VSiN host and managing editor Brent Musburger joined Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard on Monday's Follow the Money to discuss his new gig as radio play-by-play man for the Raiders. This is an edited transcript.
Mitch Moss: We will hook up now with the godfather, Brent Musburger. He joins us, making his first public appearance since the news came down about him taking over as the new radio play-by-play man for the Oakland Raiders, soon to be the Las Vegas Raiders. Brent, I thought you were suppose to ease into retirement. You're not supposed to have a thousand jobs at this point, are you?
Brent Musburger: You know, Mitch, somebody, somebody, has to be the Jerry Glanville of broadcasters. Do you know what I mean?
Mitch: Brent, take us through this. I want to back up a little bit to the NHL season, because you were going to Golden Knight games, and I know that you were watching some of the games with Raiders owner Mark Davis. When did the idea of you becoming the new play by play guy start?
Brent: I was not thinking at all, of ever going back into the booth. And then he just said to me one night at a Golden Knight game, "Brent, would you be interested in doing Raider games?" And I have to tell you that my first thought was, they do some preseason games that maybe he wanted me to step in and do those, and so it was just casual conversation. I said, you know, we could talk about it. And then I just continued being interested in the hockey game that evening. Can't even remember now who the Golden Knights were playing, and didn't think anything about it.
Brent: And Marc Badain, the president of the Raiders, and I had been down to their temporary office down at the ticket office and worked out some arrangements to see some games when the team finally moves to Vegas, but Marc Badain called me. And that's when I first realized they were talking about the radio play by play, which is basically as you know the entire schedule, the four preseason games and then six games during the regular season.
Brent: We just continued to talk and before I knew it, I had said yes. And that's basically how it came down. I was certainly not expecting it, wasn't looking for anything extra to do along with my VSiN, My Guys in the Desert, Monday through Friday, and we were able to accommodate both sides. So, now I'm deeply in to the world of Jon Gruden, and he turned things around after his absence.
Pauly Howard: Also, you're gonna wear a couple hats here. Is there an eye on the future as well with the team moving to Vegas, if you have your responsibilities in Oakland and then you'll be kind of an ambassador here to help out too as we make the push and the move to Vegas in a couple years?
Brent: Yeah, I'm sure, Pauly, that will certainly be part of it because I agreed to stay with them for three years and that's the first year when they come in to Las Vegas. So I'm looking forward to that, obviously, because VSIN, our studios, are right there at the South Point, the tip of the strip as Mitch always points out. I go by the stadium when I drive down to work and I frequently have gone over to the site and I'm amazed at the amount of work that's been done over there and it's gonna be a wonderful asset for the city of Las Vegas. Not just because of the Raiders, but they can have so many other events hosted there.
Brent: Obviously I'm of the belief that a Super Bowl will be coming to Las Vegas within the next decade. And I would expect that college basketball would get interested, perhaps they would have a regional at the T Mobile and then think about bringing a Final Four in. Hopefully UNLV can become a good enough football program. I don't expect them to fill the new arena, but to put enough people in there to make it interesting. And I would think that the new stadium would help UNLV in the recruitment.
Mitch: You have always, for a long time, Brent, you have made references to the point spread calling games on TV, will that be the same now? There's a difference, though, I think, a little bit, between college and the NFL. You're now the lead voice of a team in that league, and my example would be, I guess my question would be for your like, let's say, coming back from a break, it's 3rd quarter, you're tied at 21, can you say, as the voice of the team, "Raiders, Broncos, 21 a piece, it's 3rd and 6 at the 14 yard line, in-play wagering right now in Vegas has the Raiders minus 3 and a half, totals 49 and a half?"
Brent: No one put any restrictions on me. I doubt I'm going to delve in to in-game right away. It's more apt that I think, for example, I think that with the Rams Monday night, the last time I checked the over under number was up around 49, 49 and a half, because the Rams led the league in scoring last year, so it's a fairly high number. I will always keep that in the back of my mind. I don't think that I'll be jumping in to the in-game, because I won't be doing that ... I'll have my hands full especially since I have recently learned that 83 people are going to suit up for their first preseason game against Detroit.
Brent: But it's a good question, and obviously I'm going to know what the spread was of the game when it first started. I always have. But I will not assign my spotter, son Scott, "Hey Scott, keep me up to date on the in-game. I'm going to be jumping in on that." I don't think I'll do that.
Mitch: Fair enough.
Pauly: Two things, is this like riding a bike? What are the differences between play by play for TV as opposed to radio? And also, part of the story is that, at least in my opinion, you're a legend and you're replacing a local legend, and the animosity there, too, at least from locals, because the team is moving to Vegas in a couple years. How do you think you'll handle that?
Brent: You know, Pauly, I have given it some thought, I have to tell you. And the first question is really good because there is a big difference between doing play by play on television and radio. And in radio you have to be far more descriptive. Fortunately, I have a player who's going to become the analyst in the booth who's been working on the sideline. In fact, I've gotten a couple of texts from my buddies who said, "You better get a bigger booth." Because Lincoln Kennedy, the offensive lineman, is going to be the analyst alongside me. I covered him at the University of Washington before he went to the NFL.
Brent: And obviously, you want to work him in and make him comfortable, which is somewhat easier to do on television because they always handle all the replays of everything, whereas on radio, you've got to keep pointing out what the score is, most important of all, where the ball is, who's got it, time left on the clock and the various quarters. So there is no question that I have given that a lot of thought.
Brent: As far as replacing the announcer, you know, I feel badly. I have no idea what happened. It's none of my business. I'm not going to be interested in it, and I realize people are going to look at me as the future and the team leaving, and there will be some hostility. But I've always accepted that as just part of the business. Not everybody's gonna love you and I understand it. I bear no animosity toward it. I'll just go ahead with my job and hope that the Oakland Raiders can get back into the playoffs.
Brent: That would be, I think, the first goal, on everybody's mind, and keeping up with what Gruden and Reggie McKenzie, the general manager, have done with this team. They've turned it upside down, really. Much more so than I think we were even aware of. Of the free agents they have picked up moving in to the draft. They drafted offensive linemen, defensive linemen. Obviously they're going to try to rebuild around the quarterback, the veteran quarterback Derek Carr. I hope that he comes back. He had a little bit of an off year last year.
Brent: And looking at the tapes of the games, I didn't think it was all his fault, to tell you the truth. I thought it was some pretty mediocre play calling on the part of the old offensive coordinator for the Raiders, sort of a hunt and peck and miss and ... I wasn't quite sure that they knew what they were doing at times, and I'm sure that's why Mark Davis and brought in Jon Gruden. But that has nothing to do with me. If you don't like me, that's fine. I'm not gonna try to change your mind, not to yell and scream, not to get upset about it. The team is moving, the contract has been cut, and we go forward.
Pauly: Do you see this as, about how things have changed in the last five, six years, and the Supreme Court ruling, and even what it is for VSiN that here you are working for VSiN and your column in the RJ and now you're ... What was it? With Tagliabue they wouldn't even run our ads to promote the city during the Super Bowl, now you're doing play by play with the Raiders.
Brent: Yeah, Pauly, certainly. It's indicative of how things have changed, and there should be no problem with it. And I think the league understands that. When they allowed the Raiders to make the move in to Las Vegas, I think they could see the handwriting on the wall. The Supreme Court hustled it along, where you can bet close to the Giant and Jet home games, of course, right there in the Meadowlands. Betfair runs that facility over there.
Brent: So they have seen this coming and they know it's going to be ... It's a very big part of the growth of the National Football League. The people have really understood that through the years and the hypocrisy, I think, is hopefully going away for good.
Mitch: Agreed. OK, so not only VSiN, Brent, but as expected, after this pass, like Pauly said, with the Supreme Court, every other network under the sun are going to try to address this with gambling content and there is this rumor out there now about you also starting a show with some others over at Fox Sports. Can you tell us how much truth there is to that rumor?
Brent: Yeah, I can absolutely tell you. There is no question that Fox came to me and had a discussion and it was no more than a conception that Fox Sports had in which they wondered if I would be a guest on a show out of Las Vegas, talking about the numbers. And certainly I assumed that was just part of VSiN. And then I didn't hear from them. They sent me, I don't know, half page letter which really was basically about the phone call. I'd had one phone call with them. And then suddenly the story came out, that there were some other names mentioned in there, which had never been mentioned to me. I had no idea of what they were planning. It was nothing more than a phone call, out of the blue, that was made to me and it was nothing more than involving somebody from VSiN being a guest on a show. And it went no further than that.
Brent: Now, where the other story came from, I have absolutely no idea. And had anybody who wrote that story, come to me for a comment, I would have told them the same thing I just told you. Here's what happened. It was a conversation out of the blue. I thought it was a decent idea, what they had in mind. And then I forgot about it. I went back to work at VSiN and the next thing I know for which there certainly has been no, there has been no negotiation, and those other names came out of the blue. Believe me.
Mitch: Wow, that's wild. Nothing more, nothing less, huh?
Brent: That's it. You got it.
Brent: You got the whole story.