My Talk With Zig Fracassi

Me: Can I get your thoughts on Monday’s “Battle Of The Tigers”? Where would you rank this LSU team amongst the best you’ve seen in the game of college football?

Zig: Tremendous win by LSU. Culminated in a season for the ages. 7 wins against Top 10 teams is nothing to ignore. To run through the tough SEC. To defeat Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson says a lot. Between the coaching dynamic of Ed Orgeron and the Joe Burrow story, it’s one that speaks more than a coach/player relationship. This LSU team was fun to watch. I think time will tell if they can be a dynasty (or close) like Miami was in the day and, more recently, Alabama and Clemson.

Me: I was high on them all year long. I definitely can respect this answer. Speaking of those teams, let’s look at the quarterbacks. Both Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence will be in the league. Five years from now, which quarterback would you want on your team and why?

Zig: Both quarterbacks are tremendously talented. If I’m an NFL player evaluator, I would ask if Lawrence has the work ethic and drive to get better. I’m wondering if it was a case of “too much, too fast” for Trevor. In other words, his talent was good enough with weapons all over the place for Clemson. Could he lead a more inferior type of team? I’m not sure. Joe Burrow seems too good to be true, but is from a football background. He’s known the bottom before ascending to the top. I prefer his intangibles a bit more. He seems driven and not resting on his laurels. If it’s me, I’d prefer Joe over Trevor.

Me: I want to switch to the NFL now. What’s been your overall take on the 2019 season? What surprised you?

Zig: Always an interesting NFL season. I don’t know if there was anything I was surprised by, as seasons don’t run concurrent for success, except for the Patriots. I supposed them going 12-4 without Gronk was a bit of an eye opener, but, as the season wore on, it was clear he was missed and that Tom Brady didn’t have suitable targets to throw to. They eventually succumbed to the Titans. Also, Rams Head Coach Sean McVay was the flavor of the month as his offense was imaginative in 2018. New England exposed it in the Super Bowl and they never seemed to recover. From NFC Champion to not qualifying for the playoffs the next season. Just shows you how the seasons are truly different in the NFL.

Me: The one thing I can say about these great teams are they find ways to beat you in a variety of ways. So the other day I found myself comparing these Tennessee Titans to the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. Who would you say this team reminds you of?

Zig: In some ways, the Titans remind me of the 2001 Patriots. Both struggled in the early season. Both changed quarterbacks (Brady for the injured Bledsoe, while Tannehill came on for an ineffective Mariota) with both relying on a very good defense. While the Patriots ran the table to close out the season, the Titans did not, though their 2 losses in the final weeks could have easily been wins. The commonality is Mike Vrabel, who came to New England as a free agent and helped them to 3 Super Bowl titles and is now the Titans head coach.

Me: I never thought of it that way. That’s a great comparison. I think the reason why I said the 2005 Steelers was because of the power running game. Pittsburgh grinded games out to put teams away in the playoffs. Looking ahead to the AFC Championship. What are some keys for each team and who will represent the conference in Super Bowl 54?

Zig: If Tennessee plays from ahead, they will win and will pound Derrick Henry right into the Chiefs defense. Vrabel and defensive coordinator Dean Pees had a plan for Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson. I’m sure there’ll be one to contain Patrick Mahomes. KC can’t afford another slow start like they had against Houston, as the coaching aspect and player attitude differences are huge between the Titans and Texans. Now, if Mahomes and company start the game like they played it after being down 24-0, then all the great coaching in the world won’t stop #15.

Me: The NFC side of things. Again, keys for each team, who wins and represents the NFC in the big game?

Zig: Quite simple. the Packers offensive line against the 49ers defensive line. If San Francisco’s front 4 tees off on Aaron Rodgers like they did Kirk Cousins, I don’t think Aaron stands a chance. Who covers Davante Adams & Aaron Jones? Conversely, how will Green Bay defend the rush attack of San Fran? They were worn out chasing Russell Wilson, but the Niners will continually run that 3 headed trio of Breida, Coleman and Mostert.

Me: They truly did look gassed. Russell ran circles around them. Now, I want to end by asking you this. To anyone who wants to get into this industry, what are some words of advice you’d like to offer them?

Zig: I can tell you the media industry and, specifically, the radio industry has changed a lot since I got into it over 30 years ago. Not many “mom and pop’ operations any more, as it’s practically all corporate, which leads to fewer opportunities. As a general rule, I always tell all people wanting to get into the business is to stay humble and hungry. You aren’t Howard Stern or Don Imus (RIP) right away, if at all. Versatility increases value. Learn different facets of the operation. Ask questions. Be yourself and no one else.

Me: It was an absolute pleasure to speak with you sir.

Zig: Thank you. I hope this helped Christian.

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