Rank #1: Brent Musburger
With just days until the Patriots and Rams face off in Atlanta, Mike is joined by Brent Musburger, who has covered just about every Super Bowl in NFL History. There will be nearly $5 billion in Super Bowl Sunday wagers, which tells you everything you need to know about the league's relationship with legalized sports betting. What better place to start with the Hall of Fame broadcaster, current voice of the Raiders and VSiN Lead Analyst than with one of his most cherished possessions, his signed photo with Joe Namath when the Jets QB predicted a victory in Super Bowl III?
Rank #2: Jac Collinsworth, ESPN and ProFootball Focus Analyst
More than just the son of a former NFL player turned NBC Analyst, Jac Collinsworth has carved his own path with ESPN and ProFootball Focus. Jac has aspired to be in broadcasting dating back to high school, and his time at Notre Dame helped make him ESPN’s go-to interviewer for the player profiles. On the heels of Conference Championship weekend Mike asks what Jac would do to improve the Saints/Rams outcome that left a bad taste for many NFL fans. Jac admits that Mike’s encouragement throughout his own broadcasting career has made him a better analyst. Mike will certainly take the credit!
Rank #3: Former #1 PGA Tour Player David Duval
This Sunday, January 20, marks the 20th anniversary of David Duval's heroic final round 59 on Sunday at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and on the call for the historic event was our own Mike Tirico. 20 years later, the two catch up and Mike asks how David sees the PGA Tour today, with Tiger Woods not the same player now he was then. Mike also makes his NFL Conference Championship picks after Football Night in America caps off another great NFL season.
Rank #4: Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott
Happy 2019 from the Mike Tirico Podcast! The Buffalo Bills fell short of returning to the playoffs, but Head Coach Sean McDermott says there is plenty to build on with the 6-10 record in 2018. Before previewing the divisional round of the playoffs, Mike asks Coach McDermott what he needs to do right now to prepare for free agency and the NFL Draft later this year. But first, Mike points out with so much turnover in the coaching ranks, McDermott will soon rise to the upper half of longest tenured coaches, despite just two seasons with Buffalo.
Rank #5: Doc Emrick and Rebecca Lowe
Taking center stage for both NBC Sports and the Mike Tirico Podcast over the holiday weeks is the NHL and the English Premier League. After Mike spent the college football season in South Bend with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, he gives pointers to the voice of the NHL on NBC, Doc Emrick before the Indiana native calls his first game inside Notre Dame Stadium. Mike will be on hand to host the Bruins and the Blackhawks on New Year’s Day. Then, Rebecca Lowe, Host of NBC’s Premier League Live, joins Mike to discuss the English Premier League and the comparisons it can draw to American sports and why Manchester United moved on from the mercurial Jose Mourinho. Wishing you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
Rank #6: Scott Van Pelt and Chris Simms
The SportsCenter host and Mike’s former radio partner joins the podcast to review the year in sports for 2018. Mike asks SVP how big legal sports gambling has been on how we watch and talk sports, plus how this year’s College Football Playoff opens the floor for more than just playoff expansion. Speaking of the playoff, Mike is joined by NBC’s Chris Simms to discuss Notre Dame’s match up with Clemson in the Cotton Bowl, the semi-final for the National Championship. With his work on Football Night in America, Mike had to ask Chris about the NFL season and you’ll be surprised to hear who Chris has pegged as the No 1 team in the AFC with 2 weeks of the regular season left.
Rank #7: Kurt Warner and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017, Kurt Warner, joins Mike to discuss the current NFL season and what advice he has for some of the best QBs in the league right now. Since joining Westwood One and NFL Network after his playing days, Kurt has enjoyed the storylines that are essential to broadcasting games. As long as the NFL continues to adapt more wrinkles from college football, one of Mike’s favorite discussions is identifying what works best at both levels. (15:30) Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports identifies some of those wrinkles, and the trends in coaching that are worth keeping an eye on as the College Football Playoffs are fast approaching.
Rank #8: Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy
The former Coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts has brought his perspective as an analyst, joining Mike and Rodney Harrison for Football Night In America. Coach Dungy has some thoughts on the modern NFL and a pass happy offense with the playoffs soon approaching. Mike and Coach Dungy weighs in on the Packers’ surprising decision to move on from Head Coach Mike McCarthy mid-season.
Rank #9: Cris Collinsworth and Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus
The 14x Emmy Award Winner analyst of Sunday Night Football joins Mike Tirico to discuss the changing trend of a pass-happy NFL, which should be on full display for the Chargers and Steelers for Week 13. Mike asks Cris about the influence of data and analytics on the NFL and continues that conversation with Steve Palazzolo, Senior Analyst and Director of Video Content for Pro Football Focus.
Rank #10: Brian Kelly and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Head Coach of #3 Notre Dame, Brian Kelly, and Dale Earnhardt Jr, NASCAR's Most Popular Driver for an unprecedented 15 consecutive years join Mike this week. Before previewing Saturday's game, Coach Kelly discusses his path leading up to becoming one of the most popular people in all of South Bend, Indiana. Dale Jr, now an Analyst for NASCAR on NBC, counts down to the NASCAR Championship from Miami. NBC's final 2018 broadcast of Fighting Irish Football kicks off Saturday at 2:30p ET. The season long Monster Energy Cup will culminate with a winner take all race this Sunday beginning on NBC at 2:30p ET.