Stop the Presses: Mike Francesa Just Invented A Brilliant New Sports Betting Game

Written By Juan Carlos Blanco | Last Updated
Mike Francesa
When I grow up, I want to score an absurdly high-paid gig where I publicly contradict myself on previous positions without repercussions. One in which I’ll never have to acknowledge I was wrong in my original stance. Granted, I could be alluding to almost any politician with that job description. But I’m actually referring to legendary New York sports talk host Mike Francesa.

Sports betting innovator?!

Yup. The same guy we thought was going to be spending his days at the track when he “retired” from WFAN last December. It took all of five months before he was back on the airwaves, just 18 days prior to the SCOTUS’ decision to eradicate PASPA in Murphy vs. NCAA. A supporter of sports betting, Francesa certainly wasn’t displeased with the development. In fact, he recently used his platform to blast Gov. Phil Murphy and the state of New Jersey for announcing its rollout of legal sports betting when there’s still a 30-day waiting period for licensees to apply for an online/mobile wagering permit. Francesa is apparently so fired up about the potential for a widespread legalized sports betting landscape, it’s got his creative juices flowing. Earlier this week, he spent a few minutes musing about how if states with legal sports wagering “were smart”, they’d create and sponsor some betting “games” that are skill-based, low-risk and high-reward. These contests, he explains, would be ideal for those who may not necessarily want to bet through a sportsbook. Contests where participants assemble a roster of various players in a given sport that are playing that day. And, if those players’ cumulative stats for the night surpass those of another predetermined group of players, you win a large five-figure sum. Seriously. Francesa invented daily fantasy sports. In 2018. And to think Al Gore fashioned himself a big shot when he “created” the internet.

No shortage of irony in Francesa’s sports betting ‘brainstorm’

No need to call the bomb squad. That loud boom was just the collective sound of the heads of every DFS player and supporter exploding. There’s nothing inherently wrong with what Francesa is suggesting, of course. In fact, it sounds like a completely workable and … get this … FUN concept! However, it’s not only been in existence in some form for over a decade at this point, it’s also a multi-million-dollar industry in terms of annual revenue. And ironically, Francesa almost gave New York Assemblyman (and DFS player) Dean Murray an aneurysm while arguing with him on the air about whether DFS was a game of skill in December 2015. By the time that “interview” was over, Murray probably felt like he’d been through about a dozen town halls with angry constituents. Francesa apparently now has no problem affixing the “skill” label to a game that would essentially amount to playing DFS against the “house” (in his example, presumably the state, which would predetermine the lineup that participants would have to beat to win). However, unless his four-month sabbatical served as the equivalent of a hard drive wipe on his memory, he at least owes Murray a belated apology. Or at a minimum, a $5 ticket to a future “Sports Pope” GPP in New York. That is, if the Empire State decides to be “smart” about the whole thing.