Mr. Tony was on the Dan Patrick show on ESPN Radio earlier today to talk about his new gig as, well, what ever it is he will be for Monday Night Football. He was on during the Big Show hour, the 1:00 PM Central time hour in which Dan’s former Sportscenter partner and current MSNBC talking head Keith Olbermann joins the show. Olbermann was very displeased to learn the Tony Kornheiser, who once worked at ESPN Radio, was proclaimed “the most difficult on air talent in ESPN history.” Mr. Tony is proud of that fact and claims to have a letter saying as much.
They asked the usual questions about his sleeping habits, his ability to probably make someone mad and he complained that he probably won’t be any good. They then chatted about Michael Wilbon and Mr. Tony said Wilbon is excited to do PTI on the road for Monday night. Mr. Tony said something that sums up their relationship very well. He said, “Wilbon loves being Wilbon and I hate being Tony Kornheiser.” He also said that Wilbon has just realized that Mr. Tony is a white guy after he had his Lasik surgery.
Dan Patrick then had Joe Theismann and Mike Tirico, Kornheiser’s partners in the MNF booth, on his show. They both seemed excited to be doing this. Dan wondered if Tony and Joe could get along and Joe thought that they could because Tony brings a different perspective to the game, a writer’s perspective.
Theismann also said he doesn’t know how everything will fit, nobody does. It should be intriguing and exciting. He has been in three man booths before and thinks everything will be fine. He has had disagreements in a three man booth but isn’t worried about working with Mr. Tony. He said that no matter what NBC does with its Sunday night broadcast, “Monday night is the most exciting night of the week for football.”
Theismann said he doesn’t think they will be compared to anyone because they are “starting a new era.”
He also said that part of the excitement with Mr. Tony is that they don’t know how it is going to work out.
Mike Tirico had a few things to say as well. When asked how he would run the booth because he would be the “traffic cop,” he said that he would “let the conversation go right to the edge and then bring it back to the game.” Tirico said you never let the conversation overrun the game; the game is the most important thing. Asked about Tony’s role, Tirico explained that Tony will not be there to break down the defense; he is there to bring his knowledge to the broadcast.
Sounds like both Tirico and Theismann are anxious to find out how this whole thing will work. So am I. I do know that I will now watch more of the game. Dan Patrick said the email he received about Mr. Tony joining the MNF booth was split 50/50, half loved the idea, half hated it. If 100% watch because of it, I think ESPN will be pleased with their decision.
UPDATE Feb. 9, 2006
All that I said about the parka, I want the parka filled with cash.