Sideline Reporting In The Dark

Sideline reporting is not easy.  At least doing it well is not easy.

Sure, any flashy former player or former cheerleader can talk for thirty seconds, delivering a prepared bit of information.  And that's what we usually get - a canned piece of news just as easily delivered by the color analyst.

Occasionally, however, we get to see what real sideline reporting is all about.  The ability to bring us something unique, that only a reporter on the sideline could gather.

In my opinion, that is exactly what Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots - both former players - were able to do during this year's Super Bowl.  When the lights went out in the Superdome, these guys were ready.

When the broadcast booth lost power completely, CBS was forced to come back from a commercial to Tasker and Wilcots.  In my opinion, its not as easy as it looks to ad-lib, inform the viewer, and throw it across the field to your colleague.  To do so smoothly, in front of the entire country, is not as simple as it looks.  It truly isn't.  I thought Tasker and Wilcots were stellar and completely up to the task.

Of course there are those who disagree with my take completely.  Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, whom I worked with briefly as an intern at WFAN Radio in NY in 1998, made it very clear that he felt Tasker, Wilcots and the entire CBS crew were caught with their pants down.  He wasn't impressed.  I was.  Especially considering these two guys were professional athletes, rather than career-trained broadcasters. 

No, sideline reporting is not easy.  Especially if you are standing the in the dark with the entire nation hanging on your every word.

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