s another thing to keep in mind: Cable subscribers, like you and me, end up footing the bill for many networks, such as ESPN. These are based on agreements between the networks and the respective cable systems. So ratings may not have much of an impact. But it should be interesting to see what happens when Cablevision’s current carriage deal with SNY expires – keep in mind that about a quarter of the network is owned by rival Time Warner Cable… and we all remember how both sides were at an impasse for close to two months on Time Warner coming to terms on a new carriage agreement with MSG Network, owned by Cablevision. In fact, SNY’s first week on the air was denied to Cablevision subscribers, as a result of a carriage tiff. If the Mets perform poorly for the duration of SNY’s current Cablevision contract, I don’t think even Jeremy Lin would be able to save the day in the SNY/Cablevision squabble that is bound to take place.

Bottom line: Mets baseball over the next several years may not be television worth watching on SNY.

But if the Mets are not successful in raising enough funds to put toward the Madoff settlement, the situation behind the scenes at SNY will be.

Tiki Barber Follows Failed NFL Comeback With Failed Television Comeback

Desperate and destitute, Tiki Barber will be making a television comeback this weekend, after his former team, the New York Giants, play in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. But it appears that fate has had the last laugh on Tiki Barber.

What a tumultuous last year it’s been for Tiki Barber.

Or five.

You may recall when the second-round draft-picked running back, who spent his entire football career with the New York Giants, decided to pull a Jim Brown and embark on an exciting new career in television at the conclusion of the 2006 NFL season.

Quite frankly, Tiki fell flat as a media figure. He had actually started dabbling with a television career, auditioning on Fox News Channel during his final season with the Giants. Hard to believe, as many as four networks actually competed for the free-agent TV talent’s services, with NBC becoming the eventual winner – or shall I say, eventual loser. What started as a giant (no pun intended) role on “The Today Show” effectively turned into a demotion as a studio-host-cum-roving-early-game-correspondent on “Football Night In America.” Apparently, NBC had seen enough when they unceremoniously dumped him in the summer of 2010. You know, kinda like how Tiki unceremoniously dumped his eight-months-pregnant-with-twins wife for an NBC intern just months earlier.

Around that time, the former grid great who made O.J. Simpson look like a ladies’ man admitted he was financially unable to pay his divorce settlement with his newly-estranged ex-wife.

He was flat broke – just like his flat television career.

WWTD: What would Tiki do?

Four years removed from the game of football, and probably putting on a hell of a lot more than the ten pounds the traditional camera puts on, Tiki Barber decided to unretire.

Teams such as the Steelers, the Dolphins, and even the Buccaneers – who have been signing the paychecks of his twin brother Ronde for the last fifteen years (and probably has had a brighter media career than Tiki, at this point) – gave him a look.

But there would be no takers.

Which meant no new revenue stream.

Which meant no money to put toward his former wife.

Or the wedding with his future wife.

To say Tiki Barber is at a point of desperation is an understatement. Even Shelley Long has no sympathy for Tiki Barber.

How desperate is Tiki Barber, you may ask? Well, he just signed on to be a talking head for SNY, the regional sports network which is mostly owned by the New York Mets – the baseball franchise involved in Bernie Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme.

When you have to resort to a Madoff victim for extra cash, clearly, you have hit rock bottom.

Anyway, Barber’s television comeback will start with the Giants/49ers postgame program on SNY, which begins after the final snap in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday night.

Said Barber of the hire: “I am looking forward to providing my insights.” Translation: “I am looking forward to providing a spectacular honeymoon suite for Traci Lynn Johnson.”

“Hopefully it will be after a Giants win.” Translation 1: “… because the more appearances I make on television, the more opportunities there are for a Giant pay day!” Translation 2: “Hopefully, the Giants will lose because I can’t wait to rip them again.”

You may recall back in the summer of 2007, back when Tiki Barber’s floundering TV career was in its fledgling stage, when during the halftime show of a “Sunday Night Football” preseason game between the Giants and Baltimore Ravens, one of the first games Big Blue played since his departure, he questioned quarterback Eli Manning’s leadership, calling it “comical.”

And all Manning did was lead the Tiki-free Giants to a Super Bowl victory.

Salt, meet wound.

It’s hard to tell if Barber is more bitter than desperate. The Giants had made the playoffs for half of the ten seasons Barber suited up with them, and four of those five playoff appearances were one-and-dones; Barber’s personal postseason record is 2-5, with the two lone wins coming in the Super Bowl also-ran 2000-01 postseason. Since Tiki took his ball and went home, the Giants’ postseason record is 6-1, and with a victory in San Francisco on Sunday, they’ll be sniffing another Lombardi trophy.

Again: salt, meet wound.

At the cusp of a scurried, post-lockout 2011 preseason, when all 32 teams finalized their rosters, Barber’s agent, Mark Lepselter, said he was “flabbergasted that Tiki has not had an opportunity with any team.”

I’m flabbergasted that Mark Lepselter wasn’t very flabbergasted by his client’s Anne Frank comparison, enough that Lepselter still represents him.

And now, a network in which the Mets have a 65% ownership in has rewarded the fallen football star, who had experienced an even greater fall than Humpty Dumpty on television, with a stint on their NFC Championship game postgame show.

Could you imagine if David Einhorn had successfully became a minority owner of the Mets? That idea probably would have been sacked in a second.

Perhaps it’s poetic justice, with Tiki Barber abandoning his wife of eleven years while she was carrying two twin daughters in the latter half of their third trimester, that he now has to resort to odd jobs in television in the wake of a TV career that has collapsed worse than that playoff game in San Francisco.

Submitted for your approval: His appearances on the revival of the PBS series, “The Electric Company.” I’m sure if he were alive, even George Carlin (the raunchy comedian who doubled as “Mr. Conductor” on “Shining Time Station”) would think that’s a questionable move.

Now, he’s making his second go-round on non-public television with the conclusion of the NFC Championship Game featuring his former team. Sounds like an installment of “Prankster Planet,” if you ask me.

By the way, just to give you an idea of just how bad things have gotten for Tiki Barber: Earlier this month, while at a New York City courthouse for a divorce proceeding conference, he was reportedly “rushed by a dozen court staffers in the waiting area.” And according to a court source, Tiki was reprotedly “loving it.”

Tiki will be lucky if he gets as much attention this Sunday night on SNY.

Tiki Barber’s fall from grace has been, to say the least, just flabbergasting.

WWTD(F$): What would Tiki do (for money)?