Mike and the Mad Dog
Andrew H. Walker | Getty Images

Back in August, Stephen A. Smith casually mentioned a desire to have Mike Francesa join him (and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo) in the ESPN First Take universe.

Well, it may prove to be more than wishful thinking. From The Post’s Andrew Marchand:

ESPN would like a “Mike & the Mad Dog” reunion on its air.

ESPN wants to revive previous talks with Mike Francesa to team him with Chris (Mad Dog) Russo on “First Take,” according to sources. If it were to happen, it would be one show to start, but ESPN is open to expansion if it goes well.


ESPN and Francesa had talks about Francesa joining “First Take” right before baseball season in March, according to sources. The idea then was for producers to surprise both Smith and Russo with Francesa just showing up on set to embrace the debate.

It didn’t come to fruition for a variety of reasons, including the fact that Francesa was ill shortly after. There is expected to be a push to revive talks, if Francesa is willing.

This feels like a question of when, not if. It would be the most-anticipated event in the history of sports debate television. The three of them yakking and doing schtick (which really isn’t schtick) would be a joy. And it just makes too much sense for all parties involved. Everyone wins if this comes together. Which is why it will, despite the egos and money involved. And Elon Musk had better batten down the hatches with Twitter’s servers whenever the magic goes down.

My only concern: While we have had several Francesa-Russo reunions since they ended their WFAN program, they have been infrequent enough as to still feel special when they happen. I do wonder what it would be like if they were together again weekly (or even monthly). But that is a risk worth taking.

In other Francesa-Russo news: I’m also on board with a Manningcast-style alternate broadcast. But not for major events like the Super Bowl. I want it for crappy NFL matchups or random Yankees and Mets dates. Because no one is watching for the actual game. They’re watching for Francesa and Russo to be Mike and the Mad Dog.

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.