This weekend, Curt Menefee begins his seventh regular season as host of FOX NFL Sunday. He took time to speak with KSK on Thursday about what he goes through each week on an NFL studio show, what he’s looking forward to for this season, how the show could possibly move on without the comedic genius that is Frank Caliendo and why exactly Terry Bradshaw seems to be the only one allowed to narrate highlights.
KSK: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. You excited for the first Sunday of the season? I know you were working preseason games already. But this has to be a little more of a charge.
Menefee: Yeah. I know there was the opening game on Wednesday, but it’s that first Sunday when you get the real experience of the regular season starting. We have 13 games going on. You get really excited when training camp is over. Now the real games start and these means something, it matters now, so everybody can freak out over every win and loss. All the teams that win, everybody will put them in the Super Bowl the day after.
KSK: The Cowboys are winning the Super Bowl and Kevin Ogletree is MVP. Didn’t you hear?
Menefee: Exactly. All the people who predicted that the Giants would make the playoffs are freaking out about them losing. This is what happens. I don’t care who you are. As great as the Packers were last year, they lost to somebody. But fans tend to overreact even more when a team loses its opener. It goes the other way, too, where you get people putting teams in the Super Bowl based on one win. The preseason feeds in to that. Some teams will gameplan for two or three weeks for that season opener, whereas in the regular season, you only get that week or maybe two between games. With a game like we had on Wednesday night, it doesn’t matter how much prep went into it. It’s a rivalry game. That’s what made it so difficult for the Giants against the Cowboys. It wasn’t that it was the opening game, it was a game against someone in the division, a situation where they know you and you know them. It’s always a little harder in those situations.
KSK: There was a recent changes with the lineup of the FOX pregame show. Frank Caliendo is out as the designated comic relief or whatever you want to call it and he’s been replaced by Rob Riggle. How do you think Riggle will be different? Do you have any insight into what we can expect out of him?
Menefee: I don’t have specific knowledge of the plans. I’ve talked to Rob and spoken to the producers about it. I think everybody trusts in him and trusts in his voice. It’s not gonna be impressions, like Frank used to do, ’cause that’s not what Rob does. I think Rob will come in and do some skits and eventually he’ll find what he wants to do with it on a regular basis. I look forward to it. I know him from “The Daily Show” and he was great on that. He’s a great guy, too. Former Marine. We’ve been out a few times. Very down-to-earth, very salt-of-the-earth guy. And he’s very funny, of course. I expect he’s going to do very well.
KSK: Is what you’re doing now where you see yourself for the long haul or do you have other visions or aspirations for where your broadcasting career will go?
Menefee: If I do anything else in my broadcasting career, I will always, if they’ll have me, be the host of FOX NFL Sunday. There’s the Michael Strahan situation now where he’s doing the bi-coastal thing with his other gig. I don’t know if that’s in my dreams or my future or anything like that. But I know why he’s sticking around, because there’s a lot of value in doing this show and just the fun of doing the show. That’s the reason why I want to stay around forever, why all of us do. Not matter what else you do, you don’t wanna give up this show because it’s fun and the people involved are great to be around. We all watch football anyway, so why not do something where you’re involved with it for a living? No matter what I do in this business, FOX NFL Sunday will be my anchor, hopefully. If they’ll have me, I’ll be here.
KSK: I was watching a few weeks ago, you were doing a lead-in for the Lions-Ravens preseason game. The camera was showing Ray Lewis doing his spastic out of the tunnel dance during player intros. You let it play out, then said, “That’s so Raven!” Was that a line you were sitting on for a while or it just came to you, then?
Menefee: It came to me that day. Obviously, we were talking about the shots that we’d use in the opening of the show. Someone said we’ll do the Ray Lewis dance coming out of the tunnel. I’m thinking, gosh, how many times have we seen Ray Lewis do that? It’s just like over and over. I think people are over it. But they were like, “no, no, it’s a cool shot.” But then the line came to me about how I think we’ve seen it enough times. Like, that’s so Ray Lewis. My mind went straight to That’s so Raven. That came to me probably half an hour before we went on the air. So I said it and the guys in the truck laughed.