Posted by: Nathan | September 9, 2007

Olbermann’s Return and No More Irvin!

Today was already a good day because the NFL is back, but two TV personnel changes made it even better. Let’s start with ESPN’s suprisingly excellent decision to axe Michael Irvin as an analyst. Irvin was never an analyst anyway. His unceasing torrent of trash talk spewing forth in barely intelligible English was always the worst aspect of NFL Countdown. I would have preferred to have one of those really annoying singing bass on the show in his stead, and it would have given just as much insight. But now he’s gone (which would have been good enough for me) and replaced by Keyshawn Johnson and Emmit Smith. Smith’s a good choice; Johnson’s job will be to make up for some “edginess” that Irvin provided (I guess). Good move, ESPN.

But the day’s delight definitely was the return of Keith Olbermann (!) announcing sports highlights on NBC. Why they didn’t think of this before is beyond me: his talent was absolutely wasted on [P]MSNBC. Forget the weird format of NBC’s Football Night in America*: if KO is there, I’m there. Indeed, with the addition of Olbermann, Football Night instantly became the best football highlight show on television, almost by default.

Listen up, network folks: your sports shows are as good (or as bad) as the people on them. No one but no one does sports highlights better than Olbermann. Today I heard “they’re not gonna get him” and “guh!” for the first time in ten years, and it was great. Sure, he was a little over-eager to be doing something fun instead of interviewing countless talking heads about horrendous disasters, and he overdid it a little; I don’t care. He’s the best (especially with DanPatrick gone), and I’ll make NBC my football highlight show as a result.

The mystery will always remain with me, however: Why did ESPN fire him to begin with? Patrick and Olbermann made TV Guide‘s top ten TV personalities for heaven’s sake?! SportsCenter has been in decline since his departure.

*Two sets on the same stage separated by a glass wall? You’re over-thinking this, NBC. If you want to make your show even better, cut Collingsworth and Bettis and bring Tiki Barber to the main desk with Costas and KO. Now that’s television worth watching.


  1. Though I didn’t get to watch Football Night in America (which, by the way, is an awful title for a broadcast), I’m glad it was good. I had my doubts, as they have 35 people working in that studio, but it sounds like a success thus far. Now, hope with all your might that Tony Kornheiser pulls of MNF tonight…

  2. I got to watch a good amount of Football Night in America and was definitely pumped to see Olbermann again! The problem is that he doesn’t get to talk enough…at least not yet. They have too many people anchoring that show, and that glass partition is ridiculous. How about two desks (if you must have two) and just pan between them?! I can’t watch MNF at my house because we don’t get it on cable…sad…

  3. I listened to one of the ESPN football analysts this morning make statements like “it is good to be ready for the playoffs.” Is this analysis? I’m surprised he didn’t say “It feels good to win.” really???


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