When Gavin, Gunnar and Gage Gundy found out their old man was headed to Bristol, Conn., for a two-day ESPN adventure, the boys, ages 12, 7 and 4, got interested and fast.
The Gundy boys, like most males under the age of 60 in America, are fascinated with the Mother Ship, as expatriate Dan Patrick calls ESPN. The Gundys like the SportsCenter commercials. Who doesn’t? Their favorite is when the Pittsburgh Penguin and the New Jersey Devil take turns adjusting the ESPN thermostat. Alas, Mike Gundy, while summoned to Connecticut to magnify the arrival of Oklahoma State football, was not asked to film the spoofs that have featured personalities from Roger Clemens to Richard Simmons. Glaring omission on ESPN’s part. The scripts would have come easy with Gundy. Gundy and SportsCenter anchor John Anderson sharing hair gel tips in the men’s room. Stuart Scott launching a tirade at co-workers, with Gundy walking by shaking his head. Stone-faced Pistol Pete escorting Gundy from an interview with Scott Van Pelt. Oh, well. Even without the comedy, Gundy’s odyssey through the ESPN compound, with interviews on a variety of stages, was a sign of respect for Cowboy football. ESPN is the new Eastern press. Time was, the New York newspapers set the American sports agenda. When Grantland Rice or Red Smith left the Northeast corridor for a campus trip to Oklahoma or Texas or Alabama, it signaled to their destination that the nation was paying attention. ESPN now carries that mantle. "With the younger generation, for sure,” Gundy said. "I don’t know if you can put a price on the marketability.