ESPN Dropping Sideline Reporters on Monday Night Football? Hopefully

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.

Linkage: Kornheiser Out at MNF?

Is Tony Kornheiser leaving Monday Night Football next year? [Deadspin]

Boris Becker broke up with his chick over text message [SPORTSbyBROOKS]

Who designs these crappy Olympics mascot logos? [100% Injury Rate]

Ahhh! Jennifer Love Hewitt is engaged! Noooo! [Dlisted]

Remembering old bowl game names before corporate sponsors [The Big Picture]

Already beginning the NBA MVP debate (podcast) [The Basketball Jones]

Who would you cast for the Barry Bonds movie [Steroid Nation]

Erin Andrews happy to be Playboy’s sexiest sportscaster [SI Extra Mustard]

What self-help books the athletes are reading [Ghosts of Wayne Fontes]

Just what we need, more Britney Spears progeny in the world [TMZ]

Kornheiser: NBC and FOX in Bed With the NFL?

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, you would say the guy was just kidding around. The way I see it though, there is some underlying truth to almost all things said, especially jokes made. That’s why I feel Tony Kornheiser was genuinely irked that ESPN has what he feels are inferior games on Monday Night compared to what NBC has tonight, and what FOX has on Sunday afternoon. In the toss up feature of PTI on Wednesday, the question was asked: “Better first week game, Saints/Colts, or Bears/Chargers?” Here was Kornheiser’s response (said with a sarcastic tone):

“Wow, wouldn’t those be great on Monday Night? Who do you have to sleep with to get a game like that on Monday Night?”

After TK and LeBatard broke down the games and analyzed the question, LeBatard shot, “You’d rather see [the Chargers/Bears] on Monday Night Football?” Kornheiser’s response, “I’d like to call it.” Being fair and honest here, Kornheiser’s response had a genuine feel — I literally did a double take when I heard his comments. So is there something to this? NBC clearly has top priority with games, but then is FOX second over ESPN? Why wouldn’t ESPN get prime pickins’ considering they’re on Monday Night Football? Or does it even matter what game is on Monday Night considering it’s the only game in town? It seems like their could be some legitimacy to TK’s gripe.