FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Anyone who's ever listened to Mike Francesa on WFAN out of New York understands that the radio host never shies away from some good, old fashioned bluster. Francesa is arguably the most influential sports radio voice in America and he loves to challenge people.
Now, he's set his sights on Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
The New York Giants and New York Jets are both coming off victories, but Francesa spent a good portion of his Monday afternoon show talking about what ESPN is promoting as "the game of the year." That's the 11-1 Texans vs. the 9-3 New England Patriots on Monday Night Football of course.
"Watt can't be good. He needs to be great tonight."
Francesa's take is that Watt needs to absolutely dominate the Monday Night stage. He argued again and again that Lawrence Taylor would have taken over this type of game and Watt needs to show him the same.
Otherwise . . . well, Francesa insists he will never put Watt in anything close to that ultra-elite class.
"Watt can't be good," Francesa said. "He needs to be great tonight."
Francesa's stance brought an interesting exchange with lead CBS national TV sports voice Jim Nantz — a Francesa friend who considers Houston to be his hometown and is a big advocate of this Texans team deserving more national attention than it is receiving.
"J.J. Watt is 12 for 12," Nantz said in terms of games the unconventional game changer has altered. "He doesn't have anything to prove."
Of course, Francesa being Francesa, he waited until Nantz got off the phone and reiterated his same original point about Watt needing to show him something against the Patriots before he could buy in. In some ways, that's part of Francesa's appeal. He's obsessive about always getting in the last word.
It's not close to the same with Chris Russo no longer on the show driving Francesa batty, but maybe Watt can assume some of that role in a New York guest appearance.
Watt loves challenges after all.