Christian Fauria played tight end for Colorado from 1990 to 1994. He was an instrumental part of the Buffs’ football team during the era in which they captured a National Championship in 1990 and won three consecutive Big Eight titles from 1991 to 1993. He was drafted in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He also played for the New England Patriots, where he won two Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005 and later played for the Carolina Panthers and the Washington Redskins. He retired in 2007 and now works as a broadcaster in Boston.
Justin Guerriero: So you are a host of “Middays with Merloni, Fauria and Benz” with Lou Merloni, the former Red Sox player and Tim Benz, a former host of a very popular morning show in Pittsburgh, on Boston’s WEEI channel 93.7. I understand you did some previous work for ESPN. How’d you get into broadcasting?
Christian Fauria: I was basically dipping my toes in the water. I had done some stuff with local news channels doing sports extras when I was a player. When I was done, I had no desire to get into it, but I was just kind of bored. Then I realized that you could actually make a career out of it and I started doing more. I was a regular on Comcast and what used to be called Versus, doing their college halftime shows. But I didn’t have a clue of what I was doing, I hadn’t watched a college football game in like 15 years, so I was a complete novice. From there it led me to ESPN where I worked for three years. That’s where you really have to take it seriously- you realize they’re paying you a lot of money and you have to do your research and talk to a lot of different people. From there I went to CBS Sports Network in New York City. So I got into broadcasting not by accident, but, I guess, by curiosity.
JG: How are you enjoying the new Midday show with Merloni and Benz?
Fauria: Broadcasting is just a profession that I never thought I’d get into. I had no desire to talk sports for four hours every day, let alone hockey and baseball and basketball. But it’s pretty fun because our show is not all sports all the time. But I love it. I love going to work and hanging out with the guys. The show is about eight months in, but so far so good.
JG: While you were at CU, you were an instrumental part of the powerhouse football teams of the early 90s. What’s your favorite memory of your college football career?
Fauria: I have SO many great memories. I guess to be specific, I was there as a freshman when we won the National Championship. I was there for the Miracle at Michigan. I was there for the Miracle at Stillwater where I caught a touchdown on a fake field goal. I guess the best memory is all meshed together. My senior year was probably the best. It was just so fun. Everything we did was fun. Working out and practicing was fun. It was demanding and physical, but it was fun. I cannot replace those days with anything in the world.
JG: So you went pro and played for the Seattle Seahawks and then the New England Patriots. You were drafted by the Seahawks but won two Super Bowls with the Pats. I must ask, given that and this year’s Super Bowl matchup, where do your loyalties lie? I feel like you might get run out of town if you answer a certain way but I’m still curious though…
Fauria: 100% with the Patriots. I had some good memories in Seattle- I played there for seven years, but we never won anything, I was hurt a lot and constantly in pain. We had some great fans, but there wasn’t a lot of them. My heart is in New England. You can’t replace those Super Bowl wins. It was a lot like college. It was a lot of fun. It was challenging, obviously, but the games meant something; there was always something on the line. I felt like we were coached really well. There weren’t a lot of jerks on the team and it was just a lot of fun. Everyone knew what we were playing for and understood what mistakes meant. That meant a lot to me.
JG: A popular observation of the Patriots is that guys on the team like to mess with Tom Brady in various ways. What can you say to that? Are you guilty of this? Or did you see any funny shenanigans during your tenure with the team?
Fauria: Well, everyone was treated the same. We didn’t shy away from Brady because he was Brady. Everybody was equal. When it came to the locker room and something like control of the stereo, that privilege went to the oldest guy. It wasn’t the guy who was getting paid the most money or the guy with the hottest girlfriend. Nobody and nothing was off limits. Even Bill (Belichick), he got on Brady just as much as he got on me or anybody else.
JG: So nobody made fun of Brady for wearing Ugg boots?
Fauria: For the record, I wore Ugg boots first. I was the first person in that locker room with Ugg boots. Oh yeah, thank you very much. People were laughing at me, and I was thinking “what the hell?” these are the best shoes ever.
JG: So just for the record, this is breaking news here, that Tom Brady stole your publicity and your thunder for wearing Ugg boots. Your thoughts?
Fauria: Well, I’ve talked about it on my show many times, but I was the first person to wear Uggs in that locker room, that’s it. Done.
JG: Have you ever considered coaching? Given the state of CU football, we could probably use you!
Fauria: I would love to be a coach. It’s as rewarding as any occupation that you could have. Developing young boys to young men, watching the process of college football, I think it would be great. The commitment to it, at this point in my life, is a little more than I’m willing to give. It’s something that I always wanted to do, but I don’t think now is the right time. I’ve got five little kids and my free time is very important to me.
JG: So when you were at CU, back when Colorado was in the Big Eight Conference, your big rivals were Nebraska, Oklahoma among others. Now, CU plays in the Pac-12 Conference and our big rival is CSU. How do you feel the new rivalry compares to the old ones?
Fauria: Listen. Any older player would NEVER consider CSU a rival. I would never EVER look at CSU as a rival. That drives me nuts. It shows you where the program has gone, the fact that CSU is a rival. CSU is not a powerhouse- they’re not a team that is going to be competing for a National Championship. One of the first things that Bill McCartney (who was head coach from 1982 to 1994) did when he got to CU was find the biggest, baddest, nastiest dog on the block, which was Nebraska, and he called them out. He didn’t say “Oh, let’s play CSU.” He got his ass kicked for a lot of years, but he wasn’t afraid to call them out. He knew that beating a Nebraska, even competing with Nebraska, with Oklahoma, was the key to their success. Out-recruiting Oklahoma and Nebraska was the key to their success. Stacking the deck with great players like they did was the key to college football. And every now and then go after two star and one star athletes like myself. I wasn’t highly recruited. I was recruited by a Division II school and Oregon State. So CSU to me, I don’t consider them a rival, and I never will. Beating CSU is good, but they can’t be considered a top shelf team to get excited about beating. CU has no lace to brag or talk smack right now. They’re getting their asses kicked by CSU! So beating them is a step. Don’t let them out-recruit you. Take care of CSU first and then call out USC or Oregon, or Stanford. If you want to test yourself and see where you’re at as an organization and school, gage yourself with the best in the nation.
JG: So where do you see CU football in the next few years?
Fauria: Here’s the hard truth. I saw an alum at the Super Bowl this year and we were talking and he asked me “Do you have a son?” and I said “Yeah I have a son, he’s 13.” He said “If your son got a scholarship from Colorado, would you tell him to come to CU?” and the answer is no. Right now the answer is no. There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed especially investing in the program. But CU has done it. They can do it again. They can be successful.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Justin Guerriero at Justin.Guerriero@colorado.edu