Here is another blast from the past. This column originally appeared in Patriots Football Weekly back in October of 2007. Since the time this was published, the duo of Greg and Gary have sadly divorced, as Gary began a fling with Michael Felger that endures to this day.
Gil and Gino. Mike and Tommy. Dennis and Callahan. New England has a number of media duos that have become virtually inseparable in the minds of viewers and listeners. You can’t think of one without the other. Over at the new Comcast SportsNet, they have their own dynamic duo that has also become synonymous with each other – the tag team of Greg Dickerson and Gary Tanguay on Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight. Tanguay has been at the network since 2000, and Dickerson since 2002. The pair has a long history together, in addition to working together on Sports Tonight, the pair also did a radio show together on Sports Radio 1440 WWTM in Worcester in the late 1990′s, and also have teamed up on occasion as a fill-in duo on Sports Radio 850 WEEI.
Their act is a little different from the Gil and Gino’s of the world. They thrive on debate and conflict, while some of it might be contrived, it’s what viewers have come to expect from Dickerson and Tanguay. Greg is known as the player-friendly, yet opinionated, motormouth, while Gary is oftentimes the doom-and-gloom WHAT IF…guy. They often go head-to-head on issues, and aren’t shy about getting worked up over the topic at hand. Tanguay notes that once he is on set, Dickerson is so into giving his opinion that “the studio could blow up and he would continue to yell that the Yankees are dead.” In June.
While they may squabble on the air, the two have a close bond off of it. Tanguay had Dickerson in his wedding, and describes him as “a great guy and a good friend.” He adds though, that the on-air opinion and appearance of conflict is what fuels the show, adding that the conflict ends when the cameras are off: “Often people who work together don’t get along off the air. Most, if not all of our disagreements are on the air.”
While Tanguay and Dickerson might be a “media couple,” theirs is apparently an open relationship. This fall, each of them is hosting a competing Patriots pregame show. Tanguay is in his fourth season handling the pregame and postgame hosting duties on the WBCN Patriots Rock Radio Network, while Dickerson presides over the cleverly-named New England Pro Football Show on WEEI from 9:00 to 1:00 on Sundays. The WBCN pregame show begins three hours prior to kickoff. This means that on Sundays when the Patriots play at 1:00pm, the Sports Tonight anchors and friends are going head-to-head from 10:00am to 1:00pm.
While Dickerson had filled in on occasion for former host Dale Arnold on the WEEI program, this is his first season as the full time host. When it became known that Arnold wasn’t coming back to the show, (“There are no secrets in this market.” Tanguay says, “Too many loud mouths work in the business.”) Dickerson seemed the logical choice to take over the show.
So this must mean that there is a whole lot of trash-talking on the Sports Tonight set and competition over guests and promotion of the competing shows, right?
Tanguay throws a wet blanket on that idea: “We don’t talk about it a whole lot. It is kind of old hat for us. Both of us have been working in radio and television in this market for the last ten to fifteen years. It is not brain surgery. There is nothing really to talk about. There are no conflicts.”
Well, shoot. That’s no fun. C’mon Gary, throw us a bone here, there must be something you guys battle over? “Sorry, there are no street fights like they had in Anchorman.”
Now there’s a visual for the sports fans of New England.
The shows may be competitors, but they’re quite different in style and substance. WBCN has the actual games, so their programming is an actual pre and post game production. They have Gil and Gino as part of their show, and quite often an opposing broadcaster as well. According to Tanguay though, that’s only a small part of the reason his show is better: “There is no question we have better catering! Tom’s Tavern of Wrentham feeds us like royalty.” He adds, “As a matter of fact, I have caught Greg and Nelly (Steve Nelson) cutting our buffet line.”
Ah! So there it is, the dirty secret no one in the Boston sports media wants to admit! The WEEI crew (wait…don’t they have their own tailgating venture?) heads over to the WBCN area for food!
Back to the programming for a moment, WBCN’s show includes Sports Tonight regulars Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak, while WEEI’s entry includes Tom Curran and some guy named Paul Perillo, who also appear periodically on the Comcast SportsNet nightly offering. (PFW’s Tom Casale is another regular on the WBCN shows.) Everyone, it seems, works with each other on the Boston sports media front, which makes it hard to work up any real rivalry between all of them. While the WBCN show is a true pregame, New England Pro Football Sunday is more of a traditional sports talk offering, just themed to the Patriots.
Ironically, in some aspects, Dickerson and Tanguay switch roles when they go to their weekend gigs. More the straightman on Sports Tonight, Tanguay is an instigator on WBCN, bringing up contrarian viewpoints, and emphatically making his points. Dickerson, the loud, opinionated Sports Tonight personality, is more relaxed and less bombastic on his Sunday morning Patriots show.
While still one of the top media duos in the market, “Gary and Greg” prove that they’re not totally dependant on each other. It’s hard to imagine Gil Santos working with anyone but Gino Cappelletti, or Gerry Callahan and John Dennis hosting competing TV shows on the weekend. Dickerson and Tanguay though, have shown that be it together or going head to head, they can stir things up and keep the discussions going.