FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Even-keeled Todd Bowles had a hard time keeping his composure on Monday when he was surprised by a special guest during his weekly ESPN Radio spot on "The Michael Kay Show": Gladys Knight.
At first, the Jets' coach couldn't believe that his all-time crush was on the call, even telling Kay "Yeah, right." But when Knight said hello, Bowles' voice went up a few octaves.
"Oh my God. How are you?" he said in between fits of laughter. " . . . Thank you so much for even calling, I really appreciate it."
Bowles' infatuation with The Empress of Soul is well-documented. That's why the seven-time Grammy Award winner traveled to MetLife Stadium on Sunday to show her support for the Jets. Knight, however, arrived late to the game and the Jets ended up losing, 24-17. But she still brought a smile to Bowles' face.
Knight joked that if the coach wants to be one of her Pips, "he's going to have to dance for me." And Bowles was quick to comply.
"I can do that," he said.
A beaming Bowles told the "Midnight Train to Georgia" singer that he's a "big" fan of her music, adding: "Believe me. I listen to you every day." And when he mentioned that her song "Where Peaceful Waters Flow" often gets him through the day, Knight replied: "I might have to do that for you one of these days . . . When we get to the Super Bowl. How about that?"
Said Bowles: "I'll take it."
But as nice as it was for Bowles to talk to Knight, their conversation did little to alleviate the frustration of losing to the Eagles.
After the singer hung up the phone, Bowles told Kay: "I was happy to hear her voice, but I'm still not cheered up."