Patrick is a Steely Dan


Dan Patrick turns 59 today. Yes, the bad news is the big 6-0 is the next stop. The good news, however, is that in another six months he can begin withdrawing money from his 401k plan, without penalty.

In case you were wondering, the headline is a compliment. Fans of Steely Dan refer to them simply as The Dan. They are simply the smartest and coolest band ever, a very apropos counterpoint to the other Dan. (And, let’s face it: any band featuring songs with lyrics about the Crimson Tide and Jungle Jim Loscutoff “crashing the backboard” would get a nod of approval from Patrick.)

Patrick is what I want to be when I grow up–an accomplished, talented, equally irreverent and respected broadcaster, who works out of a studio in a converted space right above a Subway restaurant. (I’m currently scouting locations above Subways in MY area, but would also settle for an attic above a great LOCAL sandwich shop.)

He was the best anchor in ESPN’s illustrious history. His Sports Center tag-team anchoring with Keith Olbermann produced great nightly moments and memorable promos for the Sports Center franchise.

His combination of sports knowledge, wit, and self-deprecation eclipses anything ESPN has ever produced. Current anchors Scott Van Pelt and John Anderson are the only ones who come close.

The chief qualities separating Patrick from the Bermans and Cowherds of the broadcast sports world are his senses of teamwork and generosity, which infuse his current show. Patrick includes his staff in the banter, makes them valuable commodities, and is an equal-opportunity denigrator. When it comes to trash talking his co-workers, he dishes it out AND he can take it. You can tell the guys on his staff LOVE working with DP.

For all that (as Steely Dan sings) “they got a name for the winners in the world,” and Dan Patrick IS that name. At least for today on his birthday. Because, hey, Neil Everett’s birthday’s coming up soon.

Dave Coombs is a longtime morning radio host and Steely Dan fanatic.

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