Published On: Thu, Dec 8th, 2011

Francesa’s “NFL Now” a Sunday Necessity

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By Randy Williams

Mike Francesa talks a lot, repeats himself and seems biased towards certain teams, such as the Giants, and some coaches, such as his good friend Bill Parcells. However, his nationally syndicated “The NFL Now” radio show is the best NFL pregame show on television or radio.

Francesa runs his own web site,, and teams with Chris Russo for the highly successful “Mike and the Mad Dog” radio show from 1-6 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday on New York’s WFAN sports radio station. But, his best work is done on his solo show each Sunday.

He led this week’s show in typical Francesa fashion, with a diatribe against quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. Francesa correctly said neither rookie “has a remote idea” of what he’s doing on the field. He sometimes speaks more harshly than is necessary but his point is well taken – Manning and Leaf aren’t ready to play, as evidenced by Manning’s league-leading 11 interceptions and Leaf’s NFL-low quarterback rating.

Francesa continued his talk of Ryan and Leaf with CNNSI’s Peter King, who said teams should “Make (young quarterbacks) be efficient players before you ask them to win games.”

King, who received more air time with Francesa than he does on CNN’s NFL Preview, used the example of Minnesota quarterback Brad Johnson, who was allowed to develop in the World League of American Football and (when healthy) is a solid NFL starter. On another front, he said he doesn’t think Green Bay tackle Ross Verba can handle the pass rush of Minnesota’s John Randle.

Francesa also spoke with CBS analyst Phil Simms, who said he was “in shock” after watching the Dolphins on film, citing the aggressiveness of their offensive line. Simms and play-by-play man Greg Gumbel are in New Jersey to cover the Dolphins-Jets.

The two-hour program really excels with its “Look around the League,” taking a glance at each of Sunday’s games. This part of the show, in particular, caters to fans of every NFL team. This segment iss also a good indication of how knowledgeable the host is about pro football. Francesa is intelligent, insightful and he’s got a pretty good grasp of each team.

The show also does a nice job with last-minute news, provides injury updates for each game and takes calls from listeners. Once you’ve heard it, an NFL Sunday isn’t the same without it. Well done, Mike.

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Francesa’s “NFL Now” a Sunday Necessity