Monday, April 28, 2008
You know it’s a bad omen for a review when I have no idea where to even start when picking apart a broadcast. ESPN’s Day One coverage of the Draft was probably only slightly behind the 100+ Band view broadcast of last year’s Orange Bowl, as the worst telecast I’ve ever seen. They missed picks, talked over picks and each other, had 40 people trying to chime in, got into fights with each other, and had more commercials on-air than the Draft itself. I was listening to Sporting News Radio late last night and I think their host Matt Spiegel summed it up best by saying, “I was begging for more Mike Tirico.”
Chris Berman is now on the short list of people that should be banned from ever touching the mic again and it’s kind of a shame. We all grew up with the guy but somewhere along the way the schtick overtook any semblance of Sports knowledge he had. He was so lost the entire broadcast that he would have to occasionally pause and rethink his own cheesy nicknames before blurting them out. I’m no Rich Eisen fan, but in this capacity he is head and shoulders above the “has been” Berman. I still think he works well on clip shows and gimmicks like the Homerun Derby, but too many people take the Draft seriously and he’s just a joke at this point. It’s time to phase him out as soon as you can.
As far as the other analysts what can you say? I don’t know when Ron Jaworski got the where with all to argue every single prediction from his partners, but he might possibly be more annoying than Berman. It’s okay to debate the picks and trades but when you’re shouting over top of your “teammates” you just look like a fool. I love his football knowledge and he knows the QB position like no other, but he needs to just settle down and pass along his knowledge calmly. Cris Carter really added nothing and while Mel Kiper’s player knowledge is unprecedented the staged on-air feuds with Todd McShay were unbearable. You need to pick either one or the other and be done with it. The last bad thing I’m going to say about their coverage is that Chris Mortensen should never be on live television. He’s like a deer in headlights out there.
Okay, now that the negatives are out of the way let’s get into what they did well, so they can improve for next year. Trey Wingo should be the host. He leads one of your main NFL shows during the season and offseason and his Football acumen is on par with anyone ESPN has. Adding Kirk Herbstreit on the coverage (presumably for Emmitt Smith) was a good decision and while Michael Smith is a work in progress, he has some promise. Overall the Day Two coverage was actually pretty good and the interview with Caleb Campbell, although somewhat over-the-top, came off as a good addition late in the Draft (even though Jaws almost fell of the stage trying to stand up and shake his hand).
Chris Berman: Z-
Trey Wingo: B
Ron Jaworski: C-
Cris Carter: D
Mel Kiper: C+
Chris Mortensen: D
Mike Tirico: B
Kirk Herbstreit: B
Todd McShay: C+
Michael Smith: B-
Producers: F (For deciding it was okay to miss about 10% of the first round)
Overall: D- (only because of Day Two)
You can’t miss live picks, have more commercials than coverage, and have people constantly bickering, and expect to get good reviews. I’m more than positive that there won’t be one major writer in the Country that would give ESPN a passing grade for Day One, and if you see one let me know. Just a horrible, horrible attempt at something they’ve done well in the past.
Video of the Weekend: McShay vs. Kiper (DING!)
NFL Draft Media Review: NFL Network
Weekend Tube Review: NFL Network vs. ESPN (The Sporting Blog)