Skip Bayless and the 25 Most Annoying People in Sports Media
The sports media is stocked with annoying personalities who seem hellbent on ruining sports for the rest of us, and most of them have forgotten why most people love sports. That, or they just don't care.
Tuning in to a game to cheer on your favorite team for a few hours or kicking back with SportsCenter and a beer after a long day is supposed to be an enjoyable way to unwind.
Unfortunately, it seems that more often than not these days, announcers and sports anchors think we're tuning in to hear them.
They think that being in front of a camera requires a soapbox and that possession of a microphone is license to say whatever offensive or unpleasant nonsense is on their mind, no matter how ridiculous or irrelevant it may be.
That being said, here are 25 of the most annoying people in sports media.
25. Mike Golic, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Mike Golic has been meatballing around in broadcasting for about 15 years.
What's So Annoying: Golic thinks his time as a player gives him a pass to rain down judgement on every other player in the game. Golic was particularly harsh on Terrelle Pryor and constantly tried to equate Pryor's underprivileged background to his own.
Yes, because a family with a legacy of Notre Dame graduates that continuously yields professional athletes sounds exactly the same.
Upside (if applicable): I actually like Mike and Mike in the Morning despite his buffoonery and Golic's willingness to play the fool can be amusing.
24. Michael Irvin, NFL Network
Years of Annoying Experience: Retired Cowboys great Michael Irvin has been lobbing softballs at athletes since 2005, so about seven years. The broadcasting career has repeatedly been interrupted by legal "issues," but he was hired full time by the NFL Network in 2009.
What's So Annoying: I've always thought of Irvin as a poor man's Deion Sanders, in terms of his persona, and there's only room for one "Prime Time."
Irvin just isn't particularly good at his job. His interviews are boring, his personality is grating and his penchant for saying horrifying things should really have disqualified him from being on television.
Upside (if applicable): He's annoying, but he's real. Dude has made a lot of mistakes in his life, like a lot, but he's been willing to admit them and maybe even grow from them.
23. Tedy Bruschi, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi retired in 2008 and was hired by ESPN in 2009.
What's So Annoying: Bruschi was an inspirational story of survival and perseverance when he returned to the Pats after a congenital heart defect caused him a stroke in 2005.
Today, however, Bruschi is the preeminent homer in broadcasting, and his inexplicable tirade about Chad Ochocinco's tweeting in September 2011 once again proved his utter lack of objectivity.
Upside (if applicable): What Bruschi lacks in insightful commentary, he makes up for with cartoonish behavior and enough yelling to make Trey Wingo and Mark Schlereth look restrained.
Oh wait, that's not an upside.
22. Sara Walsh, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Sara Walsh was plucked from local network affiliate obscurity by ESPN in May 2010.
What's So Annoying: I'm not complaining, but women have a slightly tougher road in sports than men, and it's made tougher when women are so publicly bad at their jobs. Maybe Walsh is still working out the the kinks, but she's pretty much unwatchable at the moment.
Upside (if applicable): Nada.
21. Phil Simms, CBS
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Years of Annoying Experience: Retired Giants quarterback Phil Simms has worked for a number of networks since first joining ESPN in 1994. Almost two decades of this garbage.
What's So Annoying: His "Choir Boy" nickname, his family legacy of mediocre blonde quarterbacks, his embarrassing insistence on fighting his son's battles, his poo-pooing Andrew Luck and his arrogant assumption that Peyton Manning, an actual great quarterback, watches his pathetic show and/or cares what he thinks.
I could go on, but let's just say he's awful and move on.
Upside (if applicable): The constant harassment he takes on Showtime's Inside the NFL at the hands of Cris Collinsworth and Warren Sapp is absolutely hilarious.
20. Bill Plaschke & Bob Ryan, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: From the looks of them, combined they probably have about 158 years of professional experience.
What's So Annoying: Plaschke and Ryan are your classic crotchety old men. These dudes are cranky, combative, unimaginably dull and irrationally overreactive to almost everything.
They hate everything. Touchdown celebrations, trash talk, people with personalities and absolutely anything that could be considered fun.
Upside (if applicable): None. Around the Horn is always a little grating, but when these two are involved, it's nearly unwatchable.
Although I never thought I'd come to appreciate the ridiculousness of Woody Paige, thanks to these cantankerous old men, I have.
19. Terry Bradshaw, FOX Sports
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Years of Annoying Experience: Retired Steelers great Terry Bradshaw has been working on and off in broadcasting for almost 30 years.
What's So Annoying: Nobody would ever accuse Bradshaw of being a genius, mainly because he goes out of his way to act like an idiot. His Fox NFL Sunday co-host, Jimmy Johnson, has called Bradshaw's personality a "schtick."
If it is a schtick, well then, it stopped being funny about 20 years ago.
Upside (if applicable): Bradshaw might be annoying, but he's rarely boring.
18. Chris Berman, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Chris Berman has managed to find steady work in sports broadcasting for over 30 years. He was hired by ESPN in 1979, and is one of the network's longest tenured employees.
What's So Annoying: It's hard to believe that Berman's antics were funny or even tolerable in any era. His catchphrases are boring, dated and delivered with the subtlety of a bat to the face.
And his on-air bits are even worse. "The Swami" might be the most useless, least entertaining and the most comedically tone deaf garbage that has ever aired on cable.
Upside (if applicable): None. Blah.
17. Charissa Thompson, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Charissa Thompson had been working in broadcasting for about five years, prior to being hired by ESPN in 2011.
What's So Annoying: Thompson started out a little boring on ESPN, but quickly shifted to unpleasant and combative. Thompson fills in for Michelle Beadle on SportsNation, and she seemed in over her head initially.
She's since gained some confidence by trying to imitate Beadle, but instead of coming across as tough and sarcastic, yet likable. She comes across as strangely confrontational and unlikable enough to make Colin Cowherd look better by comparison.
Upside (if applicable): She is very pretty, and her combative demeanor actually works well on FirstTake.
16. Troy Aikman, FOX Sports
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Years of Annoying Experience: Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman retired in 2001 and was hired as a Cowboys enthusiast by Fox Sports the very same year.
What's So Annoying: In addition to being about as entertaining as a bag of dirt, Aikman is shamelessly biased when calling Cowboys games. It's shameless enough that Boomer Esiason, who isn't exactly tough on his Bengals, publicly called Aikman out in 2007.
Esiason called Aikman's bias "stunning." What's stunning is that Aikman is still calling Cowboys games in the exact same way, five years later.
Upside (if applicable): Yeah, no.
15. Jim Rome, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: The Jim Rome Show became syndicated in 1996, but Rome had been working in broadcasting for almost a decade prior.
What's So Annoying: Some people love Jim Rome and some people love to hate him. Frankly, I just don't understand him or his show, I just know that it's really irritating.
Rome is some kind of post-modern parody of himself, and his whole persona seems weird and rehearsed.
Upside (if applicable): His 1993 interview with NFL quarterback Chris Everett. Jim Rome is annoying, but he's got some balls.
14. Peter King, NBC & Sports Illustrated
Years of Annoying Experience: Peter King has been with Sports Illustrated since 1989. Before that he worked for Newsday and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Moreover, he's been the oldest apple polisher in our lives since joining HBO's Inside the NFL in 2002.
What's So Annoying: King is one of the most high profile NFL journalists in the country, thanks in large part to his role as management stooge to Roger Goodell.
King's Monday Morning Quarterback in Sports Illustrated is, at best, boring nonsense lacking depth and insight and, at worst, a pandering and painfully lame piece of garbage that rambles on many pages longer than it should thanks to his need to divulge the mundane details of his life.
Upside (if applicable): Making fun of him is a lot of fun.
13. Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has been professionally shouting about the NFL draft on television for almost 20 years.
What's So Annoying: Mel Kiper Jr.'s (alleged) questionable relationships with certain agents makes his screaming freak show all the more intolerable.
Kiper is mean and combative and he's loud as hell.
Upside (if applicable): Sometimes dealing with horribly unpleasant things can make you a better person…and I like to think we're all better people for having patiently dealt with Kiper all these years.
12. Tony Kornheiser, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Tony Kornheiser has been sarcastically mocking the sports world since 1984.
What's So Annoying: Michelle Beadle can pull off the sarcastic thing and still remain likable; Kornheiser cannot.
Kornheiser was a major bust on Monday Night Football, probably because everything that comes out of his mouth is a snide comment meant to make himself laugh. There's nothing more annoying that someone who laughs at his own jokes, particularly when no one else is laughing.
Upside (if applicable): His performance on MNF was bad enough to provoke this response from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers:
"He's terrible...I don’t think he’s funny. I don’t think he’s insightful. I don’t think he knows, really, anything about sports.”
See, that was funny.
11. Dick Vitale, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Dick Vitale has been around long enough to have annoyed actual dinosaurs.
What's So Annoying: For someone who spent two decades coaching basketball and then pursued a career in broadcasting, Vitale doesn't seem to have much interest in talking about about basketball; not even when he's calling basketball games.
Vitale is legendary for rambling on about whatever pops into his aged brain, and people are growing tired of listening. Someone should tell Vitale that people tune into a basketball game because they want to hear about that basketball game, not because they want to listen to him ramble on about the other 156 subjects he had in mind.
Upside (if applicable): I laughed out loud reading that list linked to above. I'm honestly wondering how he fit Bo Derek and Rosie O'Donnell into the same conversation.
10. Mike Ditka, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: After Mike Ditka's coaching career hit the skids, he was hired by NBC in 1992.
What's So Annoying: Ditka is loud, angry, slow-witted, unfunny and his only joy in life comes from being menacing and threatening.
In the last few months alone, Ditka has passionately come to the defense of Sarah Palin (mixing sports and politics, ruins sports), he's scolded "the media" for tarnishing the reputation of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno and he's threatened to spit on an author who wrote a book that Ditka probably never read.
Upside (if applicable): Ditka's weekly "Stop it" segment on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown is unintentionally hilarious.
It's also ironic that an unpleasant old man is screaming "stop it" at NFL players about touchdown celebrations when all the audience wants is for Ditka himself to "stop it."
9. Cris Collinsworth, NBC
Years of Annoying Experience: Former Bengal receiver Cris Collinsowrth retired in 1988 and was hired as a reporter on HBO's Inside the NFL in 1989.
What's So Annoying: It's hard to put your finger on what, exactly, makes Collinsworth such an annoying and unlikeable broadcaster, but he is (pretty much) universally disliked by viewers.
He's extremely smug and the snide perma-grin on his face accentuates his skeletal features…but there's something else...right? I guess everyone has their reasons.
Upside (if applicable): He seems to have an honest dislike for his Inside the NFL co-host, Phil Simms. Gotta respect that.
8. Lou Holtz, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Lou Holtz coached football for an epic 44 years before retiring and landing a job at ESPN about five years ago.
What's So Annoying: Holtz is a crazy old man who really shouldn't be on television. He rarely thinks before he speaks, and when he says things like "Ya know, Hitler was a great leader too," his speech impediment makes the moment even weirder.
Upside (if applicable): Holtz seems to revel in making an fool of himself, which is occasionally amusing.
7. Stephen A. Smith, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Stephen A. Smith has been sharing his booming sports voice with with a cringing world since 1993.
What's So Annoying: Smith is loud. But, then again, he's loud. Well, at least he's loud. Wait, did I mention that he's loud?
His business cards should read:
Stephen A. Smith
The Loudest Man In Any Room
Upside (if applicable): Perhaps he's popular amongst the hearing impaired?
6. Joe Buck, FOX Sports
Years of Annoying Experience: Joe Buck has bee ruining sporting events with his very presence since 1991.
What's So Annoying: Buck's personality only has two settings: painfully dull or judgmental jerk. There is nothing in between. He literally hates fun and is the kind of person you'd imagine spends most of his free time writing complaint letters.
Upside (if applicable): He often broadcasts with Troy Aikman, which means there's only one NFL game per week that I'll refuse to watch instead of two.
5. Matt Millen, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: I don't feel comfortable passing judgement on Millen's career in broadcasting before 2001, so let's just say that he's been aggravating the nation with incompetence since accepting the general manager position with the Detroit Lions.
What's So Annoying: Matt Millen's tenure in Detroit is the most egregious failure of the decade, maybe of any decade, and he was the second-highest paid GM in the league. Millen was finally fired after eight seasons and he was immediately rewarded with a job at NBC.
Upside (if applicable): None. He is an ever-present reminder that bad people who suck at their jobs are too often rewarded for it.
Having to even look at his face each week makes me sick.
4. Jim Nantz, CBS
Years of Annoying Experience: Jim Nantz began his career with CBS covering NCAA sports and the PGA Tour over 25 years ago.
What's So Annoying: Nantz was named one of Deadspin.com's Worst Men in Sports in 2011 for a reason. He's wretched. Years ago, before his nasty divorce, Nantz used to be the host of NFL Today on CBS.
Today, the elitist mostly covers golf because he is absolutely sure that golfers "are not cheats…That's unusual in our society. It's beautiful…there's not a scandal and there's not going to be one. We should not even breath a hint of suspicion; it's a nonissue."
Upside (if applicable): None. This guy is everything people hate about golf. It's rich, it's white, it's elitist and it appeals to people like Jim Nantz.
3. Colin Cowherd, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Colin Cowherd did some time at local network affiliates hosting some version of The Herd before it found a permanent home at ESPN in 2004.
What's So Annoying: Cowherd is an arrogant skinny nerd who never played a sport in his life. He's that skinny because he feeds on hate and human misery alone.
In 2005, Cowherd, who has been accused of plagiarism, famously suggested the death of WWE wrestler, Eddie Guerrero, was due to steroids; the autopsy showed he died from heart disease.
In 2007, Cowherd insisted the home invasion murder of Redskins safety Sean Taylor was his own damn fault and even chastised the fans who had mourned him.
Upside (if applicable): Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
2. Herman Edwards, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Because I'm not a Jets or Chiefs fan, Herm Edwards didn't really start to annoy me until he was hired by ESPN in 2009. It's been just under three years, but it feels like a lifetime.
What's So Annoying: He's followed the proud tradition of "those who can't coach get hired by ESPN," which is always a treat.
The problem with Edwards is that he's unspeakably loud, he's strangely aggressive, he's shockingly unlikable and he offers absolutely nothing to any conversation.
Upside (if applicable): None. Edwards has absolutely no upside and is one of the most useless human beings working in sports today.
1. Skip Bayless, ESPN
Years of Annoying Experience: Skip Bayless began his career of punishing the public with his words at The Dallas Morning News more than 35 years ago.
What's So Annoying: Honestly, almost everything about Skip Bayless is annoying. His stupid I (heart) @RealSkipBayless shirts, his thinly veiled racist remarks, his total lack of an "inside voice" and his inexplicable arrogance for a skinny nerd who never played a sport in his life.
Though the most annoying thing about him lately is his absolutely and undying devotion to Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. To clarify, I like Tebow, but I'm not on television 20 hours per week proclaiming his greatness.
Upside (if applicable): It's amusing to see how ridiculously angry he makes people, particularly when they come looking for a fight and fail to match wits with First Take's evil overlord.