With the football season well under wraps and the Denver Broncos taking home one of the most prizedÂ trophies in the NFL, Verge was delighted to speak with Sky Sportsâ€™ Kevin Cadle. With having an extraordinary and legendary career as a basketball coach up until his retirement from coaching, Cadle has been a figurehead for the NFL and MBA in the UK for many years.
Growing up in Buffalo, New York and being a solid Buffalo Bills fan from a budding age, Cadle has always had a passion for sports and it shows strongly in his career. As aÂ face of the NFL, Cadle actually got his start in basketball and continued that passion for basketball intoÂ coaching, accumulating 30 titles over his career, making him the most successful basketball coach in UK history.
From growing up in New York State, attending Penn State whilst playing basketball and a successful coaching careerÂ in the UK, Cadle has had a phenomenal career and life path choices, so I couldn’t help but ask, as an American football fan, about one of my favorite teams in this casual conversation.
Verge: I have to ask because I grew up in Wisconsin – the Green Bay Packers – what are your thoughts on them from this season and Aaron Rodgers?
Cadle: The Pack will be back, the front office is one of the best in the league and when you have a QB like Aaron Rodgers the probability for success is always high. The running back Eddie Lacy has to get his game back and leave those pizzas alone this off season and with JORDY Nelson returning, the passing game should be back on track. The big IF is still going to be the play of the offensive line and if they can solidify that group. Expect the Pack to look to get younger on the defensive side of the ball through the draft.
Verge: You grew up in Buffalo, New York and as an avid Buffalo Bills fan – how did you find your way to presenting American Football in the UK?
Cadle:Â I came to the UK to coach basketball and had a pretty successful career. While I was coaching, I first started as an analyst on games played here on TV and then Satellite Television (Sky Sports) arrived and I was an analyst for the NBA games. After my first season doing the NBA the presenter left and they named me as the host of the show, that was in 1993. Sky Sports then started covering NFL Europe and while still coaching I was the host on that which fit, as it started as the basketball season was ending. I retired from coaching in 1998 and started full time at Sky as the presenter of American sports which was NFL, NBA and NFL Europe.
Verge: Have you seen interest in American Football grow over the span of your career in the UK and how so?
Cadle:Â I have seen the game grow tenfold! The biggest jump was in the attendance at live games. In NFL Europe if they got 8,000 bums on seats it was a great day, but with the NFL bringing real games with real stars, Wembley stadium would exceed 80,000 fans on every occasion. The television ratings started to soar as well. Alistair Kirkwood, who is the top man in the NFL UK office came on the show and said that the NFL ‘has gone from the 17th most watched sport in Britain to number 6’. I run into numerous people in the areas that I visit that are big fans of the game. The NFL experience at the games, pre-game and when they have taken over Regents Street – the main shopping street in London – before games has touched so many people here. It will continue to grow and with the possibility of getting a team sometime in the future it’s only going to get better.
Verge: With the possibility of a permanent UK-based franchise, how would it integrate, schedule wise, into the NFL season as well as the other logistics that go along with a franchise of this size?
Cadle: There are no concrete articles stating that the league is in the process of putting a team in London, just a lot of hearsay! But there have been no firm denials and the logistics are continually being worked on. It’s rumoured and I also think in next 5-7 years there could be an International franchise. The NFL is always looking for that next financial avenue and going global is it.
The questions of where would the team be based? Where would the players live? Salary cap rules, London is expensive tax wise say to Texas? The Families? The questions are numerous but I don’t know if the answers are ‘numerous’ at this stage.
Verge: Iâ€™ve read that you attended Penn State – could you go into detail?
Cadle:Â I attended Penn State on a basketball scholarship, it was during the time where a lot of black students were attending predominantly white universities and we were the first in our families to graduate from university. It was a great experience but it had its growing pains. It allowed me to develop great friends for life, understand what it was going to take to succeed in this world and I got the basketball knowledge I needed for my first career move, which was as firstly a grad assistant at Texas A&I University and then a job at Angelo State University also in Texas before embarking on my career here in the UK.
Verge: You have had quite the career and there are bound to be some memorable moments. Any moments that jump out to you?
Cadle:Â When it comes to basketball it would be winning my first trophy – Scottish Cup in my first season and my last trophy in my next to last season as a coach. I cannot forget the great trips around Europe that as a kid I could only dream of, as my teams were successful we faced the top teams from all the other countries in Europe and as last count the only country that I had not been to was Romania. Going to Russia was the biggest because facing them, I still possessed the American attitude of we can’t let these Russians beat us! I was a Cold War baby.
In television there are so many talented people I got to interview or sit with in the studio from Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck, Tim Duncan, The Refrigerator Perry, footballers Steve McManaman, John Barnes, Boxer Gary Mason, actors Antonio Huggy Bear Fargas and Don Johnson have also been guests on the show.
Verge: Do you have any rituals before going on air?
Cadle:Â My main ritual before going on air is PREPARATION, to be prepared is the key no matter what the occasion.
Verge: Throughout your career, what has been the most satisfying experience or experiences you have had?
Cadle:Â Seeing my former players growing up to become great people stands out, as well as coaching the only British teams to qualify for the European Champions league.
To get a more in-depth view,Â check out Kevin Cadle’s autobiography, The Cadle Will RockÂ by Paul New with Kevin Cadle.
The Cadle Will Rock is the inside story of Kevin Cadle’s two amazing careers, firstly his legendary exploits as a basketball coach in the UK and then his career as a presenter with Sky Sports.
It tells of his exploits winning countless trophies (and smashing more than one of them); painting the town red in Moscow in the company of the KGB; dodging bombs and bullets in the Golan Heights; and his encounters with some of the very biggest names in the worlds of sport and showbiz such as Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and William ‘Refrigerator’ Perry. Not forgetting Stevie Wonder…
The book is now available to download from Amazon in the UK -Â click here.
In the US and other countries -Â click here.
Printed format can be ordered via Kevin’s website www.kevincadle.com