Kornheiser Feels the Love After Leaving MNF

Within the echo chamber of the blogosphere and Internet message boards, making fun of Tony Kornheiser on Monday Night Football was a pretty easy business. Just about everybody would agree with you, and just about everybody would send their own barbs at the orange guy. ↵

↵The famously prickly Kornheiser--who has lashed out at critics in the past--recently began saying he had stopped reading his critics, yet in a radio interview today he reported that the feedback he's received since stepping down has been overwhelmingly positive. ↵

↵

↵"I’ve now gone three years without reading a word about myself, because I’ve been told by so many people that it’s so bad, so I don’t bother to do it," he told Kevin Sheehan on ESPN 980. "Anyways, I find out—and this is strictly anecdotally, of course--but I find out as I just sort of work around near where I live or where I go...that people liked my work. They really liked it. They say, 'I’m really sorry you’re gone, I really liked it. You were funny, you were a regular human being, it wasn’t just Xs and Os that nobody understands anyway.' ↵

↵

↵"And this was great to hear, because I think most of the criticism is from people who don’t play themselves but who insist that football be mystified. Everything else has to be demystified in life, except football. These dopes want it mystified, and they want nothing but third-level and fourth-level Xs and OS. Which, if anybody has ever been around a football game--you don’t have to have played it--you know right away that it’s impossible to know. Because there are 22 moving parts. Nobody knows exactly what’s going on until they indeed look at the film. So to find out that people liked my work was very, very good for me." ↵

↵

↵I know Tony a little bit, although I'm pretty sure he hates me, and he's often critical of his own work (except in this interview he also called PTI the best show on television, which won't rate high on the modesty scale). But he was pretty dang positive today when looking back on his third year of Monday Night Football work, which he said was his best. ↵

↵

↵"Last year, that was a really good football broadcast," he said. "It was really good. Jaworski and I have obvious rapport, that’s just obvious to anybody who paid attention to the show. And I really REALLY liked the show last year, and thought it was as good as ANY football game being broadcast, and believe me, I watched them all. I had to suffer through Brian Baldinger just like everybody else did." ↵

↵

↵Well, that's gonna make for an awkward meeting at a TV reception one day. Anyhow, Kornheiser again said that the airline travel drove him away from MNF, that it was the first time in his career that he had to "grab for the microphone" as the third man in a booth, and that there were changes he would have made to the show, but that they weren't dramatic. He also said that Jon Gruden will offer a 180-degree change from his approach, and I guess we'll all have to decide for ourselves whether Gruden is mystifying or demystifying the game, offering third-level Xs and Os to blogging dopes or improving the product. ↵

↵

↵Either way, Kornheiser was pleasantly nostalgic about the whole thing, which is probably how a lot of us fans will end up remembering his tenure, regardless of what we might have Tweeted during the third quarter of the 11th game on some depressing November night. ↵

↵

↵"Oh, I’m gonna miss it, I’m gonna miss it tremendously," he said. "I’m gonna have great longing for it, because it introduced me to a whole new part of the sports culture that I’d never seen before. I mean, I was inside the ropes. It was cool fun....I’m not gonna say every bit of it was great, that would be insane, and that would be a lie...but it was GREAT to have done. I’m so happy for the opportunity to have done it and I don’t use the word proud a lot, because it’s not quite prideful, but I’m really thrilled. I thrilled that I did it for three years. I’m gonna miss a lot of it, really a lot of it, and when I watch those games there’s gonna be a great longing for it." ↵

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↵For more of Dan Steinberg, visit his blog with The Washington Post, D.C. Sports Bog. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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