If Adam Gase wants a preview of how bad it could get for him inside the Valley of the Stupid he should ask Gang Green’s crack PR team to send him the link to all “Benigno & Roberts” WFAN shows from the past week. If the new Jets coach actually listens, a new qualification should be added to his resume.
Many moons ago, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts revealed that, more than anything else, they are fans. One of “their” teams is the Jets.
It seems like Benigno had been campaigning for Todd Bowles’ dismissal since the ink was drying on the former coach’s contract four years ago. On numerous occasions Benigno, 65, has predicted he will be residing underground in a casket before the Jets win another Super Bowl. Much of his passion has rubbed off on Roberts, 35, who fortifies his harsh soliloquies with a modicum of substance.
Gang Green’s hiring of Gase brought the venom out of both Gasbags.
They verbally jolly-stomped the Jets for not inking former Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy and accused the media of purposely tilting the playing field against him. Benigno and Roberts have already called for Gase and GM Mike Maccagnan to be fired if the Jets don’t win a minimum of nine games next season. They also identified Woody and Christopher Johnson, aka “the owners,” as the “real” problem with the Jets, but graciously conceded they could not be fired. I’m sure the Johnson Brothers Band is relieved.
The talkies have so little respect for Mr. Gase that Roberts refers to him as “Peyton Manning’s Coffee Boy.”
Their hammer job on Gase and the Jets organization produced extremely compelling radio. To his credit, Roberts, a few days before the ball dropped in Times Square, predicted Maccagnan and Christopher Johnson might just hire Gase. This sent Benigno into full panic mode, spewing vim and vitriol. Benigno demanded the Jets hire McCarthy. Both guys insisted he was the most qualified candidate for the gig.
When the Jets hired Gase the Mouths really started foaming. Benigno and Roberts delivered the most scorching, scintillating radio WFAN has produced in a few years. Yet, their assault on the Jets organization was not without scapegoating. The duo, sounding very Trumpian, accused the local media, naming some members individually, including Daily News Jets columnist Manish Mehta, of stacking the deck against McCarthy. Benigno and Roberts went as far as calling it “character assassination.”
It wasn’t enough for Benigno and Roberts to “kill” the Jets, they felt compelled to “kill” the messengers too. Roberts, without providing any concrete facts or citing any sources (was his info being provided by caller “Ira From Staten Island?”), said the leaks “are coming from everywhere” inside the Jets organization. Benigno and Roberts went further, calling Mehta part of the Jets PR department.
During a contentious Friday interview, which was highlighted by Benigno shouting everyone down, Mehta went back and forth with the talkies on many issues concerning the Jets hiring of Gase. Mehta stated McCarthy was not a worthy candidate because “he doesn’t understand where the NFL is heading.” Nitty finally collided with Gritty when Roberts told Mehta (whom Benigno called the “Jets assistant GM”) some of the “garbage you tweeted and published” over the past three days “sounds like you work for the New York Jets.” He cited a Mehta tweet about Johnson and Maccagnan asking great questions to candidates interviewing for the job.
Mehta explained he spoke directly with three candidates who interviewed and were complimentary of Johnson and Maccagnan. “I actually work,” Mehta said. “I work my ass off. I have a mind of my own and I know people inside the (Jets) building and outside the building can get ticked off at me but I don’t really care. I’m sorry if you guys think I’m a PR arm of the team because I can assure you the PR department of the Jets doesn’t feel that way.”
In a Thursday interview with Post Jets beatman Brian Costello, Roberts asked: “Why do you and others have a vendetta against McCarthy?”
Costello, who is also FAN’s Jets beat reporter, told Roberts “he would argue” that point, adding he didn’t have a “vendetta” against McCarthy.
As long as we are talking “vendetta,” do Benigno and Roberts have one against the media, at least the ones they disagree with? A few days before Gase was hired, Benigno said: “The Jets better get this right. Don’t listen to the nonsense you read in the papers. These guys have an agenda. They don’t care if the Jets win.”
Nor should they.
They report news. And leave the rooting to Benigno and Roberts.
OFFICIAL REQUEST, MORE REFS
When was the last time an NFL sideline reporter said anything memorable?
On the flip side, former officials used by the networks during games, have become critical elements and are essential during a telecast.
Four (Gene Steratore, CBS; Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino, Fox; Terry McAulay, NBC) will be used during the divisional round on Saturday and Sunday.
Beginning next season, their roles should be expanded. Better still, the NFL’s network partners should hire more of these former officials.
They are becoming as important — perhaps even more so — as the analysts.
With all the officiating judgments and controversies to dissect during a game, the airtime they require is expanding.
Beyond that, the booth officials should be used early in the game, or during the pregame, to analyze the tendencies of each officiating crew. Coaches provide this info to players. The TV “rules analysts” should present it to fans as well.
HEY, NBC … SHOW US THE MONEY (SHOT)
Game announcers and analysts are quick to praise the technical side (“Great angle on that from our crew”) when the camera and replay capture a crucial moment in a game.
Wonder if Al (Exigente) Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were muttering some choice expletives following NBC’s coverage of the Eagles 16-15 win over the Bears, when they found out there was video of Cody Parkey’s field-goal attempt being tipped/blocked by Philly defensive tackle Treyvon Hester?
On the air, NBC produced multiple replays of Parkey’s attempt clanging off the upright, then doinking off the cross bar and falling out. Unless they got caught up in replaying the bizarre clang/doink over and over and over again, it is likely even with 20 (or more) cameras being used, NBC missed the money shot of Hester tipping the ball. For as you know, even the slightest contact with the football can send a kick off course and change the outcome of the tilt.
So, NBC, with all that technology, couldn’t capture this magic moment.
Evidence suggests a key by-law in the ever popular Gasbag Manifesto is: Always treat the fans with respect.
Fortunately (we think), CBS Sports Radio’s Brandon Tierney broke the law while torching Jets fans who were lashing out after Gase was hired.
“I get it, passion is part of the deal. But at least it’s got to be laced with some intelligence,” Tierney said Thursday on the air he shares with Tiki Barber (who had the day off). “When you have passion rooted in idiocy, well, I can’t do it. … Jets fans, you are embarrassing yourselves and I’ll tell you why: You can’t be angry if you don’t really know they got it (the Gase hiring) wrong. … A lack of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
While listening to B.T., we wondered if he was lumping in Benigno/Roberts with the Jets fans he was talking about?
AROUND THE DIAL
As the NFL playoffs continue, here’s another reason for Giants/Jets fans to be depressed. Since opening its doors, Met Life Stadium has hosted essentially 18 NFL seasons (nine for Jets, nine for Giants). Combined, they have hosted one home playoff game in this stadium — one. The Super Bowl doesn’t count. So, fans should encourage both teams to make the most unorthodox moves. They have nothing, absolutely nothing, to lose. … When CMB’s Maggie Gray pushes back on Chris Carlin the sounds are electric, like Wednesday when Maggie Mouth disrupted Mr. C’s campaign to have the Jets hire McCarthy. … On the other side of the moon, CMB is a two-hour show. So why the trio wasted time chatting up Bart Scott’s fur boots is a mystery to me, and probably others. … Why does Don La Greca, day after day on ESPN-98.7’s “The Michael Kay Show,” give management every reason to fire him. Is this DLG doing shtick? Or is he really tired of standing in the shadow of Kay?
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DUDE OF THE WEEK: NICK FOLES
One of the most reliable players in the NFL, he has a devil of a time getting on the field. Still, does any other performer maximize his playing time like Foles, the Eagles quarterback? This cat has a great understanding of who he is and what he can accomplish. Foles brings it all when he gets the ball and somehow the bumbling, struggling Eagles of the regular season now are in the final eight.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF HATERS
Seriously, what in the world do fans and media who want the four-team college football playoff format blown up not understand? Until players get paid over-the-table this is still amateur sports. It’s not the NFL. Clemson and Alabama clearly were the top teams in the nation since August. Both went 14-0 and the Tigers prevailed in the title game. That’s it. You got your national champion. Relax!
What Sam Darnold said: “I’m really, really pumped up about this hire and looking forward to working with Adam (Gase).”