As a fan of “The Big Show,” the Dan Patrick-Keith Olbermann version of “SportsCenter” a few years back, I’m excited to see the pair reunited on NBC’s “Football Night in America” studio show. However, I’m also concerned the pair will try to be overly cute and funny. It’s a pregame, halftime and studio show, not “Laugh-In.” Besides, co-hosts Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth already are on the cutesy side.
Patrick also hosts a syndicated radio sports talk show and writes a column for Sports Illustrated. Olbermann, who has strong liberal views, hosts a nightly news show, “Countdown,” on MSNBC.
With the addition of Patrick, NBC will have a seven-men studio crew, which is at least two analysts too many. NBC could dump former Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Jerome Bettis and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber and not miss a beat. Rounding out the crew is NFL expert Peter King.
To announce the pairing, NBC held a conference call. Here are some of the highlights:
Olbermann on working with Patrick: “The key ingredient we had working together was whatever you thought we were doing out there, the actual intent of the program was an attempt by him to crack me up or by me to crack him up. As long as we kept that undercurrent going, we knew it would be fairly entertaining for the audience.”
Patrick on his role: “I will be doing the highlights for the red states and Keith will be doing the highlights for the blue states.”
Costas on the Olbermann and Patrick pairing: “I think it’s a great idea because it reunites one of the great combinations ever in TV sports. I’ve been in favor of the idea ever since NBC Sports reacquired the NFL but we haven’t been able to work it out until now.”
Patrick on his hiatus from TV: “I watch with a critical eye but I also watch with great admiration for those who can do it and do it well. So I didn’t sit there and go ‘I can do that better.’ I had a harder time watching ‘SportsCenter,’ I’ll grant you that. You do that for so long, you do it for 18 years, and then it’s kind of hard to watch. It’s sort of like Brett Favre having to watch Aaron Rodgers with the Packers. Maybe that’s what it is, I don’t know. It’s something along those lines.”