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Opinion

DeMarco: Pat McAfee Is One Of The Good Guys

Greg DeMarco, one to often disrupt the babyface/heel/hero/villain dynamic, discusses one of the true good guys–Pat McAfee, and his new deal with FanDuel.

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Greg DeMarco, one to often disrupt the good guy/bad guy/babyface/heel/hero/villain dynamic, discusses one of the true good guys–Pat McAfee, and his new deal with FanDuel.

Thursday was a landmark day for Pat McAfee, sports media personality, pro-bowl NFL punter, WWE Smackdown color-commentator, and former WWE NXT superstar. While the deal didn’t go down on Thursday, it was announced that day that Pat McAfee had signed a new deal with FanDuel for what he called “an absurd amount of money” to bring his show (and, presumably, brand) further under the FanDuel umbrella for a period of at least three years (the deal is for four, with an opt-out after three). According to The New York Post, the deal is worth $30 million per year, which indeed meets the “absurd” adjective used, and likely changes the sports media industry.

Remember, The Pat McAfee Show is a YouTube show that also airs on Sirius XM satellite radio. But if you’ve ever listened to it, you know they don’t really focus on the radio feed at all, oftentimes missing breaks (the show still cuts away, sometimes mid-sentence) and only ever really pushing the YouTube channel. McAfee himself has said it’s because Sirius doesn’t tell them how many people are even listening, whereas YouTube gives him detailed analytics.

Those details are trivial, what’s important here is that Pat McAfee just signed a deal with FanDuel for $30 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR for his YouTube show. Has anyone else, in any industry, signed that much for a YouTube show?

I like to look at things through a different lens, and you will see tons of people reporting on this deal. I have a simple topic here: Why?

What makes Pat McAfee, and more importantly his entire brand, so attractive to FanDuel? The answer is quite simply, really. He’s one of the good guys.

Pat McAfee Is A Real Person Who Happened To Make It

Many celebrities will try to brand themselves as just like you or me. But that’s simply a lie–many of them aren’t. Maybe they were at some point, but fame and money can change a person. Yes, Pat McAfee keeps a private jet, lives in a huge house and has tons of money. But the person hasn’t changed. He’s still down to earth, authentic, and oftentimes at awe of the the life he leads, one he calls “stupid” at least once per week.

That makes him relatable. Which is why his audience sticks around. Authenticity is a big thing, something you’ll see again later in this article. Pat McAfee is definitely that.

Pat McAfee Knows Exactly Who He Is

Pat McAfee is a millionaire in at least eight different industries, a story he tells from time to time (and one he made part of his storyline with Adam Cole). No, I can’t list them all, but obviously we can count football, podcasting, merchandise, gambling, wrestling–that’s five right there.

But here’s the thing: I am not even sure he graduated from West Virginia (he hasn’t referenced graduating from what I have heard), and by his own admission he’s never read a book in his entire life. He doesn’t pretend to be smart, but he does surround himself with smart people. He will routinely tell you, on his show, that no one needs to hear him discuss certain topics  (politics, medicine, legal matters, etc), yet shys away from nothing. That’s bold, and fortune favors the bold.

Pat McAfee Isn’t Afraid To Go After Something

You don’t get all of the opportunities that have come the way of Pat McAfee on accident. You have to be driven to succeed, and not be afraid to ask the question–shoot your shot. McAfee has obviously done that. He had no problem leaving a major brand like Barstool to create his own thing. It obviously paid off–no one can say he was wrong to bet on himself with that one.

Now, if you haven’t watched the video at the top of this article, you might want to. That will help you understand the next point.

Pat McAfee Appreciates Everything He Has

Watch the video. Pat McAfee appreciates every bit of this “stupid” life he leads, and he gives back. He’s often doing huge giveaways, but there are so many examples just from Thursday that point to his level of appreciation:

  • He immediately donated tons of money to two foundations that are set up by Peyton Manning and Robert Mathis–players who have appeared on his show when they don’t often make appearances (Mathis even did so in studio).
  • He made his parents millionaires on the spot.
  • He gave each person working on his show a bonus of $250,000. A quarter of a million dollars. When he signed his first FanDuel contract, he gave them each $50,000. Cash. In a backpack. Hand delivered to their house.
  • He’s doing a social media giveaway for his followers–listeners of his show–totaling $1.5 million. They made him what he is today, and he’s giving back.
  • He let NFL insider Ian Rapoport reveal the deal itself, and the length; he let Shams Charania report the financial side of the deal. Why is that important? Both appear on his show weekly–for free. McAfee is smart enough to know this info will get out, so he might as well make sure those reports will benefit those who have stuck with him.

These are just examples from Thursday. Former players have come on his show to promote a venture, and will reveal that McAfee financially helped them start it–and Pat will get mad that they revealed it.

Bold.
Driven.
Authentic.

The three words above appear in this article about Pat McAfee. That’s no accident. Those three words jumped out at me when I took a new job in February 2019, after my prior company went belly-up and laid all of us off. The three words define how I live my life, and fully apply to McAfee. Now, that company has also been sold and had no problem laying me off 4 days after they found out about my leukemia diagnosis.

There’s a reason why Aaron Rodgers, who hates the media, goes on Pat McAfee’s show each week. Why AJ Hawk appears on a daily basis. They like the person behind it all. It’s not favoritism in this case, it’s the same authenticity that created a crazy engaged fanbase. FanDuel doesn’t offer $120 million dollars (over four years) and build a whole  to a show that topped out at 175,000 viewers one time (for their NFL Draft special) for no reason. Those numbers aren’t worth that kind of money, unless a great portion of those viewers–exponentially higher than the industry averages–are engaged and participating. Obviously, McAfee’s is.

This is no accident. Good things can happen to good people, and Pat McAfee is one of the good guys.


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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Opinion

DeMarco’s Things I Learned From WWE Smackdown On FOX (June 17, 2022)

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

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WWE Smackdown Riddle Reigns

Greg DeMarco presents what he learned watching WWE Smackdown On FOX for June 17, 2022, featuring Matt Riddle, Vince McMahon, Pat McAfee, and more!

WWE presented Smackdown on Friday night, June 17, 2022, from “Moneyapolis” featuring the “big fight feel” main event between Roman Reigns and Matt Riddle, with The Tribal Chief’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line. We also continued down the road to Money In The Bank in Vegas.

RK-Bro Is Effectively Done

The video package and all of Matt Riddle’s tributes to Randy Orton are just a little bit too much. Riddle does “too much” very well–in fact, it’s his character. But the amount of tribute being played to Randy Orton seems to be a set-up for Orton’s eventual return (whenever that might be) OPPOSITE Riddle. Maybe it’s in the Royal Rumble, maybe after.

Regardless of how it happens (and much of that has to do with his surgery and rehabilitation process), I think we are closer than ever to a heel Randy Orton opposing the babyface Matt Riddle.

Madcap Moss Is Undeniably Over

“Madcap just might be a guy.” – Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee knows what he’s talking about on this one–Madcap is indeed a guy. Riddick Moss always had the tools, just had injury issues. Since making his return to competition as Baron “Happy” Corbin’s sidekick, all Moss has done is prove his worth to WWE. He’s got a good look. He can cut a good promo. He’s vastly a underrated in-ring storyteller. And above all else, he has “it.”

WWE is always looking to add to the main event rotation, but it seems harder to crack that right now. But Madcap Moss has what it takes to do just that.

Montez Ford Is Gonna Be A (Solo) Star

The Street Profits are a fantastic act, and are insanely over. But Montez is a guy–a guy who the company can build around. While I feel bad for Angelo Dawkins, I (along with so many others) see Ford being a solo star.

We’re Getting Baron Corbin vs. Pat McAfee At SummerSlam

It’s the perfect set-up:

  • Baron Corbin is highly regarded within the organization as one of the safest workers around, a point that has been made by Randy Orton himself.
  • Pat McAfee is a big-moment superstar, and SummerSlam is the moment for him.

And for the record, I love it. While I an a big time purveyor of “Baron Corbin Sucks,” I know what he can do in the ring. And him vs. Pat McAfee would have Nashville rocking–and that is what McAfee in the ring is all about.

Vince McMahon Is Literally A Man Of Steel

If you have listened to any of Bruce Prichard’s podcasts, you know Vince McMahon believes you “don’t sell.” Not in the ring, but whenever the world has turned against you in any way–including lawsuits and investigations–you don’t sell it. You hold your head high, and live above it all.

That’s exactly what the boss did when opening up WWE Smackdown On FOX. It’s entirely possible that the plan changed along the way, and we were going to get “Mr. McMahon” at some point–but what happened is trademark Vince. Not the character, but the man. And if we expected anything else, we haven’t been paying attention.

Matt Riddle Is Now A Made Man

Matt Riddle and Roman Reigns delivered a pay per view (or premium live event…pick your poison) quality main event on WWE Smackdown on FOX, on a night where the world was likely watching. Tonight was his moment, and even in a loss, he delivered.

With a singular world champion–and one who likely isn’t losing anytime soon–it’s hard to say when Riddle could become a world champ. But the stipulation added to tonight’s match (which wasn’t discussed enough on air) means that Matt Riddle now cannot challenge Roman Reigns again (that’s how the graphic showed it). That screams a Money In The Bank or Royal Rumble win to me.

It’s also highly possible that a Seth Rollins wins the Money In The Bank briefcase, and his cash in splits the titles back up, opening the door for Riddle come next spring.

Either way–one fact remains true: Matt Riddle is now a made man, and doing it on his own.


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