Warren Sapp Sacks Michael Strahan On Tampa Radio; Strahan Sacks Back On Twitter







Warren Sapp contends that in voting him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame over Michael Strahan, voters chose "the menace" over "the media darling."

Warren Sapp contends that in voting him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame over Michael Strahan, voters chose “the menace” over “the media darling.”

Last weekend, the 2013 enshrinees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced. Among the fifteen finalists confirmed last month were Michael Strahan and Warren Sapp, an oddity in that two former defensive ends with sports media experience following their retirement – Fox Sports and NFL Network, respectively – had made the ballot in their first year of eligibility.

So when one of these made it in and one did not, Yahoo!’s Shutdown Corner reminded us of the bitter feud these two players had when they were playing for the Giants and Buccaneers (Sapp was not active for the Raiders’ home loss to the Giants in 2005). It reached its peak when Strahan set the current single-season sack record in 2001, with a sack on Packers quarterback Brett Favre that Sapp referred to as “belly weak.”

Quoth Strahan the following summer: “Warren Sapp is a jackass… He’ll see me to my face and he’ll be nice, but Warren is a jackass.”

Four years later, the two crossed paths and appeared to have buried the hatchet.

That is until Wednesday morning, when Sapp recovered his hatchet and proceeded to take Strahan to the woodshed.

Appearing on “The Sports Page with Tom Jones and Rick Stroud” on Tampa Bay’s sports radio leader WDAE-AM, the Bucs’ flagship radio station, Sapp was asked if the thought had ever crossed his mind that he would be denied entry to Canton this year.

“Absolutely,” Sapp replied, before painting a vivid picture for the listeners.

“Say if I rewind this [to] Saturday, 12 o’clock, me and you sitting and I say, ‘You know, it breaks down, whatever, whatever, and then, you have Michael Strahan and me… The menace and the media darling’… Come on, madness or ‘Good Morning America’?”

“You know what, Warren,” co-host Tom Jones said, “I think it came down to ‘belly weak’. I think that was the difference.”

Well, what a difference a couple of days makes.

Strahan, who was made aware of Sapp’s comments about 48 hours after the fact, tweeted this to Sapp on Friday morning: “You never cease to amaze me! Enjoy your moment. You don’t need to take a shot at me to justify yourself to other people. #Class”

Several hours later, Sapp replied, “We [stopped] competing 5+ years ago! #AllTheBest”

Strahan: “I only competed against myself. Don’t let people make you get at me to justify your [Hall of Fame] selection. Enjoy it because [you] earned it.”

Sapp: “[You] got my [number!]”

Strahan: ‘You have my [number] too. I’m a grown man and handle myself like one. Respect me and I respect you!”

Sapp: “Tell us why you really mad, son?”

Strahan: “I congratulate you on the [Hall of Fame]. You were a [Hall of Fame] player, no doubt. Enjoy it, and hopefully, I will join [you] in Canton one day! Congrats.”

Both Sapp and Strahan had special careers, with a Super Bowl ring in their possession, to boot (okay, so Sapp lost his, boo hoo). My only reasoning for Sapp not being a first-ballot Hall of Famer was for his finger-pointing during the Bountygate issue with the Saints last year.

So with the Super Bowl taking place in East Rutherford, New Jersey next year, only a one-year wait for Strahan to Canton will be worth it.

By the way, among the possible finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2014: Former head coach Tony Dungy, and former Chargers and Patriots safety Rodney Harrison – both of whom happen to be employees of NBC Sports. You think the Peacock Network isn’t going to go over the top in promoting the Hall of Fame announcement than Fox, the network that will be carrying that, as well as Super Bowl XLVIII? (And as if you needed to be reminded, Harrison was on the other end of that David Tyree catch in Super Bowl XLII, which helped the Giants defeat the Patriots. Yeah, I bet he’ll be sick of Super Bowl Media Week by Tuesday.)

Anyway, here’s the podcast of Warren Sapp’s appearance on WDAE-AM on February 6. And below are tweets as well as Twitter reaction by the likes of Chad Johnson.

(And for the record, Warren: Strahan is the co-host of a show called “Live!” – though it actually does follow “Good Morning America” on many television stations, so you were close.)

Mike's Off: Francesa Falsely Reports Tim Tebow Turned Down Rosie O'Donnell Radio Show Due To "Her Lifestyle"

Mike Francesa told listeners that Tim Tebow refused to appear on Rosie O'Donnell's radio show "because of her lifestyle." That was moments after this photo, showing Tebow and O'Donnell sitting within feet of each other, was tweeted by Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, O'Donnell's current colleague - and Francesa's former colleague.

Time for another episode of “Punk Fiction” starting Mike Francesa as Winston (The Sports Radio Host Who Cried) Wolf.

At the top of his Friday afternoon “Mike’s On” show, Francesa – who was broadcasting from a hotel in Indianapolis, site of Super Bowl XLVI – said that Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was making the rounds on “radio row,” dropping by several radio shows – except for Rosie O’Donnell’s SiriusXM show. Francesa told his millions of listeners, and many viewers on YES Network, that Tebow, the devout Christian known for post-touchdown praying formations that bear his name, refused to do O’Donnell’s radio show due to her sexual orientation.

Or as Francesa put it, “because of her lifestyle.”

Contrary to the new title of his show, Mike’s off on this one. Way off.

It’s no secret that Francesa has a history of making inaccurate statements on his show. In fact, right after the Giants and Patriots advanced to this year’s Super Bowl, Francesa recalled how the last time both teams faced each other in the Super Bowl four years ago (in which the Giants defeated the then-undefeated Patriots 20-17), he picked the Patriots to beat the Giants by a score of 20-17… only to have audio evidence surface that confirmed him actually picking New England to beat New York in Super Bowl XLII by a score of 35-17.

Yep, Mike’s off.

But he was off the chart with his Tim Tebow/Rosie O’Donnell “report.”

First off, Tim Tebow has not even played a full season in the NFL, and he’s already got a worldwide following amongst football fans and churchgoers alike. And when you can get two-hit wonder John Parr to re-record the bigger of his two hits to include references to you, you wear that as a badge of honor. For him to actually decide to blow off Rosie O’Donnell – who announced in 2002 that she is gay, and married her partner in San Francisco in 2004 – because of her sexuality, would be a major bonehead move on his part. Such an ignorant move would dramatically demolish his vast fan base. That certainly doesn’t sound like something Tim Tebow would do.

And given the source, Mike Francesa – The Sports Radio Host Who Cried Wolf – it’s no wonder the “report” didn’t spread like wildfire across the Twittersphere, let alone the news cycle, during the afternoon. Even a sports radio host with more credibility like Jim Rome – and that’s not saying much – might move the needle by suggesting Tebow would not want anything to do with O’Donnell because she’s gay.

And just when you thought this latest in a long line of lies from Francesa was sad, there was confirmation that Tebow did indeed appear on O’Donnell’s radio show for at least “30 seconds.” Unfortunately, unlike the revisionist history Super Bowl XLII pick, there’s no audio of Tebow’s appearance, but we have a photo that proves that they were within five feet of each other – because how does that saying go, a picture is worth proving a thousand fabrications of a sports radio host? Anyway, that’s Tim Tebow on the far right.

Here’s the kicker: The source of this photo was the man you see right there in the middle – Chris Russo. Mike Francesa’s former on-air partner. Just days ago on “radio row,” these two were all chummy on their respective radio shows.

The timestamp on that photo was 1:07 PM. Francesa had announced just seconds later that Tebow had denounced O’Donnell.

Would anyone be surprised if Tim Tebow filed a lawsuit against Mike Francesa on the grounds of libel or slander? Certainly, Francesa’s track record of mistruths is appalling. Yet he continues extending that track record, despite being caught in lies many, many times, to millions of listeners and viewers worldwide.

It seems the ultimate way to prove him wrong is to prove him guilty in a court of law.

Stretching the truth about a Super Bowl score is one thing.

Suggesting a popular football player is ostracizing a celebrity “because of her lifestyle” – why, even Bruce Jacobs would have to admit that’s pretty low.

In “Pulp Fiction,” Winston Wolf proclaims, “I solve problems.”

Mike (The Sports Radio Host Who Cried Wolf) Francesa? He is a problem.

UPDATE: Here is a better photo showing Tim Tebow enjoying Rosie O’Donnell’s company – further cementing how much of a habitual liar Mike Francesa is. (CREDIT: Getty Images.)

An Anom-Eli: Giants' Manning Among Notable Super Bowl XLVI Players Missing From NFL's "Top 100"

Eli Manning will be playing for his second Super Bowl victory. Not bad for a player who didn't even make the "Top 100 Players" list that came out the year before. In fairness, Tom Brady was ranked No. 1 overall on the list, which was also turned into a ten-hour event on NFL Network last year.

We are at the dawning of what is known as Super Bowl Week – the six-and-a-half-day pre-game to the Big Game, where any and all amounts of parallels are made for the teams contending in the Super Bowl, as well as their players, amid the large amounts of hype being dished out to hungry sports media scribes.

You’ve been hearing about the usual Super Bowl XLII comparisons.

You’ve been hearing about how Eli Manning could win his second Super Bowl championship, which would give him twice as many titles as his big brother, Peyton.

And you’ve been hearing about how Eli could be taking care of business at the site of this year’s Super Bowl, Lucas Oil Field – which just so happens to be the home football stadium of his big brother, Peyton (although Peyton’s renewal of that lease is currently up in the air at the moment – possibly about three months’ worth of moments – thereby creating another subplot for this year’s Super Bowl).

But because there can be no shortage of talking points for Super Bowl Week, allow me to throw another slab of red meat into the mix – by reverting to the “Top 100 Players Of 2011” list. You remember this list: It was compiled based on votes from actual NFL players, and doubled as a ten-hour event on NFL Network airing in the spring of 2011, culminating on Fourth of July Weekend – and had an NFL lockout continued, no doubt would have been repeated dozens upon dozens of times this past fall.

Of the top 100 players voted by their peers, 12 of them were quarterbacks, and of these dozen QB’s, only half of their respective teams qualified for the 2011-12 NFL playoffs.

Of course, Tom Brady was ranked number one; he was among five Patriots players (defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, 35; guard Logan Mankins, 39; wide receiver Wes Welker, 50; linebacker Jerod Mayo, 62) that made the list. And there were only three Giants players that qualified for the list, and all of them were ranked in the bottom half of the Top 100 (defensive end Justin Tuck, 60; safety Antrel Rolle, 68; guard Chris Snee, 77).

That’s not a misprint. Eli Manning, who owns more Lombardi trophies than over half of the other quarterbacks that made the Top 100 list, and is about to embark on his quest for yet another one, is absent from this list.

Granted, “The Top 100 Players Of 2011,” as its title indicates, is based on the performance of the previous season by players on the list therein: the 10-6 Giants, for which Eli Manning had a touchdown-interception radio of 31:25, failed to make the playoffs; meanwhile, quarterbacks representing four of the teams that qualified for the 2010-11 NFL playoffs – Bears, Chiefs and Seahawks, all of whom won their respective divisions, as well as the other NFL franchise in New York, the Jets – didn’t make the cut.

Heck, if you wanted any indication that this Top 100 list wasn’t based on this year, I can sum it up in two words: Donovan McNabb. Yep, when this list was compiled, he had come off of his lone season with the Washington Redskins – a season in which he had more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (14). Yet, he just cracked the list, coming in at number 100.

McNabb wouldn’t even complete 100 passes (94) in his short tenure with the Minnesota Vikings the following season.

Now, some have argued whether or not any of the canonical list of Top 10 lists and Top 100 lists and Top 500 lists compiled over the years, in fields ranging from sports to spores, render any value whatsoever.

However, to say that this “Top 100 Players Of 2011” list is meaningless, especially vis a vis the results and ensuing Super Bowl matchup of the 2011-12 season, would be an insult to the NFL players whose input made this list possible in the first place.

I mean, you can’t blame the NFL players for not foreseeing that just six of the twelve quarterbacks they decided on (Brady; Drew Brees, 9; Aaron Rodgers, 11; Ben Roethlisberger, 41; Matt Ryan, 52; Joe Flacco, 90) would advance to the playoffs the following year, let alone one of the three quarterbacks in the top ten (that would be Peyton Manning, ranked second overall) not even playing a single snap. Or that Michael Vick (number 20 on the list), Philip Rivers (26) and Tony Romo (72) would just miss the playoffs. Or that the Buccaneers, led by Josh Freeman (86), would end the 2011 campaign on a ten-game losing streak. Or that McNabb would have an even worse season that the year before.

This much is certain: Regardless of the outcome of Super Bowl XLVI, Eli Manning will be a lock to make the top 20, when the NFL players put together their “Top 100 Players Of 2012” list, should one be compiled.

You can also figure twice as many Giants players that made the list in 2011, would factor into the 2012 version.

And you can bet that when these players are asked to come up with those worthy of making the 2012 Top 100 list, and such lists for years to come, Donovan McNabb will not even cross any of their minds.

Oh, and you can also guarantee that Tim Tebow will be ranked pretty high on the list, as well.

Though, give the players credit: one of the quarterbacks playing in this year’s Super Bowl just happened to be named the number one player on the “Top 100 Players Of 2011” list. Not too shabby.

The other quarterback? Nowhere to be found.

And if said other quarterback wins Super Bowl XLVI? Well, forget about Peyton Manning and the future of the Indianapolis Colts – it’s time to flip the script on these lists.

Neophyte NBC Sports Network Could Benefit From A Super Boost

NBC Sports Network, the cable channel formerly known as Versus, will present twenty hours of programming live from the site of Super Bowl XLVI next week, including the debut of the new series "Costas Tonight," hosted by Bob Costas. That could be a pivotal week for NBCSN in terms of ratings.

On January 2 of this year, timed with the conclusion of the annual NHL Winter Classic, the NBC Sports Network was officially up and running. The network originally known as Outdoor Life Network for the first dozen years of its existence, then as Versus for the next half-dozen, relaunched with the new name in order to reflect the merger between Comcast, the cable network’s original owner, and NBC.

Three weeks into the new era, it’s a given that they’re not getting gigantic ratings, despite the previous Versus households being grandfathered into their new identity. But one telling sign that NBCSN hasn’t really established itself yet is their new Facebook page: after 23 days, they have 42 “likers” – or an average of two fans per day.

It’s a start.

With extensive hockey coverage thanks to their decade-long contract with the NHL, NBCSN is the go-to network for hockey fans. In addition, they also present original programming, such as “NBC SportsTalk”, whose title possesses synergy with the family of NBC Sports websites, including the popular Pro Football Talk. They also air a weekly show about sports business, hosted by CNBC personality (and Twitter force to be reckoned with) Darren Rovell. So NBCSN is also offering an alternative to those who choose not to watch (or are sick and tired of) ESPN, or NFL Network (which may not be available in a viewer’s area), or maybe even CBS Sports Network (did anyone notice CBS College Sports quietly morphed into their new name about nine months before NBC’s identical move?).

The future is promising for NBCSN, but like all cable networks in their infancy, they could use a shot in the arm.

And they might get it – in the form of Super Bowl XLVI.

No, the “big game” will be on NBC. But the opportunity to raise awareness of NBC Sports Network lies in Indianapolis, the site of this year’s Super Bowl.

NBC released their Super Bowl programming schedule for next week. You can see that NBC is deploying all of their toys (i.e. broadcasting properties) as they see fit, even if the networks don’t traditionally specialize in football programming: David Feherty from The Golf Channel will host an edition of his “Feherty Live” show from Indianapolis. There will also be a dozen hours of programming on The Weather Channel. But NBC Sports Network alone accounts for roughly one-third of the 60+ Super Bowl-themed hours of programming among the NBC family of networks. (Nothing on Bravo or SyFy this year, I’m afraid.)

Think about it, though: If you take away the actual Super Bowl and its six-hour pregame on February 5, NBC Sports Network will be carrying more Super Bowl-devoted programming than NBC itself. That’s quite a responsibility for a channel that technically didn’t even appear on televisions for an entire month yet.

But that’s the game plan for a young network that’s trying to raise awareness of its existence among the hundreds of other cable networks on your lineup.

NBCSN’s Super Bowl programming consists of their daily “NBC SportsTalk” show, which (I am assuming) will emanate from the “radio row” area that is always buzzing during “Super Bowl Week”. Thursday’s edition will actually be extended one hour, leading into a brand new NBCSN program, “Costas Tonight,” hosted by the one and only Bob Costas, debuting at 8 PM ET.

Right there, that’s two factors that hopefully should attract eyeballs to NBC Sports Network: big name (Costas) plus big game (or at least, the backdrop).

And if the twenty-hour Super Bowl extravaganza doesn’t quite work out as planned for NBCSN, there’s still more months left in the year. Remember, it’s 2012 – and election years double as Summer Olympics years. The good thing about NBC having NBCSN at its disposal is that they can actually program some of the many competitions from London on there without hesitation. Compare that to the 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing, which not only aired over NBC, but USA Network, CNBC, MSNBC, and Oxygen. Plus the aforementioned Bravo and SyFy.

True, just months before the 2008 Olympics, the Universal Sports network was created, but it was available mostly as a subchannel for broadcast channels’ signals. Interestingly, NBC decided that it would no longer be delivered in a broadcast television format, being available exclusively on cable as of January 2 – the same day of the NBC Sports Network rebranding. Lest anyone thinks Universal Sports was absorbed by NBCSN; it still exists, and will continue to air global-oriented sports programming… maybe even some of the London Olympics (they have been carrying Olympics-qualifying events).

But back to NBCSN. In addition to the London Olympics, they will also air MLS matches. And of course, they’ll be carrying NHL playoff games, just as they had been when they were known as Versus.

2012 shows a lot of potential for NBC Sports Network.

The potential to get off to a Super start.

Heck, reaching the 50-fan plateau on Facebook would be a great start.

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)?