Sportscenter 1994: Anchors Away!

Hey there, Hartford Whaler Fan!

A brief stroll through Yahoo Answers tells me that 1994 was quite the year:

  • An earthquake in Los Angeles kills 51 people.
  • Nelson Mandela elected as President of South Africa.
  • Republicans win control of the House and Senate, and Newt Gingich is chosen as Speaker of the House.
  • Rwandan genocide kills about the same amount as the Los Angeles earthquake, give or take another 799,949.

However, as someone who had just entered double digits in age, none of this stuff really seemed to matter or hit home. I can appreciate it a little bit more nowadays, but back then, the big news stories to me were as follows:

  • Nancy Kerrigan gets hit in the knee, screeches one of the five W-questions I learned in school.
  • Odds of OJ Simpson appearing in any future Naked Gun movies decrease ever so slightly.
  • The Whalers won 27 games, one of their best finishes, ever.
  • Baseball players come back home, but wife changes locks and refuses to let them in. “Aw honey, look at me, I’m a broken man. I can change!”, says players.

Here, a Rwandan child reacts to Chris Berman’s delivery.

Yes, for a 10 year old, sports was THE news. And Sportscenter, before becoming the two serpents eating each others’ tails, was an innovative, funny, and completely justifiable reason to wake up at 7:00 am and turn on the TV. Well, at least I found it more entertaining than Bodyshaping.

Ouroboros, representing both cyclical nature of existance, and, noms.

Sportscenter in 1994 was rollin’. A new type of anchor and attitude seemed to be taking over, producing highlights punctuated with humor and complexity – two things that one doesn’t usually get when discussing a ball traveling through a net. Putting on my old-man pants for a second, it makes me wonder: what happened? How could such a simple formula get lost in the shuffle? People usually point to Stuart Scott as an example why it went wrong: over-the-top, self-aggrandizing, and other negative, hyphenated traits. I really don’t care about that – in fact, it’s much better than the alternative: anchors with no personalities.

So let’s take a trip down wikipedia and youtube lane, and find out where our heroes of yesteryear are. We’ll catch up with old friends, and rate their careers post-1994 in Van Pelts (the logical system of measurement for just about any metric).

Chris Berman

Forget 1994. Berman AKA Boomer AKA The Godfather AKA The Greenwich Giant has been the rotund backside of ESPN for 30+ years. If you watch sports, you know who he is and tolerate his presence. If you don’t, you probably say things like “Hey, that guy from the Applebee’s commercial makes me laugh!” Despite the awful puns and the need to inflict every show with a smattering of French, he seems like a decent guy, and he’s pretty much an institution when it comes to the NFL.  I’m sure we’ll be hearing plenty of him the next two weeks as the Super Bowl draws near.

I’d pay for him not to call baseball games, though.

Berman Post 1994 career rating:

Craig Kilborn

The Golden Boy! Craig Kilborn was my favorite of the whole group. Young, handsome, charming, funny. This guy had it all. He skyrocketed to well-known with the emergence of the Daily Show, which despite no longer having the Ricky Oh head smash, is consistently a top-15 TV program and safe in the hands of Jon Stewart. Sensing that the Daily Show wouldn’t be enough, though, he downgraded to medium-fame through the Late Late Show, and a few years later scored a role in Old School. The move away from sports was probably a good idea, and he’s managed a decent career. Now, even the Onion makes fun of him. Oh, to be a star.

Kilborn Post 1994 career rating:

Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann

Dan Patrick had one of the best senses of dry humor on Sportscenter. The team of Patrick and Olbermann was more dominant than anything else we saw in the 90s. Like Jordan and Pippen, one of them was a lot better than the other, but it took them both to accomplish anything of significance. Dan remained on SportsCenter through 2006, and has done radio shows and SI since. He currently does Football Night in America on NBC, where he briefly reunited with Olbermann, but the magic they once had was lost. Nowadays, he spends most of his time on his radio program seeming to enjoy his own mildly clever quips just a bit too much.

Patrick Post 1994 Career Rating:

With the surprise announcement that Keith Olbermann was “leaving” MSNBC, twitter, facebook, and Google News went Combustible Huxtable on us. So how did the ‘stached half of the tag team make such a big splash? By becoming one of the more arrogant and self-important talking heads in the media. Olbermann seems to think himself a modern-day Edward R. Murrow. I like to think of him as a modern-day Edward V, as I often wish someone would put a pillow over his face. That said, everyone knows who he is. Hell, he’s probably the most famous TV political personality outside of Chris Berman Bill O’Reilly.

Olbermann Post 1994 Career Rating:

Brett Haber

Wait, this guy worked for ESPN? For three years? I thought he just did DC sports on the local CBS affiliate. Man, talk about a downgrade. I guess you learn something new every day.

Haber Post 1994 Career Rating:

Well, that’s all we have for today folks. Tune in next week and I’ll rate how the anchors look under the desk in Sean Salisburys. Good Night, and Good Luck.

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One Response to Sportscenter 1994: Anchors Away!

  1. Pingback: No Coast Bias – Don’t Be an ESPeoN

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