JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

A strange, lovely morning on The Herd

So when one writes a book, then promotes it, he can go through some legitimate scheduling craziness. It’s along the lines of, “OK, you’ve got Omaha sports radio at 10, Nashville sports radio at 10:15, a TV spot via Skype in Toledo at 10:50, then a blog interview at …” This is, obviously, a good thing, because it means people are paying attention to your work.

But it can be quite dizzying.

This morning I was scheduled to appear on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, which had me pretty psyched. A. Because I truly enjoy Colin’s work; B. Because I’ve been on before and he asks terrific questions; C. He has tons of listeners, which is ideal for peddling a product.

Anyhow, the show sent a car to pick me up at 7:50 am and take me from my home to the Fox lot. The drive was long (LA traffic being LA traffic), and by the time I stepped out of the vehicle time was a bit tight. I was then greeted by Dave Coelho, a talent relations guru with Fox Sports, who said to me, “So, did you bring a change of clothes?”

“No,” I said—finding the question somewhat odd. I was wearing camp shorts, an LA County Fair T-shirt and a throwback Buccaneers hat. But what difference did it make? Nobody sees you on radio.

Then it hit me. “Wait,” I said, “am I going on TV?”

“Yeah,” Dave replied.

Oooooohhhhhhhhh shit.

I had two options: 1. Play it cool and maintain my status as an all-occasion casual dresser. 2. Fess up.

I fessed up. Dave laughed, assured me it wasn’t a big deal, then brought me to what has to be one of the coolest wardrobe rooms in America. There were jeans and slacks and jackets and shirts of all lengths and colors. Someone asked for my pant size (34) and shoe size (13) and, within minutes, I was wearing (no exaggeration) the most comfortable pair of pants in the world’s history.

But wait! There’s more. First, as I entered the building Ray Lewis exited. That was cool. Second, I’m standing in a side room, counting down the minutes, when a familiar face appears. It’s Neal Scarbrough, my first-ever sports editor (at The Tennessean) and a new FS1 hire. I hadn’t seen Neal in two decades—and my reaction was genuine euphoria. I was floating.

Anyhow, the appearance was great, Colin was spectacular, and while forgetting to button my shirt made me look a bit like a failed Chippendale, I survived just fine.

Jeans will never feel the same.