Talking to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick About Their New Podcast
Merrill Reese and Mike Quick just launched a podcast, the Mike and Merrill Show, and they were kind enough to give us a few minutes to talk about the big game-winning call on Sunday, how analytics factor into football, and, of course, their new podcast, which you can hear right here or subscribe to on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher. Their first two guests were Phil Simms and Herm Edwards. The second episode is worth listening to for Merrill’s story about stadiums and Mexico.
We should start off with the big moment from Sunday. Tell me what’s going on in both of your minds. Merrill, do you have planned out what you’re gonna say if it goes in?
Merrill: “No, never. All I’m doing is trying to set it up to make sure I know it’s going to be exactly 61 yards. I’m prepared to describe the snap, if it’s clean, the play that set it up, which was the amazing 19-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery with one second left. And at this point I know that the kid has a big leg, but you’re not expecting a 61-yarder. I might have mentioned that this is not a pressure kick to me. A pressure kick was the 46-yarder that he had to have to tie the game. This one is, if you make it, amazing, but if you don’t make it, now you’re in overtime, and you haven’t exactly missed anything you thought was going in.”
I saw in the video of you guys you sort of turned to each other. Do you always look at each other like that during games?
Mike: “We never script what we’re gonna say, we just kind of react to what happens. And that was just an impromptu reaction to what happened. And I don’t know if you noticed, but he left me hanging.”
Mike: “I’m standing there for three seconds with my hand up trying to get a high five and he just leaves my hanging.”
Merrill: “I’m so oblivious to everything. I’m talking about the longest kick in Eagles history and then I saw Mike’s hand up there.”
You were just kind of staring at each other.
Mike: “He wasn’t really staring. His head was turned in my direction, but he can’t see anything.”
Mike: “He was just inside of his own head.”
Merrill: “We do look to each other and react to each other throughout the course of a broadcast. We’re two friends watching a football game together and when it goes like that it’s worth every second of it.”
Mike: “A lot of the communication is non-verbal. We’ve been at this together for such a long time.”
I’d be interested to get your thoughts on 4th and 8. Do you guys consider the analytics when calling a game?
Merrill: “You hear people criticize Doug Pederson, but you know what? I’ve seen Bill Belichick, who is maybe the greatest coach ever, make a lot of gambles that are absolutely insane. I tend to be a little more conservative in my football thinking, so I would’ve punted in a situation like that, but Doug was in contact with somebody who told him that play was successful 34% of the time and it was his feeling that they could make it work. And if you actually look at a replay of it, there was a receiver open, Agholor as a matter of fact, that they could’ve gone down and scored. So you say, there’s a coach who really believes in his team. But, you know, would I have done it? Probably not. But certainly not the worst thing in the world. And secondly, the focus should be that Doug Pederson called a remarkable game the way he had to rotate the guards, the way the defense had to play with so many missing pieces. So I thought it was a terrific coaching job.”
Mike, how different is it now than when you played with analytics?
Mike: “I think it’s different. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but I know that everyone’s examined and massaged the numbers over the years to try to get an advantage or understand probabilities, I get that, but I am not a, maybe I’m not smart enough to understand the analytics and all of that, I’m a football guy, so, like Merrill, and I think I even said it during the broadcast, I would’ve liked to seen them punt and pin them inside the 10 and force the Giants to drive the ball the length of the field. But, I’m not involved with all the information the coach has, and you know what, I’m not gonna second guess the guys who are involved with this every day, and this is what they do. It’s hard for me to second guess their decisions to decide whatever it is they decide to do. I’ve been around long enough to understand that they know a lot better than all of the hundreds of thousands of Monday morning quarterbacks who are going to question their decisions.”
Merrill: “The only thing I have to add is that Mike did this stuff differently years ago when he played. And to a great extent, he’s right. However, during the earliest part of my career, he played with Dick Vermeil and he could tell you tendency in every situation. He was doing analytics but we didn’t even know the word analytics.”
You guys are launching a podcast, the Mike and Merrill Show. What’s that been like? Do you listen to podcasts?
Merrill: “Well, I have certainly heard podcasts. I’ve heard Mike Tirico do podcasts, I think Bob Costas does a podcast. There’s a million podcasts, and I’ve heard them and I enjoy them. Mike and I talk a lot— we talk a lot of football, we talk a lot of golf. I mean, were friends. So when Mike approached me with the idea, why not just have a very casual, off-the-cuff conversation. Just sit and talk football. And that’s number one. And number two, because we both have contacts, last week Mike made a call and we had Phil Simms on the phone, and he was tremendous. And the one we had today, we had, miracle finish of a game, we got the original miracle man, Herm Edwards, who of course scored in the first Miracle of the Meadowlands, and he came on with us. So it’s a matter of enjoying conversing with each and all the football contacts that have been acquired over the years.”
Mike: “I’ve noticed the trend in podcasting. And there’s so much I think the fans would enjoy in our conversation after the game and all the things we talk about during the week as it relates to this football, so I thought the podcast platform was the perfect platform for us to reach the people who follow this team and give them some of the things that we talk about all the time that they don’t get a chance to hear. And I’m sitting next to a guy who’s a […] in Philly sports and sports in general, and I thought this was a great way to allow him, to allow us, to share a lot of the things with the audience who loves this football team and love to follow his football team.”
Do you guys structure it?
Mike: “We sit down and we just talk about the previous game and the upcoming game.”
Merrill: “You want to talk about preparation. Both of us spend hours and hours and hours preparing for each game, each night to prepare for a broadcast. So, with that game preparation comes the knowledge that we’re able to impart during the show. So I got home last night after an appearance at 10:30 at night, and spent two hours in my study doing work on the Los Angeles Chargers. And that will be the same tonight and every other night. Mike is just as diligent. We both arrive at a game with pages and pages of notes and we call it over prepare, under deliver. 75% of it we may not even have a chance to use, but if it comes up, we’re prepared. This is a different story, but I would say this is a byproduct of the preparation we do during the week.”
What do you think about the rest of the season?
Merrill: “I don’t want to sound like a coach.”
Mike: “Sound like a coach.”
Merrill: “I really want to take it one game at a time. But at the beginning of the season I looked at the schedule and said if through the first six games they go 3-3, they’ll be in good shape. And now they have a chance to be better than that.”
Mike: “Well I just think this is a very good football team. I think it’s a 10-win type of season. As this season progresses, I think they’re just gonna get better. They’re a good football team, I think they’re as good as any team in their division. And I’m anticipating this team might win the division.”