Both men are paid big "Worldwide Leader in Sports" dollars to entertain the masses with their emotion-fueled opinions on the world of sports. If ESPN has created the "Who can scream the loudest?" culture where the pundit is supposed to be more entertaining than the player, than Smith and Bayless have perfected the model from opposite, Pluto and the Sun ends of the media galaxy.
When put in the same room, they could hoot, holler, and spit at each other over anything from lawn bowling to the Little League World Series. But this begs the silent question that all fans ask themselves every time a talking head rips an athlete like a Christmas or Hanukkah gift: So did he ever play the game himself?
Now, while many media personalities have a very respectable athletic past, most are no better than the masses they entertain. Which is all well and good. They're paid to point, talk, and write, not play. Without their unique perspective, we'd have no past-present barometer by which to measure the growth and development of our beloved obsessions.
But wouldn't it be fun, at least for a moment, to see them lace it up? Wouldn't you get a kick out of watching Stuart Scott drive the lane against Tony Kornheiser? Or Chris Berman sumo-wrestling Barry Melrose? The answer is yes, for a minute or two, it would be an absolute riot.
But there's one mano e mano battle that would play like a 15 round soliloquoy. Yup, you guessed it. Smith vs. Bayless, with Allen Iverson and Tim Tebow as the completely unbiased referees.
At this point, these trash talking heads have sapped our eardrums to the point of exhaustion. It's time to get in the cage. ESPN First Take. Smith vs. Bayless. Shut up (as hard as that may be) and rumble.
Let's take a closer look.