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Rich Shertenlieb: NFL, NBC Wouldn’t Let Anyone Find Out If Tom Brady Has Covid

“They’ve got too much riding on this game. The amount of money, the amount of advertisers, the amount of viewers they know they’re going to be getting on Sunday night.”

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June 11, 1997. Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan is battling symptoms of the flu, and, despite pleas from his team and family, decides to play the game anyway. Playing 44 minutes, Jordan put up a performance for the ages, scoring 38 points on five assists and three steals. In the contest notoriously referred to as the “Flu Game,” the Chicago Bulls took a three-to-two series lead over the Utah Jazz, and would go on to win the NBA Finals two nights later at home, giving Jordan his fifth of six N.B.A. championships.

September 30, 2021. Tampa, Fla. Prior to the immensely-promoted matchup between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, parallels could undeniably be drawn between this event and what occurred over two decades ago. A seven-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the greatest quarterback in National Football League History, Brady will return to the place where it all started Sunday night. At practice in Tampa, Brady spoke to reporters and, like Jordan that night in 1997, sounded hoarse and under-the-weather, likely blaring alarms in the minds of both sports media outlets and football fans.

On Friday morning, “Toucher and Rich” on 98.5 The Sports Hub spoke about Brady’s demeanor, and what his illness could mean for this game, which is expected to draw a record-breaking viewing audience across multiple platforms.

“Tom Brady yesterday obviously sounded like crap,” said Rich Shertenlieb, co-host of the Boston morning drive program. “Even if he tested positive [for COVID-19], the NFL would, in no way shape or form let that go public. They’ve got too much riding on this game. The amount of money, the amount of advertisers, the amount of viewers they know they’re going to be getting on Sunday night. I do believe in shenanigans and I think they would keep that away.”

The 44-year-old quarterback is vaccinated against COVID-19; however, there remains a risk of breakthrough cases as new variants of the novel coronavirus, most notably the Delta variant, spread throughout the United States.

Aside from record-setting levels of viewership, the world of sports betting is also thriving in the days leading up to the primetime matchup.

“[The game is] already on pace for record-setting betts,” said Shertenlieb. “You take a look at how much money Vegas is bringing in, and it’s absolutely absurd. There was a report yesterday that [this game has had] 25% more bets than any other game.”

Earlier in the show, co-host Fred Toucher said, “Part of what makes sports fun is the suspension of reality.” As sports fans and citizens alike strive for some sense of normalcy after a difficult last year-and-a-half, not seeing Brady play in a matchup that has been hyped up for weeks on end, including the creation of a poignant trailer to Adele’s pop ballad “Hello,” would unequivocally be a major letdown. Sunday Night Football on NBC will be simulcast to Peacock and Universo, with pregame coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ahead of the 8:20 p.m. kickoff. In a press release, NBC called the matchup “one of the most anticipated regular-season games in NFL history.”

Sports Radio News

Cumulus Announces 790 The Score in Rhode Island is Officially On The Air

In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.

Jordan Bondurant

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After reporting last week that Kevin McNamara would be the station’s only local host in the programming lineup, 790 The Score in Providence, Rhode Island is officially on the air.

The station, which was last on the air in the market in 2008, has been revived and will serve as the market’s first sports and sports betting station.

“The station features a lineup of expert personalities that deliver unique sports talk and sports betting insights that entertain, inform, and engage,” said Holly Paras, VP and market manager of Cumulus Providence. “We think Providence sports and sports betting fans will love 790 THE SCORE!”

In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch some of the top national talent on the airwaves throughout the day and night. This includes hosts like Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.

McNamara will host his show Kevin Mac Sports Hour daily from 5-7 p.m.

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Sports Radio News

Paul Finebaum Will Make $700K Advance Ahead of Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher Book

Finebaum will make $700,000 plus royalties for the deep dive into the rivalry between the two SEC head coaches.

Jordan Bondurant

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Paul Finebaum

Though there’s still some time before a finished products reaches bookshelves, but ESPN’s Paul Finebaum is reportedly set to get a nice six-figure advance by Penguin Press.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Finebaum will make $700,000 plus royalties for the deep dive into the rivalry between the two SEC head coaches.

Back in the spring things came to a head between Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, as the two engaged in a verbal spat in separate press conferences over name, image and likeness.

Saban said Fisher and his staff utilized NIL and “bought every player” in the Aggies’ spring 2022 recruiting class.

Things got so heated and drew so many headlines that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey had to step in and try to get the former colleagues to cool it.

Finebaum is teaming up with Alabama beat reporter John Talty to write the book.

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Sports Radio News

Sports Gambling Podcast Network To Stage 24-Hour Fantasy Football Draft

“The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed Draft Day 2.0.”

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Sports Gambling Podcast

If you’re serious about Fantasy Football, the Sports Gambling Podcast Network is bringing back a tradition you’ll want to pay attention to. 

For the second year in a row, Ryan Kramer will draft 24 different teams over the course of a 24 hour marathon that will be streamed across multiple video platforms. 

“Fortunately, the analytics research is done so I can focus now on news coming out of the camps to sharpen my views and deliver the well-reasoned selections that people need to get an edge in their drafting,” Kramer said in a press release. “It’s a bit of an audacious undertaking, but the growing phenomenon of Fantasy Football deserves this level of commitment and our SGPN audiences always respond.” 

The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed “Draft Day 2.0”. All of the content will originate from the Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s studios in Los Angeles. 

The marathon will also be a fundraiser. The network is using GoFundMe to raise funds for a colleague named Darryl injured in a motorcycle accident earlier this year. A portion of proceeds generated from the sale of Sports Gambling Podcast Network branded apperal will also go to the effort. 

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