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Media Power Rankings (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday September 5, 2007 2:33PM; Updated: Wednesday September 5, 2007 2:45PM
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6. Boomer Esiason, brand name: Esiason's (current) employers include CBS Sports, Westwood One Radio, the Madison Square Garden (MSG) cable network and New York's WFAN-AM, where he took over for Don Imus this week. Does Boomer Esiason worry about there being too much Boomer Esiason? "I can't worry about that," says Esiason. "I worry about the opportunity. I just have to be smart and deliver a good product."

7. Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star and Fox Sports columnist: Let us start with our standard Whitlock intro: Known for his provocative columns, shameless self promotion, and frequent and amusing postings on Internet message boards, Whitlock's column on former Ball State coach Ronny Thompson called out his friend and mentor, Michael Wilbon, the Washington Post, and Ronny and John Thompson. Wow. Few sports columnists would be bold enough to criticize the well-regarded Wilbon, let alone a friend of his. I'm not knowledgeable enough to form a judgment about what went down at Ball State but I do know this: Whitlock's column on his alma mater is damn bold.

8. Bud Collins, ESPN: After NBC put him out to pasture after 35 years with the network, sending a de facto message that he could no longer perform his role as a sideline reporter-cum-bon vivant, ESPN swooped up the 78-year-old up for its tennis coverage. Not surprisingly, tennis writers (many who are friends of Collins and his wife, Anita, who e-mailed reporters on the beat with updates about her husband's dismissal) killed NBC for the decision. Perhaps Collins outlived his usefulness at the network but I'm genuinely impressed by ESPN for hiring a 78-year-old broadcaster. The thought is Collins can bolster their coverage in a couple of platforms (most likely on ESPN News and dot-com chats). "The guy is tennis to a large extent," says ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson, who brought Collins into the Bristol fold. "He's a character, he's a personality or whatever adjective you want to put in there. Given all our platforms and our commitment to tennis, it was one of the easiest decisions we ever made. The guy is tennis. How could you not have him part of tennis? It makes no sense. But it made perfect sense for us."

9. Stephen A. Smith, former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist: Tough day at the office when you not only lose your column, your newspaper writes a story about you losing your column and links related stories on the page such as this one.

10. Ryan Seacrest, Fox Sports, Master of Super Bowl ceremonies: The Fox Sports communication people have officially lost the right to make fun of ESPN for bringing celebrity guests into the Monday Night Football booth.

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