Erin Andrews will be continuing her upward march at Fox this fall, taking Pam Oliver’s place as the #1 sideline reporter at the network with commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. On the other side of the coin, Oliver will be paired with the rising team of Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch this season, which will be her last at the network.

In an interview with SI’s Richard Deitsch, Oliver reveals that Fox initially wanted to completely remove her from their NFL coverage in 2014, which would have been a shocking fall from her spot with the top broadcast crew on the network. In her new role at Fox, she’ll be doing more long-form piece, specials, interviews, and producing, along with her new role with Burkhardt and Lynch.

I think the story here is less about Andrews and more about Oliver, who had a difficult year last season after suffering a concussion when she was hit in the head during a preseason game. Did she have a rough year? Yeah. Was it bad enough to warrant her being removed from NFL coverage entirely? I don’t think so. And on the other hand, Andrews had a year where she was thought of as more of a personality than a sideline reporter, due to her stints a a studio host for Fox College Saturday and host for Dancing with the Stars.

Jettisoning Oliver in favor of Andrews is a move that will be scrutinized and criticized as the summer turns into fall and the fall turns into winter. If Andrews struggles with the top team and Oliver thrives with the second team, will Fox do an about-face or stubbornly stick with the same course they’ve embarked upon? Whatever ends up happening, it’s not a great look for Fox to pump up Oliver’s journalism abilities, and then to demote her.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.

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