ESPN commentator Tony Kornheiser has offered a lighthearted response to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who called Kornheiser stupid, dumb and terrible in a radio interview, saying he doesn’t know why Rodgers had such a harsh reaction to their meetings when Kornheiser called Rodgers’ games on Monday Night Football.
“My guess is that his comments had to do with the fact that during his first season, I was publicly critical of the Packers, which had a 13-3 team, and got rid of [Brett] Favre for an untested player,” Kornheiser told The Big Lead. “[Ron Jaworski] and I went back and forth on this 1,000 times on TV and with [Mike] Wilbon 1,000 times on TV. But if he thinks I’m no good, he wouldn’t be the first. Or the last.”
Kornheiser worked on Monday Night Football in 2008, when Rodgers was in his first year as the Packers’ starter. He says he doesn’t specifically recall what he and Rodgers talked about in production meetings, when Rodgers said Kornheiser was woefully unprepared, but he does say that he was simply trying to get an idea of how Rodgers was handling the rough task of filling Favre’s shoes.
“I don’t remember anything particular from the meetings, but I do remember that Jaws went in purely looking for football stuff, Mike [Tirico] was looking for stuff from the announcing angle, and I went looking more for feature-y things or stories,” Kornhesier said. “In that case, the theme was taking over for Brett Favre, which was the toughest thing to do in Green Bay. My guess is that I asked a lot of questions relative to that, and tried to establish some rapport with that. I guess that rapport didn’t exist.”
By looking for “more feature-y things,” Kornheiser was just doing his job in the Monday Night Football booth. But Kornheiser’s problem was that he not only couldn’t establish a rapport with Rodgers, he also couldn’t establish a rapport with viewers, who wanted to hear about football, not about “more feature-y things.” Which is why ESPN was wise to replace Kornheiser with Jon Gruden.