Joe Benigno calls into Boomer and Gio. Joe Benigno calls into Boomer and Gio. (WFAN on Twitter.)

One of the strangest media stories in a while now has a new twist. That would be the drama around former WFAN host, current Audacy Oh The Pain podcast host, and long-time New York Jets’ fan Joe Benigno’s texts with Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh.

On Monday, Benigno (who left a full-time WFAN role in 2020 after 25 years, but still is sometimes involved at the station and hosts that podcast with their corporate parent) went on afternoon show Evan & Tiki with Evan Roberts and Tiki Barber (who he’s had dustups with before) and said Saleh “don’t like Zach” (quarterback Zach Wilson), justifying that by saying Saleh texted him “Are you kidding me?” (or some variation thereof) in response to Benigno saying the team needed to return to starting Wilson. He also said Saleh texted him a list of head coaches’ records without their preferred starting quarterbacks.

On Tuesday, Benigno went on WFAN morning show Boomer and Gio to discuss this. There, he took some ribbing from hosts Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti for his actions. And Benigno said he got Saleh’s meaning wrong on Wilson, and he eventually admitted was wrong to share these texts in general.

After Esiason says “You 100 percent blowtorched him,” Benigno disputes that, but adds “First of all, total misinterpretation by me of what he said, okay? I was wrong about that. Basically what he was saying was ‘All this time you’ve been killing Zach, you want him benched, and now you want me to play him?'”

Giannotti then brings up the sharing of the texts.

“I think the blowtorching that Boomer is referring to is 1. You’re sharing text messages that you’ve had with Rob Saleh when they’re at the lowest point of the season, on the air at WFAN, that’s 1. And 2. you’re giving out an opinion that you thought Rob Saleh had that he didn’t have. If you’re Rob Saleh, you’re like ‘What in the effing hell is going on here?'”

Benigno responds with “Well, look, I was wrong, I admit it. I mean, I’m on here talking to you now telling you that. I don’t know what else you want me to say about it.”

It’s probably good that Benigno did wind up with an unqualified mea culpa here, even if he started by trying to defend himself a bit. As Giannotti points out, this was pretty ridiculous on Benigno’s part on several levels. And it may have coaches thinking twice about texting with anyone from WFAN.

[WFAN 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.