For reasons known, if at all, only to him, ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd wrapped up his Super Bowl coverage by taking a shot across the bow of former ESPN personality Dan Patrick:
Dan Patrick doesn’t work as hard as Jim Rome. Not even close. . . . Patrick needs thirty-five producers to fill a segment. Rome doesn’t. Bayless doesn’t. I don’t.
Cowherd is hardly a moral standard-bearer in this space, and his comments, like most of the things he says that garner attention outside his own sphere, are designed only to bolster himself, typically at the expense of others. Taking Patrick to task apparently for the sin of granting his (four) producers a more audible and visible role on his program is both nonsensical and selfish.
DP Show producers Seton O’Connor and Paul Pabst’s responses to Cowherd show the factual absurdity of Cowherd’s remarks:
The people actually hurt by Cowherd’s statements, however, are Cowherd’s own support staff, who probably are wishing they worked for Patrick, or someone like him, rather than Cowherd.
Radio shows are similar to sports team coaching staffs, with the on-air host as the head coach, and the typically off-air producers as coordinators and assistant coaches. Just as few in the coaching business envision themselves as lifelong defensive line coaches, for example, few in the radio business want to spend the entirety of their professional careers screening listener telephone calls. A sports team’s success provides exposure to the coaching staff, allowing the coordinators and assistants to move into head-coaching positions elsewhere. Further, good head coaches are wise to create an environment in which their assistants receive outside attention and have opportunities to move into more senior positions. It isn’t that head coaches want to lose their talented assistants. Given the inevitability of those departures, though, head coaches know they can recruit better assistants, who are destined for greater things, by offering them the opportunity to gain exposure while working under them. The notion is not unlike the one Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari employs with his player recruits.
By allowing his support staff to be heard and seen on his show, Patrick affords them individual opportunities that would be more difficult for them to come by without that exposure. Patrick’s producers might eventually leave to pursue their own interests or stay longer because they’re happier with the more prominent role Patrick provides them. Regardless, Patrick has styled his show to serve as a platform for more people who work on the show than just the on-air host.
Cowherd has taken the opposite approach, and his attack on Patrick bears out Cowherd’s selfishness. He demands all of the attention and credit for his own successes, and the people most hurt by his critical comments likely are those who work on his show, not Patrick’s.
Online sports media critics: When Colin Cowherd starts to make sense, it’s time to reevaluate your approach
A note on rants
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Had Rome and Rodgers in mind while writing this. Thanks to reader David for the reminder to include them:
Rome’s show also served as a launch pad for callers, such as Sean Pendergast and Stevie Carbone.
Absolutely. It also speaks to Cowherd’s increasingly unhinged narcissism. His uber-inflated sense of self is exhausting to listen to, even in small doses.
The dirty secret about Cowherd is that if he departed The Mothership tomorrow, he would have almost ZERO chance to rebuild a national platform like DP. Rome is similar to Cowherd in that they prefer their voice to be the only one, which lends to the paternalism and narcissistic tendencies we see with the single-voice shows.
Also, Cowherd has gone on record with his overall sports credo, which is to ‘play the hits’. Cover the coasts, but ignore the middle of the country. There’s plenty of audio on that. And what it allows him to do, it gives him the excuse, the justification, to be lazy.
I would suspect DP’s aggregate ratings (multiplatform) are greater than Cowherd’s, so I think there’s some jealousy there too.
Cowherd benefits by having ESPN Radio strong arm affiliates to carry as much weekday programming as possible in order to get their live event programming. (Been there, witnessed it.) If it weren’t for that, Cowherd’s total coverage, and that of ESPN Radio in general, would be smaller.
Thanks for stopping by, Mike. Generally agree with everything you say, although I’m not quite ready to accept Cowherd’s premise that Rome fits in his (i.e., Cowherd’s) camp. I can’t think of a bigger and more disproportionate beneficiary of the power of the ESPN Radio signal than Cowherd, though.
Here is Dan Patrick’s response, which tracks what I wrote above:
Tweet from DP Show producer: