CLEVELAND, Ohio -- After 18 years on the air, "Mike & Mike" signs off for the final time this Friday.
The popular morning sports talk show on ESPN Radio and ESPN2 hosted by Mike Greenberg and Cleveland native Mike Golic is coming to an end this week as Greenberg moves on to a new morning show on ESPN television while Golic remains in their familiar 6-10 a.m. timeslot alongside a new partner, Trey Wingo.
During a recent interview with cleveland.com, Golic, the pride of St. Joseph High School and former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle, talked about the end of "MIke & Mike," starting a new show, his love for Cleveland and the current state of the city's three sports teams.
JM: This is the last week of "Mike & MIke." Describe your emotions.
MG: It's kind of weird because there hasn't been a ton of emotion. For the last few months, I've been preparing for the next show. Had I been done with ESPN and retiring at the end of this week, I would've been more nostalgic, but, honestly, I don't have a lot of time to do that.
JM: When the show first started all those years ago, did you ever think it would last this long?
MG: Oh no. I don't think anybody did. I played nine years in the NFL and felt pretty good about it. When this starts, you have no idea, you just do the best show you can. There's no way from Day 1 did we think 18 years later we'd be going into in the [National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting] Hall of Fame or get a chance to do all the things we've done.
JM: How did you react when you learned "Mike & Mike" was ending?
MG: Quite honestly, when I first heard they were splitting us up, I was highly disappointed. I didn't understand why. There's still part of me that still doesn't understand it. But, I'm an employee, I don't get a say. You accept it and go on to the next thing, but I was very surprised. It's been a pretty successful show for the company, but, again, I'm not paid to make those decisions.
JM: What about when you found out that you were continuing on a new iteration of the show with Wingo and your son, Mike Jr., who'll join you for the first hour?
MG: They had talked to me about doing a show with my son. I didn't bring that up, they did. Then, they said they're going to get another host and asked me about Trey. I was like, are you kidding? I've known Trey for years. We started at "NFL Live" in 2003, we live in the same town, our kids are the same age, we've hung out. I have instant chemistry with Trey, I always have. So, that was a no-brainer. There was a part of me that thought maybe I'll just be done with this, but I get along so well with Trey and the chance to work with my son as well rejuvenated me to kind of till the soil and keep going.
JM: A lot has been written and speculated about your relationship with Greenie. How would you describe it?
MG: My relationship with Greenie is fine. The most disappointing thing to me is when you hear former people that worked on the show talking anonymously about behind the scenes things. That aggravated me a lot. Greenie and I are fine. We're going to go off on our separate ways. We never lived close to each other anyway, our kids aren't the same age. So, we were never in the position to hang out a lot anyway. We just meshed so well on the show. He's going to be in New York. I'm still in Connecticut, so I'm sure our paths will cross.
JM: How will the new show be different?
MG: This isn't rocket science. We're not going to reinvent the wheel. We're going to do sports radio and entertainment. The one thing that will be different is when we started on TV in 2004, we were a radio show on TV. There were more radio elements, sound bytes, we'd do bits and funny morning show things. Then, over the last few years, it's been a conscious effort by ESPN to make it more of a TV show that was also on radio. We lost some of the radio feel, so we're going back to being radio on TV. I'm very excited about it. We're going to have fun.
JM: Talk about working with Trey and Mike Jr.
MG: Trey and I are about the same age, but having my 28-year-old son on the show is going to really help with the younger crowd, getting that millennial point of view on the show. We're three very self deprecating guys who like to laugh at ourselves and have some fun.
JM: Was working with your son ever a dream for either of you?
MG: He would certainly love to still to be playing in the NFL, but he's very good at this. When he started working here, there was never "Oh I wonder how can Mike and I work together?" I think it was smart of ESPN to put us on a college bowl games last year. We have a good relationship. He has the same kind of sense of humor as me. So, when it was brought up, it was one of the things that really kept me here. He's really good at this and he's not afraid to take shots at me. We're different ages by a lot and we have different thoughts about sports, so it leads to some agreement, some head butting and a lot of laughs.
JM: Do you ever get to Cleveland much these days?
MG: Not really. We've been down there the last few years for the NBA Finals. Last year, my daughter worked for the Cleveland Browns. She lived in the Flats. That's one thing I've been very happy about. I heard all the Cleveland jokes growing up here. I love where Cleveland is now and I love how the Flats and downtown have come back. It's fantastic. My mom still lives in Willowick, my brother Greg lives in Mentor, Bob lives in Solon. It's always great to get back there and hang out again, but I really love where Cleveland is right now.
JM: How often do you tease your brother and former Browns nose tackle Bob Golic about his memorable stint as Mike Rogers on TV's "Saved by the Bell: The College Years?"
MG: As often as I see him. Somtimes, he gets associated more with "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" than with his playing career. Oh, I definitely give him a hard time about that an awful lot. But it was certainly fun to watch.
JM: Let's talk about the current state of the three sports teams in town. Finish this sentence. "The Cleveland Browns should..."
MG: Should keep DeShone Kizer at quarterback for the rest of the year just to find out if he's going to be the guy going forward. Right now, even more than the coach or [the front office], whoever is going to be in charge needs to find out if this is the guy we're going to build around or do they need to move on.
JM: The Cavs have started slowly out of the gate. Do they get back to the NBA Finals this season?
MG: Absolutely. The regular season doesn't matter to them. It's about getting enough cohesiveness during the season that, when the playoffs start, you have that chemistry you need to make that run. It doesn't matter where they're seeded. In my eyes, they're still the team that comes out of the East.
JM: Do you think LeBron James stays in Cleveland?
MG: I don't know why he would leave. All of this talk I hear about L.A., I mean, what's he doing for Hollywood during the basketball season? LeBron is a big enough star that he doesn't need to be in a major city to be big. LeBron wants to play for championships. To do that, he needs to get to the championship. The best way to get there is with Cleveland. I just don't buy for as much as LeBron loves the game of basketball and where he is in the history of the game that he would go out west just because of Hollywood.
JM: Is it World Series or bust for the Indians this upcoming season?
MG: I was stunned and bummed about with happened against the Yankees. The way they're built, yeah, they should be in that position again. I would imagine in their minds, it's World Series or bust. But that's a hard thing to say in baseball because it's so difficult to get there. But there's no doubt they have the talent to get there.
JM: The last "Mike & Mike" is Friday. Anything special planned?
MG: No. I told them I didn't want anything special. Some people have taped goodbyes, but nothing crazy is planned. I said the only thing I want at the end of the last show is a cake because I love my cake.
Golic's new show, "Golic & Wingo," premieres Monday, Nov. 27 at 6 a.m. on ESPN Cleveland 850 AM WKNR and ESPN2.