ESPN’s new Monday Night Football crew of Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser debuted last night, with all eyes obviously on the Pardon The Interruption host making his NFL analyst debut.
The early returns on Kornheiser weren’t terrible for his rookie outing.On the plus side, he didn’t try to analyze the football and often tried to bait Theismann into some light arguments. It looks like his role will be to throw out snarky one-liners when he can, and without the awkwardness of what Dennis Miller tried to do – making sure he could jam in the 273 pre-written stand-up lines he had ready for every game. I get all ticked off again just thinking about how bad he was.
But Kornheiser needs to be careful not to jump on the obvious too often, as he is in this role because he is known for bypassing the low-hanging fruit for something a little smarter, and a little funnier.
His presence was fine in a pre-season yawner, but it remains to be seen how he will fit in when the regular season game begins, especially in the fourth quarter of a big game.But Kornheiser has a lot of goodwill with sports fans, so he will be given time to grow.
But the big fumble for ESPN was their decision to place the time and score bug directly centered on the screen about 1/5 of the way from the bottom.It is a disaster.You have players going in motion and disappearing behind it, and it is simply an eyesore.
I detest having the time and score on the screen at all during the run of play (between plays is fine), I want to see the damned game.Whether it’s in the upper corner or across the top, I can’t believe networks are still doing it…and ESPN’s bug wasn’t even sponsored.
But ESPN wins the award for the most awful placement I have ever seen.Honestly, when it first came up I thought they had made a technical mistake.Turns out it was a strategic one.
Fix it, ESPN.If you can afford over a billion dollars a year for these games, I’m sure you have a few scheckels around to go back to the drawing board on this one.Do it, now.
–By Ben Grossman