Mike Francesa

WFAN host Mike Francesa has a delightful tendency to double down when he gets criticized and offer unusual excuses, and that’s exactly what he’s now done after taking flak for seeming to not know that Maryland was in the Big Ten and providing curious non-analysis of a hypothetical Maryland-Florida State matchup on Wednesday’s show. Francesa addressed this on Thursday’s show with a convoluted explanation of how he was distracted thanks to a text from his wife about his son (who was injured skiing Friday, but was back at school this week), plus plenty of shots at Sports Illustrated, The New York Daily News, and others who covered his slipup, an argument that he watches tons of regular-season college basketball, but no one else watches much, and even a conclusion that people shouldn’t be writing about him. Here’s audio from @SportsFunhouse, if you can handle the full 4:47 of it:


At 0:26, we get Francesa’s explanation for his curious non-analysis of Maryland (which included “Um…so…the bottom line is..Maryland should’ve been better. They had some injuries. Uh…They’re hot and cold. Their best player is hot and cold. From that standpoint…I could see them winning this game. I could see them losing this game. One way or the other, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”). Here’s what he said:

“Here’s actually what happened, I’ll tell you the truth. I was, and you know what I should have done, I should have gone to commercial, I was just saying Xavier, I’m in the middle of the bracket, and my wife texts me about something with my son, my son had had an accident on Friday skiing, and he was back in school, and I was kind of responding to something I had to respond to, and I should have gone to commercial, but I didn’t, and I was just basically not paying attention to the show for two minutes there when I was talking about Maryland, and I should not have done that. My fault, bad job, so it’s bad audio, but here’s the bottom line, they report it, and they report it completely erroneously!”

Francesa then goes on to blast SI for not picking up that he was talking about a potential second-round matchup between Maryland and Florida State, but doesn’t explain why he seems to have thought that Maryland was still in the ACC. After that, he goes on a rant about how no one actually watches college basketball except him, while admitting how little regular-season basketball he watches:

“Everybody acts like they watch every one of these games. Let me tell you something, nobody watches every one of these teams! There was a time, many many many years ago, when I was responsible for knowing stuff about all of these teams, and it was a lot of hard work. And I used to do it, because it was my job! And I’ll tell you, it took a lot of time to do it, and in February and March, you had to spend a lot of time getting into those little conferences. Because I wasn’t in them during the regular season, I was in the big conferences, I was travelling in the big conferences, but I wasn’t in those little conferences.”

“So anyone who tells you they know…I don’t care who it is, [anyone] who does college basketball…there might be five people in the country who know all these teams. No one knows all these teams, 350 teams. Or 370 teams, whatever Division I is now, it grows every year, 358 or whatever it might be. [It’s 351.] So the idea that anybody thinks they know all these teams is utter nonsense. And nobody spends a lot of time around college basketball during the regular season any more, especially me.”

“I watch certain teams. But to say I never watch a game is just offensive, if you listen to the show. Especially with the number of coaches that come on the show during the season. You have coaches that are fixtures on this show. So that’s just ridiculous. But again, you know what it is? First of all, there’s one site that just follows me for every breath I take, that’s their thing. Secondly, the Daily News writes about anything that they can get my picture above to get a couple of page hits. And I guess SI’s in that same vein now, they’re so desperate for page hits, to come up with something, but it’s always negative, it’s never anything positive. When I picked Clemson to win the national championship, you’re not going to hear that or anything like that.”

Francesa then slips up on what school he was talking about here:

“You’re going to hear negative stuff. But at least get it right. If you’re going to report it thirdhand, and they did, at least get it right. It had nothing to do with Miami, I mean, it had nothing to do with Maryland playing Florida State. It had to do with me going through the bracket, and getting to that game, and really not paying attention to the show, which is what I did do. And I knew what I was doing, I was saying “Uh, Maryland,” and I’d better get back to this, but this was important stuff.”

He then talks about his son’s skiing accident Friday and how he was back at school this week for a bit, before delivering wrap-up shots at SI and the Daily News (4:15). “To just harp on something as meaningless, and as nonsensical, as the fact they didn’t like my analysis of the Maryland-Xavier game, or the fact they thought I said Maryland was playing Florida State, find something more important to write about, please. Maybe that’s your problem. Maybe you don’t have anything more important to write about, and that is the problem. Maybe that’s why they’re struggling so badly, and that goes for the Daily News and SI.”

The Sports Pope has spoken. But hey, maybe if he paid more attention to his own show and to what conferences teams were in, struggling outlets like SI and the Daily News wouldn’t feel obliged to write about him as much.

[Sports Funhouse on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.