Since launching his career as a journalist three decades ago, Michael Silver has demonstrated an uncanny ability to connect with the sports world’s most compelling figures—and to get them to open up about their most cherished convictions and experiences. From Dennis Rodman to Anna Kournikova, from Joe Montana to Marshawn Lynch, Silver’s interview subjects have consistently delivered, and no one in his field has a more diverse and impressive array of relationships.
Now the award-winning writer (Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports, GQ) and television personality (NFL Network) is set to launch a podcast which will bring these interactions to life on a recurring basis. At a time when the intersection of sports, politics, pop culture and social media has never been more crowded, Pass It Down will take listeners on an entertaining and enlightening joyride.
Riding shotgun will be Silver’s daughter, Natalie, a UC Berkeley graduate (like her parents) who has experience in the realms of music, national politics, journalism, comedy, film, social media and college-football recruiting. Natalie’s ability to filter her father’s exploits through a contemporary prism while processing pro football and other mainstream sports through a fresh set of eyes will lend a multi-generational layer to the conversations and infuse them with a tinge of humor.
Ep. 50: Don’t Play on the Freeway
Fresh off his first significant work trip in 14 months--to Denver, where he covered the Broncos’ draft (and got caught smack-dab in the middle of the Aaron Rodgers drama and the 49ers’ pre-draft hysteria)--Mike has no time for wannabe media flexers, Kyle Shanahan’s secrecy, people who value winning over friendship, perpetually working from home and a whole lot of other things. With Natalie drawing him out on a multitude of topics, including Matt LaFleur’s predicament, the Niners’ attempt to trade for Rodgers before drafting Trey Lance and John Elway’s thoughts on the Rodgers/Packers feud, Mike empties the notebook, unloads the chamber and issues a warning to all those who might be shook by his return to in-person journalism.
Ep. 49: Talking Bills and Tennis with Kim and Jessica Pegula
While filming an NFL Network feature on Bills owner Kim Pegula in 2016 (and gathering information for an accompanying NFL.com profile, “The Queen of Buffalo”), Mike got to know her daughter Jessie, who at the time was an injury-plagued tennis player battling to stay on the satellite circuit. She’s now the world’s 33rd-ranked player and is coming off a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open which coincided with the Bills’ first AFC championship game appearance in 26 years. We hear about Jessie’s journey from five-year-old ball-smacker to her recent run of excellence, learn how intimidating it is to face Serena Williams in a final and break down the grunting that occurs on the tour (and in friendly matchups with mom). We also get into star quarterback Josh Allen’s impending contract extension and discover which member of the Pegula family “always believed in” him, even during his early struggles. And everyone makes fun of Mike and his frequent verbal sparring partner in political discussions: Jessie’s father, Terry.
Ep. 48: Thomas Dimitroff (Part 2)
After an unconventional scouting career during which he camped in a VW Van between college visits--and a Skype interview for the Atlanta Falcons’ vacant general manager job in 2008 that reflected his underdog status--Thomas Dimitroff surprisingly landed the gig and ascended to the upper echelon of his profession. During his 13-season tenure, which ended with his firing last fall, Dimitroff built the Falcons into a consistent winner and took the franchise to the verge of its first championship before an unfathomable Tom Brady comeback spoiled Atlanta’s Super Bowl LI experience. In Part 2 of a wide-ranging conversation with a journalist he knows well (and that journalist’s counterculture-embracing daughter), Dimitroff describes an epic (and possibly wine-fueled) zip-line mishap that took place a few nights before Super Bowl LIII, tells us who the 49ers and Falcons might draft (respectively) with the third and fourth picks of the 2021 draft and reveals which two personnel executives damaged his property on their way out of his driveway.
Ep. 47: Thomas Dimitroff (Part 1)
After an unconventional scouting career during which he camped in a VW Van between college visits--and a Skype interview for the Atlanta Falcons’ vacant general manager job in 2008 that reflected his underdog status--Thomas Dimitroff surprisingly landed the gig and ascended to the upper echelon of his profession. During his 13-season tenure, which ended with his firing last fall, Dimitroff built the Falcons into a consistent winner and took the franchise to the verge of its first championship before an unfathomable Tom Brady comeback spoiled Atlanta’s Super Bowl LI experience. In a wide-ranging conversation with a journalist he knows well (and that journalist’s counterculture-embracing daughter), Dimitroff takes us on a journey that includes a Hole In One at Augusta National, an epic (and possibly wine-fueled) zip-line mishap and the infamous “counseling sessions” that bridged the relationship divide between Kyle Shanahan and Matt Ryan.
Ep. 46: The Athletic’s Vic Tafur Talks Raiders & Other Mayhem
Shortly before the start of his freshman year at UC Berkeley, Vic Tafur showed up for a meeting hosted by then-Daily Cal sports editor Mike Silver and volunteered to do a wheelchair-tennis story. Thirty-four years and many beers later, Tafur has survived his friendship with Silver to become a highly accomplished journalist, providing cutting-edge coverage of the Las Vegas Raiders and all things NFL for The Athletic. From Jon Gruden’s Plan C to Derek Carr’s future to Nelson Agholor’s late-season tirade, Tafur takes us on an all-access tour of Raider Nation--and cracks us up with soccer-dad stories, Twitter takedowns and an unvarnished explanation of why he can’t cheer the success of Cal’s Pac-12 rivals.
Ep. 45: Hue Jackson: The Sangria Chronicles
A few days after being fired as the Cleveland Browns’ head coach in 2018, Hue Jackson posed with Mike Silver and two oversized sangria-filled glasses as a satirical statement on a disastrous professional endeavor. In this wide-ranging conversation about his otherwise impressive coaching career, Jackson talks about why he was destined to fail from the start in Cleveland, why he believes ownership viewed him as disposable and what he hopes to gain by speaking out. We also learn who helped stage the infamous sangria photo (hint: she co-hosts a podcast), how Jackson finally convinced Browns management to draft Myles Garrett and what he thinks of the Bears’ signing of Andy Dalton.
Natalie and Mike have a phenomenal chemistry and a great podcast
If you want to listen to a guy who thinks he’s a lot cooler and more important than he really is, then Mike Silver is your guy. Based off how he talks about himself, you’d think he was Schefter on steroids. Guy repeatedly says he’s a “G”, but is as tough as Charmin. If he doesn’t agree with you he’ll just block you. Don’t give this nerd any attention
Thumbs down for Silver
Mike Silver is a toxic, rude, arrogant personality with thin skin. He's bad at his job and spends most of his time arguing with and attacking anyone on social media who disagrees with him. I suspect his unpleasantness stems from feeling insecure about how frequently he's flat out wrong in the bogus stories he tries to run. It's embarrassing to watch.