While many of us are currently enjoying ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 documentary, the multi-part Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies, a trailer for the network’s next offering in the sports documentary series is now available. Coming in July, they’re talkin’ sports, goin’ at it as hard as they can, it’s Mike and the Mad Dog and the story of their run on The Fan.
Originally announced at the end of 2015, the Mike and the Mad Dog 30 for 30 film has been long awaited by fans of the pioneering sports talk radio show, followers of sports media and those who enjoy sports documentaries. The legendary show on New York’s WFAN 660 with Mike Francesa and Chris Russo paved the way for an entire industry and continues to influence many aspects of both sports radio and television, long after the two parted ways in 2008.
Mike and the Mad Dog was originally scheduled to debut in February, but the network decided to hold it for a splashy debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. Prior to that, many fans got a sneak preview of the documentary at FrancesaCon in March. For the rest of us, a trailer for the film provides our first look. Here it is:
“You’re married too long and then the other things the guy does drives you crazy.”
With that line, Russo makes the story of Mike and the Mad Dog instantly relatable, regardless of whether or not you were a fan of the show, or enjoy Russo and Francesa’s work to this day. Two strong, opinionated personalities with big egos — one who knew more than virtually everyone and another who could shout you out of the room — shared hours of air time every day for 19 years.
The relationship seemed almost destined to sour, especially when Russo was valued so highly by SiriusXM and pursued an opportunity with them in 2008. Yet it’s still kind of jolting to see Francesa smiling and enjoying Russo’s company, compared to the more serious persona we typically see today.
Directed by Daniel H. Forer, this looks like a classic rise-and-fall story of two personalities who virtually created an industry, took the New York media world by storm, and practically became rock stars — especially among their hardcore, devoted fan base. But the pairing could only withstand the strength of those personalities and egos for so long, maybe longer than anyone should have ever expected.
But maybe, just maybe, an appreciation for their show and partnership could lead to a reunion. Is it possible?
Mike and the Mad Dog premieres Thursday, July 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.