Once the shock of former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s firing faded, I pondered his future. Naturally, my first thought turned to broadcasting.
Could Quenneville be on TV as a game or studio analyst?
Odds are, his next job will be as a coach. He’s only 60 years old, and clearly the fire still burns. But for the purpose of this story, let’s say no team comes calling. What then? Can you imagine Quenneville sitting behind a studio desk, opining about some defenseman’s “compete level,” as he’d say?
I can’t. Some in the industry can’t, either. Just listen to Quenneville’s postgame news conferences. You can tell right there it wouldn’t work. He often speaks in a murmur, and his gravelly voice makes you want to clear your throat.
Quenneville will forget more about hockey today than I’ll ever know, but communicating that knowledge to a TV audience rather than an audience of players is vastly different. Eddie Olczyk is the best at it in hockey. Can you see Quenneville using a telestrator? I can see him throwing the pen across the booth.
At the news conference announcing his firing, the Hawks’ brass praised new coach Jeremy Colliton’s communication skills often enough to make you think Quenneville lacked them. If he can’t communicate with players, he wouldn’t communicate with viewers.
All of this is likely moot. Quenneville doesn’t come off as someone itching to get into broadcasting. He doesn’t seem cut out for it, and that’s fine. He belongs behind a bench.
What about the other Chicago coaches/managers in the big four sports? If they lost their job and went into broadcasting, how do you think they’d fare? Here’s my take; feel free to share yours.
Fred Hoiberg, Bulls
Hoiberg seems like the nicest guy, which is why I can’t imagine him saying anything controversial on the air. Being critical is a must for a sports analyst. The person doesn’t have to be mean, but the viewer has to know that the analyst is seeing what the viewer is seeing.
I’ll never forget when former “Monday Night Football” analyst Ron Jaworski told the nation how excited he was to see then-Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko make his first NFL start against the Patriots in November 2011. Outside of Palko’s family and friends, no one in America shared that feeling. Palko proved why, throwing three interceptions. In February 2012, Jaworski was taken off “MNF.”
I can see Hoiberg breaking down plays as an analyst, but his demeanor wouldn’t allow for much enthusiasm. Hubie Brown is the best at it in basketball. He breaks down the game so well and with such passion, the viewer could go run the plays for him. Sometimes, the Bulls can’t run the plays for Hoiberg.
Joe Maddon, Cubs
There are plenty of Cubs fans who would like to see Maddon move to television today. (He won you a World Series, people. Get over it.) Regardless, Maddon instantly would become the best analyst in baseball. He’s insightful and unique. He understands the new school of baseball but has been around long enough to remember the old school.
Can he rub you the wrong way with his shtick? Sure. But he always is open to explaining his decisions, and that kind of analysis would be invaluable on a broadcast. It also would be rare. The Diamondbacks’ Bob Brenly and the Blue Jays’ Buck Martinez are the only former managers broadcasting games. John Farrell (ESPN) and Joe Girardi (MLB Network) work in the studio. Ex-players dominate the landscape.
Whom do viewers second-guess more: players or managers? It’s managers. For whatever reason, that perspective is missing on broadcasts. Maddon would be perfect.
Matt Nagy, Bears
After three seasons of listening to John Fox, Nagy has been a breath of fresh air. He actually, you know, says things. He shares his thoughts, explains his decisions and isn’t afraid to show his personality. We’re still getting to know him, but it seems that what you see is what you get.
He tries to protect his players sometimes, and that’s fine. But after watching his offense for eight games, I bet it’d be fascinating to listen to him analyze a game. Hopefully, he’d be able to translate his verbiage for viewers.
Rick Renteria, White Sox
With some kind of double-secret contract extension in hand (why so stealthy, Rick Hahn?), Renteria won’t be subjecting viewers to his powers of positivity anytime soon. But if he could, it wouldn’t go over well. Though he’s upbeat and personable, he likely wouldn’t be critical, and he shares very little at his news conferences.
‘PTI’ coming to Northwestern
ESPN will broadcast “Pardon the Interruption” with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon next Friday from Welsh-Ryan Arena before Northwestern’s game against Binghamton. The “PTI” taping is free and open to the public. Doors open at 2:45 p.m., and taping will run from 3:15 to 4:15. For more information, go to NUSports.com/PTI.
Then, Kornheiser, a Binghamton grad, and Wilbon, a Northwestern grad, will call the game on ESPNews with play-by-play voice Will Flemming. The broadcast begins at 6.
For the second consecutive week, the Fox crew of Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin will call the Bears game. But the next two weeks, fans will be graced by NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya, followed by CBS’ top crew of Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson on Thanksgiving.
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