You likely remember the threatening voicemail John Dennis left for Ryen Russillo back in 2005. It still gets referenced on WEEI from time-to-time, and people bring it up to Dennis occasionally on Twitter. It seemed to been put on the back burner after Russillo gained a national name for himself working alongside Scott Van Pelt on ESPN Radio.

Until today.

Around mid-day today, Russillo tweeted the following (All Russillo’s tweets on this matter have since been removed.)

@ryenarussillo Always know, that when you looked in my eyes, you wanted nothing to do with me,you are a liar, and a fake tough guy @JohnDennisWEEI

That was followed by this: [blackbirdpie id=”165918998570082304″]

To which Russillo responded:

@ryenarussillo @JohnDennisWEEI That’s one version, why didn’t you follow through on your promise? You threatened me, had me fired and then backed down.

Russillo is referencing when he was hired to join the Patriots radio network pre and post-game shows, and then was abruptly let go, without explanation.

Dennis responded: [blackbirdpie id=”165945895303655424″]

SVP = Scott Van Pelt. Dennis is saying that Russillo’s co-host apologized for him, and said Russillo was out of line.

There was a final response from Russillo:

@ryenarussillo @JohnDennisWEEI You call me again, or we can get in a ring for charity. You in?

And nothing further from Dennis. Probably wise on his part. Why extend this out any further?

As you expect, BarStoolSports, who was involved from the beginning, is all over this: Ryen Russillo Vs. John Dennis Round II….Ding, Ding, Ding! 

A couple of the major sports blogs have latched onto this story:

ESPN’s Ryen Russillo and WEEI’s John Dennis Nearly Got in a Fight at the ESPN Super Bowl Party – From

John Dennis Says ESPN’s Ryen Russillo Is A “Stumbling Drunk Alcoholic” – From

Here’s an account from David Scott back in 2005, where he calls the original episode a “transparent attempt to gain attention on the part of Russillo.

However this ends up, it was a nice diversion the night before the Super Bowl.

18 thoughts on “Ryen Russillo, John Dennis Light Up Super Bowl Weekend With Another War of Words

  1. Timothy Burke at Deadspin has a reader stating that a fight did happen at 2:00am. I wonder if there is any confirmation.


  2. Seeing two sports media hacks get into it this way reminds all of us of how limp-wristed this cabal of people are.


  3. One of the few things mandb97 and I completely disagree on is the "talent" of Russillo. I have never understood why people in this market latched on to him other than the fact that they have such dislike (hatred?) for Dennis that they inflate Russillo's worth. *I am not saying that is mandb97's position…I think he is more thoughtful than that…but others I am not so sure about. I always thought the original incident with Dennis' daughter was contrived and dumb, while this seems like another similar action on Russillo's part. The guy is a tool. I don't think he is very good on the radio and obviously he has issues off it.


    1. Late we'll agree to disagree on Russillo's talent. I think we can agree that this was a dumb move by Russillo. The voicemail message happened seven years ago. It is time to let it go. There is no question the incident sidetracked his career but Russillo now has a stable position with what I have to believe is pretty good pay. My guess is the mothership is not going to be pleased with this incident and he might be disciplined.


      1. I like SVP and Ryen. However, on this, for those tweets, the guy can clearly lose his superior position in life @ ESPN. You'd basically dump your career at ESPN for some guy who is clearly past his prime and is washed up in the Boston market? Really?

        Honestly, hope all that ESPN does is handle it internally. Seriously. SVP's stock is skyhigh and yours only rises with that because of his profile.

        Agree with mandb here. You need to move on.


  4. Wikipedia says Dennis is originally from Pittsburgh; sounds that way, as the original voicemail had him using the Yinzer slang term "jagoff" ,meaning "jerk".


  5. The though of John Dennis fighting somebody is laughable. Steve Buckley could scratch Dino's eyes out with one hand, while the other hand clutches his purse.


  6. Because of Dennis's arrogance, I tend to lean toward anybody else in disagreements with him. I don't think Russillo had a ton of charisma, but for his radio gig, the guy works his butt off. He is very prepared and goes the extra mile. As far as personal problems, I refuse to base any personal criticisms against Russillo on Dennis's word alone. I don't think much of Russillo, but I think Dennis is the tool.


    1. As stated above and agreeing with most. I'm not a John Dennis fan at all but Ryen is just being stupid here. As I stated above, Ryen has moved his stock up in life and is at ESPN, where he can easily be forever. Not only that, he works with SVP, who is as high profile as ESPN personalities can get. SVP is apparently being saught after by CBSSports, which only does more to boost Ryen because he works with him.

      To give ALL of that away over some guy in the Boston market who clearly has plateaued already and probably would not be rehired or missed if his role was diminished or removed?

      That's sad.


        1. Thanks for the correction. I thought it was CBS. I recall reading his contract is up in April and he was being persued by one of the networks looking to poach ESPN talent. I think I said CBS because Jim Rome just went there.


  7. A couple of quick media takes:

    1) Great job by Bruce and bsmfan who have given us plenty of articles and posts during the Super Bowl fortnight. Thanks guys.

    2) Another media person who caused an uproar is the insufferable Darren Rovell of CNBC and NBC Sports Network. Rovell's sports business show had a staggeringly low 8,000 viewers for it's last show went to the Playboy Party last night and complained that the Playmates at the event were not hot. Yup he said that. Twitter has been clobbering him. Rovell a few years ago said that Olympic silver medalist, Meb Keflezghi was tough to root for because he was not born in the U.S.. Keflezghi came to the U.S. at age 12 from war torn Eritrea. All his training was done here in the U.S. but that doesn't count. Rovell also wrote a pretentious 100 rules for using Twitter that he has broken numerous times. Rovell needs to go away.

    3) As Bruce has mentioned, many of the local media are now picking the Patriots. This is done for one reason. If the Patriots win they can say, "see we picked them." If they lose the media will go on forever telling us all the things they could see happening. They are such frauds.


    1. mandb,

      Thanks. I love the site and there is a great community here. We always seem to have some great discussions and they're healthy debates unlike many forums.

      Saw the Rovell stuff as well. I'm normally a fan of him but lately some of the stuff that @richarddeitsch and others have pointed out with his "ego via Twitter" are interesting. Sadly, in the web/tech world (mine), many people have this. I'm in my 30s, so I will try to not date myself here, but it maybe is a sign of the times. At many shows, meetups and other places, you'll meet someone who thinks they're "God" because they have 10k followers on twitter. One thing to also point out: Rovell's show on Versus only got about 25k viewers last I checked. That's not good. While NBCSports (Versus) is struggling with viewers, 25k puts him below what "Daily Line" did that was killed within 8 months. Those numbers only come out via someone like @tvsportsratings who gets the secondary information but you won't hear that by Rovell who usually tweets viewership stuff.

      Last great article:

      Go Pats!


  8. Well, it's that time. Here is my prediction for the game. This has been without a doubt the toughest game to figure out that I can remember. So I am going to look at just two basic items, the line of scrimmage and turnovers.

    The Giants defensive line is not only brilliant but it is deep. We know all about the top players like Jason Pierre Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora, but tackles like Linvall Joseph, Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, and Jimmy Kennedy are terrific players. Dave Tollefson is also good as a backup DE. Speed is of the essence for them. If they get pressure on Brady while taking away the first option on a play then it will be difficult for the second option to be used and impossible for the third.

    The Patriots Offensive line is very underrated. Brian Waters has been spectacular this season. He has been arguably the best player on the line. Matt Light has also been terrific this season protecting Brady. The one question is how will Nate Solder and a banged up Sebastien Vollmer do against Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora. Dan Connelly and Ryan Wendell have been very stable at center. We will see how healthy Rob Gronkowski is. If healthy enough he will be of great help to the right side.

    The Giants offensive line is not great but it is not horrible either. The interior line which includes center, David Bass, and guards, Chris Snee and David Diehl are very good and will be a formidable challenge for Vincent Wilfork and Kyle Love. The tackles of Kareem McKenzie and Will Beatty are pretty good but can be beaten. If Marc Anderson is ready to go he could have a big game.

    For the past two and half games the Patriots defensive line has been as good as any team in the NFL. Vincent Wolfork has been brilliant. He has been crushing whoever his opponent on offense is. Kyle Love, Brandon Deadrick and Shaun Ellis have also been superb. Marc Anderson has picked up where Andre Carter left off. I expect more pressure on Manning then some people think.

    2) Turnovers – In the last five games the New England Patriots have turned the ball over six times. Three were against Baltimore. The New York Giants have turned the ball over only twice. New England lost the turnover battle to Baltimore 3-1 but still won the game. That is an anomaly and I find it hard to believe that the Patriots will be able to get away with this again.

    So here is the pick. I believe that the Giants will be able to control the line of scrimmage a little bit better than the Patriots, especially the Giants defense. I believe that the Patriots will turn the ball over a couple of times. Final Score NYG 27 NE 23. I have never wanted to be more wrong than I do now.


  9. What a couple of Nancys. Two twits, with nary a brain cell between them. I could wipe the floor with both of them, and I'm 80.


  10. Well that was a tough one. I know I am going to be in the minority here but I do not blame Wes Welker for not making that catch with about four minutes. Yes, he can make that catch, but there was no need for Brady to make him an acrobat. Welker was open by ten yards the throw should have been right on the numbers. It was a bad throw. Brady then followed it up with a throw behind Deion Branch. For the Giants, Mario Manningham is getting all the credit on the last drive catch but Eli Manning's throw was as good a throw as you will ever see. In the end, Eli Manning was just better then Tom Brady and he was a lot better than Brady in the forth quarter which is terribly disappointing.

    The Giants do get credit for making some coverage adjustments in the third. The rush for the Giants was still taking time to get to Brady but because there was nobody to throw to, Brady started to get hit. Rob Gronkowski's injury was huge factor that allowed for the Giants to adjust on their coverage.The Patriots defense was terrific until the final drive. I do not put the blame on them, but again they did look tired which has been a common thread in the previous four Super Bowls.

    Giants were also the benefactors of three huge breaks. The Giants fumbled three times. The Patriots were called for too many men on the field on the first on and the Giants recovered the other two. Oh what could have been.

    At the end of the regular season the Patriots had been getting off to slow starts. It looked like the team had fixed it in the playoffs, with good starts against Denver and Baltimore. It was very disappointing to see the Patriots get down 9-0 with only one snap of the ball. I also think the defense being out for 11:28 of the first quarter may have come back to haunt them in the end.

    Two very painful items:
    1) Chris Canty who did a lot of yapping said the Patriots would be held 17 points. He is either a relative or Nostradamus or a douche. I'll take the latter.

    2) It was unfortunate to see Rob Gronkowski at no more than 60%. What he could have been at just 90%. As I mentioned above part of the Giants adjustments were to lay off Gronkowski because he was simply not a threat.


    1. mandb…you are better than me. I needed 3 hours of mindless TV (got caught up on Showtime's Homeland) to calm me down enough to try and lay restlessly in bed without waking my wife. I kept going back and forth between.."it was a good season, no one expected much of this team, etc" to "A f*&^%ing safety…seriously? Didn't they learn in the Baltimore game about going deep like that or should we expect more of that with McDaniels back? When Ocho caught the 18 yard pass why didn't they go back there because he had energy and a bounce in his step? 3 fumbles…seriously and they recovered none? 5 dropped passes on the last 2 drives…ugh. They better draft some defense?…." and on and on and on.

      I avoided all radio this morning. I doubt anyone is saying anything that will help me. I will probably stay away till thursday and hopefully by then there will be truck leaving talk…pitchers and catchers report in about 2 weeks. The funny thing is had this been prior to 2001 this would have been lauded as a great season. As it was no one I knew expected them to get this far… but once you do the expectation is success. I was having a chat with a friend of mine who was all over Brady…I asked this friend what other QB has won 5 AFC championship games? At some level it just gets so silly.


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