Wild Card Podcast: Charles Barkley, Urban Meyer & Steven Soderbergh


Twenty teams out, 12 remain alive. It’s time for Wild Card Weekend. And just like the players still in the Lombardi mix, the podcast is stepping up its game for the second-season.

All-time NBA great and TNT analyst Charles Barkley returns to the podcast (he may be the first return guest not named “The Worm”) to help break down the playoff matchups. In fact, we treat it like an NCAA tournament bracket and have him fill it out until we get a Super Bowl winner out of Sir Charles. His answer is surprising, but also provides a quality blast from the past.

Along the way, Barkley, as always, proved full of opinions and forwards several unique takes on Rex Ryan, Michael Vick, Tucker Carlson, Ed Rendell and the state of the BCS, which his beloved Auburn Tigers have a chance of taking next Monday.

Speaking of raising glass egg trophies, we dial-up a man who has done so twice. With Black Monday taking up the oxygen of several teams and the management evaluation process beginning en masse for the twenty teams that missed the playoffs, there is lots of intrigue on the coaching front.

But one name you don’t hear in this hopper is that of Urban Meyer.

Now we all know why he stepped down from Florida after posting a ridiculous winning percentage of 81 percent there. But, is he really out of the coaching game? Especially when Tim Tebow’s team needs a head coach right now? Does he ever harbor a desire to coach in the NFL?

Meyer joins us mere days removed from his last game on the Gator sidelines and we talk about two relationships he’s forged with big-time NFL figures: Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Commissioner Roger Goodell. Some great stories you won’t want to miss there.

As for reading the tea leaves in this ever-fluid coaching carousel that kicked off with Black Monday, NFL Network information man Jason La Canfora joins us to let us know about the vacancies in Carolina, Cleveland, Denver and San Francisco and who might win the Jim Harbaugh Sweepstakes that’s been sweeping the football landscape on the college and professional levels.

And, then, we switch gears. Do we ever. For the past several months, I’ve been searching for someone to fill the role of Official Podcast NFL media critic … someone to cast an unblinking eye on the morass of pregame and postgame shows on television, including the ones on NFL Network.

Who better to offer that critique than an Academy Award winning director? Steven Soderbergh says he’s been watching an absurd amount of NFL pregame and postgame shows of late and joins the podcast to grade what he’s seen.

I must be honest. When I phoned him up (he was at the CDC in Atlanta scouting locations for his new movie “Contagion”), I had no idea what he’d say about me or the shows I anchor on NFL Network, let alone my colleagues on networks across the dial. It turned out to be a monster conversation – the longest one on the podcast to date. Especially since I couldn’t let Soderbergh get off the phone without asking him about Matt Damon’s recent quote that Soderbergh plans to retire from making movies after next year.

Dare I say that the answer, I think, breaks entertainment news.

Eat your heart out, Mary Hart.

Download: Rich Eisen Podcast: Charles Barkley, Urban Meyer, Jason La Canfora and Steven Soderbergh

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