March Media Power Rankings
MNF fallout, praise for Peyton, NBA ratings tank, more
Posted: Friday March 30, 2007 2:44PM; Updated: Wednesday April 4, 2007 2:18PM
1. Ron Jaworski, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst: Rare is the broadcaster who appeals to both football wonks and casual fans but Jaworski isn't just another analyst: He's the best football analyst at ESPN. During his 17-year tenure at ESPN he's built a reputation as an X's and O's savant who can breakdown film for fans in a palatable way. The best news is he could be in the MNF booth for some time. Jaworksi has four years left on his ESPN contract. He told SI.com this week that he and new partners Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser will do a practice game before the preseason. "I'm pumped and ready to go to work," Jaworski said. One cool bit of symmetry: Jaworksi's longtime producer on his NFL Matchup show is Greg Cosell, the nephew of Howard Cosell.
2. Tony Kornhesier, Don: Cross him (even on the air) and you might end up like Sonny Corleone. ESPN executives can wax on about how the Jaworksi-for-Joe Thiesmann trade had nothing to do with chemistry but here's the deal: It had everything to do chemistry. "Chemistry is just a term that is thrown around and defining chemistry is difficult thing," said ESPN executive vice president Norby Wllliamson, the point man behind the move. I like anyone named Norby so I'm happy to define chemistry for him: Chemistry is the opposite of what Kornheiser and Theismann shared on the air, and you can put big money on a more collegial atmosphere this year. "Tony and I have been friends for over a decade," said Jaworski, a regular guest on Kornheiser's radio show over the years. "People will see how well we get along."
3. Peyton Manning, Colts quarterback and comic: Among athletes hosting Saturday Night Live, Manning's brilliant parody of the NFL's United Way commercials is topped only by Daily Affirmation With Stuart Smalley (which featured Michael Jordan gazing into a mirror, proclaiming, "All I have to do is be the best Michael I can be.") and Joe Montana's Sincere Guy Stu sketch, in which the legendary quarterback told his houseguests "I'll be in my room masturbating."
4. Jason Whitlock, The Kansas City Star columnist: Known for his provocative columns, shameless self-promotion, and frequent and amusing postings on Internet message boards, Whitlock gets major praise here for channeling his inner Bill Gates for picking up the $1,500 tab for dinner, drinks and cab rides for 24 sports-management students from Brock University who worked as interns for the NCAA regional in San Jose.
5. Dan Shanoff, blogger: Former ESPN.com Page 2 columnist-turned-sports blogger had his college basketball screenplay optioned by TeamWorks Media. What's next? Quentin Tarantino editing Fire Joe Morgan?
6. Bob Dekas, CBS coordinating producer of NCAA basketball: With the Billy Packer bashers at a fever pitch this month, the longtime CBS producer took a not-so-veiled swipe at some other hoops analysts (perhaps one that rhymes with "my pal") when talking with the media this week. "Billy's always been about substance," Dekas said. "He leaves the style to other people. It's always been about the game. It's never been about drawing attention to ourselves."
7. Pro Football Talk, Ex-quarterback chroniclers: The Web site first reported Theismann was out. They've also covered and critiqued Sean Salisbury with the fervor of a 1940s private eye. Basically, they've become the definitive source on blowhard quarterbacks.
8. We Have Nothing To Announce, slogan: The fine folks in ESPN's communication department dropped this oh-so-sly slogan so often in the hours leading up to the announcement of the Thiesmann departure that next March 25th has been officially declared "We Have Nothing To Announce" day.
9. Tom Coughlin, Giants coach: General rule of thumb if you're a coach speaking to the media: Avoid comparing your plight to Adolf Hitler's.
10. The NBA, former television giant: Here's something NBA-related you can't blame on Isiah Thomas: the league's television ratings have been ugly of late. Last Sunday's NBA on ABC game between the Suns and Kings, which went up against the Elite Eight games of the NCAA tournament, drew a 1.0 rating, a new all-time low for an NBA broadcast on the network. ABC's average ratings for NBA games are down 13 percent from last season, according to Sports Business Daily.