Posted: Monday December 19, 2005 1:21PM; Updated: Tuesday December 20, 2005 2:53PM
Reggie Miller has held his own while teaming with some strong personalities on TNT's NBA coverage.
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Award season is upon us, from The Golden Globes to the Heisman Trophy to The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. In the same spirit, we proudly present SI.com's annual Media Circus Awards, commemorating the best and worst of sports broadcasting in 2005.
Personality of the Year: Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio In a year when satellite radio and sports consumers truly converged -- XM Satellite Radio doubled its base to more than five million subscribers following its $650 million deal with major league baseball; SIRIUS reached the three million mark behind the NFL (and Howard Stern) -- Cowherd emerged above the din as a voice who deserves praise. His show (The Herd) is an engaging mix of entertainment, information, and reportage. Its signature feature (Spanning the Globe, during which Cowherd checks in with local reporters and beat writers the morning after a big story breaks in their community) is one of the best things in sports radio. Much of ESPN Radio, especially the Mike and Mike Show and The Dan Patrick Show, treats its listeners like adults -- and Cowherd has distinguished himself by refusing to rely on angry ranting and the sexual innuendo that so often permeates local radio.
Cowherd was recruited out of Portland market two years ago to replace Tony Kornheiser, a particularly difficult assignment given Kornheiser's appeal among East Coast intelligentsia types. He approached his national gig with a small city feel -- college football gets a lot of play on the show -- which has made him an interesting listen. While Cowherd has provided a national forum for ESPN's TV analysts to pontificate on all things ESPN, he's also proven to be his own man. He was outspoken following the arrest of ESPN analyst Michael Irvin, casting a disbelieving soliloquy on Irvin's Rashomon-like explanation following his arrest. That's not easy for an ESPN employee to do (which is why it rarely happens) and it resonates with listeners.
Best Television Newcomer: Reggie Miller, TNT and Tom Brennan, ESPN Miller has proven to be everything he was as a player: glib, energetic, loud and interesting. He's worked as both an studio analyst alongside Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson as well as a game analyst with Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins. Brennan was a reporter's dream during his 19 years as head coach at Vermont and was born for his studio gig.
Best Documentary: HBO, Perfect Upset: The 1985 Villanova vs. Georgetown NCAA Championship It might be time to retire this category since HBO has established a lock on it. Perfect told the story of Nova's unlikely run to hoops immortality by setting up the two protagonists (Georgetown and Villanova) against the backdrop of the big money, cocaine-fueled, Morning-in-America 1980s. Terrific stuff.
Honorable Mention: HBO's Dare to Dream, a deftly told tale of how Mia, Brandi, Julie et al. emerged from the red-headed stepchildren of U.S. sports to create one of the seminal sports moments of the 20th century at the 1999 Women's World Cup.