In the broadcasting world, it appears that there are really only two kinds of sportscasters. You have the journalism major who worked his way up through college, internships, getting people coffee, and editing “Fran’s Food Tip of the Day” to finally doing what he wanted to do, which is get paid to talk about sports. In this category, you have guys like Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Peter Gammons, and to a lesser extent, Scott Van Pelt and Mike Greenberg.
The other kind of sportscaster is the former coach/player who has moved on from their respective sports, picked up a microphone and a stylist, and decided to try his hand at talking about the game he put so many years into studying, teaching, or playing. They had great success at what they did, and now they’re moving on to the next thing. Good examples of this would be Troy Aikman (3 Super Bowls as Cowboys Quarterback), John Madden (1 Super Bowl as coach of the Raiders), and **Terry Bradshaw (4 Super Bowls as Steelers Quarterback).
**I’m not going to debate whether or not Terry is crazy, but I AM saying that he had tremendous success as a player and regardless of what comes out of his mouth, I gotta believe that somewhere in there is a guy that knows what he’s talking about.
But there are those that did NOT have that much success before jumping into the broadcast booth. There were a FEW who were not just mediocre, they were downright terrible. And regardless of their pitiful performance while they were participating in that sport, they have managed to procure a position where their opinion is given credence and we (the audience) are supposed to sit there and say, “This guy’s an expert!”
Not so fast. Here are just three (I’m sure there are more) that have somehow gotten pretty sweet broadcasting jobs in spite of their performance DOING the job that they are now TALKING about. You will see their name, what they’re doing now, and a resume of what they did prior to their sportscasting job. They are in order from not as terrible to ridiculously terrible.
NOW – College football analyst for ESPN and ABC
THEN – As Notre Dame’s Head Football Coach, Davie compiled a 35-25 record (.583 winning %). He was 0-3 in bowl games (including a 41-9 loss to Oregon State in the 2000 Fiesta Bowl). He never had a 10 win season (He did have two 9-3 seasons), and never finished higher than 15th in the AP or Coaches Poll.
NOW – ESPN College Gameday Analyst. Show is widely regarded as THE show for college football talk (and hype). Corso can be seen flanked by Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit and each show ends with him picking the winner of the “Big Game” that they’re covering for the day. The show is huge.
THEN – As Indiana University’s Head Football Coach from 1972-1982, Corso compiled a record of 41–68–2 (.369 winning %) and followed that stellar performance by going 4-6-1 as Northern Illinois’ head coach in 1983 (.363 winning %).
NOW – NFL Network analyst and ESPN college football color commentator
THEN – As a player, he was good. He actually won multiple Super Bowls and made it to the Pro Bowl. If he had stopped there, he wouldn’t be on this list. BUT….. as GM of the Lions for 8 years, he had the worst 8 year tenure by any team since WW2 (31-97). The Lions lost their first 24 road games under Millen and caused him to describe his own leadership as “beyond awful” (not to mention all the “Fire Millen” backlash).
I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that I feel are most appalling. Feel free to add them to this list. Also, in my “research” (wikipedia and other blogs), I found a great post that dealt with this very idea as well (check it out here). Now, hear me out, I don’t pretend to be an expert. I just don’t think these guys should pretend either.