ESPN book points to tension inside Monday Night Football

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ESPN had to make a few changes to its Monday Night Football booth before finally finding the right chemistry with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden, and a new book about ESPN offers some intriguing details about just how tense the situation was in years past.

Specifically, former Monday Night Football commentator Tony Kornheiser told the author of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN that Tirico sabotaged him when they were on-air partners.

“Look, I know that Mike Tirico is smart and funny and as quick if not quicker than I am,” Kornheiser said, via Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. “I admire and respect him, but it killed me that he had none of that for me. After many conversations, I came to believe that he had little respect for sportswriters and remembers all the sportswriters who wrote bad s— about him. He loves it when sportswriters get something wrong. And I felt he put me in that group, because I’m part of them. It wasn’t that I was right and he was wrong. We just couldn’t agree.”

Kornheiser said he was upset enough about Tirico that he went to their bosses about it.

“I had a lot of conversations with [MNF executive producer Jay] Rothman and [network executive John] Walsh and some even with [network executive] Norby [Williamson], and I’ll admit I would get upset,” Kornheiser said. “I said, ‘He’s killing me, and it keeps happening.’ They would say, ‘We’ve talked to him, and it’s going to get better,’ but it never did. He was doing it deliberately; anybody with eyes could see it. He just wouldn’t engage me.”

Kornheiser also said he had trouble with the host of ESPN’s Monday Night Football studio show.

“The whole time I was on Monday Night Football, Chris Berman never mentioned my name. He loathes me, in part because of the stuff I used to write about him,” Kornheiser says in the book, via Michael McCarthy of USA Today.

For his part, Berman said in the book that he thinks Kornheiser took cheap shots at him. Sounds like Monday Night Football hasn’t been a particularly warm working environment.

72 responses to “ESPN book points to tension inside Monday Night Football

  1. LMAO sounds more like a bunch of egos competing for attention like little kids. Kinda like DeMo and the players, wouldn’t you say?

  2. I opened up a bottle of champagne when they replace Kornheiser on Monday Night Football. He was absolutely unbearable.

    I remember how he would be all giddy like a teenager when a player he happened to have on his fantasy football team would do something good. He loved to tell America that player is on his fantasy football team. I remember screaming at the TV, “WHO THE F*** CARES”

  3. Tony Kornheiser taking cheap shots at someone else?

    No way!

    In all seriousness he ought to see this as a natural byproduct to his caustic attitude toward his colleagues.

    It’s not like everyone is going to think his shtick is all in good fun.

  4. are we really supposed to feel bad for kornholeser?

    sounds like the chickens have come home to roost in your media career.

  5. Two Points:

    1. It appears that everyone associated with MNF and ESPN is paranoid, juvenile and insecure.

    2. ESPN has a lousy Human Resources Department!!

  6. They should bring TK back now, not because he’s skilled in any way, because he was awful (slightly better than Dennis “I like to reference words that English professors are unaware of, because it makes me feel like less of a moron” Miller was).

    No, I would like to have him reinserted into that lineup just for the awkwardness it would cause.

    Also, if you want to laugh, google: “berman rant” and “berman pills”…

    …you can thank me later.

  7. I agree with the first one, seems more like a problem with Kornheiser than ESPN. If he wants to move up in his career, maybe he shouldn’t have taken shots at ESPN guys, or talked about Tirico to the producers behind his back.

  8. Looking at Tony Kornheiser, I would have to say that he is the epitome of a guy who got stuffed in a locker when he was in grade school by the jocks and has spent the rest of his life trying to get back at them.

    He is the most annoying, egotistical, least athletic sports “journalist” I can think of, and his opinions suck.

    Of course, that is just my humble opinion.

  9. Kornholer was out of place in the booth…terrible…that insane comb over on that peanut head didn’t do much for his credibility…

  10. willycents says:
    May 23, 2011 3:16 PM
    LMAO sounds more like a bunch of egos competing for attention like little kids. Kinda like DeMo and the players, wouldn’t you say?
    ====================

    Yes, of course, and nothing like the owners, who are all selfless boy scouts embodying the very essence of hard work, perseverance and dedication.

    Not an ego amongst them, and to a man they reject attention and credit and attempt to deflect it to their deserving underlings.

    That pretty much some up your line of thinking on this, shill?

  11. Gosh I love it when sports writers / announcers take shots at each other.

    But seriously, who gives a fecal matter about Kornheisure or Trico or backbackbackBerman

  12. @vadog – funny stuff.

    A) Gruden and Jaws together saved ESPN’s ass on Monday nights.

    B) TK sucked

    C) Tirico sucked – and still does. he MUST have pics of ESPN bosses ( which from what I hear, isnt hard to imagine ) for them to keep shoving him in our faces. Ever hear this moron do golf? GOLF????!!!!!

    Again, GOLF???!!!!!

  13. I don’t like Torico either. He sounds a little too smart for his own good.

    (Now let the thumbs down commence!)

  14. “And I felt he put me in that group, because I’m part of them. ”

    No, Tony, it’s not your profession he didn’t like. You’re an a-hole and nobody likes you.

    If you need an example read further:
    “The whole time I was on Monday Night Football, Chris Berman never mentioned my name. He loathes me”

  15. Or Tony, perhaps they saw what everyone else in america did- You were the absolute WORST MNF announcer in history. (yes even worse than Dennis Miller)

    His drooling over celebrities that visited the booth was almost enough to make me stop watching, almost.

  16. Personally the MNF crew all sucks hasn’t been good since the days of Dandy Don, Howard Cosell and Gifford…I was hoping someone would give Chucky a job just so I wouldn’ thave to listen to him anymore talk about how he loves this guy and that guy as a matter of fact is there a guy he didn’t/doesn’t love???

  17. Tony Kornheiser is hilarious. He believed that being 100% slap dick made him funny, interesting, but most of all untouchable. Forget talking to other co-host’s. Everyone from the key grip to the camera guy couldn’t stand his ass. I imagine Wilbon has to take 3 g’s of xanex just to do PTI and stand across from him for the show.

  18. Gruden thinks Kornheiser is a “stand-up guy..one of the finer analysts thte NFL has ever seen”

  19. Whatever Berman is a D-bag off air anyways. All his stupid sound effects make him sound like someone with turrets. Espn is dumb for not having any turn over on these broadcasts. If it was not for the fact that espn corners this sports telecast market I would’nt even watch it. Get some new people in there jesus. Are they gonna let these guys do this well into their 80’s??

  20. Tony Kornheiser = absolute worst MNF announcer ever. no question. although the whole ESPN MNF experience has been horrid. Bringing celebrities in the booth during the games? Terrible, almost unwatchable.

    Now I can at least stomach the Jaws, Gruden, Tirico combo.

  21. With the expection of Jaws, they are stink. Gruden is the worst, he loves everyone, sounds like someone afraid to go against a player.

    Mike Tirico is the worst of the bunch. He is dry and boring, he is not funny.

    Atleast Jaws can give people true insight and behind scenes look at how plays occur and can be executed.

  22. When Gruden was reached for comment he said “Kornheiser, this guy is unbelievable man. The best 3rd man in the booth in my opinion. Hall of Fame abilities.”

  23. And Kornheiser has ripped on Terrell Owens and Rory Sabatatinni for openly negative talk about their peers???

    Hypocrite Alert!!! Hypocrite Alert!!!

    Now, I will never take any credence into what he says anymore!!! Especially when the topic of American Idol comes up first and sports comes never!!!

  24. Come to think of it they are all and I mean whoever you might get on Sunday’s as well are a bunch wind bags full of themselves who commentate as if we know nothing about football…I swear some of them get to yacking and again there goes the mute button…

  25. @

    thebaronvb says:
    May 23, 2011 3:48 PM
    With the expection of Jaws, they are stink. Gruden is the worst, he loves everyone, sounds like someone afraid to go against a player.

    Mike Tirico is the worst of the bunch. He is dry and boring, he is not funny.

    EXACTLY…thought I was the only one who noticed Gruden loved everyone…

  26. vadog says:May 23, 2011 3:19 PM

    Two Points:

    1. It appears that everyone associated with MNF and ESPN is paranoid, juvenile and insecure.

    2. ESPN has a lousy Human Resources Department!!
    ———————–
    I sometimes feel the pre-requisite for working at ESPN is immaturity..The more the better. The bigger the ego…the bigger the paycheck.

  27. I wish all of these play-by-play announcers, color commentators, sideline Barbies, studio talking heads, etc. would come to the realization that they are not the story. Their jobs are to report the story lines and action, etc. relative to the news or contest that is taking place, not to impose their personalities, their personal histories nor, most of all, to tout their former greatness in lieu of covering their assignment. We all, I’m sure, are tired of heard Joey T talk about punting and returning punts in Canada. Who cares! You are not the story! Get over yourselves and move on!!!!!!!

  28. Did anyone really like Kornheiser on MNF ?

    I think most folks are happy he is gone , , probably alot more than he knows.

  29. They all stink. The focus of the broadcast is supposed to be the game, not personalities. The ESPN anti-good -sports method will come into a game with a prearranged angle and come hell or high water they will use it the entire game. Who is sick of looking at wives, mothers, girlfriends, second cousins who have a sickness or any of the other junk they portray. The game is secondary to any story line they push. Think of the Ole’ Brett suck up. Watch them as they are late showing the start of a play so they can watch a player blow snot out of his nose. We never see or hear of a change in personal on the field but we get plenty of completely useless opinion from their holes. Stop the over the top superlatives and show us the game.

  30. I thought this was going to highlight the bickering between Young and Millen. Now that was obvious attention. Young thought Millen was an idiot; along with the rest of the country.

  31. I think the currently line up is great. You have Intelligence with Tirico in journalism, Jaws and Chucky with football. Experience in broadcasting with Tirico, the X’s and O’s with Jaws and Chucky. And straight comedic relief between Jaws and Chucky.

  32. Kornheiser was nearly as painful to watch on MNF as Dennis Miller. And it’s not because Tirico sabotaged him. It’s because Kornheiser is a cheesy, annoying, no-talent buffoon.

  33. lol Jaws and Gruden saved MNF?!?! all Gruden does is talk about how great every player on the field is. hes the biggest brown noser ive ever seen. and Jaws just thinks what hes saying is more important than anything else.

  34. Let’s see: ESPN btought us these gems.
    Paul McGwire, Joe Theismann, Tony Kornheiser, and let’s not forget Matt Millen ruining every college football game he announces.

    Wonder where the problem lies?

  35. Tony was terrible.

    I’m getting sick of Tirico’s know-it-all attitude on managing the clock, play calls, etc. Who is he to instantaneously question someone?

  36. Kornheiser is a punk brat. Stop complaining when things don’t go your way. Nobody liked you when you were on MNF, and Tirico could see you for what you are. A fraud.

  37. All the great dirt in that book, and even that article, and we get the Kornheiser/Tirico fued? In the article alone, the best part was ESPN’s own Bill Simmons quote that Tirico is nothing special, Gruden/Jaworski never say anything negative, and that people turn on the TV to watch the games, not the announcers. In the book, there are much, much more interesting stories about Tirico’s work-related “escapades”.

  38. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a story on this site generate comments that were virtually all in agreement….

    That probably goes to show just how much Kornheiser sucks.

  39. ESPN turns me off completely because their anchor people remind me of the jock douche bags I hated in high school.

    These reports confirm that.

  40. And PS – Also notice MNF was a cherished, weekly staple until East CoastSPN took it over?

    It’s been unwatchable ever since.

  41. Being loathed by Chris Berman may be a badge of honor for TK. I’m sure that Berman loathes anyone that doesn’t kiss his fat behind. He is the biggest buffoon on tv. I don’t watch anything that he is on. ESPN should have benched him years ago.

  42. Seems to me that the common denominator in this article is Tony Kornheiser. What a jag

  43. Tony was bad on MNF, but PTI is funny and I watch when I am home. I just think it was a bad spot for him. I do not want to be entertained by the guy in the booth, the game does that the guy in the booth provides analysis.

    I am not a fan of Tirico at all, he is pretty arrogant. Typical New Yorker to a T.

  44. Notice the common denominator here? Oh yes, it’s Tony Kornholio. The dude was terrible and his show on ESPN was even worse. He’s one of those pompous writers who holds grudges against players or teams.

    Also, Gruden and Jaws are ok, but their man-love crush over Favre was absolutely sickening. The rest of the country saw Favre for the over the hill diva douche bag that he was, but the MNF crew were too busy performing oral copulation on him.

  45. leftcoastnative says: May 23, 2011 4:11 PM

    I wish all of these play-by-play announcers, color commentators, sideline Barbies, studio talking heads, etc. would come to the realization that they are not the story. Their jobs are to report the story lines and action, etc. relative to the news or contest that is taking place, not to impose their personalities, their personal histories nor, most of all, to tout their former greatness in lieu of covering their assignment. We all, I’m sure, are tired of heard Joey T talk about punting and returning punts in Canada. Who cares! You are not the story! Get over yourselves and move on!!!!!!!

    —-
    This should be the last comment on this subject because it hits the nail on the head. With all of the disdain for the players for the millions they make for playing a game, what is more absurd than paying these people such outrageous salaries to commentate on that game?

    Bravo, sir.

  46. Jaworski is the only Monday Night guy I can tolerate, but then again, I think it has all been down hill since Dan Fouts was canned along with Dennis Miller. I think a Jaworski/Fouts booth would be pretty informative.

  47. Kornhieser blew in the booth, but Chris Berman is definately an incredible a-hole. He just can’t understand why his 60’s rock reference stich hasn’t been funny in over a quarter century.

  48. All I know is thank god for Gruden. He loves the game like a fan and his excitement just shows. He makes the show so much better. Plus he puts Jaws in his place, Jaws is so annoying.

  49. I’ve ignored Tony Kornhole long enough. Like an annoying child constantly whining for attention, I can’t avoid him any longer.
    Tony Kornhole is to sports media what Billy Crystal is to comedy. Overrated, overstated and coddled to because he is a part of and appeals largely to a particular socio-ethnic group.
    The sooner he is realized for what he is, a bitter, small minded, racist/chovenist, the sooner we can get rid of him from the public eye.
    Several other white guys, none of them Jewish, were fired for making unsavory comments once. Kornhole does it daily.
    Tar and feather him.

  50. E-Egotistcle
    S- Self
    P-Promoting
    N-Network
    Who even watches that staion anyhow? I have NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA networks and see all teams, not just Boston, Chicago, New York and Chicago teams daily!
    I want to see the peopel turn on each other in thbis book! Greenbugh talking about how fat Golic is, Golic saying Greeny looks at porn during breaks, Cowherd sayign he is better than Chris Berman!

  51. Tony is great on PTI and that is all. Perhaps it is worth considering that Wilbon is the key to Tony’s TV success on PTI. What is PTI without Mike? Wilbon is awesome – balanced, fun, proud, sensible on race and other hot topics…love you \mike.

  52. Kornholio is from the Beltway mentality, which thanks to Bush was poisoned like no other with, with the two illegal wars, massive increase in global warming, tax cuts for the rich, and corporate welfare to Big Oil and Haliburton. Kornoholio was so arrogant, everytime I watch or hear him I think of that cowboy Bush.

  53. Dear Kornheiser – You failed because you were terrible. For someone who had a career writing and talking about sports, you knew shockingly little about football. You knew the big names and the big headlines, but that was it. It was clear you were unwilling or unable to put in the type of work needed in order to be a valuable contributor in the booth. To point fingers at anyone else for even one second means you are either completely blind or completely ignorant/arrogant (or maybe both).

    Sincerely – Everyone who had to listen to you during MNF games

  54. andrewfbrowne says:May 23, 2011 5:20 PM

    Tony was bad on MNF, but PTI is funny and I watch when I am home. I just think it was a bad spot for him. I do not want to be entertained by the guy in the booth, the game does that the guy in the booth provides analysis.

    I am not a fan of Tirico at all, he is pretty arrogant. Typical New Yorker to a T.
    =================================

    The typical New Yorker to a T comment was unnecessary….loser!!!

  55. Problem:
    Kornheiser

    Solution:
    Mute Button

    Problem:
    Tirico

    Solution:
    Mute Button

    Problem:
    Espn

    Solution:
    Mute button

  56. Whoever put Kornheiser on MNF should get fired. WTF were they thinking? I was so shocked when I heard he was gonna be in the booth, what does he know about football?

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