You are looking live…at an editorial written by a sports fan who can’t believe what ESPN has done. They have unceremoniously ushered Brent Musburger out of ABC’s college football game of the week.
In reassigning Musburger not only did ESPN remove one of the premier sportscasters of national telecasts in this era, but they also removed one of the pioneers that help create the style of sports broadcasting that we all now insist upon as being the standard by which we measure each and every sports broadcaster. As far back as forty years ago, Musburger had already successfully created his niche as a recurring host of a series of season-long telecasts for television networks long before any television executives knew what the heck a pregame, halftime, or postgame format was!
In the spirit of fairness, let me try to take a moment and look at this situation from ESPN’s perspective. I’m sure it’s someone’s job at that network to continually monitor the performances of all on-air staff. Further, if any person is talented enough to be able to stay in an on-air position until their sunset years and beyond, I suppose those people will reach a point at which the life cycle begins to creep in to their performance. But that being said, who removes one of the most prolific broadcasters of the last four decades from being part of one of the best college football broadcasting teams that was assigned the national championship game of the sport they covered all season (which is clearly a nod to the job you’ve been doing lately) and just quietly demotes him?
It’s disappointing for two reasons, both of them glaring in my opinion. First, Brent still has his stuff, he’s still good at what he does. Simply put, he continues to bring his talent to the events he broadcasts. Second, Musburger should have been given the opportunity to say farewell from the national stage he has worked so well for so long. To not offer someone who speaks for a living the chance to speak in order to bid his audience adieu just doesn’t seem right. Actually, to go a step further, it seems wrong.