Normally confined to the radio airwaves, Patriots broadcasters Bob Socci and Scott Zolak stepped into the television spotlight on Thursday night. The preseason opener, in which New England hosted Washington, provided a rare opportunity for the radio team to get some camera time.
And Zo and Co. didn’t disappoint. Along with sideline reporter – and former Patriots linebacker – Rob Ninkovich, the broadcasters injected some enthusiasm and humor into preseason coverage.
A few takeaways from Zolak’s call:
- When discussing how Ninkovich has slimmed down since retiring, Zolak impetuously offered, “He’s off the juice,” before quickly following up with, “I’m kidding.”
- Following Bill Belichick’s failed challenge of a fumble (the Patriots weren’t allowed to challenge because the call on the field was forward progress), Zolak dispensed with partiality by simply stating, “That’s horrible!”
- Answering a fan question about why the Patriots’ logo wasn’t painted into midfield, he correctly theorized that it was because the New England Revolution have a home game on Saturday.
- Having apparently commandeered a telestrator, Zolak humorously drew outlines of Patriots Football Weekly analysts as he interviewed them with Socci.
- When discussion strayed to Gillette Stadium concerts, Zolak recounted the time he ended up in a mosh pit at a Metallica concert with Ninkovich. According to Zolak, Ninkovich “de-cleated” a fellow mosher (Ninkovich quickly added that it had all been in good fun).
- Upon hearing a TV segment in which it was revealed that first-year receiver Cordarrelle Patterson’s favorite restaurant is Applebee’s, Zolak reinforced the notion, asserting, “[I] love Applebee’s.” He also reminded the audience that Applebee’s was “Ricky Bobby’s favorite restaurant.”
- As the crowd grew slightly restless in the second half, a wave broke out at Gillette Stadium. Zolak told TV watchers, “We’ve got the wave going here. One of the most annoying things in sports.”
- He instantly followed his initial wave comments by adding, “If I was here with my kids, I’d probably be doing the wave.”
- Shortly after explaining a scenario where he might do the wave, Zolak and Socci did the wave in the press box.
- As undrafted rookie Ralph Webb scored his second touchdown of the night, Zolak posited that, “I like this Webb kid. He reminds me a little bit of Dion Lewis.”
Zolak, Socci and Ninkovich will continue to broadcast Patriots preseason games for the duration of the four-game schedule.