BACK IN THE BOX! Returned last season as the host of "the Penalty Box", the post game call in show for Rochester Americans broadcasts on Sports 1280 WHTK, as well as studio host for game broadcasts and intermission updates. Looking forward to starting a second straight season this upcoming year.
Weekend morning newscaster on WHAM.
Sometime fill in host for Bob Matthews or John DiTullio, as well as hosting call-in shows during Yankees and Red Wings rain delays.
Graduated from West Irondequoit high school (in 1984) where I was the sports director at the student run radio station, WIRQ, as well as the "voice of the Indians" football and basketball radio broadcasts.
Graduated with a B.A. degree from Florida Southern College (in1988). Announced FSC basketball games on local cable TV. Also announced local high school football games on local cable TV.
Have worked for WBBF-AM, WPXY-AM, Sportsradio 990, and then moved on to Clear Channel in 1997, where I have worked for WHAM and WHTK since as a board operator, producer, newscaster, traffic reporter, weatherman and sports host, as well as all-around good guy.
I am also psyched to be back on the air hosting "the Penalty Box", the post game call in show for the Rochester Americans radio broadcasts on 107--3 FM and 1280 AM.
I recently also started reading newscasts on Newsradio 1180, WHAM. It is a good opportunity for me, although I never saw myself as a "news guy". I am still enjoying the opportunity.
Hard Knocks on HBO is the best sports program that has ever been on television.
I could just end this blog right now after that statement. That is the main and only premise of this whole blog. The rest is just filler. The thing is, I know I have to explain WHY I say that first sentence, but I don't want it to sound like some kind of advertisement for HBO or the show, although it is impossible to back up my first statement without it sounding like that. Bottom line is I have no fiscal reason or any reason whatsoever to benefit from HBO or Time Warner or anyone by saying anything in this blog.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way, yes I can say once again, without equivocation, that the show Hard Knocks is the best sports oriented television show that has ever been produced.
Hard Knocks began in 2001 as HBO sports first foray into the newfound "reality show" business. The Ravens had just won the Super Bowl the previous February and this was the first training camp since then.
After the Ravens, the Dallas Cowboys were the team of choice to be profiled the next season. Dave Campo was heading into his third and what would be final season as head coach. Roy Williams was a just drafted rookie. Emmitt Smith was just starting his last season in Dallas.
HBO took a year off in 2003, but came back in 2004 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Another couple years off followed in 2005 and 2006 before HBO made a triumphant return in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs. 2008 was once again the Dallas Cowboys. The show profiled camp with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 and then the New York Jets in 2010. Last year, there was a tremendous void in August and the first week of September as once again there was no Hard Knocks due to the NFL lockout ending too late for HBO to sign anyone.
Now this year, the show is back, and for the first time, the Miami Dolphins are the team that is opening their doors to HBO's camera's.
The show is produced in partnership with NFL films, which is important to know. NFL films pretty much never does anything half-assed. They go into Hard Knocks full-assed, and they produce their asses off in the process.
There is the same deep voiced narration as in any NFL films production. The NFL films that is famous for John Facenda and the famous quote, "on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field...", which he never really did say by the way. They have the same NFL films slo-mo of up close action.
The show is absolute MUST-SEE TV for serious fans of the NFL. Why do I say that? It is just plain riveting, the way they do the show. The HBO camera's have all access to everything that is training camp. They can follow a backup left guard into the john if they want. They wouldn't, but they could, if anyone wanted to see that. They go into players dorm rooms, follow star quarterbacks with their wives and kids on their day off, and go out partying with the stud rookie wide receiver as he and his posse go out for a night on the town.
They are allowed into team meetings. You get to hear what exactly is discussed by coaching staffs as they attempt to decide which players they will keep, and which ones get a visit from the dreaded "turk", who is the assistant coach assigned to go get certain players who are about to be cut and bring them to the head coach.
They have sideline camera's and microphones on both practices and pre-season games involving the team being profiled. They have camera's and mic's in the coaching rooms at the games. Other than the bleeping of the occasional swear words, there is nothing that you don't hear.
Over the years, the show has focused on certain individuals that you would never know about without the show. Many of those people have gone on to stardom. Some have not, but the thing is, you remember them no matter what they do.
I remember them focusing on tight end Todd Heap when he was a tookie for the Ravens. Getting to know him a little as a person through the show influenced the way I thought of him throughout his career.
Same thing for Danny Amendola, who the show focused on during the 2nd Cowboys camp. Amendola was the unknown little guy from a small college who was an undrafted free agent. The Cowboys ended up cutting him, but he has gone onto a starting role in the league with the Rams, and you feel like you have been on the ride with him. You cheered for Amerdola...because of the show. You wanted to see him succeed. Same thing for Danny Woodhead in the Jets camp of 2010. He was cut, but signed on with the Patriots and was a huge part of the team that made it the Super Bowl last year. You the viewer, feel like you are a part of his career.
Rex Ryan was a hit of the 2010 Hard Knocks show. Without seeing that seasons Hard Knocks, I would be totally willing to bet that I would think Rex Ryan was a media whoring, obnoxious, braggadocious blowhard. From many of the things I have seen and read about the man, I would surmise that he is a pretty doggone unlikeable guy. Yet, after watching that season's Hard Knocks, I have the absolute total polar opposite view of him. You couldn't help but like the big lug. He was genuine. He was warm. He was tenacious but with a soft side.
Whtether you like the team that is being profiled that year or not, it made the season more fun. You'd find yourself remembering the story lines of Hard Knocks and sometimes rooting for those players or the team, because you had an "inside connection" to them.
This year, the show reached new heights. Last Tuesday night, we watched Chad "not Ocho-cinco anymore" Johnson get fired by head coach Joe Philben after the high profiled arrest for abusing his wife. Even though everyone knew it was coming, it was riveting to watch. How Philben did it. The things that were said. The reaction and contrition of Johnson. The look in his eyes that questioned whether his NFL career was now over.
There was a human element that made the scene surreal. Whether if was a former huge NFL star being fired, or a salesguy getting fired from his job at Sears, it would have had the same feel. To be a fly on the wall at a life changing moment. Something most of us never get to experience, unless it is happening to us, or we are the ones doing the firing.
Sadly, the show is only on for six weeks a year. The show is so damn good, I was telling my wife the other night that they could take the footage they didn't use for the actual show and do ANOTHER hour long show and I would still love it. If somehow the NFL would ever allow it and a team would agree to it, it would be so awesome if a team would do this for a full regular season, NFL fans would be in freakin' heaven!
Anyways, just to recap, if you love football and you have HBO, you know what I'm talking about. There is no way you could possibly disagree with everything I have said here. If you are an NFL fan and you have never seen Hard Knocks, then call up and get HBO. Or else, steal it (just kidding, c'mon), or go to a friends house who has it, or go to a sports bar that has it and watch it when it comes on Tuesday nights at 11. Do what I used to do and order HBO just from early August to mid September and then cancel it. Do whatever you have to do folks. Trust me, you will thank me!