I realize I’m doing myself a bit of a disservice hoping for such a fate, but I can’t help but speak in total honesty. Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk (via Ballhype) is saying that ESPN will be dropping sideline reports on Monday Night Football, a trend I would like to see proliferate. Sure, the job market narrows somewhat for someone like me, but honestly, what role do sideline reporters actually play? As in most assessments, the first question you must ask is what does the item/person in question bring to the table? Well, for sideline reporters, it’s the occasional injury update and interview of moderate significance. Outside of that, like 90% of sideline reports are absolutely useless.
What do they really give us? A human interest story of little interest (that can easily be told by the play-by-play or color man)? An uncomfortable and strained interview with a player or coach during the heat of battle who won’t be revealing anything interesting until after the game actually ends? An injury update that circulates through the press box anyway? Honestly, what good are they? I am in no way picking on either of Monday Night Football’s reporters, and for that, I won’t even mention their name because this has nothing to do with them. I’ve just always felt that sideline reporters were utterly useless, and this story by Florio actually seems like good news to me.
So no, don’t be mistaken, this is not a commentary on individual sideline reporters or the quality of their work; it’s strictly about the specific job. Much like Smykowski in Office Space, Lil’ Jon in rap songs, and the chilled salad fork at dinner, sideline reporters don’t bring anything to the table and are generally pointless. We could easily do without them.