Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo on a Mets-Yankees World Series, Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Chances, and How Badly He Wants Into the Radio Hall of Fame
Sports broadcaster calls into the Stern Show after his recent nominationJune 22, 2022
Sports radio legend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo returned to the Stern Show Wednesday morning for a high-octane conversation covering everything from Tom Brady’s unexpected return and the likelihood of a Mets-Yankees World Series to where Chris believes he’s headed after he dies. The 62-year-old SiriusXM host and ESPN analyst also spoke candidly about getting nominated—again—for the Radio Hall of Fame and how badly he hopes 2022 will finally be his year.
“How badly do you want this on a scale of one to 10?” Howard asked Russo.
“Seven,” Mad Dog admitted before fishing for the King of All Media to be the one who inducted him. “You always promised me that if I ever do get in, you will do the induction speech—isn’t that right, Howard?” he asked.
“No,” Howard responded as he explained why induction ceremonies were no longer his thing. “But it’s nice to be included. Don’t get me wrong,” he added.
Chris and Howard tossed around alternate suggestions, like late-night icon David Letterman and Mad Dog’s former broadcasting partner Mike Francesca—the latter of whom was inducted himself as a solo broadcaster back in 2018. For the life of him, Howard couldn’t understand why the Radio Hall of Fame would open the doors to only one half of the beloved radio duo. “What would [they] do, have Sonny and not Cher? Bert but not Ernie?” he asked Mad Dog.
Co-host Robin Quivers seemed equally aggrieved. “I used to listen to Mike and the Mad Dog on terrestrial radio, and I wasn’t there for Mike. I was there for the Mad Dog,” she said.
Of course, the interview couldn’t end without Russo sharing a few blistering-hot sports takes with Howard and his listeners.
When it came to LIV Golf, a new Saudi Arabia-backed golf league which has left the sports world divided, Mad Dog couldn’t understand why the game’s top players were interested. “From a competition standpoint, I don’t know why you would do it because the best events and the best golf courses and venues are still in the PGA Tour,” he said, explaining that battling golfers past their prime could hardly get the “juices flowing.” “I don’t know why that would excite you. That would not excite me,” he added. “There’s no one to beat.”
Some are outraged by the idea of pro golfers aligning themselves with Saudi Arabia, a country well known for human rights abuses, but as Mad Dog pointed out, other sports do that kind of thing all the time.
“If you’re gonna kill [golfers defecting to LIV], well, you better start killing the N.B.A.—they got deals in China,” he said as he began picking up steam. “How about NBC, who has deals with the [International Olympic Committee] … which has put the Olympics in Beijing and Sochi, Russia?”
“What if you were a golfer and they offered you $200 million?” Howard asked.
“I wouldn’t do it … because I don’t like the competition angle,” Mad Dog responded. “[But] I wouldn’t be afraid of taking the money because all these other entities in the United States and athletes are taking it.”
“We have taken blood money in sports and the U.S. government forever,” he added.
With New York’s own Yankees and Mets both off to phenomenal starts, Howard was also eager to hear Mad Dog’s Major League Baseball predictions.
“The Yankees have good pitching, they play very good defense, [but] the Yankees have a lot of pressure on them because you can’t go have this [exceptional] regular season and then blow it in the playoffs—and they haven’t won a championship since ,” he said of the “excellent” 50 and 18 ball club.
Mad Dog saw an equally high ceiling for their crosstown counterparts. “The Mets have very good pitching. They’ve got a resourceful offense. The Mets are a very, very good and a very dangerous team,” he said.
So, what happens if the New York teams meet in the World Series?
“All the pressure in the world is going to be on the Yankees because the Yankees cannot lose to the Mets in the World Series—and I think that is possible,” Mad Dog told Howard. “I think a Yankees-Mets world series is very, very doable this year.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming N.F.L. season, Howard wondered if Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady would win one more Super Bowl before sailing off into the sunset.
“He’s going to have a chance, but I will say no,” Mad Dog predicted, citing the recent retirement of Brady’s longtime passing target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, as one of the reasons. “I think [Brady] is pushing his luck a little bit.”
As fans no doubt remember, the 44-year-old Q.B. had announced his retirement at the end of last season, trading in his helmet and pads for a top-dollar broadcasting deal with Fox. But a few months later he changed his mind and opted to give the gridiron another go.
Though Mad Dog believed Brady was the greatest quarterback of all time, he was less convinced the football legend had it in him to become a top-tier sportscaster. “I don’t know if he’s going to be that great as an analyst,” Russo told Howard. “I just don’t think he’s going to be open enough. I don’t think he’ll want to criticize fellow quarterbacks.”
Get more Chris Russo on Mad Dog Sports Radio, SiriusXM channel 82, and on ESPN’s “First Take.”