Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Mike Francesa says he still has passion for the job

(Credit: Watchdog)

It is a challenge for many middle-aged people in sports media - myself included - to sustain the same level of enthusiasm and interest in day-to-day debates and developments as they did earlier in life.

Mike Francesa and Chris Russo have been accused of falling into that trap by some critics, but Francesa insisted his level of passion for games people play has not waned.

Click below for his take on that, including an anecdote about his wife, Roe, marveling (to put it kindly) over his interest in last week's Monday nighter between Buffalo and Cleveland.On avoiding burnout, and the natural inclination as people age to care less about the minutiae of sports:

“It’s my blessing. And I think I can speak for Dog, too. I think Cherny could tell you this. There is not a day that I don’t go in there and say, we have to be better, we have to do better. We have to get higher ratings. I’m the same way about everything.

“I watched the Buffalo-Cleveland game [Monday night] until 1 o’clock in the morning. Here’s an example. You know what I’m doing this [Wednesday] morning? I’m analyzing the AFC and NFC wild-card possibilities for each team to see who I think has the best road in. Here’s the NFC. The AFC’s on the next page. That’s what I do. I don’t have to be here, thank God. I’ll go home if that’s the case. I enjoy it. I love it. I love sports.

“When I can’t do this at this level I’m going home, because I only know how to do it one way. I’m not going to mail it in. I’m never going to mail it in. I’m never going to be here when I’m in 14th place. I’m gone. I’m never going to be here when I mail it in, and I’m never going to be here when I don’t count anymore. I can’t do it. I’ll go home and I’ll never, ever going to have them carry me. When I don’t count anymore I’ll be the first one to leave. They don’t have to throw me out. I’ll leave.

“That day might come. I understand it happens. I’ve already had an incredible run. I know that. I feel a little bit in my business like Brett Favre. I know what Brett Favre says. I get nervous. Brett Favre said, ‘I got nervous on that last drive.’ People say, ‘What do you have to be nervous about, you’re Brett Favre?’ Well you know what, he is nervous, because he cares about his performance.

“I care about my performance, just like I did in 1989. I still care about my performance. I still want to be the best at what I do. That’s what I feel every day, otherwise, I can’t do it. I can’t do it. It’s just not in me. Thank God for that. It drives my wife nuts. My wife said to me Monday night, ‘You have to watch this stupid game?’ And I said, ‘Every minute.’ She said, ‘I give up.’

“Usually she’s supportive. But she said, ‘Not this game!’ It is the Bills and the Browns. And I said, ‘You know what, I have to talk about it tomorrow.’ Plus it went to the last second. I feel that way. I swear. And I think Dog does do. I think that was one of our greatest strengths for 20 years. We never mailed it. Not one day for 20 years did we mail it in.’’

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