I love live [TV]. I would pick live over anything, any way. I hate taping anything. I think I’m too impatient to want to do something again, or edit. If you do something live, it’s behind you, there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s a real sense of being in the present moment that I don’t shy away from. I’m saying impatient, but maybe I mean lazy. I just don’t want to do anything again. I think it’s always the best the first time. I think I’m always my best the first time. If I’m not, I’ve got another chance to do it 23 hours later.

What were your biggest takeaways from this NFL season?

You just can’t rule anyone out! The NFL is the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of. If we’re talking about the moment that sticks out the most from this season, it was Week 1 of Monday Night Football. I flew to New York, Aaron Rodgers’ debut, great! I’ve been to a dozen Super Bowls, and this atmosphere beat more than half of them. It was the most electric atmosphere, and I was not prepared for it. That’s something I won’t forget.

The New York of it all, it being 9/11, Rodgers, the anticipation. It was really the craziest game! It showed me the highs and lows of the NFL in a way that mirrors every game, every season, and the 100+ year history of this game. It was a bit of a microcosm of what the NFL is every day. That’s the NFL, just like that, it flips. There’s always next year!

Let’s also give a quick shoutout to an OG. Joe Flacco, 38 years old, Delaware’s finest, took me a minute to take seriously. He went 18-3 as a Raven against the Browns, and now he’s playing with them. This is legendary stuff.

Which matchup are you most excited for this weekend?

Oh, man. I like them all of course. I don’t want to pick the low-hanging fruit that is Lions-Rams. But I will pick it because I like rewriting narratives. I think Jared Goff has a little something. He’s feisty and he’s got a lot to prove. Sean McVay let him go, and he’s facing a quarterback who’s a legend. That Detroit crowd is going to cheer its ass off for Matthew Stafford when he goes in there. Matthew Stafford: the made man. His side isn’t as compelling to me, but Jared Goff, Dan Campbell, the fans, I think I’m most excited about that. If the Lions can deliver their first playoff win in forever, that would be really incredible.

On the Rams’ side, it’s like, how are they doing this? Kyren Williams and Puka [Nacua], it’s so much more impressive than when they had the mega team and beat the Bengals. From an X’s and O’s standpoint, they match up interestingly too. What do you think is the popular game? What’s the game that everyone’s talking about?

I think it’s probably Chiefs-Dolphins. There’s still a lot of casual interest in the Chiefs.

I mean, would you be surprised if they made the Super Bowl? It wouldn’t surprise me a bit. Just with Patrick Mahomes—all the Super Bowls of the last ten years or so have been Mahomes or Brady. Being the best quarterback matters. Are you the best quarterback, Patrick? Let’s go! I’m not going against the Chiefs at all. They got the matchup they wanted. Cowboys-Packers is interesting, too. I think that could be a fun little upset if they can keep the Cowboys from being on the field enough to score. I can’t wait!

Do you have a preferred Super Bowl matchup? If you could pick it, what would you choose?

I want to see the best teams in the NFL from the whole season: the Ravens and 49ers. I know they faced each other already, but I think it might be different the second time around. Lamar Jackson is the best. He’s done everything else. Let’s get him to the big game. And with [Kyle] Shanahan, Come on buddy. Let’s not move into Andy Reid Eagles territory, my friend. You gotta win one! You think the Niners want to see the Rams? The biggest competition in the NFC for the Niners, in my opinion? Easily the Rams.

Do you have plans to unwind after the season?

Last year I went to Italy. The year before that I went to Kenya, Rwanda, and the Serengeti. I did an incredible three-week safari, trucking with the silverback gorillas. It was unbelievable. I’m big on art, food, and culture. I’m interested in Mexico City. It seems like such a destination. I have friends who live there. Mexico City is definitely high on the list.

As a Chicago native, how are you feeling about the Bears? What is your level of confidence in them executing this offseason in a way that actually makes them better?

I like their GM. I have more confidence in him than anything else on that team. Consistency is all I want. How far away are they? That’s the question. Chicago has bigger fish to fry than the quarterback. There’s some organizational stuff that you’d like to see get figured out. The fans deserve it. How long can we talk about 1985? Come on. It’s all we got! Jay Cutler is the best quarterback in franchise history! Ever!

One thing from the show that’s always a hoot is when Shams Charania comes on. How is he able to be so charming while also working 25 hours a day and constantly breaking news?

He’s very disciplined. That is what works for him. He’s disciplined and so dedicated to what he does, doing it the right way, 10 out of 10 all the time. It’s something that a lot of people—in any industry—can’t do. It’s something that I think people should see as aspirational. He’s also such a great teammate and a lot of fun.

But to be honest, I don’t know that he balances his life enough. I wish Shams would lean into the charm more. I took his phone one time, and he looked like he was going to melt down. I wish I had thrown it into the ocean! The more we can get him away from his phone, the more delighted I would be. He’s not going to Mexico City anytime soon. I’m sure he’s booked out for the next three years.

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