NEW YORK — Former professional athletes notwithstanding, has a sideline reporter ever been as famous as Erin Andrews? And yet the 35-year-old has yet to work a Super Bowl. That will change Sunday in New Jersey when Andrews teams up with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver on Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Andrews always winds up in the spotlight, but that's especially been the case in the two weeks leading up to this game, thanks mainly to the fact that she was the one asking the questions that prompted Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to go on a classic tirade about San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree following the NFC championship game.
Andrews received some praise and some criticism for how she handled the episode, and there's even a Vegas prop bet now on if she'll interview Sherman again in the aftermath of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos (little betting tip: she'll work the Denver sideline at MetLife Stadium, so she won't likely talk to Sherman).
At Super Bowl week in New York, we caught up with Andrews to talk shop.
Brad Gagnon: How does this compare to other big sporting events you've worked?
Erin Andrews: Nothing compares to this. This is bucket list. What's bigger than the Super Bowl?
BG: So does that mean you're nervous? How often do you get nervous anyway?
EA: Oh, I get nervous all the time. After my first hit — I mean, try to imagine being down on the field last Sunday in Seattle when that crowd was going nuts. Did you see the national anthem? Did you hear the crowd? Do you think you wouldn't be nervous? You're kidding me. It was amazing. I'll always be nervous. I'm always nervous once I get my first one out of the way.
BG: Do you read what critics write about you?
BG: What do you take from it?
EA: Some of it really upsets me and some of it I think to myself, 'There's always going to be the naysayers, there's always going to be the haters.' Even the best of the best get criticized.
BG: Do you think you handled the Richard Sherman interview well?
EA: I have gone over it in my head 8,000 times. I think after it happened I'm more so worried about if I asked the right thing. I'm my biggest critic. Regardless of whatever these other people that say things think that they are with me. I'm the one that judges myself the hardest. I don't know, there's parts of it I wish I had done different. I wish I had thrown it to Joe differently. I didn't realize that we were going to cut out of my question that quickly so I think I was stunned and kind of just said, 'Joe, back to you,' where I wish I had just said, 'Joe, 90 seconds after he made the play of his life, a very emotional Richard Sherman.' I wish I had handled it like that.
BG: Were you frustrated that they cut the interview short?
EA: No, I would never second-guess our producer, ever.
BG: I'm sure you're asked all the time what the best part of the job is. What's the worst part?
EA: What do you think the worst part of my job is?
BG: I've only done the job on a local level but I'd say maybe it's the fact that there's a lot more preparation involved than people realize.
EA: Oh gosh, that's not the worst part of my job.
BG: Well, what is it?
EA: The worst part of my job is people always think that they can do a better job. The worst part of the job is not the prep.
BG: I'll give you that. Everybody thinks they can be better than the play-by-play guy.
EA: Joe Buck says this a lot: This is sports. We're not curing diseases here. We're not serving overseas. This is just sports. And people get so wrapped up in it where they have to get mean and criticize people. It's sports. There are people out there doing real jobs.
BG: What do you tell younger women who want to do what you do?
EA: Study. I never studied this much in college, I never studied this much in high school. You have to study. I remember, the first thing my dad said to me right out of college was, 'Hey, there's more to life than the Florida Gators. Start reading about another team.' Because that's all I read about. My dad's like, 'You're gonna have to be expected to know more than Gator football. Go learn more.'"
BG: The perception of females on the sideline — is that changing?
EA: What is the perception?
BG: I guess that depends, as all perceptions do, on who you are and where you are. But there have been stigmas.
EA: I don't really listen to what other people think.
BG: But you said you read about yourself….
EA: But I don't know what their perception is. I just know I work so, so hard at what I do. I'm my biggest critic, so if I'm not happy with a game it bothers me for three or four days. So I don't really know how other people perceive us. I know what I've read, but it doesn't mean that's the right way to perceive sideline reporting.