Another week, another multi-media podcast and, with it, a good solid heaping portion of auld lang syne.
When NFL Network launched eight long years ago (eight long actual years, not the eight long figurative years it feels that this blasted lockout has lasted) one of the biggest stories in the NFL ether surrounded Michael Strahan’s chase of the single-season sacks record in January 2002. And, as I’m sure you all recall, Strahan broke the record by essentially touching Brett Favre as he took the fetal position in a meaningless Week 17 game. There were many howls of criticism for the, shall we say, unique way in which Strahan recorded that record-setting sack and questions as to whether Favre did it for a fellow warrior for whom he had respect. One of the more full-throated critics was none other than Warren Sapp.
So, when “NFL Total Access” was born in November of 2003, our savvy producers wondered if we could run a weekly segment pitting Strahan and Sapp against one another on their respective Team Cams and let the fireworks fly. When both players agreed to take part, it touched off a celebration of sorts. What ensued was, quite simply, the best player-involved weekly segment we’ve ever produced on NFL Network. Sadly, it lasted only two seasons. But the two seasons worth of segments were instant classics.
Thus, when the powers-that-be decided to take this podcast on-air to NFL Network, I knew what I had to do: gather Strahan and Sapp together for a long-awaited, much needed reunion. That’s exactly what takes place on this program.
We re-live the Favre sack that started it all and then recount the time Steelers running back and future Hall of Fame candidate Jerome Bettis guest-starred on the segment only to be summarily dispatched by the two stars of the show. It led Strahan and Sapp to demand a much better guest, and when we produced one of their requested guests — the hot poster girl of the day, Vida Guerra — only one of the boys got to behold her in person while the other had to watch from his seat in his Team Cam studio very far away.
It was one of the best moments of the early Total Access years, bar none. Of course, we had to relive that with Sapp and Strahan before we hit on more current topics of the day – Tiki Barber’s comeback, Rashard Mendenhall’s tweets and which analyst has the tougher Sunday morning job – Strahan on FOX or Sapp on NFL Network.
In other words, instant classic.
Then we welcome in another old friend of the program: Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has performed touchdown celebrations in honor of this humble host on not one, not two but THREE different occasions. And, yet, MJD still owes me another after having promised to do a fourth dance during the 2010 season, only to renege at the last moment. Needless to say, there was lots to talk about with Jones-Drew, including the state of his surgically repaired knee, the status of David Garrard and whether he thinks his coach-on-the-brink Jack Del Rio really and truly wanted to draft rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Needless to say (but I’ll still say it), one of the most entertaining and honest players in the sport did not shy away from a single thing.
Lastly, we finish up with Jason Sudeikis, one of the many talented stars of “Saturday Night Live” as well as the upcoming film “Horrible Bosses,” which opens in a theatre near you on July 8. I’ve always wondered how much work it takes to write and perform in one single week of SNL, so Jason helps pull the curtain back on that. A die-hard Kansas Citian, Sudeikis also talks Chiefs football as well as his beloved Kansas Jayhawks and reveals the answer to this question: Who is the most horrible boss he’s ever had? Hint: it’s definitely NOT Lorne Michaels.
As always, please listen to the podcast to the very end, as there’s some more exciting news about this podcast and how you can follow it (literally) on yet another platform. Enjoy. Only two weeks to go until the special “Curb Your Enthusiasm” podcast with Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Bob Einstein (Funkhauser) and the great J.B. Smoove. The television version of that podcast will air Thursday, July 7th at a special time of 10 p.m. ET on NFL Network.