Cleveland Browns Fire Radio Host Bernie Kosar for Betting on Steelers Game

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
Football news


  • Kosar announced on his show that was betting $19,000 on the game
  • The NFL has taken a strict approach to dealing with its gambling policy
  • Kosar’s bet was placed legally in Ohio with Tipico Sportsbook

Cleveland Browns radio host and former player Bernie Kosar was fired Sunday for placing a bet on the team to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 “[The Browns] were required to remove [Kosar] from our pregame radio coverage for the season finale after he violated NFL gambling policy by placing a bet on an NFL game,” said a spokesperson for the Browns. “We understand what Bernie means to this community and our history but… his bet was a violation of NFL rules.”

The league has heavily enforced gambling bylaws as the prevalence of legal sports betting has continued to increase. Kosar just happens to be the latest to find that out.

Self-professed crimes

Cases of players or personnel closely aligned with professional teams have often turned into month or year-long investigations. That was not the case with Kosar, who unpromptedly confessed to his infraction.

While live on The Bernie Kosar Show With Hanford Dixon last week, Kosar said that he was betting $19,000 on the Browns to beat their AFC North rivals, the Steelers. The former national champion at the University of Miami wore #19 during his playing days, which included nine years with the Browns.

The show’s Twitter page later tweeted a promo of the show and said that Kosar’s bet was handled by Tipico sportsbook, one of several newly-licensed Ohio sports betting operators. 

Kosar also said that any winnings from his bet would be donated to charity. Unfortunately, both he and his bet fell flat on their faces as the Steelers went on to win 28-14. 

The 59-year-old later announced that he would not be doing the usual pregame show as the team fired him without reason before Sunday’s kick-off.

“I was informed by the Browns that my services are no longer desired or needed,” Kosar tweeted. “I will not be doing todays radio program. I am shocked & disappointed.” 

Browns reporter for and TV analyst, Mary Kay Cabot, reported the news that Kosar was fired because of his bet. Their statement seemed to contain no negative sentiment towards Kosar.

Problems on and off the field

As previously mentioned, the NFL has very strict rules on gambling. That is due to concerns of match-fixing, an issue that has plagued professional sports and leagues across the globe.

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year last season, during which he was a member of the Atlanta Falcons, for placing three bets worth $1,500 during time away from the team. He never bet against his team and was cooperative with investigators.

The NFL also suspended New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin for “at least a year” in December 2022 for betting on non-NFL professional sports. Austin’s legal team maintains that he never bet on any NFL games.

While the Browns are searching for the new voice of their team, they are also searching for a new identity on the field. $230 million quarterback Deshaun Watson was thoroughly unimpressive during his six games of action (after serving an 11-game suspension), throwing for 183.7 yards per game, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions while completing 58.2% of his passes.

Watson is also yet to pass the test of public perception after numerous women accused him of harassment off the field, which helped force his move from the Houston Texans to the Browns. 

Kosar leaves Cleveland with a successful radio tenure, following a professional career during which he made two Pro Bowls (both with the Browns) and won Super Bowl XXVIII as Troy Aikman’s backup on the Dallas Cowboys.

It is unclear if the NFL will impose further punishment against Kosar. If it does, it could be a while before he returns to any league-sponsored pregame shows.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.