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Coming up, NBA million dollar picks, UFC, my guilty pleasure, terrible TV show. It's all next. We're out there. Brought to you by the Ringer Podcast Network. I forgot to mention on Tuesday's Pod, we put up a new rewatchables on Monday. We did. So I Married an Axe Murderer, one of my favorite 90s comedies. And it was me and Sean fantasy and Chris Ryan. We had a great time. I put up a lot of content this week because we had the three part NBA over under podcast as well, with Rosillo in house. Did Sunday's pod have this pod? Sorry for all the content. It's a lot of me, a lot of talking. I do have some wringer news for you. Austin Rivers. Yeah. He is spinning off onto his own feed that is called Off Guard. It's Austin Rivers and Pasha. They've moved on Tuesdays and Fridays. They're going to be putting up podcasts. Make sure you follow it on Spotify. Also on that Ringer NBA show feed, the group chat podcast, which is excellent with Varier and Waz and Mahoney. They're going to be going now basically Sunday, late morning, early afternoon ish, and then Wednesday.


So they're moving to twice a week. So that's our basketball news. Also, we had our first true crime pod, the first Ringer true crime pod we've ever done. Justin Sales, my guy, New Englander, still kept the accent, one of our finest. And he pitched us this really great seven part series about how he got scammed. That is what episode one is about. And it just keeps going. It keeps going. Gets weirder. Gets weirder. There's no way you're not going to like it if you like true crime. So check it out. It's called wedding scammer. It is the Ringer's first true crime podcast. I also went on Jimmy Trainer's podcast this week. So if you want to hear me talk about me, which I hate usually, but I did it on that podcast, I'm on there as well. Coming up on this podcast, howard Beck from The Ringer talking about John Morant, James Harden, some other stealth storylines heading into opening night on Tuesday. And then million dollar picks. Feeling really good about the million dollar picks this week. And then Arya Hawani, our guy, talking Knicks, talking Bills, talking the big UFC event this week, talking about the influencer boxing thing he did last week, and some WW stuff.


And then I thought I'd end the podcast. No. No, because we launched a new segment that we're probably spinning off into another podcast. We talk about it during the segment. But Amanda Dobbins came on to talk about the morning show, which is the worst good show on TV. It's either the best bad show on TV or the worst good show on TV. Just make sure worst is somewhere in there. It is just inexplicable. It's unbelievable. I can't stop watching every episode. I hate myself for it. Amanda and I are going to break down all the reasons why we just can't believe the show exists. That is the podcast. First, our friends from Pearl Jip. All right. Howard Beck is here. He works for the ringer. We love having him. We're going to talk some NBA storylines. I did 4 hours of NBA preview content on Monday with Brasillo and House, and it already feels like seven things have happened since we did that. The biggest one was ESPN wrote a huge story about John Morant. It's written by Baxter Holmes and who's the other one? Tim McMahon. Yeah. That they reported for a while.


Tim McMahon.


The timing of it was interesting heading into the week of the season. I also thought Jaws absence was being slept on a little bit, especially when we're talking about the futures where I think their over under was like 44 and a half, 45 and a half. And I was like, Jaw is gone for 25 games. This feels like a big deal. Plus, what are we getting when he comes back? And you read that story and it was mostly stuff that had been around or stuff that was out there. There was some unflattering stuff in there. But in general, I left that story going. Now the narrative is going to be this story was out there. There's a bigger spotlight on. But now it's actually a little bit better for John away because the attention now you can kind of use that like, nobody believes in me, that this is I don't know. I was wondering, how do you think that story and the hullbull around it affects him and his comeback?


Well, it's interesting. By the way, I'm only about, like, 90 minutes into your five hour marathon.




Over the weekend, I listen to pods while I wash dishes or while I'm on the treadmill. I need more dirty dishes and I need to get into better shape. And by the time the end of the week, I'll be through it. No, I mean, you were right to flag that, right. John Morant not there on Media day, so he still has not spoken to anybody in the media, to the public in general, since this 25 game suspension was handed down by Adam Silver. That the story came out. Now, like, I haven't talked to our friends at ESPN about the reporting process, everything else, but those things take time. I don't think anybody should read into it that it dropped now. It's relevant now. We're going into seasons opening up next week, and one of their brightest young stars won't be there under really unique and troubling circumstances.


Well, it seems like they also talked to every local business owner in Memphis because there was a bunch of them. So you could tell they worked on it for months and months for sure.


And by the way, neither of those guys is Memphis based. I think McMahon has responsibility for a lot of teams. Memphis might be one of his. And Baxter is just kind of more like all purpose investigative. You don't if you're not based there. So there's the first challenge. As I'm reading this as a reporter, my first thought is, wow, you either somebody pointed you in the right direction, like, you need to go talk to this restaurant owner, or this might have been strip club owner, this bar owner, whoever. Because if not, you're just kind of making the rounds and trying to get a feel like you could do that. You could do a lot of just like the shoe leather reporting. But that's tough when you're not based there and you don't have that local network of people they talked to. Obviously some really important voices there. People who knew not just the on court version of this or what the internal politics of the grizzlies are, but how he's being perceived in the community. And it also tracks, Bill, with a lot of the other incidents that have been reported on in the last six to eight months.


Right. It's not just issues with obviously flashing guns is the big thing right now, but it's not even just issues with how he's conducting himself within the organization with teammates or coaches or team officials.


Social media judgment.


Social media judgment. But the attitude or the entitlement issues that seem to present themselves with these local business owners who I think we're all speaking anonymously, tracks with a lot of the stuff that was like the shoe store incident, the mall incident, and all these other things, right? There's a pattern here. And so I think the story is really valuable in that sense. It's giving us a more full picture that this is an ongoing issue on a variety of levels, even including just the way he carries himself around Memphis.


Well, there was one piece in there. I knew most of the stuff, or I'd heard secondhand. I think people like us, we just talked to a lot of people, so you get a general vibe of where things are going or what things are happening. The one thing that was in the story that I never really thought about, one of the anonymous owners was saying this guy was the biggest celebrity we've had since Elvis. And I read that, and I did, like, a double take. And I'm like, is that true? And I'm thinking about it. I'm like, yeah, that's probably true. It's not like any of the they had Pal gasol. They had Derek Rose when he was at the University of Memphis. But for the most part, I hadn't really thought of it that way. And then you think, like, this young, kick ass, incredibly fun to watch star just drops in their lap as, like, the constellation prize in the Zion draft and then becomes what he becomes in a small city and just becomes the guy. And I guess I never really wrapped my head around that. But when I read I did you do a double take when you saw that?


I did. And I guess I chuckled a little bit because it's just such a like elvis references are kind of leap off the page. Right.


Like, whoa, totally. Well, because we're old enough to remember when Elvis died. That was like the biggest thing that happened in 1977.


Indeed. But I didn't think of it in that sense. Right. And you're right, this has not been a big sports market in general. The grizzlies themselves have only been there for 20 years. Yes. John Morant is bigger than both Gasols, bigger than Mike Conley, bigger than Tony Allen, bigger than anybody in basketball history. There probably and so, yeah, I don't know. Is there somebody between Elvis and Ja? Like maybe somebody from Memphis would have to tell us. But the other thing that struck me was there were team people talk. I don't know if they were team officials or just team people. There were definitely anonymous team sources. And depending on what station that person or those people occupy within the organization, I kind of came away feeling like this is somebody signaling that the organization is losing patience or is trying to send, depending on who it is. Right. It could be somebody lower down, it could be teammates, it could be assistant coaches, it could be anybody. But if it's anybody in a position of authority, they made a calculated decision to convey some of these things, Bill, and that tells me that the organization itself doesn't mind the line there that says a grizzly source said because maybe they want that shot across the bow.


Maybe they feel like nothing else is really getting across. You'd hope.


I'm so glad you brought well, I'm so glad you brought that up because that struck me too. And you're somebody who's written a bunch of these pieces and they can go one of two ways. Right. When you're trying to dig for information, the team can be I guess it's three ways. The team can either be helpful, but say, don't put one thing about anything with me. Don't even say me as I'm giving you all background. That's it. Or they could say, fuck off, we're not talking about it. Jaws great, it's going to go well. Or they do what they did in this story when they approach it this way where they're not approving of the story, but they're also seem pretty okay talking about it. That tells me this is maybe more of a I don't want to say his last chance, but maybe this is a little more dire than it's been presented.




So it seems like we saw that the same way.


Yeah. And to be clear, I want to disclaim this as many times as possible before the aggregators start extrapolating. I don't know who these team officials are, or if they were even team officials as opposed to others within the team, but it's reasonable to think that if that many people were talking, they did it with the full knowledge and intent of wanting this out there because they feel like nothing else has worked. And if you thought in the wake if you were working for the Grizzlies in a position of authority and you thought in the wake of Adam Silver's 25 game suspension, wow, that's the piece. That's the disciplinary measure that's going to get Jaws attention and get him to grow up and take responsibility, be accountable, straighten himself out personally and professionally. If you were confident in that, then you just listed those three options. Bill, you would take the option of, we're just not going to talk. Right. Like, if I was really confident that Jod gotten the message loud and clear and I was convinced that things were going to be just fine, he's going to service 25 games, he's going to come back, and I'm 100% confident all of this is behind him.


If I were that, and again, I'm just speculating, disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer. But if I were in position to speak to the media from the team and was that confident, I would do the we're not talking about it because we're really confident this is going to go to the right place. The fact that people were talking yes, to me signals potentially that there is still an ongoing concern that this punishment is not going to be enough to get him to straighten everything out. It was funny because earlier this week, I was talking to someone from another team and I was just that time of year, right? You're shooting the shit. And it was just kind of like, Tell me. I think I said, not counting Harden, who's the next star getting traded? And he thought for a second, he said, John Morant, again, this is not breaking news. This is not sources say, this is not anything. It was just one person's kind of like semi quippy their feel for it. Right. Their sense is and again, it signals the same thing, that maybe the concern has grown to the point where you're no longer convinced that this is going to be tenable long term.


I don't think we're there yet, to be clear, and I'm sure the Grizzlies aren't there yet, but it's the first.


Time I think either of us thought, oh, we might actually head there.




I mean, we've talked about Zion for good reason, right. Like, their patience clearly is at its end, but you just can't get the right value for them, and nobody knows how to value Zion. Williamson we could talk, know, Carl Anthony Towns and there's a reasonable discussion about why he could be traded. Harden is the immediate thing, and then if the Harden thing doesn't go well, then, yeah, okay. Joel Embiid, you're on deck for maybe a year down the line.


Mitchell's, the other one. Mitchell is definitely lingering.


Yeah, we'll get to that one. I think later, but yeah, mitchell's lingering jaw is not one that I would have had at the top of my list. And to be clear, I don't know that trading jaw anywhere else solves anything. It's not the city of Memphis's fault that John Morant has acted the way he has. I don't think it's the Grizzly's fault as an organization. It's not one of those things where, oh, just get him somewhere else. He'll be fine. But sometimes you do have to have your world rattled a little bit. You mentioned Zach Randolph earlier. Zach Randolph. People. Go back, go Google Zach Randolph and the stories about him early in his career in Portland and the way he was perceived. And you would have thought he was the biggest just knucklehead jerk, whatever, like any negative thing you could think about, because he was part of that era of the trailblazers and he was involved in some things, and he had a group of friends who were involved in some things in Portland that cast him in a very, very bad light. He gets traded a couple times, bounces from New York to the Clippers to Memphis.


He's now a folk hero. By the way, Zach Randolph one of the all time great dudes that I've covered. He's just a big teddy bear. He's a great guy. He's not any of the things that I think people perceived him to be early in his career. And maybe it took him being traded a few times before he settled in Jaws. A much higher ceiling talent and a lot more riding on him. So the stakes are higher. But just in terms of individuals who sometimes benefit, just I hate the idea that a change of scenery does it right. Again. It's not about Memphis. This is not any town or team's fault. But sometimes you just have to have your foundation of fresh starts, a fresh start.


Yeah. Also, when the history of the NBA is when these guys hit their late 20s that have had some issues in their early mid 20s, they tend to grow out of it and become better bets, become more mature. I've seen that over and over again. It is funny, though, this jaw story and just the possibility of him being trading all that. This is kind of the NBA we grew up with. Right. So you go all the way back to the cocaine era, and back then, you had none of the intel we have now, and the league was not covered the same way. It was basically like, one national reporter is Peter Vesi, and that's it. But you would have, like, Michael Ray Richardson on your team and know he had a coke problem, and you would just trade him to, you know, and be like, hey, you interested in Michael Ray Richardson and Golden State's? Like, yeah, what do you want for him? And all of a sudden, and these guys were moving around, and that was what was going on in the, like, people passing problems around. When we got to the 90s, it was a different era of that where the problems were different.


A lot of times it was like young guys who had gotten a lot of money too fast or maybe somebody was clashing with their coach or like SeaWeb's Case where he's just like, I don't like Don Nelson. I don't want to be here. And over and over again, we saw teams gambling on these assets that weren't assets in the way. Like, you know, if you could win a title with them, but you knew they were an asset. And this era now with John Zion, those two guys specifically was just incredibly talented young guys who might need a fresh start somewhere else if it doesn't work out this year. I don't you're I don't want to speculate, but if you're a team like the Clippers and you have a new stadium opening next year and you're like, holy shit, we could get John Morant and we have to give up this, there's going to be a market in a real way for either of those guys. And I don't think Memphis will trade. I'm if I had to bet on it, I would bet that this is probably going to work out and he'll probably learn lessons.


The stuff about in the piece about his people being worried about his dad's influence and how his dad was kind of acting like he was in the league too and stuff like that, that seems like you can straighten that stuff out. He's also going to be on his third strike, so if that doesn't scare you, I don't know. What's the next step? After 25 games, that's like a full season suspension. So my guess is this works out, but I'm also open to the possibility that he might not be on the Grizzlies in three months. Right. I certainly wouldn't rule against that.


Yeah, I mean, I feel like it's too soon. This season would be too soon. I got to think he serves a 25 game suspension. He comes back, he'll say all the right things. These guys know how to say all the right things, and they get coached on all this. We saw the last interview he did. But there's a way to handle this, right? He'll do that. He'll come back. I think they tread water without him.


And we'll see how the because Marcus we'll see what happens on Friday. But Marcus hasn't played all preseason and is already injured, and he's somebody who had a lot, know, nagging stuff with the Celtics and took a million kajillion charges and blocks. And I just worry about how he's going to evolve. Know, I don't know. They're a really hard team to figure out because the instinct and we did this on the preview pod. It's like they're the Grizzlies. They're going to win 50 games. They're a great regular season team, but you take job for 25 games. Marcus isn't healthy yet and I don't know there's a path for them. Maybe not to be that good.


And Tyas Jones isn't there anymore. Right.


And Brandon talked about for a year.


Yeah, all those great records, all those wins. Wow, look how good they are without John Morant. That was the antius Jones because of him. But you need to replace the position and you need somebody who's a steady presence. There are Marcus Smart, Derek Rose and whoever else they plug in going to be enough? We'll see. But I think there's a scenario where the season is calm. They're going to slide for sure, but they have a respectable season. They make their playoff run. Maybe they'll last around, maybe they'll last two rounds and nothing happens. And the conversation just passes, right? It's completely possible. The moment just passes. And the person I talked to earlier in the week who said, oh, watch for a John Moranche, I think that was just more of the keep an eye on it kind of thing, not a prediction keep an eye on.


I totally agree. I hope he figures it out because he's one of the most fun players. I'm not breaking news with this one, but we need John Moran. He was so much fun to watch. I want to see him figure this shit out and get his life together. Let's take a break and talk about a couple of other stealth storylines. The NFL season going strong. FanDuel wants to help you enjoy it even more. With two great offers right now, new customers can bet $5 and get 200 in bonus bets guaranteed. Plus all customers get a profit boost every day. So you can boost your winnings even more. We're about to do million dollar picks in a little bit. There's a tease that I absolutely love with the Bills and Seahawks. We'll leave it at that. I don't want to spoil million dollar picks, but all kinds of great bets of actually, I bet in Boston this week. You just get to use FanDuel. It's great when I say the app is easy to use and that you can bet on everything. Trust me, I've been doing slash BS. All you have to do is use that URL, get into the NFL action with offers you don't want to miss.


Plus you can jump on all the NBA futures that we did on the preview podcast with bracelet and house and you can even do my special boost. Boston 50 plus wins. OKC, 40 plus wins. Lakers 45 plus wins. They boosted that to plus 250. Fantastic stuff. Fando, official partner of the NFL, you must be 21 plus and president select states bet $5, get $200 offer first online real money wager only $10 1st deposit required. Bonus issued as non withdrawable bonus bets that expire seven days after receipt daily profit boost token offer bonus issued as non withdrawable profit boost token restrictions by including token expiration. See terms from both offers at Sportsbook The other big thing that happened since we did all those preview pods was James Harden has officially started the get me the F out of here project. And it's just like, I'm not going to be a practice today. I have a doctor's appointment. And he's starting to do that stuff, I think, whenever a player wants to get traded. I remember when I was researching my book, I was fascinated by Rick Barry, just in general. I did a lot of Rick Barry content in my book.


But one of the things he ended up on an Aba team in the early seventy s, I think it was Virginia, and he didn't want to be in Virginia. He wanted to get the F out of there and they wouldn't trade him. And he gave some interview, I think, to Sports Illustrated, and he just started insulting the people of Virginia. It's like, if I raise my kids here, are they going to talk like this? And did this stuff? And Virginia was like, fuck this guy. And then it worked and they traded him. I wonder if Harden maybe that's the next step. He starts insulting the Creed movies, cheesesteaks, Shield. Capadia. Like just Bryce Harper. He's like, he's rooting for the opposite team in the World Series. Whoever they end up playing in the World Series and just tries to he's like, it's always sunny in Philadelphia. Should end it after three episodes. Just whatever it takes to make Philly be like, you've got to get this guy out here now. But it seems like we're headed toward a Clipper trade, and how is Terrence Man the hold up in a James Harden trade? I just don't understand it.


How is this the hold up?


You had messaged me ahead of the show like, hey, what are some stealth topics here? So I just jotted down a bunch of ideas. One of them was Terrence Mann, and I don't say this lightly, and I tried to be flippant when it's people's jobs on the line, but Terrence Mann's going to get somebody fired, Bill. Either the Clippers hang on to him and this season crashes and burns, and they never got hardened because they held onto Terrence Mann too long and it's going to cost people or they do trade him or excuse me, it's on both sides, right? If Terrence Mann's the holdup, then Darryl Mori can't trade James Harden either. To the Clippers. Basically, if Terrence band is the sticking point of this trade, everybody loses. Harden loses, right? The sixers front office loses. The Clippers front office. I cannot believe it hit me in the midst of processing all this. Like, Terrence man, he's 27, this is prime. But he's been in the league for a few years.


He's good.


He's solid. He's swinging. Yeah, he's good. He's really good. And listen, I know from the Clippers side of it the reason they value him so much is not because they think he's going to suddenly burst into perennial All Star. It's that they have a lot of high end and a lot of plug and play guys at the other end. They don't have anybody in between, and he's their one guy. Like, reasonable contract, good player, doesn't mind starting or coming off the bench, will guard the other team's, best perimeter guy when he's on the court. He's low maintenance. And if they trade him, they don't have another Terrence man. Like, I get that, but James Harden might be the reason they either do or don't finally make the finals with Paul George. And.


They'Re not making the finals with those three guys. I hate to break it to you.


I'm not saying they are, and I wouldn't put money on it.


James Harden is still James Harden. You still have to win three straight playoff rounds without flaming out in some terrible way.


I'm just saying, if you're the Clippers and you've got Kawhi and Paul George in their walk years, assuming they don't extend them, and you've got a new arena as you alluded to opening up in a year and we're on year four, whatever it is, of this experiment that has not produced results and everybody's you know, the urgency is amped up. And if Terrence Mann is the difference between either making the play for James Harden, listen, whatever his faults or deficiencies, are they're there? Who else is available? Like, who else are you getting if you don't get Harden? And are they going to the finals with what they've got without Harden? Like, that's also A.


Isn'T the fear for the Clippers, like, who are we bidding against? So I have to give you a pick. I have to give you Terrence Mann, I have to give you some sort of swap, and there's not one other bidder in there. And Harden's demanding he comes here. We're not Matt ishbia we're not just going to give you 130 cents in the dollar because your player wants to come here. But the fear would be that if you wait two months, then all of a sudden Miami is like, yeah, we'll take them.


They're bidding against themselves. They truly are. But they're bidding against exactly what I'm saying. They're bidding against the downside of not getting another star type player, even one who's in his early mid thirty s, and yeah, never comes up in the postseason. But on that team, you're not relying on James Harden to take you home of game five in the semifinals because you've got Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, presumably healthy and playing, so there's less on him. There your business, for real. Yeah.


I would go the other way. I would trade Kawhi and Paul George. I think that team is done. I think they're a carcass. I think it's a wrap. There's better teams in the west, and you give me those guys for 82. Games. I still don't think they're one of the best three teams in the west, and I think their moment, their role players aren't nearly as good. Some of them are washed up. They have no young guys on the horizon except for Terrence Mann, and he's 27, as you pointed out, and I don't see it. I don't think they're one of the eight best teams in the west.


No. And this is like 100 news cycles ago, so it's hard to remember. But there was a little remember glimmer or window there in, like, mid to late June, maybe before the draft, where we were talking about the Clippers might be open to a there was a there was a moment they were at least thinking about it, and then it was, no, no, we're keeping everybody together. We're all in on this. We're going to run it back again. But, yeah, I think there was a really strong case for blowing it up, trading one or both of those guys, because yeah, I think at this point, you got to just kind of concede that you're not getting where you wanted to go. It was still the right thing to do in 2019. Like all these people saying, oh, what a joke. No, the Clippers, it was the right.


Thing to do because it felt like they trumped the yeah.


Yeah. And it was the right thing to do. It didn't work out fine. But, yeah, I do think it's run its course, and if you're going to try to extend it, revive it, whatever it is, if James Harden is the best you can do to do that, might as well. And if Terrence Mann's holding it up, I was laughing, thinking about this. Terrence Mann is the 2023 Timothy Mosgov, because Mosgov was almost the breaking point of the Carmelo deal for the Nixon Nuggets. And Donnie Walsh, in his defense, he'd already put so much in that deal. Gallinari Wilson Chandler, raymond Felton picks everything. It's not that they thought Mosgov was the breaking point, because they couldn't because he's so great. It was more that this was one more asset that they just wouldn't have for any other purpose. Unless, we forget, eventually, the Nuggets traded Moscow to the Cavaliers for two first round picks. Kind of proving the point. Like, sometimes the guy that you think is like, oh, well, why are you holding on to him? Well, at some point, he might be valuable for some other reason, but Terrence man is now Timothy Moskov.


I think maybe the Knicks would be the other possibility. Just saying, Fuck it. Yeah. But what I think happens is he can hold out a maximum of 30 days before it affects next year.




So my guess would be he just does James Harden stuff for four weeks and maybe comes back on day 29. Right. The latest possible that he can come back without jeopardizing his free agency because of that rule that after 30 days, the team retains the rights. So I think the Sixers are probably, if they don't get this Clippers deal done, the season starts now. You're on the clock basically until around Thanksgiving with Harden just not playing. So now you have to figure out, all right, who's our team without James Harden. Maxi is like, this is great. Take your time. James Harden. I got this. I'll take the car keys. We'll figure out our role players. But then James Harden comes Walting back in on day 28. Day 29, like, hey, guys, I'm here. What kind of shape is he going to be in? What happens if he's 15 pounds overweight and his weight goes up and down, as we've seen? So that part is going to be weird, too.


The Sixers have a couple of hammers here that I think the Rockets didn't have when we went through this whole saga a few years back. Right? He's that much older for one. The whole reason, presumably, again, we don't know this for sure that he's in this whole snit in the first place is because he thought he believed or he was told, whatever it was, that he was getting another max extension or at least a major payday. He obviously still wants that payday bill, and he isn't a walk year. And the other hammer, of course, as you mentioned, is that 30 day rule where they could hold up his free agency or deny him his free agency if he's refused his services for 30 plus days. So he doesn't have as much room to just kind of dick around as he did in Houston. At some point, he's going to have to be accountable and play and try and not be 15 pounds overweight and presumably not be insulting all the great cheesesteak institutions of Philadelphia and Creed movies.


On the other hand, he's James Harden, so nothing could be ruled out. All right, quickly, what do you have for stealth storylines?


Oh, we alluded to it earlier, so I want to hit, like, I think the Cavaliers have a lot more urgency than any of us would normally think or have really discussed much. Yes, they are young ish. Yes, they just got together. Yes, they just had their breakthrough season, their best non LeBron season in 5000 years or whatever, but Donovan Mitchell is 27. Donovan Mitchell last week checked, still wants to play in New York. At least that's still kind of the scuttlebutt around the league that he'd really love to be in New York. And frankly, I was never a big believer in the small, small backcourt with Garland, and they really crapped. The bet against the Knicks in the playoffs. I'm not sold. Now, they had injury issues last year where they didn't have as much time together. Maybe second year things will click better, but you got two small guards who are both best as primary ball handler, scorer types.


That's the biggest fundamental problem. With them is the car keys thing because it should be Mitchell. He was a first team on BA Guy last year. But I love Garland. Garland just standing on the side while Mitchell is dribling for 10 seconds is not ideal. And they also got to figure out the Mobley Jared Allen thing because if Mobley can't shoot threes, you can't play him at the four. Like it's not 1985. Right. One of those guys needs to be able to stretch the defense.


So under normal circumstances, a young team that has got a bunch of recent draft picks or just made all these moves, haven't had much success and have their breakthrough year, you figure they've got two, three, four years to kind of figure it out. But this is different. Partially just the era that we're living in, Bill, where guys are asking out all the time anyway, but partially just, yeah, Donovan Mitchell, like, the clock's ticking. He has a player option in 2025, so that means by next summer he's going into his walk year. And that's traditionally been like the trigger point where if you're going to say, get me out now, granted guys do it with three and four years left now, but the one year left thing is usually that's the courtesy call where I'm going to leave anyway. You might as well move me now. The Knicks thing is funny because of course you'd have another small, small issue there with Brunson. But if Donovan Mitchell, if the Knicks get another chance to get him, like this time, you figure they're probably going to do it. And it doesn't have to be the Knicks. It could be somewhere else.


But they do. I think the clock is ticking on that quartet in Cleveland. They'll have contract and cap issues eventually, too. So yeah, like, I think this is a really big, important year for the Cavs, which, like I say, it runs counter to conventional wisdom for a team that just got here.


Couldn't agree more. And I would even say an important first three months because if it doesn't start out great, then the Mitchell stuff will start. Yeah, and it's going to start on podcasts like this because I am convinced he's not long for Cleveland. I think miami is. I'm just watching Miami, too, because we know that they're willing to move a lot of assets to remain. We talked I went over in Miami on the podcast that we did, the preview thing. It's unbelievable to me that they're just being written off by most people. They came within a missed three of making three of the last four finals. I'm more scared of them than I am of Am. They've had more success. I know Giannis is the second or first best player in the world, depending on how you want to rank. I just the Miami infrastructure and their assets and their willingness to say fuck it, and just make trades and do stuff like I'm scared of them. What's your next?


And I alluded to that, by the way, in my five questions for the season, which we ran recently on the ringer, which is just that what do they have up their sleeve, right? The Heat's going to do something I don't know they're doing. How about how about this? You're going to cringe, Bill. You're going to absolutely cringe at this one. What if Ben Simmons is good? Mean it's. It's you're just like blank stare. You can't even process.


Hold on. Okay.


All right.


I can work with you for a couple of seconds.


Give me a little bit of room. I don't place any stock in the preseason. None of us should. But he looked more assertive again, more confident again. And there's always been this question for the last couple of years of how much of Ben Simmons'decline was physical versus mental. I mean, he himself cited mental issues in the late stages of his time with the Sixers and why he wanted out and again while he's been with Brooklyn. So people around the league have wondered about just whether his head and his heart are really in the game. All physical stuff aside, a lot of people have felt like, all right, back or no back, I'm just not sold that Ben Simmons really wants this. But the guy that I've seen in flashes in the preseason looks more like that swagger is there, and the aggression is there, and he's seen in person.


Have you gone in person? Have you seen it with your own eyes?


A little bit? You're saying my TV is lying to me?


No, because you live there. So I'm not going to fully trust this until you're at your seat watching this going, man, look at Ben Simmons during this timeout. He's actually listening to the coach.


I popped in for a little bit. We're pretty far from the home bench in the media seating at Barclays, but I'll be going to some Nets games early on, and I will have, like, that is probably the thing I'll be watching most. So there's just enough evidence in the preseason to think, like, maybe he's getting it back. He's still only 27, and if his head and his body are right, if he's good again, again, I phrase this as a question, as a stealth issue. What if he's good again? Now with Mikhail Bridges? Now you've got two certified All Star talents. They're complementary players with each other.


He's a certified All Star talent. Ben Simmons. Now, wow, what a leap.


He was All NBA, like, three, four years ago. I'm just saying, if he's back before the pandemic, I said, what if he's good? Those two if those two are in that maybe not even All Star, just vicinity of All Star All Star conversation, getting legit All Star votes. And you have all these interesting pieces with Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney Smith and Royce O'Neill and and so then it gives them like they already have all this optionality anyway because they've got that boatload of picks from the Suns. They've got a bunch of their own picks and sixer picks. They don't have their own picks. The Rockets have swap rights and whatever, but those may or may not come into play. So they've got a lot of pieces and picks, and I'm very curious to see they're not on the clock to do anything yet. But at some point there's some sort of consolidation move, like they're one of those teams where if embiid or whomever eventually becomes available, maybe it's maybe, maybe Brooklyn instead of Manhattan. They've got the pieces to do a lot of things. And if Ben Simmons is good again, it's either pushes their timeline up where we can compete now, or he's only got one year left after this.


You know, at one point looked like the most untradable contract in the league. Maybe he becomes movable again. It's a lot of hypotheticals, Bill. I'm not trying to sell it too hard. I'm just saying, what if he's good?


No, I like how you're thinking, though, because there are doors that are open that were all slammed three months ago and the other piece know, we always talked about the best thing that would happen for him, for him to be on completely forgettable team in a city that didn't care about basketball. Just make all your mistakes and do your thing and nobody's going to care about this Nets team. I think this net season, it's the first time since they hit rock bottom when they lost their picks before they rebuilt stuff. It's the first time probably in like five, six years where there's not a meal ticket in any way, shape or form to I really like Mikhail Bridges, but he's the guy at the end of the jumbotron video for them now. And I just don't think for what they tried to be for the last few years, they're going to be a pretty anonymous team, which I think is good for him. He's going to have a lot of empty nights, a lot of empty home games, and a lot of chances to rebuild. Get some dubious.


Yeah. I say this with all respect for the borough I live in and the fans who go to those games and the organization itself. But playing for the Nets at times can be like playing in a small market in that the Knicks take up so much of the basketball fandom oxygen here. They're the ones on the back page, good, bad or otherwise. And so if you're playing for the Nets, the good news is you are in one of the biggest markets on earth, and you can get all the benefits from it and yet not have to deal with as much of the glare and the scrutiny. So you can kind of like Ben Simmons can get himself back together off the radar a little bit because there's just not as much attention and yeah, I do. I think that'll be good for him.


It's like the La chargers in the NFL where a lot of the fans that are there are there to go see the other teams.




So it's like, oh, New Orleans is in town, some Zion jerseys and yeah, you can feel it in the shots of.


The other piece of this is just that compared to the last time that they were bottoming out, they're not going to bottom out this time. This is actually a better team talent wise, and they have well, they owe their picks.


That's the other thing they can't bottom.


Yeah, right. But last time that that happened, when they sent the Celtics all their picks, they couldn't bottom out, so they just had to scrap and they had like it was the Spencer Denwitty, Joe Harris, Kenny Atkinson coached team that was just going to overachieve. They have Mikhail Bridges and Cam Johnson and like, Nick Claxton's really good and Ben Simmons might become good there's there's more here. And combined with a bunch of picks from another team, from the Suns in this case. So they've actually got a much better path back to respectability or at least being interesting. But you're right. Right now, they're kind of a forgettable team. I don't think people are going to be paying a ton of attention to.


Yeah, Zach did his league pass rankings and to me they would have been bottom three. There is a Simmons oddity thing that'll be fun for like two weeks to be like, oh, what does he look like? Give me one more stealth thing and then we'll go.


You kind of alluded to this on the over unders. I like the Jazz as like, belated stealth tankers. I'm not convinced they really want to win yet, and I'm not convinced that they need to. Last season was all just gravy, basically the whole world thought and yes, then they got to thump us over the head with it. You guys all thought we were tanking. We were all going to be like, bottom three team. Look how competitive we were. Look how great Lauren marketing. Okay, great. That's all that's fine. I don't think they necessarily expected to be that good, but if you look at where the west is now compared to like, they could have a surprisingly good season last year, in part because the west was just kind of weird and jumbled and teams were the Lakers were reformatting at midseason. The Suns were blowing it up at midseason to get Durant. The warriors were weird season. Yeah, all those teams are good now, Bill, if you start counting, I count like 1011 teams, maybe even twelve that could potentially be play into playoff. And I don't think the Jazz are necessarily in there. So if they get off to a slow start and their 2024 pick is protected one to ten, if you're going to be 14th.


What's the point of being 14th? You might as well just be 10th or worse so that you can keep your pick.


I went over for them only because everyone says this is a bad draft. And my case was, I remember Danny in the mid 2010s with the Celtics when everyone's like, we're tanking, we're tanking. And then all of a sudden he was trading for Isaiah Thomas and they were trying to be good. I don't know if he has strategies necessarily like that. If there's an asset. I like that theory because they were in on the Dame Lillard. By all accounts, they really kicked the tires on Dame, which I thought was bizarre, but I think he looked at it like, there's an asset. I wonder if I should go get the case for it, though.


But the broader timeline, too, is this. We're only a year removed from when they blew up a perennial playoff team, right. A team with two stars, and Mitchell and Gobert, we're only a year removed from that. So you have time. Like, there's no urgency. No one's clamoring, like, oh, my God, we've got to get out of this rut. You've got time. He can afford to be patient. And I sometimes like to reduce this league to just, like, your two players against their two players. Like, who are your two best guys? Marketing. And who against? LeBron and Anthony Davis. Steph and whoever you want to put in there. Like, go down the list. Who are the Jazz actually expected to be better than reasonably based on their top end talent? And stuff will happen. Guys will get hurt.


I can't believe this. Lori Market and Flander is just discount Dirk. You just took discount Dirk and shit on him.


Wait, hold on. You voted in the ringers top 100. Right? Which I did not, so nobody can blame me for any of it. I think Marking and Kessler were the only two Jazz in the top 100. Right.


And I had Kessler, I think, higher than most. I was glad we had multiple voters because I always value Durability a little bit more with that. I was definitely the lowest on Kawhi. I'm just like, Kawhi plays 50 games a year. I'm not going to say he's, like, the 17th best player in the league. I want guys to play. I would rather have Jalen Brown than Kawhi Leonard. I'm sorry. I know Jalen Brown is going to play.


This is why I'm glad I don't vote in these things, because I don't.


I know. Well, you have to figure yeah. And also, is somebody being a winning player versus putting up stats? How do you balance that? Right. I really value Derek White. I think I voted him 56. I put him ahead of James Harden. James Harden is more talented than Derek White is, but Derek White I know, is a better player. If I'm trying to win basketball games. Totally fair, but everybody else has. I wouldn't argue if somebody else is. Like, James Harden was going to make the All Star team last year and probably should have. He led the league in assists. Like, there's no way he's not one of the best 25 players in the league. And I see that side, too.


Before Brunson started to blow up last year, even in the early stages of the season, I remember having this discussion with people like, the best point guard in New York was not Kyrie Irving. It was Jalen brunson. Like, Kyrie's way more talented, but you'd rather have and I think most teams would rather have Jalen Brunson and especially what Jalen Brunson has evolved into. So, yeah, sometimes it's about the player's complete makeup and whether or not it's that intangible thing of like, is this guy a winner? Does he contribute to winning? We say that a lot in the NBA these days. Does he contribute to winning?


Might he destroy my team? I think I can he just completely destroy us from within in two minutes. Yeah, I think that should count, especially in this day and age.


Yeah. So you have to consider all of it, but yeah. Back to your jazz, then. It's not dismissive of them. I respect the hell out of what they've been able to do with not a lot of high end talent there. I just think there's a hard ceiling on it. And the west, everybody's gotten their rosters in order. Now everybody's starting the season in a much better place than they were last year. I just don't see a path for the Jazz. And if it goes the way I think it will, where they're not going to make it and you decide to lean into the tank, then you go to the next level. Like, okay, does that mean Colin Sexton is on the market? Is Clarkson become on the market? Kelly, there are pieces they could spin off if they decided to lean into.


Yeah. All right. That's howard Beck. You can read them on the Start when the season starts on Mondays. You're gonna be on the real ones with our guys Logan and Raja. Can't wait for that. That's going to be a fun part of my Monday experience. And popping on this pod a bunch ringer, NBA show, all that stuff. Great to see you. You got to give me the Ben Simmons scouting report when you go try to walk near the bench during a timeout I'd want a whole body language report.


I'll pretend I'm going for popcorn or.


Something and I'll just kind of, like, poke my head and kind of stand behind the bench until they make you move. All right. Good to see you.


You, too.


All right, we're going to do some million dollar picks for week seven. Wanted to give you the stayaways first. Washington is minus three at the Giants. It's a stay away for a variety of reasons. The giants have tyrod taylor. If he gets hurt, which happens frequently, their backup is somebody named tommy DeVito, who I have not wikipedia, but you could have easily told me he was a record executive. They also have this new character that I don't really like that much. Angry brian Dayball. I love brian Dayball. Last year I thought he was coach of the year. This year he just seems like he's losing it on the sidelines every week. I don't blame him. If you watch his quarterbacks, you'd probably do the same. I don't like the vibe with the giants and then washington. Sam howe, 34 sacks this year. There's been a lot written about it this week. He's on pace to break david carr's record by 20 sacks. He has an outside chance to get to 100 sacks. He also has an outside chance to go to the hospital because that's not normal. You're not supposed to be sacked that many times.


Staying away. Speaking of bad quarterbacks, bucks minus two and a half against atlanta and raiders minus two and a half at chicago. One of my steadfast rules is you cannot bet on games with crap QBs going head to head. I've just personally enjoyed know I like gambling as much as the next guy, but I don't play scratch cards. I don't do lottery tickets. In this you might as well play russian roulette. You have baker mayfield who has a thumb injury, desmond ritter who was unrecoverably bad last week. I'll never be able to look at him the same way again. The raiders are either going to play brian hoyer or aiden O'Connell and then the bears are playing somebody named tyson badgett who cousin sal picked up in my keeper league for $3 and then sent a text apologizing to the group which I thought kind of summed it up. Anyway, I'm staying away from both of those games. Chiefs minus five and a half against the chargers. I'm staying away from this and we talked about it sunday. This is the no fun chiefs. I think it is like watching goodfellas on AMC when they have all the bleeps.


It's like kind of like goodfellas. It feels like good fellas, but it's not really good fellas because I don't get into the f bombs. I hate it. I don't like that the chiefs aren't fun and you didn't win me over by getting McColl Hardwin back. The chargers have two wins and they have three losses by a total of eight points. They have 27 terrible decisions they've made during the game. 25 of them have been backed up by the nerds right after they had them and then, I don't know, 370 excuses made by the nerds for football nerd hero justin herbert who was so bad in that cowboys game on monday night that they should all apologize to us. He is the perfect QB on paper. As long as the paper doesn't keep track of wins and losses because in the last five minutes of the game, I just don't think he's going to come through half the time and I think he's a top five quarterback. So if you wonder why scoring is down and there's been a lot written and talked about this week about why scoring is down, to me it simply comes down to we don't have very good QBs, and even the good QBs we have don't seem very good when you're watching them some of the time.


So this feels like a classic chargers win but don't cover and I don't bet on those situations. So no fun. Casey by three and I'm staying away. I wanted to do the lions against the ravens in Baltimore this week. The lions are plus three. I think you could make an outside case for them being the best team in the league. And last week I almost took them. I didn't, much to my infinite regret, and they killed tampa Bay. So why not take them this week? Well, the running back situation, it's just like all red flags and their st jabir gibbs might play hasn't played in a couple of weeks. I don't think he's like a 30 carry guy personally. And then montgomery is hurt. There's a red flag next to sam laporta now who I felt like was one of the keys to their offense this season. I just traded for I don't know, not a lot written about this. Sheffield didn't report it. But in my keeper league, I had mostert on the dolphins, who is now that McCaffrey's out the best non QB in the league. I traded him for Sam laporta and zay flowers because I'm semi rebuilding but also have an outside chance.


But the point is sam laporta was $4 and our keeper rules are it goes up $3 in year two. Then if you want to keep somebody for the next two years, it goes up $4 and $5. So I have sam laporta for $4, $7, $11 and $16. I basically signed him to a four year deal to be in my life. This is my guy and he's got a red flag next to his name. I am scared enough of the running back situation. Laporte's red flag and just the fact that lamar doesn't seem to have two weird home games. I'm staying away. Sorry. I love the lions, but I'm staying away. Last day away. Vikings plus seven at home against the 49 ers. I love the home dog potential here, but I did not find a fun underdog parlay leg to put them with. This is one of those where I could see them winning the game and I could see them losing by 28 points. So even with all the niners injuries and brock purdy little confidence little confidence knock for him last week also could be a huge revenge game. My big thing with them is I'm not putting the 49 ers in a.


Tease. I don't think they are teasable because I don't like the injuries and I don't like the vikes at home. Kind of their season on the line. If they lose this game, season is over. Maybe you start thinking about trading cousins. They're going to blitz the hell out of Brock Purdy. And it's a stay away to me. Here's what's not a stay away. The million dollar picks for week seven. We are down $505,000 for the season. Lost 55K last week thanks to the Eagles who completely screwed me over. I will never forget for the rest of my life. Jalen Hurts, his 39 pass that he threw to two different jets who had they flipped a coin to decide who was going to intercept it. The Eagles had the lead and they were at midfield. All they had to do was punt the ball and make Zach Wilson go 75 yards to kick field goal. And instead, Jalen Hurts just threw it right to the jets. And I'll never understand it. I'll never understand it. And you know what else? I will never understand it. Anyway, we're going back to the well with the Eagles this week.


They owe me. They're playing the dolphins. They're home minus two and a half. Baby rhino. Jalen, carter's back. Slay is back. I don't know if Lane Johnson is going to play or not. And I'm well aware of all the stats of what they look like when he doesn't play. But I'm also aware of this. Miami has five wins this season. They beat the Chargers by two. And if you remember, the Chargers had the ball at the end, but Justin Herbert nerd hero didn't come through. They got very lucky in that game. Their other four games, they beat the Pats by seven, Denver by 50, the Giants by 15, and Carolina by 21. These are the other four Dolphins wins. What do those four teams have in common? Oh, I know they're four of the five worst teams in the league. Why is this line only minus two and a half? Why are we throwing a party for Miami like they to me, they haven't beaten anybody yet. This feels like a Philly revenge game for coming from last week. And I think the line should be a point higher. I think it should be Philly by three and a half.


So I'm grabbing the points. Eagles minus two and a half is our first bet. The next one? Look, a lot of people like this one, and normally that would scare me, but I'm going to actually flip this around. Very rarely in life do you have a chance to bet against a potential historic, great defense in the Browns. You could make a case only 1003 yards through five weeks. And they have the look, eye test, you name it. They're awesome. And they're playing Gardner Minshew, who, as I told Sal on Sunday, Gardner Minshew is the guy in baseball where you can't start him, but if he comes into the third inning, he might be able to throw five really good innings. But don't start him, and don't start him in a game one. Just be really careful how you use him as a starter. I think he's two and eleven. The browns d by itself. I don't care if Deshaun Watson plays. You can have Donovan Mitchell as their quarterback this game. I don't care. They're only laying three in Indianapolis. The Browns defense will win this game by itself. They're going to beat Gardner Mitchu.


He's going to turn the ball over and give them the ball over and over again. Browns minus three. Over. The Colts is our second pick. Third one. Getting a little frisky here. Packers minus one and a half at Denver. Well. Why do I like the packers? They're not good. Backtiara is out for the year. Now, I'm going to flip this around for you. This is a make or break Green Bay game. They're two and three, but if you really look at their schedule, there's a lot of crap on their schedule left. And there is weirdly a chance that they could still get the ten wins, but they have to win this game. And they're playing a team that I think after this week, we're going to look at each other and go, oh, Denver is tanking. I mean, they're already telling us they're kind of tanking because they got rid of Randy Gregory and Frank Clark, who know people. They free agent defensive players that they paid real money for, and they just told them to go. I think this is our last chance to bet against Denver at a fair price because they're throwing away the season.


They want drake May, Caleb Williams, you name it. And it's packers minus one and a half at Denver. It's another road favorite. I don't care. I don't care that Jordan Love makes me nervous. I just think Denver wants to have the worst record in the league. That is my working theory. We're going to bet money on it. We're also going to bet money on the Steelers, a team that I am way over invested in already, but they are plus three at the Rams. First of all, there's going to be 58,000 Steelers fans there. This might as well be a home game for the Steelers. That's one thing. Second of all, the Rams, who had a really nice win against Seattle, whose offenses looked good, and McVeigh has at least shown us, like, hey, I'm Sean McVeigh. I'm still one of the best coaches in the league. The Steelers have really been conditioned against some good defenses and they've played a hard schedule already. They persevered. They're somehow three and two. I think they're going to realize this is the week to unleash Jalen Warren. And if you have Jalen Warren in fantasy, or if you have a chance to trade for Jalen Warren, I think this is the Jalen Warren week.


The stats, the eye test, everything. When you watch them, he should just be playing, and it feels a little Rams crash back to earth. Time ish to me, like, should the Rams be four and three with this throwaway season they had where they only have like, six, seven impact guys. They've already had a couple of injuries. They have all these undrafted free agents and rookies. This is a team that's going to go ten and seven or eleven and six. I don't see it. I think the Steelers have been conditioned. They played the two best defenses in the league. They played the Niners, they played the Browns. So. Aaron, donald. They're ready for it. This feels like a close game to me. And that means that Kenny Pickett, aka Eli Manning 2.0, is going to be involved late, and he's going to make a play. And I like the Steelers plus three. I kind of like the Steelers moneyline, too, but let's grab the plus three just in case. Last but not least, the easiest squarest tease on the board. A Joe House tease if I've ever seen one, and yet I can't resist it. Bills minus eight and a half over the Patriots.


We're teasing that down to minus two and a half. I'm on the record with the Patriots. We've gone against them every week. They're not good. They have no intention of being good. There's some stealth tanking possibilities going on in a real way now. And the only thing that could potentially upend it is if Belichick makes a decision that he doesn't want to have the career losses record before he gets a career wins record. I think he's going to do what's right for the team. They're not good. They should lose to the Bills. It's an important game for the Bills coming off a really shaky Giants game last week. So this just feels like Josh Allen.


He owns the Pats.


Brady owned the bills. Josh Allen owns the pats. Unless there's a 45 degree wind, which I don't think there is for this game. So we're teasing them or we're teasing the Seahawks, minus seven and a half over Arizona. Arizona. We found out this week Kyler Murray has been activated, but there's no way he's playing this week. Arizona has been exposed the last couple of weeks. They just don't have enough talent, the Seahawks. Gino needs a good game. Gino's been pretty iffy this year and was really bad last week, especially in the red zone. They have a lot of weapons. I think this is a get Gino back on track week. So we're going to tease the Seahawks down to minus one and a half, bills minus eight and a half, seahawks minus one and a half. Six point tease. Both of those have to cover. So to recap, we're going to put $300,000 on. Browns minus three, eagles minus two and a half, packers minus one and a half, steelers plus three, and then at the Bills minus eight and a half, and the Seahawks minus seven half. And we'll put a spiritual amount on the Vikings plus 250, because who the hell knows in that game?


But I'm not putting real money on that. Let's put a packer. Marlborough lights on that one. Those are the million dollar picks for week seven. All right, our guy Ariel Hawani is here. You can hear him on the Ringer MMA show. There is a big UFC event this weekend. We're like, heading into just what looks to be an incredible UFC stretch, culminating in UFC 300 down the road. We're going to talk about it in a second. We always have a pattern with you. We go football, basketball, and then we dive hard into the MMA. So we'll start football. Buffalo loses a key defensive starter every week. You were feeling like after you beat Miami, you're probably feeling like, Super Bowl, here we come now. How are you feeling?


Well, first off, great to be back. Thank you very much. After losing to New York in week one, I felt horrible. I don't know if I ever felt lower as a Bills fan in the last ten or so years. I mean, I was disgusted by that performance. It was a gutless, just uninspired performance. Rogers goes down. How do you not win? All right, fine. We rebound at Capital W and get all the way to the Miami game after the 70 point dropping against Denver. And now I'm like, all right, we're back. And I was this close to texting you and saying, how are those playoffs looking, Bill? I was this close to being cocky. Bill's fan once again. I hate the London games. I love London. I love England. I love soccer as well. I don't understand why these teams, in the midst of a 17 game regular season, have to go all the way to England and play these important games on this substandard field. Could you imagine if a Premier League team had to play a regular season game here at the Meadowlands or at Sofa? They would never stand for it. They would never, ever stand for it.


Yet we have to go over there and our whole defense gets decimated because of that crap turf. That was a big problem. We always seem to play poorly against the then, you know, the Giants game. I just don't even know what to make of that. How do you play like that at home against Tyrod Taylor? So I'm not feeling great. I'm still very confident. I still love the team. I'll always back them. I still think we make the playoffs. I still think you'll look silly. But I'd be truly lying to you if I said I could puff my chest out and say that we are the beasts of the AFC right now.


Well, the good thing is you have the Patriots coming this weekend.


Yeah, that's a nice little in New.


England after we beat you guys for 20 years. Now you get just revenge twice a year. So probably get back on track. The other thing is there's no great AFC team. No. Everybody you look at and you go, well, that team. I don't like that team either. And then you kind of run out of teams. So this is weird by week seven not to have a know because it feels like the Chiefs need to make at least one trade for I know they got McColl hardman this week, but it feels like they need to make a trade for somebody who gives them Kelsey insurance. Kelsey's 34. He's caravancing around with Taylor Swift every week, and I can't trust that. He's the only weapon for ten more weeks. And you guys might just be able to outscore everybody. It might be one of those years where it's like our one best thing is better than everybody else's one best thing.


I would usually agree with you, but then you watch that game on Sunday night, and they didn't score a point until the fourth quarter against the Giants. I mean, I just don't understand it. I really, truly don't understand.


Can I give you one explanation for it? Because I wish is it Ken Dorsey? The fact that Dayball was there for years.


No, I know.


And I do feel like we really do underestimate and I personally always underestimated the coach going back against a team that he knows intimately, because when Sal and I talked about it on Sunday night, when you're under the hood like that with all the personnel, you know exactly what everybody can and can't do. You know all the weaknesses in the designs, and then you're going against it. You can't you just point out, like, we do this and this and Josh Allen doesn't like when we do this, and if you do this to Diggs and you have all this intel, it's almost not fair. So that, to me, is the explanation.


You're 100% right. And I should have said that as I was lamenting the fact that they couldn't score for the first I might not be right.


That's the only possible explanation because the Giants d was awful all season.


No, he gets the majority of the credit for turning Josh into who he is today. Brian Dable, that is. I have said in an alternate universe, there's a part of me that wishes that he stayed in Buffalo and that McDermott left, because I think he's that darn good of a coach. I think his roster isn't good. And so I'm not going to blame him necessarily for how the Giants look. But day ball or no Dayball, how do you not score for the first three quarters against the New York Giants led by Tyra Taylor? This is in 2017. I mean, it was really hard to watch, and it was very deflating, but that's it. It's an up and down season. We have our ups, we have our downs. I'm not writing them off. It's just, to me, these are the games you have to win. And the one thing that I don't think is being talked about enough. Matt Milano, I think, is one of the best defensive players in the league. Losing him is heartbreaking. We'll get Von Miller back. Great. Losing Trudavius white is hoyer. Hyde great. But these injuries are killing us. And I know everyone has to deal with them, but they are devastating injuries.


They are truly heart wrenching injuries. And I'll say it again, Bill, I just want one.


Just one, and I season longer. That's got to be the answer. Do you agree with England thing? I would love to know the economics of it. I don't fully understand it. Maybe there's some sort of it's just so much money from a merchandising TV ratings and being able to sell packages overseas, and there has to be some sort of pro content that they did where they're just like, this is worth it. And even if there's some wear and tear in the players, we don't care.


There has to be a flex situation where if you're like one in four by the time the England games start, you're eligible to go. But if you're a Super Bowl contender, I'm sorry if Arsenal or Man United had to come to America midseason with 33 games in their regular season, if they had to come here, their fans would riot. We had 17 games, right? We had 17 games. Why do we have to go all the way to England and do that when we're trying to win a Super Bowl here and not even off a buy or before buy or after a buy? None of that. You have to go right back into the mix. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. And by the way, don't get me started on the Jags having to spend two weeks there, so at least they got acclimated. That was some nonsense as well. They got to spend two weeks there to prepare, and we have to go in there. I know I sound like sour grapes here, but look at my Twitter. I called this beforehand. I said, this is absolutely unfair, and look what happened. It was a total disaster. May have ruined our season.


AFC ODS on FanDuel chiefs are plus 220. Miami is plus 490. Bills, five to one in the three spot. Now, I like that. Ravens plus 750. Jags, eleven to one. Cleveland, 14 to one. Bengals, 16 to one. Steelers, 32 to one. I honestly don't know. I don't like any of the teams. I would rather take a long shot and hope the Bengals get their shit together at 16 to one than take any of the favorites.


I like not being the favorite, I'll tell you that. I'm not afraid of any of those teams. What's so frustrating, Bill, about all this is that it's right there there's no beast. It's right there for us. And I don't know if we'll ever have this chance again. And I felt that way two years ago with 13 seconds and all that, but I'm not afraid of the Chiefs. I'm certainly not afraid of the Dolphins. I'm not afraid of the Bengals. I'm not afraid of any of these teams. I feel like we have the roster. I feel like we're good enough. We have the firepower despite the injuries. We have the defense. It's right there. I think that they'll turn it around. I think that they'll get it figured out, and we're going to go on a magical run here. Las Vegas is going to be lit in February. We're going to go crazy in Vegas on the Strip. You'll see Bill, you'll see me and you.


Legendary Vegas run of all time. F, one midseason tournament, Super Bowl, C 300, just all in a row. It's going to be awesome. Your Knicks.




So, rough preseason.


That's fine.


Some defensive lapses. People are already wondering about what's going on, but I took the over. I thought they were going to be in the high 40s. Basically the same team coming back with defenseo. East is a little worse, and they're positioned for you have to do this yet again. You have these guys dangling over you now, Yanis. Maybe in a year. I don't know if you saw with today with the Bucks, like, all of a sudden, Terry Stotts, it was going to be the lead assistant on the bench. He's just gone. He just was like, I'm out for the Bucks. So they have a new coach. The person who's supposed to be his right hand guy is just out right before the season. So there's some coach flux with them. There's some defense, real issues that I think I just don't think people realize that Dame's not a two way player. Never really was. Then you have Miami, who I'm still terrified of, but basically they're running it back with the same team, missing a couple guys and some pretty important guys. Who knows? Yeah, they're missing Cleveland. Who knows? You guys spanked them, they'll be better.


There's a roadmap that you're one trade away from really being interested. But how are you feeling?


I'm feeling good about top five. I'm feeling good about the over. I'm not worried about the preseason. I don't think we'll sneak up on people like we did last year. I think everyone knows who Jalen Brunson is and expects him to be even better and more dangerous, and he'll command a lot more respect. I like the Dante pickup. I like that they didn't blow it up. I like that they didn't try to do something dramatically different. I like that it seems like it's good vibes. Other than Evan Fournier, and who really cares? There's no drama, there's no malcontent. There's no really big thing hanging over their heads. It's just sort of like a mid tier Eastern Conference playoff team, missing that big piece to take them into the top three. I'm not going to talk about the Knicks like I would about the Bills. I ultimately don't think the Knicks are a top three Eastern Conference team, but I think they're a top five or six Eastern Conference team. I think they can avoid the play in tournament, but they're missing that piece. But guess what? After the last 20 years, I'm okay with that.


I'm okay with a solid team with a great point guard with some pieces here and there. Let's see how RJ matures after the World Cup showing. He looked good in that. No problem. Last time we spoke, it was leading into the USA game. We don't have to bring it up. Don't worry about it. And I love the fact you guys are putting together the Avengers for Paris.


What a jinx podcast for us.


No, it was great.


That was the last time we talked. It was like us. Canada looming, and then they both, no.


No, we got US. Canada. It's fine. I'll take the third place. Fine. That's fine. I just love how all the guys are now coming together to beat Canada. Who would have thought? They're so embarrassed by the notion that they lost to Canada that they all have to come together to try to beat us in August next year. Guess what? They have no answer for Kelly Olynick. No one does. So KD and all these guys, they could stay at home, if you ask me. But I'm cautiously optimistic about the Knicks. I'm okay with the top five, and I'm curious to see what happens around the trade deadline. If they're in the running for something, if they overachieve just a little bit, do they go for the gusto? Do we wait for next summer? I'm cool with this. I'm okay with this. This is okay. Being a top five team is okay. I would have taken that in 2009, 2010. I'm totally okay with that.


You guys are in pole position for something. Yes. You definitely have one of the leading suitors for assets. And as we know in the NBA, shit moves fast. All right, so last week you were in where were you? With Manchester.


Manchester, beautiful. Manchester, England.


Well, my son and I, we pay. Per viewed it. He insists.




The first fight, the first main event, was an absolute disgrace. It was one of the worst things I've ever seen in my life. I've never seen somebody just decide not to throw punches for five rounds as, like, a strategy. I'm good with never seeing a UFC fighter box again. And I know why. The Paul's and it's a smart move by them. They're taking these guys who are these names? They're grapplers and they're tough, but they also don't know really how to box. So, like, when Dan Henderson was like, get me in on this, that was the first time I said, oh, that would actually be fairly interesting know, he actually could throw some hands, but for the most part, these guys aren't boxers. So how long do you think the Paul's can snooker the American public into thinking they're watching real boxing matches when they're not actually watching real boxing matches? Because they've now snookered me and my son, I would say four or five times. So how many more times can they do this?


First of all, I love that your son is even into this. This is tremendous. I need to do a pod with him.


I'm glad that they got him into boxing even more. Like, he really enjoys it, he cares.


And that's actually a really important thing to note. I was there this year. I went to Spence Crawford, I went to Tank Garcia. Both at T Mobile, right? Honest to God, there probably wasn't 1000 people in that 20,000 seat arena by the time the Comain event happened for those massive main events, right? No one shows up for the undercard on Saturday for this misfits boxing card. Not only was it probably 70% full before the first fight of the night, like talking about like five, 6 hours of fighting by the time the main card started completely full. And it wasn't even a UFC crowd, because UFC crowds typically show up from the beginning to end. It wasn't even that. It was like a WWE crowd. The amount of ten to twelve year old kids that I saw there blew me away. What they're doing right now with this crossover boxing, and I always have to say, crossover influencer boxing. Pick your word, it doesn't matter. You have to call it that because it's something completely different than traditional boxing. It's great that it gets someone like your son to just watch boxing, period. But it's very important to recognize that this isn't traditional boxing.


This isn't Canelo, Spence Crawford, Tank Davis. It's not that it's crossover influencer boxing. The same way pro wrestling and Olympic wrestling aren't the same thing, but they share one word. You have to be able to recognize that these two entities are different, right? WWE wrestling isn't the same as collegiate or Olympic wrestling. And so what this is, is a bunch of guys who are very popular to a sector of society, and they go in there and they settle their differences. And so I see people getting mad after these events saying like, I feel like I've been snookered. I feel like, you know, bamboozled, like, what did you expect? These aren't traditional boxers. They don't have the experience, they don't have the time, they don't have the resume like the other people that you see in the rings. That's one thing I need to note. Number two, Dylan Danis.


Well, Danis could throw a couple punches.


That's the thing.


He's not even expecting punches.


He's not a UFC fighter. He's a Bellator fighter who fought a couple of bums. He fought the guy who delivered my Uber eats last night. Okay? He's not a traditional striker. He's two and o in an MMA cage. He's a great BJJ practitioner, but his hands have never been his thing. Never been his thing. What he did was he picked a fight and he did a tremendous job of selling a fight. And so it became very personal between them. What he did, in my opinion, was try to tire out Logan Paul in the first two rounds because he thought he was big and muscle bound guy, and he's like, okay, let me allow him to empty the tank and then I will pour it on in the third. That's what his coach told me that he wanted to do. The problem was he got rocked in the second and was like, you know what? I want nothing to do with this. I don't want to be embarrassed. I don't want to be knocked out. I don't want to be a meme. Let me just try to survive and then let me try to make my own meme.


That's why you saw him do the takedowns the guillotine. He tried to take Diaz's playbook. It ended up being a total sham of a fight because of that. And I just think he was trying to survive. He was trying not to get embarrassed. I give Logan some credit. He was teeing off. He was trying his best. He just doesn't have the power to knock someone out know, putting his hands up like that and protecting his face. And as he said to me afterwards, I don't think he wants to have a career in boxing like his brother does. I think he's going go back to WWE and maybe pop up one or more two times and that's pretty much it. So you just have to recognize what you're watching. Should it have been better? Absolutely. Could it have been better? Perhaps. But I get frustrated when people say, this is the example that boxing is dead. It's not dead. There's a tremendous amount of fights happening back into the year have happened already. Please separate.


I think it's been a good boxing year. Yeah, you're right.


Best boxing years. It's been amazing.


It's like Battle on network stars. When I was a kid, it wasn't sports. It was a different version of sports. But we always knew. I think the difference with this is there was so much bad blood leading up to the Paul Danis fight that you're just this will actually these guys are going to kill each other. So they did a great job selling it. And I felt a little hoodwink.


By the way, let's not pretend that some fights, MMA and boxing don't sometimes fall short. Right. Like Canelo Charlo a couple of weeks ago. That was horrendous. It just happens sometimes. But I agree that it was frustrating. I would also say, guess what? I would say the main event was more frustrating than the comaine. The main event was awful. The main event was one of the worst fights I've ever seen. They were clinching every 2 seconds. It's like you couldn't I don't even know what they were least. At least Dylan was standing there doing this and Logan was teeing off. The main was, as I said on the broadcast, borderline, if not not borderline, unwatchable.


Well, KSI had his strategy of kind of lunge forward and then throw an overhand, right? And it almost worked, like, the first three times, but the 37th time wasn't as effective. And then he had no plan B, and then Tommy Fury is just not a real boxer. So it was pretty rough. I will say we watched all of it. I had the three TVs going. I had football and the smaller TVs, and we still had an all right time.


But it's just wacky, man. It's really wacky.


But it's weird that it really does matter to my son's generation, because 100%, I was like, Explain this KSI thing to me. I don't know who it is. This is like one of the biggest influencers in the world. I'm like, well, what does that mean? My son's, like, he's one of the biggest influencers in the world. Like, every time he puts up a video, everybody watches it.


Like this guy nuts, man. Being in England being in England and seeing how people receive him. He is as famous as David Beckham, footballer.




Crazy. It's crazy how much he hasn't translated to America as much as there. He's still very popular know, witness the fact that your son knows who he but, like, over there, he was the main like that whole show was built around yeah, he is like a megastar over there. It's wild.


I think it reminds me a little, the XFL the first time around where it was a bad product, but there were interesting things to learn from it, and I think the NFL learned from it. And one of the things I hope boxing will see if it learns from it eventually, is that I don't understand why they throw away the entire undercard now. They have good fights, and usually the second to last fight and maybe even the third to last fight is usually a pretty good fight. Up and coming boxers or somebody, you know, who kind of peaked three years ago. But it's for the hardcore boxing people, but for the fans, they know they don't have to show up until right before you made the key point. UFC, when we went a couple of months ago, and my son was we were there at like, 330, and my son wouldn't get up, and we watched for six straight hours, whatever it was, but everybody was there, and everybody was into it. And even in the pre card, before the main event card, people were in their seats and getting into it and going for it.


And that's the part where boxing has got to figure they've got to figure out some sort of strategy where your main event is the real fight, but then the stuff before it should also be interesting. And maybe they're going to have to bend and change how they think about stuff and maybe some of the ways they did it, the old business that should just be stuff that's on ESPN at midnight for the hardcore boxing people. And that's it.


Well, like I said, it's been a great year for boxing in my opinion. I refuse to accept that boxing is dying, but it's a fascinating time for boxing as well.


You may have seen.


Showtime is out. And so where does PBC go? PBC is home to the likes of Tank Davis and Canelo and so many others. And so do they go to a Dazone, who then is the home of not only Matchroom, who are huge, and then also Golden Boy? And does The Zone start saying, hey, you guys have to play nice together and we need to start getting deeper cards because the promoters don't necessarily want to play nice together and co promote? Does that happen? Do they go to an Amazon? Do they go to an Apple? It is crazy, though. Could you have imagined telling someone ten years ago that there'd be no HBO Boxing and no Showtime Boxing?


Well, I was at HBO and they killed it. And crazy, they were in kind of no man's land with it for years and years, but I still felt like it was an asset for them and they kind of mismanaged it. And then it got to the point where it probably wasn't worth doing. But boxing is going where it probably needs to go, which is the streaming universe, because it's got the diehard fans who are going to watch every single fight. And it might not be as big an audience as it used to be, but you can still monetize that audience. And whether it's 700,000 people or 1.2 million people, whatever it is, it's a little reminiscent in the WWE. But I also think, and I was excited to talk to this about the merger that happened with the TKO, basically, I'm convinced that boxing is going to be the third piece of this. And especially now that Showtime is out and HBO is out. ESPN is in, but not 100%. And then The Zone will probably get bigger. But I mean, the Zone's lost a lot of money. It feels like there's a ripe time here for them to bring their whole infrastructure of UFC WWE, and then you bring that infrastructure into boxing, and then you can have what we're talking about, where you have a huge fight.


That's just one fight. But you also maybe have a UFC fight and you have these crossover cards, or you have same day events where it's like boxing's in the afternoon and then UFC's at night. I think that's how this plays out. And as you know, Nick Khan has all this huge boxing background. This is, like his favorite sport. So I look at it like the landscape is there for the taking, and we have this monolith that's building right now, and it just feels like they're going to grab it in some way. Yep.


Your friend and mine, Nick Khan, huge boxing guy, started in boxing many moons ago. Dana White, huge boxing guy as well, has flirted with the idea of going into boxing. So I think they look TKO as a name only pertains, really, to MMA right now. It's not a thing in wrestling. So I think they chose those three letters on purpose. No coincidence. And so it feels like something is coming. I have no intel on that, but it seems like it's right there for the taking.


And who's the streamer? It's probably not Apple, and it's probably not Amazon. Is it Peacock? Yeah, it's probably one of the more desperate streamers. Right? It's like Paramount or it's Peacock. Or it's somebody that well, definitely not.


Paramount, because Paramount just got out of the Showtime business. Right. So there's not that many options.


Good point. I'm just thinking, like, any streamer that needs to grab basically a pocket of 1.2 million fans, or whatever the boxing thing is.


By the way, what about the fact that the reported number for the pay per view, the crazy crossover event, was 1.3 million buys? 1.3 million buys on a Saturday afternoon in America? Obviously, it's a big global audience, but there aren't a lot of fights right now that are generating 1.3 million. So people can laugh at it all they want, but there is a diehard audience that loves this stuff.


Let's take a break, and then we got to talk UFC. All right? UFC 294. One of the things I love about the UFC is that somebody can be a late scratch, and then they'll fucking pull some awesome fight out of nowhere, and it's like the guy's got three weeks notice, and people are just ready to roll. I think maybe it's because in the UFC, if you lose a fight, it's not the end of the world. In boxing, if you lose a fight, especially if you're building some sort of undefeated record or whatever streak you're on, and it could be completely devastating, if you lose one fight, it changes how much money you make, how you're perceived by the public. In UFC, it's a little less risky. But now we end up with the two fights that my son's going nuts. He was like, we got to take usman under. This is like the first time ever he's telling me the bets, like, under. He's going to knock this guy out. We're going under. And I'm like, what? We need to have you're giving me gambling advice. How dare you? Two awesome fights. Which one are you more excited about?


Okay, so I'll say this. I agree with everything that you said, could you imagine let's talk about one of the bigger fights of the year. Let's say Tank Garcia. Not even as big as Benz Crawford in terms of the fight on paper, could you imagine if one of those guys would have pulled out? The whole event would have been canceled, right? They wanted to brought in someone at the last minute. So it's great that the UFC has this system, which is why I always say it's built a lot more like WWE than pro boxing, where they can mix and match the guys at the last minute. Here you have I want people to recognize this. You have Isamachev, the lightweight champion of the UFC. He's scheduled to fight Charles Oliveira, who he smoked a year ago in Abu Dhabi. It wasn't a close fight at all. Since then, Charles has won one fight, and so they ran it back because there was really no one else. Charles gets injured eleven days before the fight, about nine days ago now, and he gets cut above his eye. Can't fight. They call up Alex Volkanovsky, who is the featherweight champion to fight on eleven days notice after he fought Islam in February in Perth, Australia, and lost by the skin of his teeth when five rounds.


Known as fought.


Controversial fight.


Very controversial. And he says yes, he takes this fight. Alex might be one of my favorite athletes right now, just because he is such a no nonsense, like, hard hat, lunch pail kind of guy, and just says, yeah, whatever. And I get it. He's the champ moving up. He has nothing to lose. He doesn't lose his belt, all that stuff. But come on, man, he's not getting another crack at the belt if he loses this fight. And he's got a legacy to preserve here. He's taking this fight on eleven days notice, and if he loses, that's it for him at 155. And so he goes in there, oh, by the way, he just fought in July and he just had elbow surgery and he only got medically cleared a month ago. And he's taking this fight. It's just amazing. So I will say that I am infinitely more interested in the new main event than I am in the old main event. I like the Volkanovsky Makachev fight because of how close the first one was. And the story going into this one way more than the Machachev Olivera fight. On the flip side, I will say I am infinitely less interested in the Co main event, the new co main event, which is Hamza Chamaev versus Kamara Usman, than the original Comain event, which was Paulo Costa versus Hamza Chamayev.


Those two, Costa and Shamib, had bad blood. They hated each other. This was like a year and a half long build. This was like Hogan Andre WrestleMania three build, right? Usman is taking this fight again on eleven days notice. There's some rumors about his body being a little bit banged up. We'll see if that's true. He's getting up there in age. He didn't look good in his last fight. I think Shamayev rolls in a very big way against him. I just don't think that he has anything this are you crazy? Usman under shamayev is going to be a champion. It's just a matter of when. He is a scary beast of a man. Usman's going up from 170 to 185. Shamayev has fought at 185 and 170. Do not take please do not take usman under if you want.


Maybe it was the under for the rounds. Maybe it wasn't usman under. Maybe it was just the rounds.


Regardless of winner, it doesn't matter either way.


My son's an idiot.


Yeah. Do not do that. Do not do that. Now you want to take a flyer on Volk pulling off the upset, I'm down with that. You want to take a flyer on Volk pulling off the upset with a stoppage, I'm down with that. But as far as an underdog pick and you're going USPA and mean, that's burning money, in my opinion.


Vogue the last fight, which now there's YouTube breakdowns of it. And you could make a case he won the last fight super close. You can make a case one round that if you flip it, he wins it.


You could also make a case that if there was like 30 seconds or a minute left in the last round, if there was some weird that he was en route to maybe getting a stoppage, it was that close. Like he was like freaking Hulking up at the end there. So, look, it's a little bit different now. Short notice coming off the surgery. Also, Islam is the fan favorite in Abu Dhabi, obviously a very predominant Muslim country, UAE. And Volk is now going from being the man in Australia to being on, quote, unquote, enemy territory in the UAE. So it's a little bit of a different scenario for him. But I love the fact that there's really no pressure on his shoulders because, like I said, if he loses yeah, he doesn't get another crack at 155, but he's still the 145 champ. And this guy is so great, Bill. He was scheduled to fight in January against Ilia Taporia, who's incredible undefeated guy from Spain and Georgia. He says, I'm still going to fight in January just because I'm taking this fight. Don't worry, Toronto, you haven't lost your main event. I'm still going to fight that's like, in a little over two months time.


No one does.




The UFC is very lucky to have Alex Volkanovsky because he is more active than any champion on their roster. He always turns up and he always delivers. It's amazing to watch him.


Any sneaky fight on this card earlier that you love?


Well, the best fight of the night is going to be the main event, in my opinion. I'm really interested in the Johnny Walker Magomet, ankalaya fight. Light heavyweight needs some new blood. Johnny Walker is a very entertaining fighter. He's a little bit kooky. He's the guy, you may have heard, he won a fight at Madison Square Garden. He did the worm afterwards, and he ended up separating his shoulder. So the UFC was very upset about that. But he has recently moved to Ireland and got married in Ireland, and now trains at a Conor McGregor's gym, straight Blast gym in Ireland. And he's on a bit of a winning streak here. He's won three in a row. This is a tough, tough matchup for him. But I think if he beats Magomed on Kalayev, who's one of these strong, durable, terrifying, dagestani fighters, I think he can get a title shot here. And we've got the light heavyweight title on the line next month at Madison Square Garden. So that's the one I'm really looking forward to. And there's a young man named Mohammed Mohayev who was born in July of 2000, believe it or not, and he's fighting a veteran named Tim Elliott.


And he wants to be the youngest champion in UFC history. And it's close. We're like six, seven, eight months away from that happening. The record is John Jones, 23 years of age. Maybe if he wins this fight, he could get that opportunity. That's the feature fight on the prelim. So those are the other two fights that I think are going to be worth watching.


Well, as you know, I get all my MMA info from the Ringer MMA show, and my son that's right.


When is he going to come on the show?


He probably should. My son reported to me recently he didn't break the story, but he was reporting it to me that Conor McGregor entered the drug portal. Wow, dad, you know what this means. He's coming back. I'm like, of course he's going to come back. He's probably broke, or close to broke at this point.


Not even close. No, not at all. He's killing it with his proper twelve and his forged Irish stout. But this goes first of all, kudos to your son for even knowing this stuff, like, on that level. But it went even deeper than that because they had a deal with USADA, the United States Anti Doping Agency, and, you know, is considered maybe to many people, like the gold standard as far as drug testing is concerned in this country. They've had an eight year relationship, and it's been severed. It's now done as of December, in large part because of the Conor McGregor drama. And they put out this scathing press release taking shots at the UFC, and then the UFC had their own press conference going back and forth. So this has become like a huge thing because of the will he be drug tested? Does he have to be drug tested for six months? Because he removed himself from the pool? Like, it's a whole thing that I won't bother you about. But there's actually a really interesting thing that nerds like me care about right now. There's no collective bargaining in the UFC. The fighters have no say whatsoever in anything that goes on.


They could slap logos on their shirts, they don't give them a cut of the TV deal, all that stuff, but they're about to institute a new drug testing policy. I think it's time for the fighters to come together and say, hey, you can't drug test me 24 7365. And I have no say in the matter. They have to fill out an app, 24 7365 to tell them where they are. If they go on a trip to Costa Rica, and they don't tell them that they're in Costa Rica, and they come to their house in Chicago and they ring the doorbell and they're not there, they get a strike, three strikes and you're suspended for a year. It's crazy what these fighters have to go through. So I'm curious to see if they're going to speak up. They're probably not, if I'm being honest. But there's like a lot of this interesting stuff going on in MMA. By the way, can I ask you about your son? Where would he rank? MMA, right? Like, is it number one for him?


It's high, high, high number one. It's not even wow.


Like more than NFL? NBA.


I'm in Boston this week, and he's furious that I went to Boston to see my daughter during the same time when there's a UFC event during the wow.


So does that mean he's not allowed to order it, or will he still order it?


Oh, he orders it. He got his own ESPN account somehow and was ordering stuff. Yeah, he'll see everything. He loves it. I mean, this is baseball for that generation. Now. My son doesn't know what's going on in baseball, could care less, but he knows what's going on with MMA. I love it. We talked about this before, but you have these three generations now. You have people basically in my age range that started watching it 20 years ago in some cases, and then you have the people in their 30s who are watching it as teenagers and now are paying customers, and then you have my son's generation. So this is what happens when you've been around for 25 years. You really start building something. It's not much different than WWE, actually, when you had these diehard wrestling fans and that's it. And then Hulkamania comes in and it grows, this whole new generation. And then in the late 90s when it had the second resurgence, those were all like the kids of Hulkamania who were now spending adults, and they're going and that was in. Speaking of, so we didn't talk about AEW last time, and what a bizarre situation that's been for them this year.


It felt like they were toe to toe with WWE there for a little bit, and a bunch of unforced errors. They bet on CM Punk, which was like the dumbest thing you can do. They had some backstage stuff. The Tony Khan thing was kind of crazy. And it made me think like compared like Vince, who was this agro macho guy for 50 years, for better or worse. And there was some worse in there too, but was somebody that could climb in the ring and was just this legendary don't fuck with them guy. And then you have Tony Khan, who's son of a rich guy who is now in this world of testosterone and huge personalities and erratic behavior. And there was that story about how he was crying backstage after this CM Punk thing. Who knows what was true and not true, but it feels like that's unraveling a little bit. What do you think about just watching from afar where AEW is and where it's going?


So the AEW fans hate me because they think I'm some sort of WWE shill, even though on this program with you, I've been very complimentary of them. And sometimes I remember vividly saying that I thought their product was better than the WWE product. The issue that I think that they have is, look, they're a solid number two, and there is no AEW in MMA, meaning a solid number two where a guy like Edge can go and make money, right? If you equate it. You know what I mean?


No, they're the best number two in 25 years.


Yeah, since mid 90s. WCW or mid to late 90s, they just had that incredible show at Wembley Stadium, 80,000 or so people there. So they have their moments. They've got what appears to be a great deal with Warner Brothers Discovery. I'm not necessarily down on them. I wonder and Tony isn't a big fan of mine, but I feel like this is coming from an unbiased place. I just wonder if he is equipped to take them to the next level. Just based off what we see from his erratic behavior on Twitter, from how he has dealt with things like the CM Punk situation, et cetera. I wonder if ultimately the fighters or, excuse me, the wrestlers respect him enough to not act out. You know how wrestlers are. They're going to try to walk all over you and get the deal that they want and get the situation or the storyline or the result that they want. And I just don't know if he's a disciplinarian enough and not a fan enough to stop things like that from happening. Because it always seems like there's some sort of uprising or mutiny going on in the locker room over there.


Now they bring in veterans like Daniel Bryan and Edge, who I think will help things out tremendously. But it just seems a little bit crazy. And you don't necessarily hear of that stuff over in WWE land. But as you know, wrestling is cyclical. There's ups and downs. There's moments where AEW is better than WWE. WWE is better than AEW's moments where the business is on fire and then it's not on fire. So I think what he has built is incredible in what, four years? It's truly like it's almost damn near impossible in this day and age to get even. Some people I see some people like making fun of them for getting 900,000 or 800. You know how hard it is to get younger people to watch cable TV? 900,000 on a Wednesday or a Friday? It's not easy. Just go look at everyone else's numbers. So my other concern, by the way, is that I'm worried they spread themselves a little bit too thin. So many pay per views, three shows a week, sometimes less is more. And so I think they'll figure it out and I think they're here for the long haul and I think it's very impressive.


But I think they can use a little bit more muscle, so to speak.


I couldn't agree more with that. I think there's too much and too much to tell from a casual perspective, what matters and what doesn't. And they haven't differentiated. Like, this is our higher level, this is our lower level. I look where they were like, I think it was probably five years ago when they were forming. I remember trying to convince HBO to do a 24/7 when they were launching. I was like, this is going to be a thing. TNT is behind it. There's real money because of the Con family and the guy's a real wrestling fan. I think there's something here. Yeah, because you could have had the ground floor and they missed it, which they've missed a bunch of HBO sports stuff. But in less than five years to build what they built has been pretty cool. But I'm also surprised now they're at the point where they did build something. And this is the hardest part because they're big enough that anytime anything comes out, anything leaks, any sort of bad situation, it's a big deal know? And the other thing is they've spurred the WWE, I think, to go up a level.


And WWE is, I think, having one of its better runs that it's had from the stars. They have from a merchandising standpoint, from a TV standpoint, they're just kind of in a good groove. Whereas a couple years ago they weren't. And I would say three years ago it was, man, like, WWE's mobilized me on Roman Reigns. Not even sure he can carry this. Who were their stars? Who's the next generation? And AEW felt like this new fresh car, but now it feels like WWE has held them off. But as you said, it's cyclical and who the fuck knows?


I love when there's competition. Like, I love things know? Some might say it's dirty, but last week AW had to go on Tuesday because of the baseball playoffs.


That was really yeah, yeah.


They load the deck on NXT and bring back the Undertaker and all this stuff. I mean, Cena yeah, Cena and Cody Rhodes is there all fair and love and war in the wrestling war, so to speak. But ultimately, this is so much better for the business and for the know. It's one thing that they have to get a lot of credit. Like Bellator, who's the number two promotion in MMA, they're about to be sold to the number three PFL. This is about to happen in the next, like, two, three weeks. As of right now, unless something catastrophic happens, there is no diehard Bellator fan. There is no fan going to a Bellator show saying, like, Bell La Tour. Bell la Tour. There's no diehard jersey. Yeah, there are Die Hard. Like die hard. Die Hard. Like, AW can do nothing wrong in their eyes, fans. And that takes a lot. A lot of people talk about the Tribalism in wrestling, and it can be very toxic online. But what they have built in terms of a fan base is extremely impressive. Now, is it a fan base that was built because they were tired of WWE, or they felt like WWE were the Big Bad Wolf and they didn't want to root for them anymore?


Who knows? But the bottom line is, they support them. And so if you could build off that and not bring back too many of these old guys, and not let things like the CM Punk thing happen, and not let the inmates run the asylum, and you could truly be, like, a disciplinarian back there and a good booker, they'll be around for a long time. I mean, Tony should be very proud of what he just I think someone should take away the phone sometimes because it's not a good look when he goes on these meltdowns online.


Yeah, the Twitter stuff not a good look. Maybe just deactivate your Twitter account.


Just let someone else put those tweets up for you.


Especially like, what did he tweet after the head to head stuff? And he was like, that's the first time anything with John Cena's gotten under a million on TV. It's like, Why are you doing that?


Who cares? Yeah.


It just makes you look thin skinned.


Stop paying attention to them. Right?


Do your own thing you're doing.


They would never talk about you. Like, imagine Triple H is tweeting. Like, oh, look at that quarter hour with the edge in there. Boy, did that fail. Just do your own thing. Put your head down. You have a legion of people that support you. There's no need to be paying attention to the competition. Do it internally, of course, but I think externally is a weird look.


Well, that was the Monday Night Wars. We never acknowledged WCW, and then when they finally started acknowledging them and doing the sketches about Ted Turner and all that stuff, that's because they're getting their ass kicked by WCW. And that's when you respond, is when you're. Desperate and you're falling behind. I don't think WWE is just never going to respond.


Yeah, I don't think AEW should be desperate. Remember, the turning point was when Tony Schiavone said on Nitro, hey, don't change the channel to the other guys.


Right. Here's what happened.


Foley's about to win. I'm sure that will put Butts in seats. And then everyone went over there and watched, and that was the beginning of the end. So sometimes acknowledging the competition is not the right thing to do, good or bad.


Are you surprised? Roman Reigns is the most successful villain that they've had. You'd probably have to go to the late 90s. Have they had a more successful villain in the 21st century? Just the concept of a villain champ, for somebody to hold the title as a villain, as a heel, it's impressive. There's no precedent of it. They've always tried to make it so that a baby face was the champ, or even if it was a heel, they became a baby face. But they were always worried about would it affect merchandise, and that's why they never turned cena. But in Rain's case, he's a heel, but he's also it hasn't hurt with the merchandise or any of that stuff. Maybe that's just where we are as a society these days.


That's true. I still maintain Sami Zayn should have won in Montreal in February, and or Cody Rhodes should have won at WrestleMania because look what ended up happening afterwards. He's not as present on the programming. And B, they had to create another title to just have a World Heavyweight champion.


Yeah, I don't like that.


And now it just becomes the champs.


Got to defend the title. The champ's got to be out there. You got to be bouncing around, creating a second title.


Just waters down the whole thing. I loved when he unified the belts. He had the two belts. Now he's got two belts, and Seth Rollins has his own. Like, what's the biggest criticism of boxing, right? Like, there's too many belts. The ABC belts, right? We don't need two heavyweight champions. You had an undisputed champ run with him, and if he needs some time off, then give it to someone else. And you had two hot guys right there. You had Sammy in February. You had Cody in still. They've done a lot of good this year, and the product is great and it's fun, but I still feel like those two were mistakes. I would have taken either of those bias. Sammy in Montreal is one of the best crowds that I've ever experienced live. I thought that would have been incredible. And then if not, when that didn't happen, I was like, oh, for sure, Cody's going to win. Yeah, he didn't win either.


I thought Cody was going to win too. I always thought that was part of the know. As you were talking, I just thought of an idea about how the belts don't matter if somebody was to get into boxing in a real, like, let's say Amazon's, like, we're taking boxing, we're actually going to devote all the resources and really go after this. Or Apple or even ESPN could potentially do this. But what if the network that went after boxing or the streamer, or let's say it was TKO, what if they created all the belts and they just had more money at stake? And they were like, These are the belts. We are actually going to professionalize this whole mess. Nobody knows what belt is, what these are the belts we have the most money. And from now on, it's like, you will be the Amazon welterweight champion. You'll be the Amazon light heavyweight champion. We're going to have ten divisions, and it's the Amazon belt, but we're paying way more money than anybody else. Wouldn't that work? Or am I too idealistic?


Well, essentially what you're talking about is the UFC, right? The UFC just created their own belts. It could happen. And by the way, Misfits, which is the promotion that you watched last weekend in Manchester, they have their own belts, but the problem is they don't necessarily play by the same rules as traditional boxing. And so I think that the WBCs and the WBOS and the WBAS of the world, they would have an issue with that. They would say, no, we're not going to sanction your events if you have these fugazi belts. So I think that that would be a problem in boxing because of the way boxing is structured. MMA was the Wild West and the UFC was MMA.


They jumped in when there was no.


Rule, and they were able to do that. That's another thing that they have in their favor. They don't have to there's no such thing as a mandatory in the world of UFC. There's no commission that says, actually, that guy in Bellator is the number one contender at 170. So Leon Edwards has to fight him next, and you guys have to copromote. Doesn't exist, but it does exist in boxing because of these sanctioning bodies.


I blame Obama.




Obama was our one chance from 2009 to 2016. I remember writing a piece about this too. We needed a sports star. He's the only one that would have actually understood how important it was that somebody how many billions of dollars professional sports makes for the economy, how good it is for just the ecosystem of America. You're talking hundreds of billions of dollars. And he was the one that understood that. And it just should have been like, I am now putting this under the government, and we're going to monitor it and stuff like boxing and UFC and the MLS. You can't have 50 teams. We're going to oversee this. However, it just needed some competent person to just step in and be like, hey, boxing, this is broken. We're going to undo this and redo it again. And you have to through us.


Is it too late?


I don't know. Well, I don't see any of the 2024 candidates on either side figuring it out.


Probably. Maybe Obama does it. What is he doing? He's not doing much these days. Or does it have to?


You're saying he's playing golf for like 6 hours a day. It doesn't have time for this. But Obama would have been the perfect sports star. He would have been amazing. Like basketball right now, like basketball is a fucking mess.


Mess. Oh, don't get me started on this midseason tournament. This midseason tournament is the stupidest idea. Stupidest idea. I hate.


What about James Harden? So he's just going to hold the sixers hostage? He opted into his own contract and now won't play. You opted in for 35 million. Show up for fucking work.


Yeah, it is terrible.


We need a sports star. I'm telling you. Maybe this is Obama. Eight years as president was a warm up for the most important job on the planet. Sports are we need you, Obama. We need somebody.


You do bring up a good point. It would be great to have a national commission where it's not like California has their own thing and Nevada has their own thing. I've always said if there was just like one national combat sports commission, there would be a lot more uniformity and less hijinks.


But I'm not some unbelievable scandals. Potentially too, if we have a universal commission, I can't even imagine some of the bribery things that would happen and some of the extortion and it would just be tremendous. But like college sports, we don't need to step in as a government and try to fix some of this college sports. They talk about wild, wild west. It's unbelievable. You're 100% never going to fix it.


It's never going to happen. It's never going to happen. Unfortunately. It'd be nice. By the way, Fury and Ghana, you watching next week. This is a big one.


Who are you talking to?


Heavyweight champ versus heavyweight champ coming together in the combat oasis known as Saudi Arabia. I mean, this is big time business right here.


Somebody's got to point to me the one time the MMA guy has beaten the awesome boxing guy. Has it ever happened? Has it happened once? Like, it can be the washed up boxing in boxing.


No, it doesn't happen. It never happens.


It could be the washed up boxing guy. If he was fighting somebody. Like where? I'm blanking. Who are the two brothers? The Kutchko. It was like, oh, he's fighting Klitschko, who's 49 years old and has heavyweight champ. Yeah, Fury's fought relatively recently. He's the heavyweight champion of the world. I'll be betting on Fury.


Yeah, he's a massive favorite.


All right, ringer MMA show this weekend. You're going weigh ins. And then right after the battle, we.


Actually have our preview show out already for pay per view fight weeks. We're putting that's up already? Yeah, it's up already. We put it out on Tuesday to give people some time to digest it all.


I was going to talk to it on the plane back.


No, it's already up. You can listen to it, you can download it. And then immediately after the main event, we do the post show pod and then we put it up an hour or so later. Myself, Chuck Pizza events earlier this year.


FYI. Yeah, earlier time, right?


Two to five Eastern. This is a great one for a dad like me. A 41 year old dad like me. Two to five Eastern. Tremendous. This is a dream.


I wish they were all we're getting more of these with TKO when they do the afternoon nighttime WWFC combos.


I have feeling, though, they'd put UFC later and WWE earlier for the kids, right?


Yeah, probably. All right. Good to see you, my friend.


Thank you. Go next.


All right, Amanda Dobbins is here. You can hear in the Big picture with Sean Fennec and on the ringer dish as well with Juliet Lipman. We text. We've known each other for a long time now. Not quite ten years, but getting there. And we have guilty pleasures from time to time. Content in the TV and movie realm maybe we're not proud of that we enjoy. We don't know why we enjoy it. We know it's not good, but we watch every week. I've gotten to the point with The Morning Show, which I think is one of the worst shows I've watched in the last five, six years that I actually look forward to Tuesday nights when I know it's popping on. Can't wait. Oh, new morning show. Because I'm just in disbelief every week. Every week, where I think they're not going to be able to top how ridiculous that one thing that happened in the last episode is. Then you get Billy Crudup singing Ain't No Mountain High Enough with his mother character that we just met for like four minutes. This is a thing that happened in episode seven. What is it about the show?


Amanda they have no shame and also no connection to what their audience wants from them. But that also yields beautiful things. Right. Because they give us a lot of stuff that we don't want, including reenactments of recent news events from the last three years. They have somehow simultaneously been reenacting COVID the Jan Six riot and every single breaking news event that haunted us from 2020 to 2022.


Don't forget Roe v. Wade getting overturned. Yeah, because we wanted to go through that one again. Yeah. They basically cherry picked all the worst things that happened over the last three years. They're like, let's make content out of this.


And not just one time. Somehow they're not going chronologically. They're using flashback episodes to make us relive COVID like five, six times. I've been living in March 2020 through the Morning Show for at least 3 hours. At the same time, the fact that they are doing so many things means that we get some things that I didn't want but still really enjoy texting with you about. And it's like, I look forward to Tuesday night because I know I'm going to hear from you. And it's like a nice time when we can talk about how we did not need to know about the major media moguls mommy issues, but somehow we do.


I'm always amazed and delighted when somebody in my life tells me that they're also watching the morning show, because I feel real shame that I've lasted 26 episodes or whatever it is. I was texting with our friend Wesley Morris yesterday, and somehow the morning show came up and he's like, I'm addicted to it. And I said, you mean like, ironically addicted to it, or non ironically addicted to it? And then he proceeded to make a case. He likes Aniston, and he's like, I think she's doing some of the best stuff she's done in the last ten years of the show. And I'm like, what's going on? Who took Wesley's phone? He also admits that it's ridiculous and terrible, but they're big actors. They spend a lot of money on it. So it clearly is in some lane that no other show is in where they could just be like, we're going to bring in John Hamm. He's going to play, like, basically handsome Elon Musk. He's going to be Woefully Miscast, and it's just going to be Don Draper having an affair with 53 year old Rachel from Friends. And we're just going to try this.


And see if by the way, who looks astonishingly good. They went for the adult content scenes. I mean, not full adult content.


So let's talk about that. That was like a sex scene. Yes. And then a morning follow up scene where she's just lying naked on top of John Hamm. And it was, like, uncomfortable.


You could write many dissertations on how lighting is used in this show, both for character building and just in terms of who gets what light and in what situation. The actual sex scene was so dark that I had to squint and be a creeper to make sure that it was them. But I do think it was them.


Oh, it was definitely them. It reminded me of the Tom Cruise Kelly McGillis Top Gun sex scene in 1986 where just like, dark and somebody's lying on somebody and you can't even really make out the shadows and there's some movement, but it's not erotic.


But then again, in the morning, someone is also lying on somebody, and it's Jennifer Aniston. And I just want to say she has been a spokesperson over the years for many forms of exercise and body care, and they appear to be working. And I think those companies have invested their money well.


They also like, she knows him. They have all the same friend circle. So it's super weird. It's like, in your friend circles, if just two people that have been in the same circle all of a sudden had to fake date and make out and do stuff, and you'd be like, all right, this is just too weird. I just saw you guys at Thanksgiving last year, right? Listen, that's not even close to being the weirdest part of this show, except.


For the Coney Island date, which you and I skipped through a lot of episodes, which I think is for the best, but they had to go on an extended date to Coney Island.


Yeah, we did. So Prestige TV, we did the first two, and we were kind of like, this is not a show that should be in the Prestige TV Feed. Fortunately, with the Prestige TV, we have real shows coming back. We have the crown. We have this. Nathan Fielder Emma Stone show true detectives coming. Like, the Prestige TV Feed is going to be back. This show was not worthy of the Prestige Feed, but they had this Coney Island date since the last time we talked, where they're just at, I don't know, a pretty big amusement park. And she is supposed to be basically the most famous female TV anchor personality. She's basically Diane Sawyer, and he is basically Elon Musk.


But she is like, in the world of the morning show. She is. If Diane Sawyer, who respected Diane Sawyer were also Beyonce. You know what I mean? It's like the psychosis of the show is that the morning television show is the most important thing on the planet.


Earth and the evening news is the second most important thing. Exactly. And they're just like going on rides and getting a corn dog. These are like a plus list famous people. Nobody's coming up to them, bothering them.


They're just yelling at them so long, also. And it's like, there does not seem to be a budget for this show. That's one thing that I will say in its favor. When they need to spend money, they spend. But it did feel like if we're going to go to Coney Island, then we need to make use of this money. And so they just gave us 20 minutes of it for no reason.


For no reason and no realism whatsoever. So when we talk about people are very worried about the streaming content universe, post writer strike deals getting canceled, they're definitely going to make way less shows. And what is this new reality going to look like? And then over here, you have the morning show, which is like, we're going to send a rocket into space. We're going to buy out all of Coney Island. We're going to have a 300 person Hamptons party at the most expensive Hamptons house you've ever seen, and we're going to get nine minutes of scenes out of it. A 300 person Hamptons party.


We're going to have a whole real estate subplot only to set up a helicopter landing.


Right. Which also probably wasn't cheap. Yeah. They just go for it. Which I think is one of the guilty pleasure parts of this show.




Is like, I kind of can't believe the money they spend and the actors they have. Mark Duplass is like barely in this season. He's a real actor. He's in movies where he's the lead actor in the movie.


And he's like an afterthought when he is in it. Here's the list of things that Mark Duplass has been asked to do this season. His character was caught having sex with a coworker in his boss's apartment.




Then he disappears for a few episodes. The character has to do an investigation into John Hamm's character. That's like three minutes of work. And then he has to look really upset when he catches his boss making out with John Ham's character because he's still in love with his boss.


That's it. It's been like seven minutes of screen time.


That's literally it.


Yeah. It's one of those shows where it's like a sports team where they're just like, let's get another receiver. We'll just get one more cornerback. And they load it. Uh, so Stella, who's played by Lee, I'm just going to be honest. I think it's a really bad performance. And what's weird to me is she's in this movie, past Lives yes. That I didn't think was as good as other people thought. But I thought it was really interesting. And what's weird is she's phenomenal in that she's phenomenal. I think she's going to get nominated for best Actress.


I hope she does. And my main concern about The Morning Show season three, aside from that I've wasted so much time on it, is that it might get in the way, might hurt her Oscar, greta Lee's Oscar chances. And we cannot let that happen. She is wonderful in past lives.


Explain to me what she's doing in The Morning Show then. Because if you only knew her from the show, you would think, man, what a bad actress. What is this character supposed to be? What are her motivations? But we know she's a good actress. So is she playing it intentionally where there's like a vacancy to her that we're supposed to constantly interpret what she's thinking? But it's like, it's not my job. You're a TV show. Can you at least give me some hints?


I hold the writing responsible, which is I hold the writing responsible throughout this show.


Yeah, that's fair.


There is a piecemeal quality to the way it seems to be made just in terms of who is where at.


What time, what actor was available on.


A Tuesday and were they in the same room. Once again, the lighting is very good as they stitch this together. So I'm just wondering if she is not being given the adequate information about what her character actually wants to do, are they making what motivations exactly? Or did they change something because someone wasn't available, and now you got to do this. And what if we tried this?


I think it might actually be worse than that. I think when they cast her and they were talking about the character with her, they were like, she's really hard to read. She's hard to figure out. Okay, so just play it that way.




But now know, three seasons in, and she's still kind of like I'm still trying to be really hard to read. But she's in pivotal scenes. She's probably in the most pivotal plot of the season, which is John Hamm. Elon Musk is trying to buy this company but has this past with her, and he's now going to install her because she clearly has dirt on him from the past.




And she's going to take Billy Cruddup's job. But I still don't know. Is she a good person? Is she a bad person? Am I rooting for like the show has made no decisions for me, so I don't know what I'm supposed to think.


Yeah, I think that the show would tell you that it's trying to explore how complicated it is to complicated it is to be an ambitious woman in the world.


I didn't get that memo.


I said that with my eyes looking rolling a bit in my head.


Yeah, because they did in the last episode, they did the whole do you realize how hard it yeah. To grab a spot from the White Man Club and that whole thing. So I was like, oh, I think I see what they're trying to do here.


Let Karen Pittman, the actress who plays Mia and who just is holding this show together and was also holding and just like that together. Give her something to do. Also, what's up with her missing boyfriend?


Right? Where did he go?




He was in the Ukraine.




They set up.


Yes. He's a war correspondent, and now he's missing.


This show will do real work to lay down breadcrumbs for a plot and then just give up the plot. Like, even in this last episode, Billy Crudup's character and Reese Witherspoon, who we haven't talked about yet, they're driving to his mother's house because he needs to lobby her. I'm not going to bore people who haven't watched the show, but they have this whole history. He just randomly decided he was in love with her last year out of nowhere. Then she is now in a gay relationship with Juliana Marglis's character that's off and on, but he still kind of likes her, but he doesn't. And they're hiding a secret. So now they're just in a car for like, what, 2 hours?




Again, do we get car ride scenes and like, hey, we should talk about no, no. Any set up with here's the deal with my mom. No, they're just in a car.


This is why I blame the writers instead of gretely. This is what we're just we're dropping things. We're picking and choosing with no rational direction. It's all over the place.


And the Reese Witherspoon, Julian and Margolis relationship, which they dive into really heavily in a previous episode, leading to the infamous Reese has to move out because the relationship isn't working with some of the worst dialogue, I think, that's been in any TV show in the last couple of years. And then she's like, I got to move out.




They're another COVID relationship tragedy. They couldn't make it even though they had nothing in common. I have no idea why they're together. Every scene they have, it's like, you two just would not be together. Just stop. But anyway, she goes to January 6 and we get this January 6 episode that they did press for, and we're like, we painstakingly recreated blah, blah, blah, and here's how we did it. I was like, the show is terrible. You're bragging about how you recreated January 6. It was an abomination.


Not only did they recreate January 6 and you set it up correctly. Reese Witherspoon had to move out so she could go cover Jan six. And then that was like her relationship couldn't handle the pressure she needed to leave Montana. It was a nice house in Montana.


Bell it did seem really yeah, it seems like great real estate on this show. I think that's one of the guilty pleasures about it.


They spend the money.


Yeah, they do.


Has to go cover Jan six, and then she covers Jan. Six and they recreate it so that Reese Witherspoon films her own brother what are in the riots. And so maybe we don't need to keep score. But you predicted the Jan six episode and I predicted that the brother was Bradley's deep secret. And so we just checkbox. For the two of us, it's pretty.


Sad that we did a podcast after the second episode and predicted the big surprise twist. We literally predicted every aspect of it. The show is coming off the highway with the flashing lights, and given everything.


That we've just said about the writing, it's like, should we feel good about the fact that we could predict it? I don't know.


We should mention when I predicted the January 6 thing, your reaction was like, oh, no. Oh, God. And then you were like, oh, God, they might do that. Oh, no. Yeah. But it was like you were horrified, then realized that this was probably where they were going.




Not only did they go there, but she's in there. She's wearing a ski cap and the COVID mask and just filming all of the altercations, and nobody notices this five foot one blonde girl who looks kind of exactly like the evening news anchor, bradley whatever her name is. Bradley Jackson. Right. And she's just kind of milling about as there's complete chaos on January 6. I'm pretty sure one person would have been like, Wait a second.




Who's that? That person kind of looks like a reporter. And why is she filming everything now? Right. And then just randomly runs into her brother.


Yeah, great.


ODS are pretty low.


I'm going to say amazing stuff and.


Then has to delete the file.




Big moral dilemma. Yeah.


And then they get subpoenaed and then it ties back into the hack. They've abandoned the hack, which was the.


Hack was what we love the most. That was like the best idea they had all season was, oh, my God, what else going to be in the hack?


Yeah, basically doing the Sony hack and then they completely left it on the side. Maybe it'll come back.


I think when people ask me 20 years from now, the morning show, what happened there? And I think my answer would be, it's like The Sopranos episode when the Russian ran in the woods from Paulie and Christopher, and we were all like, I wonder when the Russians coming back? And then he just never came back. Yeah, that's this entire show. They'll go down the road with plots, they'll abandon them, things will make sense. Then they won't. They'll put in real time over multiple episodes to establish something that then just evaporates in the thin. Cooper what is this character at this point?


Bradley Jackson.


Bradley Jackson. Bradley Cooper. Who is Bradley Cooper next? What is she supposed to be? Did she win? She's the host of the evening news.


I don't know. And I'm very concerned that she's just going to be spending more time in therapy and they're going to have to excavate the mental toll that being a news person takes on. It's really a mess. I don't know. I don't know what they're doing.


The other thing I love about this show, that I love hating about this show is this world that they're in, where a morning show and an evening show are these just super important properties that determine pop culture as we know it? Which really hasn't been the case, I'm going to say since 1988, it seemed like they restaged.


They had the Met Gala, or like a fake version of the Met Gala recently. And then every single member of the network was at the Met Gala. It was like 50% people from the morning show and then a few other fashion people. And I was like, that's not really how the Met Gala works.


Right. It's also way bigger. Do you feel like there's not enough ridiculous cameos? Like, is this show ridiculous enough? Are they just pouring a bath and seeing how hot it is and putting their foot in it, but not just jumping into the hot bath? Who else would you.


Bradley Cooper. Now that you said it, he's got a movie to promote, so once everyone's working again, I would be happy to see that.


What's off limits? Could George Clooney be on the board of the TV station?


Sure. That would be.


Where is Meryl Streep?


Bring them all too. You know what I'm saying?


Where's Jack Nicholson? Oh, a mall. Could Jack Nicholson just come out of nowhere like a Rupert Murdoch figure? Six episodes.


There's a really good movie from about, like, ten years ago called Morning Glory that's also about I don't know what?


Morning Glory? Okay, well, I just jesus. I'm not married to somebody who watches.


All of those movies.


This is for everybody else listening. It stars Rachel McAdams, but also Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton. Let's bring that fictional morning show into the universe of this morning show, you know what I'm saying? And just have everyone competing against each other.


I fully support it. I would say this show is a combination of what they think a more exciting Nancy Myers movie would be. Crossed with, like, an episode of 24.




Crossed with the West Wing, but with more money, right? And higher salaries for everybody across the board.


Crossed with them trying to do succession, which is like a dash and not landing it.


Yeah, but the real reason we watch is because we love Billy Crude up in this gosh. He's the North Star. He's the foundation. He's the only one who wins, no matter how ridiculous it is. Even when they try to humiliate him and shame him and have him sing Ain't No Mountain High Enough, for reasons that remain unclear, he escapes unscathed with no dirt on him, no grime. He just ascends over this bloody mess.


Do you think he's writing his own lines? I know that we talked about this at the beginning of the season, but I do wonder whether he's putting the crew to Spice on his dialogue at this point.


I think it's very pot like. I think if you gave him true serum and some shots, he might be like, yeah, I might make up some scenes myself.


He's a talented actor. He has a lot of stage experience. He can make any dialogue work. But I do kind of think that he's just bringing his own stuff to the table at this point because you can tell his material is just funnier than everybody else's.


Do you think somebody who works for the morning show listening to this would be upset? Do they think it's good? What's going on there?


I would love genuinely to talk to someone from the morning show in a constructive and positive way. I would like to know what their goals are.


Because when they laid out the January 6 thing and how painstakingly and I was like, oh, no, they think this is really good.


The thing that I don't understand is their relationship to real news events and why in addition to being a very expensive and fun soap opera, they feel that they need to not just recover, but weigh in on every single hot button news issue of the past 20 years and that we want them to be part 60 Minutes as well as part Dynasty or whatever.


We need the morning show to make me reevaluate how I thought about some of the biggest stories of the 20s. Yeah.


I don't understand why that is so important to them and whether they think they're succeeding.


See, what makes more sense to me is if they lean toward the TJ. Holmes. Who's that lady he had the affair with? Amy? Somebody who was married to Billy from Melrose Place.




And it became a whole was Page.


Six dined on it for, like, a year.


We need more Page Six stuff on the show unless oh, boy. Now they get to tackle Roe v. Wade. Pretty sure I didn't need the morning show to wade into Roe v. Wade, no pun intended.


In the middle of Reese Witherspoon Juliana Margolis, like, honeymoon in Montana, they just decided to throw up, like, a news report of the death of just like, I sent you that screenshot just being like, Why?


RPG is gone.


And they just look so glumming us. Like, I know, I know she's gone. I didn't need a fake news report about it.


What a show. So what do we think? With three episodes left? Any predictions before we go?


Well, did you notice that in John Hamm's characters what's his name? Paul. In Paul's speech.


Paul Ham.


Paul Ham? Yeah. Paul's speech to the newsroom. They asked who was behind the hack, and he very confidently said, we think Russia. So I am very afraid that they are returning to the hack and a Russia subplot that is somehow going to involve the missing war correspondent boyfriend. That's a good don't that's not where I wanted this storyline to go. Any of the storylines. It's not where I wanted it to go.


That's pretty good. Okay. What happens with Bradley Cooper then? I mean, Bradley Jackson. Bradley Cooper. What happens to Bradley Jackson?


Yeah. So here's an interesting question. Is the subpoena and whether or not the deletion of the tape is going to be revealed in the metadata or.


Whatever, she'll have to resign?


Yeah, I think so. But then will that also bring up here is the thing I've been really concerned about, is the Stella Paul Marx plot a gambit for Billy Crude Up to leave the show at some point? Because he's like, I've had enough.


Well, listen, if he leaves the show, I leave the mean, just so they know.


Yeah, I think everybody knows that. But I think Billy crude up knows that too. And he's like, probably like, I've given my best. Is it a Rob Lowe West Wing situation? Right, where he's just like, give him.


The Hamptons house that he lives in in the show that's his season four.


That he spent one night with and then texted.


Do you remember? Oh, I'm aware. The most upset my wife was in the first seven episodes was she had the Cartier bracelet that you have to screw on and yes.




And she was like, you don't take that off. No. If you're at somebody's house, you'd have to ask for a screwdriver to take that off. This is that was that was what made her the maddest of any dumb plot on the show.


But that is like the best note for the whole that's very important. Yeah.


This show really needs some help. And then I assume Ham and Aniston will break up.


Sure. And then he'll try to he might.


Blow up in a rocket, though. Like, they might actually try to blow him up. Can't be ruled out.


I can't believe they sent all those people in the zero gravity machine for one dumbline of this.


Have there's r1 life character I would love to see them bring in.




And that is Hunter Biden.


Oh, that is a really good one.


Because if they're going to do January 6 and Roe v. Wade and COVID and all these real life things, isn't Hunter Biden one of the top five things? And could they have an actor playing Hunter Biden or somebody who reps him? And could you work him in and maybe Bradley Cooper's partying with Hunter Biden? Bradley Jackson.


Here's a question. Is Biden the president in the world of the morning show, do they ever say Biden?


They don't. They do the succession thing where they don't say who the president is, but yet they're dipping in all these other real life things.


Right. So I guess they could just create a character who was not named Hunt. Yeah.




That's really interesting. They don't actually they will say Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but they won't say Biden.


There's only one person I know who watches the show unironically and loves it and is upset when we make fun of it, and that is John Jastremsky of the Ringer gambling show.


Oh, wow. Okay.


He heard me talking about this and him and his new wife were listening and they were like, wait, you don't like the morning show now? It's like an actual reaction. I was like, wait, are you serious?




And we argued about it. So there are people out there. Well, it's fine. We don't judge those people.


My understanding of the New York sports world at the moment is that you need an outlet. Right. You need a safe space.


Oh, this is I love sports.


Well, here you know, I'm logged on. It's a real time to be living in the home of a Philadelphia sports fan.


It's been a rough New York sports ride. You're right.


They need the morning show, except for Sunday. But whatever people take from this, whether it is hate or enjoyment or just reconnecting with friends on a Tuesday night.


Well, that's why we call it Guilty Pleasure. And that's here's the announcement. Starting next week on the Ringer Dish feed, we're going to be launching a podcast called Guilty Pleasures. Yes, it's basically the bizarro prestige TV podcast, and it's going to be on Ringer Dish. And we needed an outlet to cover Shotgun Wedding with Jennifer Lopez and every morning show episode.




And believe me, there's a lot of material.


And just like that, will I be able to speak about the end of season three?


We might go backwards and run back every end just like that episode. And you could do it with Chris Ryan, who thinks Sarah Jessica Parker is the premier comic actress of our generation.


She is wonderful on a show that could also use some writing guidance.


Yeah. So guilty pleasures can't wait. Guilty pleasure or guilty pleasures? Guilty pleasure.


Yeah. I think Singular is easier to say.


Singular is easier. So that's going to launch on Ringer feed. It will operate ringer dish feed and it will operate a lot like the Prestige. There will be a lot of people on there. It's very important that we launch this before the start of Hallmark holiday season. Yes. Which is coming. I don't know if you've seen some of the matchups they have for that. There's an Andy McDowell movie coming out. Some of the greats are coming back to Hallmark. Anyway, all right, Amanda, it was good to see you. I'm sorry I kicked your ass in the big Picture Denzel draft. It was one side. The voting was one sided.


It's okay.


Sean brought me in. I beat up everybody there and I got the W and I'm undefeated now.


That is really true. I just liked having some energy that wasn't Sean's energy on the podcast. So I thank you for that.


It was fun, all of us turning on Sean at various points.


That's how every draft goes.


Thanks, Amanda.






All right, that's it for the podcast. Thanks to Ariel and Amanda and Howard Beck. Thanks, Kyle Creighton and Steve Sury for producing, as always. And I will see you on this feed on Sunday with Cuz. Have a great weekend. Wanna see him on a waste I don't have with him on the wayside on the first must be 21 plus in President select states. FanDuel is offering online sports wager in Kansas under an agreement with Kansas Star Casino, LLC. Gambling problem? Call 1800 Gambler or visit RG in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia. You can call 1800 Next Step or text Next Step to 53342 in Arizona, call 188-78-9777 or visit Chat, Connecticut 1809 with it in Indiana. 1805 to two 4700 or visit in Kansas, 18770 stop in Louisiana. in Maryland, 1800 gambler net in West Virginia or 1805 two two 4700 in Wyoming. Hope is here. Visit or call 803 2750 50 for twenty four seven support in Massachusetts or call 18778 Hope NY or text Hope NY in New York.