My first guest on "Straight from the Source" was one of the faces of NFL coverage at ESPN during his 23 years at the network. We were coworkers while I was the network, and now we are essentially coworkers again here at Bulletin. Trey Wingo is one of the most recognizable faces in sports and he joined me to chat about a variety of topics. Stay for the amazing stories involving the Super Bowl winning running back Terrell Davis, as well as the time he was backstage with his son at Peyton Manning's statue ceremony in Indianapolis. Also don't miss what he calls the greatest moment in his two decades plus at ESPN.
Here's a quick snippet of my chat with Trey Wingo:
Stefano: Welcome in to Straight from the Source. This is the very first episode, and we have a high profile guests with us here. 23 years at ESPN in a variety of roles. NFL live NFL Draft, the wildly successful ESPN Radio Show. Now he's doing multiple things with Pro Football Network, Caesars Sportsbook. He's got his own podcast, "Half Forgotten History on Youtube. He is my man, Trey Wingo. Trey, thanks for joining me.
Trey: Hey man, how are you? You know, it's funny. I remember the first time I was throwing you on a live shot on NFL live. I have I had a good friend of mine whose name was Steve Stefano. And I wanted to make sure like, it's one of those things where you have that word in your head pronounced a certain way for a million times that I didn't want to screw it up. So I think I asked you in the commercial break. It's Stefano right. I think I said it wrong the first time
Stefano: Well here's the thing. No, you actually had it right, and then said it wrong on the air.
Trey: Awful awful, so I apologize, I apologize.
Stefano: My name has been butchered over the years, so don't even worry about that. So you're also with Bulletin here on Facebook. So we're gonna get to everything....But I feel like the phrase new normal been thrown around. So, so damn much for everybody. And we were just talking before going on, you know, just how whirlwind the last few years have been for everybody, right? But for you 23 years, the same place, and now you've got all these jobs, rather than just having the one job at a network. But you get to do most of them from the comfort of your own home. We'll get to that in a second. But first of all, how good has your golf game gotten since then,
Trey: It's been great, like the fun part for me about that. It's just been able to go out and play more courses and do different things. But this has been like a wild ride. Like if you had told me that I wouldn't have ended up my career after 23 years of ESPN like, six, seven years ago, I would've said "You're crazy man." But it turned out to be the greatest thing in the world. And I and I know that sounds trite and whatever. But I mean, I'm happy to explain why...I get to do a lot of the things that I want to do when I want to do them with who I want to do them with. Like my man Mark Schlereth, we worked together for 15 years at ESPN, his contract was up in 2017. He wasn't renewed. He went on to Fox, and he's calling games for Fox now. And we just decided, you know, why aren't we working together again. So last December, we just started to record things on on YouTube and put them up on my YouTube page, "Trey Wingo Presents", and you know, we just called it the chop shop, because we're just going to chop it up, talk about the NFL games. And it got to the point where people liked it, and so now we have sponsors. We do it once a week. So I get to work with a guy that was my work wife for 15 years. You know, I'm calling events for PGA Tour live, as you know, and as you are, as well, I'm a huge golf fan. And that's been a lot of fun. The podcast itself, "Half Forgotten history", the whole premise of that was to tell all the stories that I knew, and the players knew which we would discuss in the greenroom, or on the set during commercial breaks or out to dinner and drinks. But somehow they never made it on the air. Like that was the whole point. And we just decided, well, let's try this. And the response was incredible. We've crossed over four and a half million views on the YouTube page. We're just wrapped up season four, season five and six are coming out soon. So that's been great. And then the Facebook thing has been wonderful. And obviously the Caesars thing has been phenomenal. It's it's a new place. But a lot of familiar faces. Kenny (Mayne) and I are working together again, I never thought that would have been possible. The people in charge at Caesars are a lot of them are former ESPN owners. So like, it's very familiar to me. And that's been awesome as well. So yeah, this has been it has been wonderful in so many ways. I can't begin to tell you.
Stefano: Yeah, it's interesting that you mentioned just that. I have forgotten history, right. Like all the best. Some of the best stories that I've had from ESPN, were also things that happened off the air story, right? producers, same thing. And obviously you and I were very different worlds, right? Obviously you were there for a very much longer time than I was but you were always you know, you were in Bristol, on campus. I was kind of elsewhere. So we were getting stories from producers and other reporters and different things. But the fact that you you say that is interesting, because that's kind of what I want to do here. I want to just have conversations with people in sports, where to kind of just give some of those stories write some of those behind the scenes stories. For you, just being at ESPN all those years...the relationships that you were able to build just while being there, how many of those were built behind the scenes, just having a good time? Not just as on air personalities,
Trey: You're 100% right on that. I always say there's three kinds of people you work with right? Your coworkers that you just share space with. Then there are your friends that you know, you become friendly with. And then there are your inner circle, what I call your boys, and there can be women that are in that circle as well. I'm just using that term. You know, Herm Edwards and I worked together for nine years and, we became tighter than almost anyone I ever worked with. We would go out play golf, I would fly to his house. He would come stay at my house whenever he was in town. You know, Schlereth the same way. Darren Woodson, Tim Hasselbeck, Merril Hodge, Ryan Clark Damien Woody, Teddy Bruschi; like those were my boys you know what I mean? Like we hung out like we like we found ways to spend time with each other when we weren't working together. Jeff Saturday the same way you know. Here's a great story. My son grew up a huge Peyton Manning fan. He went on to play football in college but like, Peyton was always his favorite athlete. Well when when Peyton was going to be have his statue unveiled outside of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, we said, we gotta go. So we got there and and then I texted my coworker and Peyton's former teammate Jeff Saturday "you're here right?" He answered "We're just finishing up the ceremony. Why don't you come over. I said "are you sure? Like we're in shorts and T shirts, you know?" And he was like, "Yeah, come on over." So my son and I walk in. I'm 55 years old at the time, and my son's 23 or 24. We're literally in T shirts and shorts. Everyone's in suits and ties. So Bill Polian is there Jeff Saturday's there we got our picture taken with Peyton, and then Jeff's like, "Come on the field with us." So he got us field passes for the ceremony and all that kind of stuff. And then a halftime when they retired his number in the Ring of Honor or whatever it is in Indianapolis, we were actually downstairs in the bowels of Lucas Oil. It was Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday, Reggie Wayne, Edgerrin James, Dwight Freeney... and me and my son. Like, how did we get here? Or what's going on? Are we crashing the party? It was so cool to be there, but we made sure we stayed back. It was like, we got a secret VIP pass. After the ceremony, Jeff asked when we were supposed to fly out? I told him we got to leave in the third quarter, because I have to be back for school and work. After a quick conversation with Colts former GM Bill Polian, the Colts owner Jim Irsay says to us "Don't worry you're flying on the plane with us." So we got on the Colts private plane and it was me, my son Jeff, Bill Polian and Marvin Harrison. We made a stop in Philadelphia dropped off Marvin. Then they flew us up to Hartford dropped us off and then they went wherever they had to go. It was great man. Those are the kinds of things that like you just you would never think happened and it just happened like what you talked about, because of those relationships that you form with people in this business.
Stefano: Would it be safe to say that that's kind of what you miss the most now that we're obviously working from home and doing things a little differently? Would you say that that's probably what you miss the most about ESPN?
Trey: I would say, and I want to be clear about this. I'm not trying to be negative. I think that's the only thing I miss. Those relationships are great. Like I just recorded a chop shop episode with Tim Hasselbeck yesterday we just put it up online. I said to Tim, "Hey man, when was last time you were in Bristol." He was like, I haven't been in Bristol in 18 months like literally he's doing everything over zoom. That whole camaraderie thing that I was able to build with those guys over the years doesn't really exist anymore and that's kind of sad.
Click the link to the video or podcast version for the full interview!
My next guest will be the premier soccer journalist in the US, Grant Wahl!