With the introduction of the internet, and the 24 hour news media cycle, there have been some incredible changes brought to the world of sports media over the past 20 years. All but gone are the days of quality reporting and analysis of actual games and events, instead, in its place, we have talking heads with brainless one liners and attention grabbing statements.
There was once a day when to be a respected sports media member, you must have worked your way there. The great Howard Cosell would be turning in his grave if he saw who the big sports media companies are trotting out there as "experts" these days. Commentators like Cosell came up through the ranks, and learned from the greats before them, while also going to school for journalism and writing. Today we have mostly ex-players giving us their opinions on topics that have little or nothing to do with actual sports. The trained journalists that do happen to get in front of the microphone, are more often than not, just saying outrageous things to grab ratings. It is really a shame what has happened to the sports media world, but I should not paint with such a broad brush, because of course there are always exceptions to every rule.
Sports television shows, in general, have taken a major shift in a different direction over the past 20 years. With that change, it has become the norm to have big personalities host the pre and post game shows, as opposed to less edgy, but more knowledgeable hosts. The sports talk show world has adopted a somewhat "Jerry Springer Show" approach, which is dominated by two or more hosts participating in a shouting match; shows like "PTI" and "First Take" are two prime examples of this.
With all these obnoxious personalities in sports media nowadays, I felt it appropriate to rank the 15 most annoying of them all. Lets get into it.
15 Troy Aikman
Troy Aikman was an excellent, Super Bowl winning quarterback in his day, but his ability in the booth is not on that same level. He has no problem showing favoritism to his old team, the Dallas Cowboys, and he is often misinformed about the other teams in the league. It is hard to get through an entire game when Aikman is on the call, he has the personality of a field mouse, and it doesn't help that he is often paired with Joe Buck either.
14 Joe Buck
Speaking of Joe Buck, here he is. Buck is one of the most often criticized commentators around. He is often knocked for his lack of knowledge in multiple sports, which is shocking because his father is one of the greatest commentators in the history of the business.
Buck lacks the fire and excitement needed to draw a fan in, and give that fan the experience of feeling like they are at the game. Buck also may suffer from over exposure, as he is often asked to work the Super Bowl and the World Series every year.
13 Charles Barkley
Barkley has been working with Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith for a long time now for the NBA on TNT, and he is lucky to have such talented people around him. "Sir Charles" constantly misuses words, mispronounces words, and sometimes just makes words up. Barkley is known for not being afraid to say what's on his mind, as noble and respectable as that may be, sometimes the things he says are just wrong. He would be better served on many occasions to just keep his thoughts to himself.
12 Lee Corso
Lee Corso's act has run so thin with college football fans, that he is often trolled at games by both the home team, and the visiting team. He is trotted out with the Game Day crew strictly for comic relief, and we all know they need it. Corso brings such little knowledge to the desk, that he has been relegated to simply forecasting final scores and putting on team mascot heads. He almost seems like a parody of himself these days.
11 Colin Cowherd
Colin Cowherd was fired from ESPN for racially insensitive comments he made almost a year ago. Cowherd often brings things to the table that other personalities are afraid to broach, but other times he reaches, trying too hard to make a point; often it backfires on him, making him look desperate. He often compares himself to Howard Stern, and it is a fair comparison, the only problem is that there is already a Howard Stern, and we don't need two.
10 Jim Rome
Jim Rome has had countless shows canceled or removed from the air for various reasons over the past few decades. He is the ultimate instigator, going so far as to provoke Jim Everett into a fist fight on his television show. Rome also famously got into it with ex-NBA commissioner David Stern as well, accusing Stern of fixing the NBA Draft lottery. Rome is now relegated to doing local radio in Southern California, as a result of his antics.
9 Dan Le Batard
One of the new ESPN darlings, Dan Le Batard has both his own television show and his own radio show. Le Batard is always stirring the pot with his guests and he is the worst at fishing for controversy. He routinely tries to force his guests into talking trash about other people, and when they refuse to do it, he does it for them with a hint of sarcasm.
In his latest bit, he has vowed to not discuss race on any of his platforms, he reminds people daily that he will not talk about race related issues, which in turn forces him to talk about racial issues everyday.
8 Bomani Jones
Jones got his big break when he was chosen to co-host "Highly Questionable" with Dan Le Batard, and now is the host of his own annoying ESPN radio show. Bomani is so out of touch with sports, it is hard to understand how he was given such a lucrative and coveted job. His musings are purely opinion, an uninformed opinion at that, and rarely are they reinforced by fact or any hard evidence.
Jones loves to get into it with callers on his show, and when the caller makes a good point against him, Jones just hangs up on the caller and chastises them. It is a shame, but he is not the only media member to use this tactic for pathetic tactics for ratings.
7 Ron Jaworski
"Jaws", as he is affectionately referred to by his colleagues, is one of the worst football analysts still working for ESPN. Jaworski has said some of the most ridiculous things sports fans have ever heard. He once said on-air that Joe Flacco is a better quarterback than Drew Brees, and he was laughed at by most of his contemporaries for that one.
His worst moment came when he stated that Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Kaepernick was promptly benched the next season for Blaine Gabbert. Good call Jaws!
6 Mel Kiper Jr./Todd McShay
Since these guys are pretty much the same person I had to combine them here. Are there any less useful people in sports than Kiper and McShay? Every year ESPN brings these two guys out for their 100 versions of a mock NFL draft, every year they are completely off base with their predictions, and every year people look at NFL stars who were given horrible grades by these two buffoons. I guess the NFL draft is so boring that they need these two to try and bring some excitement to it by being completely inaccurate every season.
5 Dick Vitale
"Dicky V" is a March Madness staple. Every year we get yelled at by an old man who is about 30 years removed from having any relevant knowledge of the NCAA basketball landscape. It seems like Vitale is, at this point, just a mascot for the NCAA and ESPN's coverage of the NCAA March Madness tournament. I almost feel bad for him, as he has become a joke, even used as the butt of the joke in his Hooters commercials...BABY!
4 Mike Ditka
Coach Mike Ditka was so bad at his job that he has been removed from his spot on the ESPN NFL pregame show. When he was a member of the show, he would repeatedly says things that were insensitive and down right rude. Ditka is an old school football guy, you know, kind of a jerk, and ignorant towards the modern game.
Ditka's rant about the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal was what set him apart from most though, Ditka said that Jonathan Martin was a "baby" and if there really was a problem with he and Richie Incognito, then Martin should just go and punch Incognito in the face. These pearls of wisdom were brought to you by Mike Ditka...
3 Chris Berman
"The Swami" is an ESPN forefather. It feels like he has been around as long as the network itself. Berman gets preferential treatment by ESPN and ABC, and maybe because of his seniority he deserves it, but he certainly does not deserve it based on his prediction skills.
For years he has been predicting NFL weekly outcomes, rarely finishing higher than 50% on the season. He also is the annual MLB home run derby commentator, and if you are not sick of his "back, back, back, back, gone" call, you have not watched a single home run derby, and you are lucky for that. In general Berman's shtick has become old, and the fact that he is still on television, means that a more deserving person is not.
2 Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith, or as he is also referred to "Screamin A. Smith", is the loud mouth, opposite Skip Bayless on ESPN's First Take. His word choices alone make Smith one of the most annoying personalities in sports media. When you pair his voice with his tone and delivery, it is hard not to put him at number one.
Smith has been in feuds with many great athletes over the years, including (but not limited to) Kevin Durant, Manny Pacquiao, and Jay Culter. In March, Smith was challenged to a UFC style cage fight by long time enemy, and ex NBA player, Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson. Smith of course declined the offer and went on national television to apologize to Robinson for his initial remarks.
1 Skip Bayless
Skip is without question the most obnoxious personality in sports media today. He is the kind of instigator that will contradict himself just to get under someone's skin, or to criticize someone he doesn't like. ESPN has done well pairing he and Steven A. Smith for First Take, because the show dominates the ratings, and it is clearly because these two are willing to say anything to get attention.
Bayless has accused LeBron James of not having talent, he has referred to Floyd Mayweather as weak and scared, and he has said Tim Tebow would be a Super Bowl winning quarterback if given a chance... Enough said Skip.
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