Curt Menefee: Chemistry the Key to FOX NFL Sunday’s Pregame Show Success

LBS had the pleasure of speaking with Curt Menefee, the host of the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show, recently. We talked about what makes the pregame show so successful, and what makes football shows work. He also gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the show and its hosts. Our conversation follows.

LBS: When you were hired for the pregame show to replace James Brown, what were your thoughts then and what are your thoughts now?

Menefee: Being 100% honest, I never looked at it that I was hired to replace James Brown. I was hired to be Curt Menefee. There’s always an opening somewhere, and I was hired to be me, not to replace someone. So that was my approach from day one — to try and fit in with the unit that was there, and to be the perfect teammate to make the team successful.

Going into it, obviously with James Brown having been there before, and knowing JB, I talked to him and he was helpful giving me some insight with what they were looking for. There was a relationship that helped me along, but I never looked at it that I was replacing him. I viewed it that I was hired for a great gig and that I had to do what I needed to do.

LBS: The pregame show has had a lot of success over the years. In your eyes, what goes into making a successful pregame show?

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Apology: Stan Verrett Did Not Drop N-Word on Highlight, Said ‘Neither One Was a Problem’

Earlier on Wednesday, we posted a video of ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett appearing to use the n-word on a highlight. Verrett responded on his Twitter account shortly thereafter to clarify what he said while reading a highlight of a Stanford guard sinking a buzzer-beater.

“Time, distance, NEITHER one was a problem. Listen carefully next time.”

I had watched SportsCenter Tuesday night and didn’t hear anything funny while watching it live. It wasn’t until the video was passed along to me that I thought anything of it. Sure enough, after listening to the highlight several times, it sounded to me like he had said the n-word on the highlight.

I wrote a post charging Verrett with saying the word on-air. As soon as it was brought to my attention that he was likely saying “Time, distance, neither one a problem,” I quickly revised the post and its tone to indicate that there was disagreement over what he said.

Many people heard the n-word, while many others heard “time, distance, neither one a problem.” It’s obvious that, regardless of what came out, Verrett’s intent was not to use the n-word. Based solely on knowing that, we should not have posted the video and helped create a controversy.

As someone who has broadcasted for years, I wouldn’t want people overanalyzing my misspeaks and charging me with an explosive claim like that. For that, I apologize to Stan for playing a big role in the confusion.

I would also like anyone reading this to know that that’s not what LBS is about. We pride ourselves on accuracy, avoiding mistakes, and being careful when treading in serious subject matters. My judgment was off on this story. I hope this mistake will not change your opinion of LBS, and that it will not adversely affect Stan’s reputation.

Denver Post Writer Jim Armstrong Loses Job Over Sports Betting Scandal

Jim Armstrong, a former Denver Post sports writer and columnist, has lost his job with the newspaper after it was learned that he bet on sports.

Armstrong was one of several people who bet on sports through a local bookmaker that was pinched. Some of the bookie’s clients had weekly limits as high as $50,000. The person who is alleged to have run the operation, Daniel Dinner, is a 70-year-old who has been doing it for nearly four decades.

Armstrong left The Denver Post Friday after being with the paper for 27 years.

“Readers have to believe and trust that all of us at The Denver Post cover events impartially and without a stake in the outcome,” said Gregory L. Moore, editor of The Post. “We take this very seriously.”

Say Armstrong were writing about baseball, but only betting on basketball. Would that affect his coverage? There are some fair questions to be asked, but when you’re involved with illegal activity that can alter the way you do your job, it’s grounds for dismissal.

Let me just say that I’m glad the sports radio networks where I worked didn’t have the same standards. If they did, half the people on staff would be out of work.

Heidi Watney Goes Off on Radio Host for Mentioning Jason Varitek Rumor

Boston radio host Michael Felger ranted Wednesday in response to the Boston Globe’s account of the Red Sox’s collapse this year. While he was ranting, he mentioned an old rumor about NESN reporter Heidi Watney and Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. Watney heard about the rumor and defended herself with a few tweets.

If Felger was ever in the clubhouse he might be able to talk about the team with some knowledge rather than just repeating rumors. Felger is completely off base on just about everything he is saying. Ridiculous and irresponsible.”

Watney went against company policy by commenting on the rumor, and the story grew once she sent her tweets. Watney went on The Sports Hub’s morning show to further defend herself.

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Pitcher Brandon McCarthy, Writer Jennifer Engel in Twitter War

Oakland A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy and sports writer Jennifer Engel got into a Twitter war after the writer took a seemingly unprompted shot at the pitcher.

While watching Game 3 of the ALCS Tuesday, Engel observed of Tigers pitcher Doug Fister, “Looking at tall and skinny Fister reminds me of Brandon McCarthy, except well Fister can actually pitch.”

When McCarthy learned of the tweet, he retweeted it to his followers. Then he responded “Remember kids- when unable to write clearly or eloquently to defend an unoriginal premise- resort to cheap shots!”

McCarthy’s fans began to defend the pitcher to Engel, and her response was “yay, he did not suck w/As. For Rangers, epic fail that cost them good young L.

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Peter Gammons Is Now Analyzing Thongs

On Monday evening, venerable MLB analyst and the face of the $20 bill, Peter Gammons, sent the following tweet from his Twitter account about a thong:

The tweet was sent by text message, so it’s quite possible that Gammons was just responded to a picture message sent to him by his hot stripper girlfriend. Either that, or he could have just been talking about Aubrey Huff or Jason Giambi.

I like to think this is just Peter talking dirty.

Eagles Reporter Howard Eskin Said He’d Bike to San Francisco if 49ers beat Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin was so confident the Eagles would beat the 49ers Sunday, he told a San Francisco radio station he’d bike cross country if the team lost.

Appearing with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger on KNBR Friday, Eskin declared the Eagles a “stone-cold mortal lock.”

“I will tell you right now, there is no chance the 49ers will win. Zero,” he stated. “I’ll take a bike from Philadelphia to San Francisco [if the 49ers beat the Eagles].

“There’s no way the Eagles go 1-3. None. Absolutely none.”

Naturally, the Eagles proceeded to blow a 23-3 3rd quarter lead, missing two field goals and fumbling on their final drive to lose 24-23. The self-proclaimed “Dream Team” is now 1-3.

Eskin, you may recall, is the same person who reported that Michael Vick would be out 2-4 weeks after injuring his hand last week. Vick didn’t miss any games. Eskin also said in July that the Eagles would be interested in Brett Favre as a backup once Kevin Kolb was traded. They signed Vince Young instead.

We’ll consider this strike three for Eskin, who apparently learned nothing from the failures of LA radio host John Ireland. You can listen to Eskin’s radio guarantee in the audio clip below. Thanks to Injury Rate for the tip.

UPDATE: As Off the Bench pointed out to us, Eskin’s son wrote a blog post demanding that his father honor the bet. Let’s hope he does.