OK, let’s get this out of the way. Nobody likes Brent Musburger. That’s not really his fault because we live in an age when nobody really likes anyone. Check out Twitter during the broadcast of any major sporting event and you’ll find a torrent of insults and jokes all aimed at the person behind the big game mic.
That said, Musburger is a name. A top name. He’s witnessed and covered more major sporting events than anyone reading this post can even list. Toward the end of his career, yes. But he’s still got some clout to offer.
Earlier this month it was reported that ESPN would move the broadcasting legend from its A-team on ESPN/ABC and slide him into the #1 announcer’s role on the new SEC Network. Here’s hoping he takes the job as the SEC could get a lot worse. SI.com’s Richard Deitsch reported over the weekend, however, that Musburger might not accept ESPN’s demotion:
“As first reported by James Andrew Miller, Musburger has been offered the job of lead college football announcer for the upcoming SEC Network, which debuts at the end of August. It is unclear whether Musburger will take that offer, as some source I spoke with noted he is unhappy with how the process is shaking out. What seems clear is that Musburger is being pulled from the lead announcer spot for ABC’s Saturday Night Football, which is ESPNs top game each week.”
Musburger, according to ESPN, isn’t doing any interviews on the subject.
Whether he’s still at the top of his 1980s game isn’t up for debate. We get that. But his name and voice alone would add some much needed heft to the new network’s lineup. Tim Tebow has been hired as an on-set analyst, but as likable as he is it’s hard to imagine him providing any critical comments. Ever. In other words, Tebow will probably be Grudenian in his praise of every team, every coach and every player. Tebow’s hire feels more like a gimmick than a true attempt to create quality content (and that’s not a knock on Tebow).
Musburger is for many folks the voice of the Rose Bowl and the BCS Championship Game. Having as your top voice the man who called the last national championship game adds some gravitas to SEC Network broadcasts in Year One.
The trouble for the network — at least at start up — is that it will be a “step-up” spot for ESPNs current B-team analysts. Joe Tessitore, for example, was the first major player to be added to the network. Tessitore does fine work and will in time likely make an excellent front-person for the new channel. But if the names and faces were not shown and 10 different ESPN voices were run back-to-back could you immediately say, “Tessitore!”
But Musburger has exactly that kind of voice.
If the soon-to-be 75-year-old from Up North would make like many retirees and agree to spend one or two golden years in the Sun Belt, it would be a nice win for the SEC Network. Like him or not, Musburger adds clout. And a first-year channel needs as much clout as it can get.