Mike & the Mad Dog’s radio success made them household names on WFAN, but in 19 years as partners, they also had their share of problems.
The sports talk show hosts, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, nearly fought once.
“There was one of them where we both stood up and that was close, somebody got in between [us],” Russo said while appearing as the interview subject on an episode of “CenterStage” on the YES Network that will air Wednesday night. “That’s as close [as it got] — nobody punched anybody.”
It was good for Russo they never came to blows. The much larger Francesa, he said, would win in a fight.
During 19 years on the air together, there were many bumps along the way, Russo recalled. Their first big fight came over the show’s jingle. With Francesa on vacation, Russo had them turn the jingle off, which angered Francesa, and led to them not speaking off the air for three or four months.
They also got into a heated argument over the close relationship Francesa had with Bill Parcells and Russo’s allegiance with then-Giants general manager George Young. Russo felt Francesa was giving Parcells preferential treatment when he came to coach the Jets. There were also times they were at each other’s throats, not talking at all, yet somehow pulled off hosting a radio show together without any hitches.
“We were almost doing two separate shows,” Russo recalled. “Mike would talk, I would talk, and we were so good at it we fooled everybody, for crying out loud.”
However, there also were times they were very close. Russo attended Francesa’s second wedding and Francesa was at Russo’s. Francesa attended Russo’s 50th birthday and spoke at his father’s funeral.
“Now I haven’t spoken to Mike in a while, but when we do see each other and talk, there is a kinship that 19 years has created,” Russo said. “There were a lot of moments where the two of us were very close off the air. I used to go stay at his house a lot.”
And that connection is a big reason why Russo won’t rule out a possible reunion, which Francesa has hinted as well isn’t out of the question.
“I would consider it,” Russo said. “I can never say never. Why not?”
Credit to the NY Post who originally published this article