Former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason took his turn in the hot seat at the Friars Club Roast at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and just in time for NYC to host the Super Bowl.
The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, who has since joined CBS Sports as an analyst for “The NFL Today,” and host of the WFAN’s national weekday morning show, “Boomer and Carton in the Morning,” is no stranger to getting bruised and tackled. But this time the 'sacks' came from heavyweight comedic legends.
Boomer is the latest recipient of the Friars honor, joining the ranks of recent honorees Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Don Rickles, and Betty White. Proceeds from the event benefitted the Boomer Esiason Foundation, as well as the Gift of Laughter Wounded Warrior Program, a project of the Friars Foundation that has responded to the long-term plight and recovery of military service members injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I have been pummeled, crushed, trampled, bashed, knocked around, flattened and stepped on by even heavier weights than the Friars comedians,” said Esiason. “Whatever they have planned I can take it... they just better be prepared for my offensive.”
According to Friars Club Abbot, Jerry Lewis, “We thought, how can we best combine the thrill of having the Super Bowl in New York along with our unique way to have a good time? Roasting Boomer brings it all together and I can’t think of a funnier experience than a 6’5” 250 pound block of solid human flesh brought down, and at the same time elevated, through the Friars highest honor by some of the funniest people in the business.”
Boomer Esiason has become the most visible national figure in the fight against cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening, genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Throughout his career in professional sports and media, Esiason has been a committed to many charitable causes, but he began focusing on cystic fibrosis in 1993 when his son, Gunnar, was diagnosed with the disease.
In 1994, Esiason launched the Boomer Esiason Foundation, a dynamic partnership of leaders in the medical and business communities joining with a committed core of volunteers to heighten awareness, education and quality of life for those affected by cystic fibrosis, while providing financial support to research aimed at finding a cure. Since its inception, the Boomer Esiason Foundation has raised more than $100 million to support research toward a cure for CF, as well as programs directly benefiting the CF community.
“When selecting our latest honoree, we wanted to find someone tough enough to handle a few big hits to their ego,” said Michael Gyure, Executive Director of the Friars Club. “Boomer Esiason’s dedication to the sport of football, as well as to his charitable endeavors, makes him someone to celebrate. The Friars also have a history of honoring great sports figures through the years–- Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell, Joe DiMaggio, Sam Sneed, George Steinbrenner. It’s time we give the football greats their due. The Super Bowl’s historic coming to New York is the perfect opportunity to dish up a Super Roast.”
As a result of his charitable work with his and other organizations, the NFL honored Esiason in 1995 with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in recognition of his excellence on and off the football. Esiason ended his career with 2,969 completions in 5,205 pass attempts (57 percent completion) for 247 touchdowns and 37,920 yards.