Sports previews are all about opinions and everyone likes to air his - good, bad, or ugly. Invariably, the most opinionated voices are sports-talk jocks. For our annual NFL preview, we went to one of the hippest, most controversial, and brutally honest voices in the biz, Jim Rome. This 36-year-old hosts both Fox Sports Net's The Last Word with Jim Rome and the nationally syndicated radio program The Jim Rome Show, which airs on more than 170 stations. Because more than 2 million sports fans tune into Rome daily, The Sporting News rated him the most powerful on-air personality for the last two years running.
You want football opinions, here's a sampling of Rome's own aggressive play-by-play. He bluntly describes free agents who jump ship as "mercenaries"; dumps on L.A. as a "disgraceful sports town"; picks on Redskins' megabucks owner Daniel Snyder for not being able to "buy a championship"; excoriates ex-Packer and alleged sexual assaulter Mark Chmura, nicknaming him "American Chewy"; judges overweight linemen as "future heart attacks"; once condemned Ray Lewis, who was charged with double murder last year, as the "Baltimore Orenthal."
During the NFL season, Rome regularly interviews a who's who of football talent, from Hall of Famer Howie Long and billionaire owners to Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, and All-Pro player Warren Sapp. And while Rome bemoans the lack of NFL dynasties and believes the league has achieved a parity where losers become winners overnight, he sees football as America's secular religion, at whose altar millions annually pay homage.
American Way recently sat down with the king of jock talk to preview the upcoming NFL season.