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Pardon this interruption

Kornheiser will be fine if he can tune out the critics

Posted: Thursday August 17, 2006 10:58AM; Updated: Thursday August 17, 2006 2:10PM
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Tony Kornheiser
Tony Kornheiser showed this week that he's sensitive to criticism.
AP
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Uh oh! Looks like Tony Kornheiser got his feelings hurt this week after some of his fellow media members said he wasn't that good in the NFL booth. Poor guy. A part of me wants to run up to him and give him a hug. I mean, who cares what they think?

But the other part of me wants to run up to him and scream, "You cannot be serious with this whining!" There's no crying in football, Tony. Not even on Monday night.

Kornheiser, the acclaimed Washington Post columnist and co-host of ESPN's widely popular show Pardon the Interruption, made his Monday Night Football debut this week alongside Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann. The story has been all the rage in the print media for weeks, with beat writers and columnists from coast to coast rooting for good old Tony.

Still, because of ABC's ill-fated Dennis Miller experiment a few years ago, all eyes were on the habitually neurotic and lovable Kornheiser to see what he would bring to the booth. To see if he would fail. Like Miller, Kornheiser has never played a down of football. To some, he's just another sports nerd sitting next to the jocks, putting in his two cents from the sideline.

So going into Monday night the big question remained: Would Kornheiser stink up the joint as badly as Miller did with stale, poorly timed jokes and aloof commentary? Or would he hit it out of the park and be the best thing on Monday Night since Howard Cosell?

Enquiring minds wanted to know, myself included. After all, I am not only a journalist but also a huge fan of Tony and PTI. I absolutely love watching Kornheiser and co-host Michael Wilbon scream back and forth at a five-octave range about all things sports.

That's why I watched the entire game Monday (I usually stay far away from preseason football). Kornheiser was OK. Not great, not magnificent, but certainly not an absolute bomb like Miller. I'm sure with a few more games under his belt he'll look a lot less like a deer in headlights and more like a guy who is ready to use his quick wit and vast sports knowledge to put a sock in the nauseating Theismann. Besides, it's still the preseason. No one is expecting much from anyone in the NFL at this point.

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