NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson knows one of his biggest catch phrases is borrowed. Hanson appeared on the SI Media podcast with Jimmy Traina and explained that calling the close of the NFL 1 p.m. ET games the “witching hour” comes from the classic NFL Today on CBS. Not Mike Francesa.
Hanson explained that the original idea for the phrase came from viewers online who suggested “witching hour” as a descriptor for the insane finishes across the NFL early-afternoon slate.
“Everybody knows the nickname of a witching hour, it’s when weird stuff happens and the unexpected takes over,” Hanson explained. “So I had been calling that hour at the end of the third quarter all the way through the finishes of the early-window games … the best hour on sports television.”
He didn’t know Francesa popularized it on WFAN in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Can you steal intellectual property you did not know existed prior to implementing it?” Hanson said. “I 100 percent did not know Francesa says that he had called it that beforehand.”
But the origins of the phrase go back further.
Hanson and host Jimmy Traina confirmed it was originally used by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder to refer to backdoor covers. Francesa worked as a research assistant on that show, too. Brent Musberger then took the cue from Francesa and Snyder and used the phrase on-air as well.
“Bad beats before bad beats,” Hanson explained.
Francesa and Hanson have debated ownership of “witching hour” for years now, but Hanson was happy to give credit to the forebears of the iconic catchphrase.
And when you consider the origins of it connect to sports gambling, you almost have to pay homage to Snyder and Francesa. When Hanson started hosting RedZone it would have been taboo to discuss gambling on an NFL-owned broadcast.