Just after losing out to Bob Costas for the outstanding studio host category at Tuesday’s Sports Emmy Awards, Dan Patrick of NBC Sports and DirecTV chatted with Awful Announcing about living in the Bob Costas era, the ESPN layoffs and his future at Sunday Night Football.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s it like here, being surrounded by all your peers in broadcasting?
It’s a good reminder of how lucky I am to have been in this group. When you think about this era, that it’s been Bob Costas, but there are so many other great sportscasters that have been around for 20, 25, 30 years. And the next generation trying to equal that is gonna have a very difficult time.
And one of those from Bob Costas’ time is Brent Musburger, who’s getting the Lifetime Achievement Emmy tonight.
Oh yeah. But if you look at Vin Scully and Dick Enberg and Brent Musburger, Chris Berman, Bob Costas. These are guys who have persevered, changed with the times. Jim Nantz. And then you have Mike Tirico coming along. I mean there are so many good broadcasters that to be in the group, and as I always say, it’s nice to be nominated because it’s like playing in the Jordan era. Chances are you’re not going to win a title, sort of like when you’re in the Bob Costas era.
So you opened this door. Which player from the Jordan era would you compare yourself to?
How about Steve Kerr? I’m okay with that. Give me an open jumper, hopefully I’ll hit it when I need to.
Just happy to be on a winning team.
Absolutely [laughs]. It’s all about being on a winning team.
Seeing what’s been going on at ESPN over the last few weeks, what’s that been like for you?
Well, I left 10 years ago, which always surprises people. I feel bad because the people who helped build it pay a price. It’s almost like if you’re good, there’s coordinating producers and producers who were too good. They were there long, they were promoted and they made more money. Therefore, they were expendable. It wasn’t fair to them. The same with the on-air talent. It’s unfortunate. It’s a tough business.
I never thought in a million years that this would happen at ESPN. But it just goes to show there are empires, and there are empires that fall. And ESPN is bleeding now. They’re still the worldwide leader, but for this to happen, it’s a wakeup call for everybody in the business.
You seem to be enjoying yourself with your radio show and your work on Sunday Night Football. Are you going to continue doing that for the foreseeable future?
I love doing it. I think I was fortunate to have fun at ESPN. At the tail end I wasn’t having as much, but I was looking for that same feeling that I had with the Big Show with Keith Olbermann. That “fun, let’s try to get away with some stuff, let’s be edgy, let’s take chances.” I’ve been able to do that with the radio show.
And then Football Night In America, there are only so many addresses like that in our business. And to host one of those shows, I’ve been very, very lucky. So I love working with Rodney [Harrison] and Tony [Dungy] and the guys, and so it’s a great challenge every Sunday to bring it and do it for all those weeks every single week. As long as I have the energy to do it and they want to put up with me and the Danettes stick around then yeah, I’m going to do it a few more years.