The former Ram, Patriot and Eagle, Chris Long, who currently hosts the Green Light Podcast and is a host on Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football pregame show, talks about a recent trip to Vegas, why it’s bad to gamble on Saturdays, the best NFL matchup of the season, appearing on the ManningCast, Tom Brady giving us a lot of personality post-Bill Belichick and much more.
Following Long, is the weekly Traina Thoughts segment with Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York. Topics covered include college football’s ridiculous overtime rules, whether there is any buzz for the Braves-Astros World Series, the season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm and more.
Jimmy Traina: Speaking of the internet, obviously the biggest thing in the NFL by far on the internet is the ManningCast. And you actually did the ManningCast. How has that experience been for you?
Chris Long: Nerve-racking bro. I was so nervous. Like right now, is like me maximum chilled out. I'm talking to Jimmy, somebody I know, I'm in my studio, I got people behind the desk that are running the machines. You do the ManningCast on FaceTime. That's scary, dude.
Jimmy Traina: That's why it always looks like shit then. They should use Zoom!
Chris Long: There's a delay, so that's tough. You know, there's going to be a delay coming in. I had done the pre-season version of the Manningcast. Like I was on their practice squad and I got called up. So when I heard that I was going to be up there, I was like, well, who am I going to be with? And I'm like, oh f---, Matt Stafford, LeBron James and Nick Saban. All right, so they put me after all these guys, I'm going to be in that spot where I got to follow these f---ing famous people. And most people were probably like, ' who?' So when you get in there, it's an interview over a football game. So you're kinda like, do I, as a media member ... Like when LeBron James is on, it's an interview where we want to hear what LeBron James has to say, when I'm on, people want me to add flavor to the game, you know, keep it light, support Peyton and Eli, but you don't want to step on them. Like, who wants to hear what I have to say football-wise over Peyton and Eli? And I'm not interesting enough to just be interviewed. So I'm like in this kind of no man's land. And my whole thing is just, don't embarrass yourself and don't step on Peyton and Eli, let the game breathe, you know, because as you can see a lot of the people that get on there, like Tom Brady, he's the GOAT. He's never done a live Monday night hit. Think about it, he went from zero to 100. He was in New England saying nothing, and now he's in Tampa and he's on with Peyton and Eli for 30 minutes it feels like, and there's a delay and you got to get in and you got to get out and Peyton and Eli are still figuring this thing out. So you can see that no matter who you are, no matter what stage you've been on, it's a really tough thing right off the bat. To get in the rhythm of, and it's a unique challenge and I was nervous, yeah.
Jimmy Traina: So you said a lot there, first of all, you said that you're not interesting enough to be interviewed. So if that's the case, I'm in trouble since you're on my podcast.
Chris Long: No I'm interesting! But it's like, there's a guy down the street. Who's really interesting, but nobody gives a f---. It's the same thing with me relative to everybody else in sports media. Like I was a real good player, but I'm not a superstar. You know what I'm saying? And I don't want to profess to be one.
Jimmy Traina: You are a superstar Tweeter, podcaster ...
Chris Long: I don't want to be a superstar Tweeter, f--- Twitter. I don't want Twitter's love.
Jimmy Traina: You mentioned Tom, I tweeted if Tom, whenever he retires in 10 years and he wants to do games, he's going to be the greatest NFL analyst. He'll be better than Madden. Like, based on what I saw, he was unbelievable. But let me ask you, cause you touched on it, you played for the Patriots, you played for Belicheck. So I've been on this theme where, you know, Tom, as a buck is showing us so much more personality. I mean, the fact that this guy is doing a podcast, he's the greatest quarterback of all time. I would be like who the hell wants to be bothered with this.
Chris Long: So he has a brand that is important.
Jimmy Traina: So do you think getting out of New England, he decided, okay, I'm going to now show my personality, do some media stuff.
Chris Long: Sure, yeah.
Jimmy Traina: So does Bill shut that down or is it him?
Chris Long: I think it's understood that this is the way we do things here. Like we don't give as much, and Tom's like happy to play ball with that I'm sure. But Tom of course is so interesting. Well, Tom is very personable, right? Like I'm not saying he's gonna knock your socks off with edgy stories or anything, but like he's a football encyclopedia. And when you talked about him, you know, referring to the middle eight of the game or talking about defenses he's seen, whether it was Rex Ryan's defense or the simplicity of Miami's, um, these are peaks under the hood that you don't get. And it's multiplied by having three quarterbacks.
But I almost felt like it was a 40 and slipped. They started talking about like game balls after Tom came on, and Eli was like, oh sh--. Like, do we make a joke about Tom? Do we not? But it was the whole like quarterback thread that birthed that really interesting conversation. We got a phone call from Tom to Peyton, two days before the start of the regular season, these are looks under the hood that we just don't get.
And learning about people having to play with other people's game balls on the road, right? Like that was something I didn't even know. So for me, when I'm on the pre-season Manning cast, and I was hearing Peyton and Eli talking about coverages and quarterback stuff, I did not want to get off. I wanted to be like, I can't watch this on TV right now, because this is a mock, but can I just stay and listen and learn? It's such a cool experience.
Jimmy Traina: I was going to just say too, what I found fascinating about Brady's thing on Monday was, you know, in my head, I'm thinking to myself, okay, he's Tom Brady, he doesn't need to be doing any of this stuff. He's got a game. Like I was like, it's so weird. He would do this. And Eli and Peyton busted his chops about it. Like he's famous for going to bed at nine o'clock. He was up till 10. I don't understand why he decided to do this like, I couldn't figure it out.
Then he's talking about, he's watching Roby on the saints, all this stuff he does. and then I look and I realize the Bucks are playing the Saints. I bet you, if that was not a Saints game with the Bucks playing the Saints next, he would have said, oh, I'll come on another week.
Chris Long: Yeah but he can't watch the game as closely because he's having a conversation with those guys. They're taking his brain every which way. Like he's going to watch that game 150 times, you know what I mean? So like, it really doesn't matter. And I think more than anything. Um, it's just a chance for him to get reps. Like think about it, you've had 20 years of greatness and you've only cashed in on a fraction of it. And you've watched every other player branding all this stuff. And now, like all of a sudden you're going to college, you know what I mean? Like you've had strict parents in high school now you're going to college. Like, I'm surprised he's not doing more stuff.
But I do want to say one more thing. I thought Sue Bird was super cool. And people were complaining about Sue Bird. And I was like, well, you were mad cause she let the game breathe and waited for them to ask her questions. Like she's not even an NFL player. Like she's a Seahawks fan. What did you want to do? Talk over Peyton and Eli like and diagnose plays? I thought she was cool. And I thought it was a nice change of pace. And another thing about this whole thing, people complaining about the Manningcast in any capacity, like literally there's another broadcast to the same game, you have opted into this.
Listen to The Sports Illustrated Media Podcast
Find recent episodes on SI.com.