Monday, July 7, 2008

Body Language Expert Analyzes Mike and the Mad Dog


We here at the Mikeandthemadblog are very concerned about the future of the Mike and the Mad Dog show. So with the end possibly upon us, we have had a hard time believing that this 20 year marriage could soon be over due to the likes of arguments over the new Yankee Stadium, Don Nelson, Yunel Escobar, etc. We wanted to completely understand the psyche of Francesa and Russo. We wanted to know how to fully read their on-air arguments. We wanted answers. So we reached out to Body Language Expert Patti Wood (, who is a renowned expert in the field of studying Body Language. She has been on hundreds of TV shows, and quoted in over 1,000 publications. Her work has been featured in US Magazine, The New York Times and the Washington Post had this to say about her:

"Patti Wood is the Babe Ruth of body language experts, the gold standard of body language experts, the capo di tutti capi of body language experts."

So who better to analyze Mike and Chris than the person who gets called upon by US Magazine to decipher the body language of Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo?

We sent Patti two video segments of recent Mike and the Mad Dog shows to study. One clip is the heated exchange between Mike and Chris over the new Yankee Stadium and the other clip is the awkward moment where Mike walks out of studio while Russo's appearance on Letterman is being played on the show. We asked Patti for her expertise to tell us what she can make of the body language between Chris and Mike in both of these clips and what that might mean for their future together.

Here are the two videos we sent her, with her expert insights below:



After watching both videos, we asked Patti a series of questions about the clips and what she was able to deduct from both Mike and Chris' body language:

1. What do you see from the way both men gesture with one another in both of these videos?

As they first talk about the Fenway and Camden stadiums, Mike begins a symbolic sword play with his gestures. He strikes the first blow with a dismissive hand flip that indicates him so superior to Russo that he can flick him away like a little pesky fly and says do you like Fenway better than Camden? The dismissive backward hand flip is a slap in the face to Mad Dog - indicating nonverbally that 'I disrespect your opinion' and you are going to look stupid in your response to that question. Mike follows that with several outward sweeping sword moves to Mad Dog. The sword fight then begins in earnest with Mad Dog first putting up a very brief peace symbol, then a pointed finger to call, “time out wait a minute” symbolically, then an ok sign trying to be peaceful in responding to Mike's attacks - but then Russo’s voice gets very angry (that is nonverbal paralanguage), you can hear it get louder and rougher like a mad little kid as his emotions are pushed to the limit. Interestingly Mike's voice doesn’t escalate nearly as much...his paralanguage indicates he is haughtily superior over Russo... Mad Dog continues to get Mike's sword thrusts and sword sweeps to his body and Mad Dog continues to respond defensively putting up the ok sign and the protective palm and then near the end, he is banging both his hands and puts them into a fist symbolically pluming Mike, and Mike slaps his palm to slap Mad Dog as if Russo was a smart aleck child and Mike was the parent.

2. They are arguing with one another in the clip about Yankee Stadium, yet it seems like they don't make a lot of eye contact. What do you make of that?

The lack of eye contact is just radio eye contact. They are focused on speaking to the audience and the mics. The rest of their bodies are interacting with each other. If they made eye contact they would have escalated to a real fist fight. Eye contact is the first move towards a fight!

3. In the link about David Letterman, Mike gets up and walks out of the segment early. What is your take on that?

First notice how excited Mad Dog gets when he knows what is being played - his hand flies in the air and he pushes his chair back across the booth as he yells "yes" in huge excitement.. If you watched Mike's face very carefully, he stays very still and you will see he realizes he is about to be set up and embarrassed on the show and he says something and looks down in disgust. He stays and takes a sip of water ( your mouth gets dry when you are nervous or under stress) and he swings the mic when he hears the dig and and very slowly takes his earpiece off and leaves. The listeners who didn’t see him leave would not know just how mad he is. The leaving was about being set up publicly and humiliated by the producer. It was a slam on him.

4. Many people mentioned this Letterman episode, where Chris does not defend Mike, as a sign of the demise. What can you read from Mike's body language as they listened to the Letterman clip on air?

I know Mike is mad at him as he makes that comment we can‘t hear to him before he makes the other comments and gets up and leaves. His anger was directed specifically towards Russo. Russo was actually trying to say he didn’t hear the Mike dig when he was on the show. But what Russo doesn’t do is defend mike then and there and say 'Hey I have a great partner and you listeners know that I love him'... You can see that Mike waits for that and doesn’t get it, then he leaves.

5. Based on everything that you have seen from these 2 videos, what does the body language of these two men tell you about their possible future together?

I think Mike is over it (the show). His ego is too big. And Russo is just clueless to how much it affects Mike.

A special thanks to Patti Wood for offering us her expert analysis. For more information about Patti Wood, please visit


KBilly said...

Man, I wish I could be "over" a job that pays $1.4 mil for a five-hour daily shift, let's me come to work at Noon and mandate that I watch every sporting event possible. Oh, and don't forget the perks like free Super Bowl trips and use of the press box mens room for baseball games.

Johnny said...

After 19 years, I think both are tired of each other, the show and the 5.5 hours each day, when all the others talk for three, maybe four hours per day. They have slipped in quality, but it's still easily the best sports talk show around, maybe because most of the others are so awful. I heard Andy Gresh say on ESPN Radio, "that I can't wait for college football to start."

Translation: I don't know jack about other sports except football.

MMD are not immune. Over the years, their knowledge of hockey has gone from knowing very little to knowing nothing at all; the basketball games they watch have diminished to next-to-nothing as Mike picks the Spurs and Devils to win each year.

But, with kids, you have to prioritize which sports you will watch. Before marriage and kids, I watched everything, now I have to pick and choose. But, the problem with MMD is that not only do they not watch, they don't wake up the next morning and get caught up on what they missed. They watch ESPN and ESPNNews, instead of going to the internet to check what they missed. That's sloppy.

In 1989, when the show started, the Yankees were awful, the Mets, after losing the 1988 NLCS were in decline, and they had to follow other teams and other sports. Since 1995, it has been a cakewalk for them with the Yankees making that run and making the playoffs every single year and doing it in a baseball town.

I can see both moving to areas of expertise or specialization. Mike likes the NFL, loves the NFL Now. If he isn't negotiating with the NFL Network, I'd be shocked, or CBS/Westwood One or even satellite radio to do an NFL show.

I could see the Dog jumping to the new Baseball Network, that is scheduled to debut in 2009, and even doing something with the Tennis Channel. That way, they can watch what they want to watch and be done with it.

If anybody stays at WFAN, it would be Dog, who loves sports so much, he might be lost without his 5.5 hour outlet each weekday. I mean the guy makes millions, and would rather come in and talks sports on Saturday morning than take Timmy to a soccer game.

SAYsomethinFUNNYmike said...

im feelin goofy..did my post go through..or did i just make this screen name for nothin..i heard this website on the show..but will my post be seen.. that is the question...say somethin funny mike..heh-heh-heh-heh

Anonymous said...

Great post guys. Best I've seen on this site.

Blowhard Egotistical Francessa said...

Mike treats everyone like that. He can never be wrong. He doesn't understand the difference between facts and opinions. Thing is, Mike thinks his OPINIONS are FACTS, and diminishes anyone who doesn't agree with him. He is a fat POS who will be 70 years old when his kids graduate high school, if he even makes it that long.

The Sports Hernia said...

I'm sure big Mike just had to fart there. If anything, I find him walking out to be a polite move.

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The body language is very clear, We can speak without words, we can explain everything. This is very impressive.

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I really enjoyed those videos!