Mike Francesa
Asbury Park Press

Mike Francesa said something on his latest BetRivers podcast that made our ears perk up a bit.

The WFAN legend addressed the “horrific” breakdown of race horse Maple Leaf Mel last weekend in Saratoga. The horse, which had to be euthanized, is owned by former Giants and Jets coach Bill Parcells.

Francesa, also a horseman, acknowledged what he has discussed publicly in the past: He used to own thoroughbreds with Parcells* and their partnership ended after Parcells returned to town to coach Gang Green. But he also included some new — as far as we can tell – information.

“He and I got into [the business] together, and then when he came to the Jets they felt we needed to split up, because they felt it was a conflict of interest. The NFL did,” Francesa said.

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If the NFL did make Francesa and Parcells split up their stable, it is hard to argue it was wrong to do so. The head coach of the Jets should not be in a business relationship with the most powerful man in New York sports media. Francesa and Parcells would likely agree with that, and past references to their separation made it sound like it was their idea to begin with.

But it is kind of funny to think the NFL was worried about a head coach and a sports talk yakker owning some ponies together in the late 90s. And here we are some 25 years later and all the league does is pile up conflicts of interest. It has become a sport onto itself. Agents and broadcast partners and coaches and front office types and media and owners and the league office and sportsbooks and whoever else, all in one big orgy to advance the power and glory of The Shield. Times change.

* — Francesa and Parcells were extremely close before a falling-out. They are believed to have reconciled to some extent. But Francesa has declined to discuss their relationship much in recent years.

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

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.