The news of Tiki Barber appearing on SNY over the weekend got us thinking. No, don't worry, Barber didn't say anything in his coverage of the Giants/49ers game that actually stimulated any brain cells. Instead, Barber's precipitous fall from the Today Show to a regional network got us to wonder where Barber ranked in all-time busts in the sports media. There have been many flops in the world of announcing and analyzing sports. Some were world-class athletes who became cringe-worthy analysts. Some were athletes who flopped when given a stage even bigger than sports. Some were comedians or celebrities who brought more eyerolls than eyeballs. Check out our list of the Top 10 Sports Media Busts and let us know what you think!
(10) John Sutcliffe - ESPN's Monday Night Football
-Our first entrant doubles as the most recent. It's great that ESPN seeks to give crossover exposure to ESPN Deportes. By all accounts, John Sutcliffe is a great journalist there. However, when his time on the mothership came earlier this year as a sideline reporter on ESPN's Monday Night Football, Sutcliffe dropped the ball so bad that he was taken off the air midway through the broadcast.
(9) Bobby Valentine - ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball
-Bobby V was always a great soundbyte as a manager because of his wit and personality. Naturally, one thought these traits would make a great transition into the studio or the broadcast booth. And yes, when Valentine was hired to be a part of ESPN's Baseball Tonight stable, the move was met with excitement. While Valentine never wowed the masses in the studio, he never really embarrassed himself. As it turns out, Bobby V saved that for the booth as part of the revamped Sunday Night Baseball team in 2011. Valentine was routinely panned by the masses on Twitter, with this out-of-nowhere rant on Cubs SS Starlin Castro Exhibit A. Thankfully, the Red Sox saved viewers by hiring Bobby V as manager this winter while ESPN hired Terry Francona.
(8) Joe Montana & Isiah Thomas - NBC Sports
-Though Montana and Thomas were all-time greats in their sports, NBC swung and missed when hiring the two as analysts in the 90s. All the poise Montana showed as one of the greatest QBs ever never got the chance to show through his bland takes. In fact, Montana gave analysis worthy of a man whose family was being held off-stage at gunpoint. Meanwhile, Thomas's soft voice and stammered analysis made him a difficult listen, even when NBC pushed him as their lead NBA analyst.
Apparently, the broadcasting of these two was so lackluster, YouTube is devoid of worthy clips. But, thanks to the outstanding SI Vault, we have some perspective. First, Montana in his own words, "In TV, nobody cares if you get it right; they just want you to yell, to seem definitive. It was the old, 'If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, then baffle 'em with b.———-.' I had to go." Next, John Walters on Isiah, "His energy level wavers during a telecast, and he says "You know" too much, as in, "Yeah, you know, we, you know, Jordan when he guards you, you know, he shuts you down, you know?"