Howie Long has barely aged over the last 30 years on TV, and his son Chris has explained the secret.
Chris Long spoke to The Post for a story about his growing media business doing his “Green Light” podcast in conjunction with the Blue Wire network, and also talked about a wide range of football topics — including his father’s miraculous ability to maintain a constant appearance. Is it witchcraft?
“I think it’s clean living,” the son said of his father. “He really lives clean. He’s not a drinker. He’s not a smoker. He’ll have a glass of wine. If he has two glasses of wine, I’ll be like, ‘Are you alright man? You getting a little tipsy?’ The only time I ever saw him drink liquor was my wedding, when he had a shot with me — and he did not look like he does that with regularity.”
Howie Long, a former Raiders great who has been an analyst for Fox Sports’ NFL studio coverage since it launched in 1994, has some more gray in his hair now than in years past, but otherwise looks nearly exactly the same as he has for decades. You could set a watch to his crew cut.
“I don’t think he’s hiding some habit,” said Chris Long. “He just looks great, and he really is a good dude.”
Below is a Q&A with Chris Long on modern NFL stories, that has been edited for clarity.
NY Post: There are so many great pass rushers in the NFL now — TJ Watt, Micah Parsons, Myles Garrett, Aaron Donald, the Bosa brothers, Trey Hendrickson, Robert Quinn, Von Miller and so on. Granted there was an extra game last year, but more pass rushers — six — got at least 16 sacks than any season since 2008. Why do the best pass rushers seem to have a bigger advantage over offensive lines these days?
Chris Long: Yeah, I can remember one year having 13 sacks and being among the top few guys in the league.
The volume of guys that are over 15 and pushing 20 now — TJ Watt tied Michael Strahan’s sack record last year with 23.5 sacks, and he missed two games.
There’s, like, an inflation of the sack because there’s so much passing.
The offensive linemen, in my opinion, you’re getting less time in camp. You’re getting less time in OTAs with the new CBA, which limits the amount of practice time you get. O-lines need a lot of time together.
The Joe Burrow group on the Bengals — everyone’s like they revamped the o-line! — he was out with an appendectomy. There’s three preseason games instead of four now. There’s less padded time. Defenses are always ahead of offenses early in the season.
But you’re right — there is just a higher clip of high volume sack guys.
Tackles are getting hurt, but I really do think there’s more young guys. When I was in the league, towards the end of my career, there was this turn to get younger guys in the building because of the CBA and veteran minimums. Now, you’re less likely to see 10-year vets who are crafty and know their stuff. Now, the depth isn’t as great.
You were teammates with Jimmy G in New England. Put yourself in his mind. The 49ers wanted to discard him. If they could’ve found someone who would’ve traded for his contract, they would have. They had moved on to Trey Lance. Now, he’s their guy. What emotions is he feeling in all this?
Motivation. Just, a lot of love from his teammates. You could see it when he came in the game. Read body language. You’re so bummed about Trey Lance because by all accounts he’s a great kid, and he was the future, even if there were going to be growing pains this season.
But it’s also a strange [happiness] — not that Trey is hurt — but oh, it’s Jimmy again. He’s a known commodity and we have a wide open window to win a Super Bowl.
They were my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and part of my thought on that was that they retained Jimmy G, so how low is the floor?
Kyle Shanahan knows the window’s wide open. He wasn’t gonna mess around this year. Trey was gonna get some time, but you saw the way those guys responded when Jimmy G came on the field. The video of the guys tapping the s–t out of his helmet, all excited to see him, dapping him up on the sideline.
This is a guy who’s got his warts for sure, and they know it, but they love it because he’s proven.
It’s ironic, that he wants to prove Kyle Shanahan wrong — by performing well for him.
Sure, but Kyle would love to be proven wrong, because that would mean winning a Super Bowl.
They’ve been to a Super Bowl and the NFC championship. He missed some throws on that stage. They were a quarter away from sweeping the Super Bowl champions last year, but Jimmy just makes too many mistakes.
If he can avoid those mistakes, he’d prove Kyle wrong, and he’d be a champion — and he’d probably be in line for a big contract.
For Jimmy, he was going to sit all year and maybe get sporadic time, or maybe have to come in late to save their season. This is going to give him time, off that shoulder surgery, to actually revive his career and give him a better market next year.
And maybe he wins a damn Super Bowl — and then what do you do?
You spent a year with Bill Belichick. Is he playing possum? His teams are always better in the second half. Going into this season, everyone is laughing at their offensive game plan with Joe Judge and Matt Patricia, who succeeded with Belichick before but are coaching a new side of the ball and are somewhat disrespected after not succeeding as head coaches, but I think Belichick has a better team than the public might believe right now.
Well, their floor is always higher because of that coaching, and the fact that they’ll always emphasize running the football.
As boring as that is in today’s NFL, and people say it’s a platitude, Bill really does believe in running the football. He’s got two good backs in Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. The wide receivers aren’t real great.
The offensive line — this is a team that had one of the great offensive line coaches in the history of the game in Dante Scarnecchia — and Scar was just a legend so you always knew that even if you didn’t have great personnel the floor of the unit is going to be quite high. They have to adjust to that.
I think the one reason it’s different this year is Judge and Patricia. I would feel a lot better if the defense had something to prove early in the season because you’ve got one of the greatest defensive minds in history [in Belichick], but when you’ve got two guys who have never coached a side of the ball, at this level, it’s tough.
And they didn’t really ingratiate themselves to the public when they were leaders and in front of the microphone.
[Laughs], Yeah, and I think nobody really likes head coaches from the Belichick coaching tree. We’ve seen the movie enough times…
That’s why Brian Daboll’s so interesting. You can see he’s a little different. He’s awesome. They all try to be different in their own way, but it’s hard to stray too far from what you know.
You mentioned that the New England skill position players aren’t great. I think that the public and media, and I’m including myself, underrate offensive and defensive line play; it’s not something we can observe because we’re following the ball. Wide receivers, therefore, get overrated in terms of their importance. The lines in New England are always going to be robust, and this makes the team better than perceived.
I do think people follow the ball. If I’m in a rush and I want to get through all 16 games from an NFL Sunday, I’ll look at the matchups I want to see up front, but I’ll also follow the ball — because you have to know what happened in the game.
Why did it happen is the next level of actually understanding what’s going on. And the announcers are a huge culprit here. There’s no gateway to understanding what’s happening up front in real-time. The offensive line metrics, if you want to go to PFF, or win rate, you can digest some basic metrics to make you kind of understand line play.
But unless you know what you’re looking at, a guy can have a three-sack game, and what does that mean? Maybe he got lucky three times. Those numbers are not all the same, and there’s context to them.
The same thing goes for receivers. A guy could have a boat load of catches, but they might all be easy, uncontested catches in an offense that’s conducive to picking up yards. I just think people struggle to pick up the context around line play. Forget it, they’re not even looking at it most Sundays. The announcers aren’t telling you, because they get some things wrong.
They know if someone gets pancaked by a block, or if a pass rusher beats their man, because it affects the ball. But all 10+ of those parts on the offensive and defensive lines blended together, nobody can follow it in real time.
You gotta go back. That’s the bottom line. I rewind the game all night. It drives my wife crazy in real-time. I’ll do that if we have to do a hit right after a game, because I gotta watch it in real-time.
Otherwise, on Monday’s show, it’s what happened. Then, over the next two days, I work to figure out why it happened with the All-22. It’s impossible to fully ascertain in 16 games for Monday morning.