Comcast SportsNet New England’s “Postgame Live’’ program that airs after every Patriots game has become appointment television six weeks into its first season, surpassing the longer-running “Fifth Quarter’’ on Channel 4 as the go-to outlet for immediate reaction.
Whether you like him or loathe him
“I’ve known a lot of players who have been good talkers when they played,’’ Felger said, “but when they get a TV job, they won’t be critical of their former team.
“Anyone can tell you about a weak-side blitz or a Cover 2. It’s more rare when they refuse to be vanilla and will criticize someone or something when they see fit. Ty and Troy both fit that mold. I don’t want them going too far and turning off hardcore fans, but they balance it.”
But it’s the weekly Wes Welker interview that makes tuning in a priority. The hosts are blunt with him; after the Ravens loss in Week 3, Law proved he could still aggressively cover a receiver, imploring Welker to “tell the truth’’ about his role and whether it bothered him that he was losing snaps to Julian Edelman.
There was a good-natured tone, but it’s not the type of interrogation that usually accompanies a paid appearance for an athlete. Law, in particular, is raw and unfiltered, and it works for him.
“A big part of it is that Ty and Troy speak to him as more or less player to player,’’ said Felger. “They’ve been through the money stuff, the contract stuff, how things really work with the Patriots, and they know the real score, right? That puts Wes in the comfort zone, I think.”
Welker was more subdued after the Patriots’ loss to the Seahawks last Sunday, perhaps because of the vicious blow he took from Seahawks safety Brandon Browner. But it also might have been because of fallout from the previous week.
Welker raised some eyebrows when, after his 13-catch performance in a win over the Broncos, he told the “Postgame Live’’ crew with a wink, “It’s nice to stick it in Bill’s face,’’ a perhaps-serious, perhaps-not nod to the perception that he was not on the same page with the coach earlier this season.
After the comment generated the usual overwrought sports radio and social media noise, Welker said it was a joke: “Bill and I, whether y’all believe it or not, have a good relationship, and it was a joke and I’ll make sure to keep that in-house going forward.”
Let’s hope he doesn’t, because Welker’s candor and sense of humor have been refreshing.
A gig for ‘Guy’
ESPN finally played a trump card in its ongoing quest to find the right mix of personalities for its NBA studio programming, confirming Thursday that Bill Simmons, a.k.a. “The Sports Guy,’’ will be a regular on the Wednesday and Friday pregame shows as well as ABC’s Sunday pregame program.
Simmons, ESPN’s most popular multimedia personality even before his success with Grantland.com and the superb “30 for 30’’ documentary series, will join fellow newcomer Jalen Rose as well as holdovers Michael Wilbon and Magic Johnson on “NBA Countdown.” Simmons and Rose replace Chris Broussard and Jon Barry, who will continue to have roles on ESPN’s NBA coverage.
“Lord knows I’ve written a lot of stuff about TV shows, especially sports TV shows and stuff like that, and I do think you need to have certain elements for a show to work or not to work,’’ said Simmons. “For me and Jalen, I think at the very least we can all agree that we don’t give a crap. We’re going to say what we’re feeling. I’m not going to pull back much, and neither will he.”
While it’s debatable whether the right personalities are returning — Johnson has proven that his effervescent personality doesn’t translate to broadcasting, and Wilbon is far too deferential to the Lakers legend — it is a daring attempt to find the chemistry TNT has long had with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson.
Simmons is confident the quartet will click when the red light goes on for their Nov. 2 debut.
“For me, it’s like, would this work if the four of us went out for dinner and just started talking basketball?” said Simmons. “I think it would, I know it would. We’d probably go for an hour and a half, and it would be genuine, and you can’t fake that.”
WEEI program director Jason Wolfe said the station has no time frame for finding a successor to Jon Meterparel on “The Dennis and Callahan Show.’’ Meterparel, whose contract had expired, according to industry sources, left last week after providing the program’s “Sports Flash’’ updates since 2000. “We want to find the right person, and I need to take the time that is necessary in order to make sure that happens,” Wolfe said in an e-mail. Thus far, WEEI has had Pete Sheppard, nighttime host Mike Adams, and comedian Graig Murphy fill in. Sheppard has his following, but he is not the right fit; he talked over the hosts so much that a new listener might have presumed Dennis was the third man in. Adams’s goofy humor works better with D&C, but it’s hard to imagine him moving from his nighttime gig.