Entertainment

Bob Costas wishes Fox had different Tom Brady plan, advises him to watch Derek Jeter



Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Costas chit-chats with Post columnist Steve Serby in a Q&A:

Q: Your three all-time favorite interviews?

A: Paul McCartney; Ted Williams; Marilu Henner, for reasons people will have to Google.

Q: The greatest Major League Baseball team you ever watched?

A: As a kid I think about the ’61 Yankees, but when I fully understood what was going on, I’d say the ’98 Yankees.

Q: The greatest NFL team you ever watched?

A: The Brady-Belichick Patriots who lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl [XLII]. If they went 19-0 and won by the margins they won, there wouldn’t have been much case to make for Shula’s Dolphins. But they didn’t.

Q: The greatest NBA team you ever watched?

A: Bird’s Celtics or Magic’s Lakers.

Bob Costas said Paul McCartney, Ted Williams and Marilu Henner are his three all-time favorite interviews. Getty Images

Q: Three events in history that if you had a time machine you would love to witness live?

A: Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard ’Round the World; I did see Ali-Frazier I in a theater in Syracuse, but people who were at Madison Square Garden tell me it was the most electric atmosphere ever; Babe Ruth’s called shot, because with the benefit of hindsight, I’d know what I was looking for and I could clear up the controversy.

Q: The 2024 Dodgers?

A: Juggernaut, if the pitching holds up. But then comes the roll of the dice in the postseason. Under this format, as the Braves and Dodgers can tell you, I would take the field over any team. The best team ever has at most a 50-50 chance to make it all the way through and win the World Series.

Q: Shohei Ohtani?

A: No one in any sport approaches Michael Jordan’s overall value to his league. But Shohei has value to MLB beyond his value to his own team. So in that respect, he’s as close to Jordan as baseball will ever have. He has value to the sport overall if they market it correctly and if they’re lucky enough to have the Dodgers go deep into the postseason.

Q: Juan Soto in Yankee Stadium?

A: Your first thought is he ought to be good for 40 home runs. If they continue to build a lineup that protects the hitters, I imagine that Soto who gets on base a lot, would bat ahead of [Aaron] Judge. If he continues to walk at the rate he walks, that helps Judge. If they have to pitch to him because Judge is waiting behind him, that helps Soto.

Q: Aaron Rodgers at age 40 with the 2024 Jets?

A: They will be much better with Aaron Rodgers. Not sure how much better, but considerably better with Aaron Rodgers. I think he’s on a very short list of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and he’s an interesting guy.

Q: Full-time NFL officials?

A: There’s so much scrutiny now that I can understand the NFL seriously considering it. But it will never eliminate all the controversy, because we can look at the stuff now frame by frame. Some of these calls are so difficult. Plus gambling’s so everpresent now, people are even more conspiracy minded than they ever have been. Especially in sports like basketball and football. There’s a lot of vagary.

Bob Costas said the Jets “will be much better” with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback in 2024. AP

Q: Do you think an NFL gambling scandal is inevitable?

A: It’s not inevitable. I think it’s possible, because there‘s so much gambling out there. You can make the case that players are well-enough compensated that they won’t be tempted. There are lots of ways to influence a game. I’m not one who tends toward these conspiracy theories, but there’s so many people involved in a way that could influence a game. And there’s so much gambling out there. We’re not saying that it’s a scandal if some relatively unknown guy on a given team was found to have bet on NFL games and is suspended. That’s not a scandal because there’s no proof in the instances where that‘s happened that it affected games. They just don’t want them betting on the games, which is a smart thing to police. But I just don’t know that it’s possible to police all of it. So many players, so many officials. And it only takes one or two. I’m not saying it will happen. Your question was, is it inevitable? Not inevitable, but certainly possible.

Q: The lack of black NFL head coaches?

A: There’s no doubt that the league sincerely wants to increase the ranks of black head coaches, and wants the process to be fair and open. And only a few years ago, there were five or six. They strengthened the Rooney Rule in recent years. Other than ordering an owner to hire somebody, I don’t know what more they can do.

Q: Bill Belichick?

A: Obviously at or near the top of the list of all-time great coaches.

Q: Who meant more to the Patriots dynasty: Brady or Belichick?

A: The relative success of Brady in Tampa as against Belichick in New England, makes the case that Brady was the more significant. But I think during that great run, the two are inseparable. You just can’t separate them.

Q: If Belichick and Robert Kraft part, where might Belichick coach?

A: I’m not close to the ongoing NFL stories, but what you keep hearing is that the Chargers are a natural place for him. They have some good personnel, including a very good young quarterback [Justin Herbert]. Their record is poor, but they’ve lost a lot of close games, which indicates that maybe they’re not that far away from being a good team. At this point, you don’t go to some team that was 3-14 or something and rebuild them. You gotta go to a team that has a chance to be good quickly if you’re Belichick.

Tom Brady Getty Images

Q: Tom Brady on Fox next year?

A: They didn’t ask me and I don’t expect them to, but if I were running it, I’d use him in the studio rather than on games.

Q: Because?

A: The glamor factor, the on-camera factor. And also, it’s less of a strain on him. The level of preparation to work a game and what it takes to get the hang of it, it’s just an easier fit in the studio.

Q: Would you have any advice for him?

A: I would say watch Derek Jeter this past postseason. Here’s a guy who was famously circumspect about everything, but was willing in his own way to step out and be more critical than we’ve ever seen him be. Because if you’re not willing to be critical, which is not to be harsh or take potshots, but if you’re not willing to be forthright, then you’re not serving the viewers.

Derek Jeter (r.) made his Fox broadcasting debut this season. Getty Images

Q: The ManningCast?

A: A) It’s really enjoyable. And B) I think that baseball should take note of this. Not talking about the KayRod Cast, which I also enjoy, but in the baseball postseason, fans of every team are convinced that every network announcer is rooting against their team. Which is complete nonsense, but OK. The technology exists — let people watch if they want, watch the game with their local announcers as long as they figure out a way to include that in the Nielsen rating. And as long as they play the national commercials. If you’re in whatever town, and you want to hear your guy, you should hear your guy. They could use the ManningCast as the template, even though it would be done differently, it wouldn’t be like two guys sitting there like Eli and Peyton or like Michael Kay and A-Rod, but the idea that you could have a parallel broadcast has already been established and technically possible. So if the Giants make the World Series or the postseason, and they want to hear Jon Miller or [Mike] Krukow and [Duane] Kuiper, why not?

Q: Is Eli Manning a Hall of Famer?

A: The two Super Bowl wins, especially because they were over Brady and Belichick, help his case immensely.

Q: Rick Pitino at St. John’s?

A: Rick is a presence, and he’s won wherever he’s gone. By the testimony of other coaches who I’ve spoken with, he’s an exceptionally good game coach, and obviously he’s a charismatic guy who in a new era of college basketball will be able to attract players.

Q: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce?

A: It’s not a big priority for me, but if people are amused by it, so much the better. It doesn’t bother me when they take a shot of her after he’s caught a pass or scored a touchdown, so what? I don’t understand the extremes. I don’t understand people who are obsessed with it, and I don’t understand people that are really annoyed by it. It’s all fine by me (laugh).

Q: The Brotherly Shove or the Tush Push?

A: Put it this way — it’s not the most artful of plays. Aesthetically, the league would lose nothing if they banned it.

Q: Damar Hamlin?

A: A heartwarming and inspiring story that was improperly framed by some as an example of the dangers of football. Very few people have been more outspoken about the true dangers of football than I have been, including CTE. But what happened with Hamlin was actually more likely to have happened in a sport like hockey or lacrosse or softball. It’s not related to the things that people are properly concerned about regarding football safety issues. It’s a completely fluky thing, that could just as well have happened in a basketball game or a girls softball game.

Q: The 12-team College Football Playoff next year?

A: It was inevitable, and this year proves that it’s probably a better approach. I thought this year what they could have done, why didn’t they just ad hoc say, look, next year we’re going to 12, this year we’re gonna make it six. And we’re gonna give the top two a bye, and let the other four play and then we’re back down to four in a week. And then you include Georgia and Florida State and everybody’s happy.

Q: LIV golf?

A: No one cares about the outcome of any of their events. The only thing people are concerned about is the impact on the PGA, and therefore on the future of golf itself.

Q: They just merged, right?

A: Supposedly. But players are continuing to jump from the PGA to LIV. So it’s not like they’re all under one umbrella.

Q: Marv Albert?

A: Marv is an all-time great, and among the reasons that a generation of aspiring sports broadcasters, myself included, went to Syracuse.

Q: Who were your favorite announcers over the years?

A: As a young guy, Marv. Everybody who went to Syracuse was imitating Marv on the campus radio station. … I listened to Mel [Allen] and Red [Barber] on the Yankees, and [Vin] Scully. I liked Jim McKay and Jack Whitaker because they were essayists and they had sort of a different approach. And when I got to St. Louis, Jack Buck was in his prime, and he was just so great on the Cardinals — sense of humor, dramatic in big moments.

Bob Costas admired plenty of broadcasters when he attended Syracuse University and started his own career. AP

Q: We’ve lost some prominent sports people in recent years: Jim Brown?

A: Still arguably the greatest running back ever. And a consequential, if flawed, man of his time.

Q: Bob Knight?

A: A brilliant coach with genuinely admirable personal qualities, along with self-sabotaging traits.

Q: Dick Butkus?

A: The only way you can go through life with a name like Butkus is if you *****are***** Dick Butkus and nobody dares taunt you about it.

Q: Hank Aaron?

A: The authentic career home run king, and an authentic American hero.

Q: Willis Reed?

A: Hard to imagine a more dramatic and theatrical moment than Willis limping out before Game 7 in ’70.

Q: Three baseball dinner guests?

A: Babe Ruth; Jackie Robinson; Vin Scully.

Q: Favorite movie?

A: The original “King Kong.”

Q: Favorite actors?

A: Denzel Washington; Bryan Cranston; Tom Hanks.

Q: Favorite actresses?

A: Glenn Close; Viola Davis; Sandra Bullock.

Q: Favorite entertainer or singer?

A: Paul Simon.

Q: Favorite meal?

A: A hearty Italian meal with a good red wine.

Q: If I were MLB commissioner, I would …

A: Take a bow for the recent rule changes. And eliminate the ghost runner on second base in extra innings at least until the 11th. They put that in during COVID when they wanted to get everybody off the field and also when games were going 3 ¹/₂ hours. Now both of those factors don’t exist anymore.

Q: If I were NFL commissioner, I would …

A: Take a bow for the league’s overwhelming popularity, and then politely plead with players that it is not necessary to celebrate a first down or a tackle with your team down 31-3 in the fourth quarter.

Q: What do you hope your legacy is?

A: That I was versatile enough to do a range of things well, and that taken together there was a texture to it. Someone once wrote that I was “reverent and irreverent at the same time.” I hope that was true.



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