Kirk Herbstreit wants to be an NFL analyst in the worst way. If Amazon hires him to do Thursday Night Football with Al Michaels, that’s exactly what they’ll get: analysis in the worst way! Herbstreit is a guy who sucks the air out of a room.
The New York Post has reported that Michaels, who is the best NFL play-by-player of all time, has been on the one-yard line ready to sign with Amazon, but he’s waiting to see whom they hire as his analyst. If it’s Herbstreit, I have a message for Michaels: Please Al, don’t do it!
Doing college games for ESPN, Herbstreit has invented his own language. A long pass isn’t a long pass, it’s attacking the field “vertically.” A player doesn’t cut left or right to avoid a tackler, he “puts his foot in the ground.” A player isn’t just breaking a tackle, he’s proving his “physicality.” And a runner isn’t hitting a hole, he’s “running downhill.”
Herbstreit, 52, has been with ESPN since 1996 and seemed a perfect fit for College GameDay where he had to share the stage with Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and others. But he preferred working the booth as a game analyst far better. It is in the booth where Herbstreit can pontificate as if he was the Commissioner of all college football. And the moment his play-by-play partner even appears to be wrapping up, Herbstreit jumps in and talks non-stop until the next snap, often talking in circles and saying very little.
Al Michaels (left) has worked alongside some of the best ever in the business, like the great John Madden, and recently with Chris Collinsworth. If Al wants to take a vacation while he’s on the air all he needs to do is tell Amazon he’s “good” with Herbstreit. That way, Al would hardly have a moment to say much past hello.
Calling him a “village idiot,” here’s how Sportsbroadcastjournal.com editor David Halberstam described Herbstreit in a column last December: “The moment (play-by-play announcer Chris) Fowler finishes a sentence, or comes close to stop talking, that village idiot (Herbstriet) has something to say. It starts in a New York second. The man is so self-centered and talks incessantly that he thinks the show is just about him. As he blathers away foolishly, he doesn’t realize that viewers need a breather.
““I just wish that Brent Musburger was still Kirk’s sidekick,” Halberstam also wrote, “and would smack him around a little bit. Herbstreit deserves it. His play-by-play partner Chris Fowler is getting better but he’s a softy and won’t confront (him).”
Beano Cook humorously used to tell ABC’s non-stop fast-talking PR man Donn Bernstein, “Your wife will be the first woman ever to die from listening.” One could easily substitute Herbstreit’s name for Bernstein’s. The man thinks he’s being paid by the word.