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The Rant

Sideline reporters' usefulness hits all-time low

Posted: Thursday October 6, 2005 11:24AM; Updated: Thursday October 6, 2005 12:07PM
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Lisa Guerrero
Lisa Guerrero didn't last long as Monday Night Football's sideline reporter. Unfortunately, the network hired a replacement.
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A couple of years ago, one of my responsibilities here at SI.com was to sift through Dr. Z's enormous inbox and read his e-mails. A few things quickly became crystal clear: there are a lot of Redskins fans who don't like Dr. Z, there are a lot of fans who hate ESPN's Sunday night broadcast crew and there are a lot of fans who despise sideline reporters.

Now, picking on sideline reporters (and the folks who conduct postgame interviews) is as easy as picking on Paris Hilton, but it seems to me that these "journalists" have hit an all-time low in terms of value. They have never said such useless and stupid things as they do today.

Over the first couple of days of the Major League Baseball playoffs, I've heard reporters ask the following questions of managers:

How important was it to score first? How big was winning Game 1? How big was winning on the road? How big was so-and-so's hit to give you the lead?

NEWSFLASH: All those things are big. Does the interviewer hope a manager will say "Well, I didn't want to score first, but luckily things worked out for us."

This trend of asking inane questions and reporting the most obvious information is completely out of control in college football and the NFL.

Last Saturday, a sideline reporter broke the stunning news that a coach wanted his team to cut down on penalties in the second half. You don't say? I would've assumed the coach would want his team to commit more penalties. Silly me.

Of course, that news isn't as big as when a coach reveals the undercover strategy that could revolutionize football: we need to score points. It's amazing how much this makes sense when the team is down at the half.

The bottom line is that coaches are not going to say anything revealing during a game and neither are sideline reporters. Networks should reexamine the way they are using these people and revamp their roles. Or preferably, get rid of them altogether. Outside of updating a player's injury status (which the play-by-play person can do), these in-game reporters serve no purpose -- unless you count giving an attractive female some TV time as serving a purpose.

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