Monday Night Football has often had a conflict between presenting a sports product for football fans versus an entertainment product geared toward attracting casual viewers. That’s probably best demonstrated by the use of non-football personalities like Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser during the 2000s.
But hiring Lisa Guerrero as the MNF broadcast’s sideline reporter during the 2003 season was also a sharp lean toward entertainment. Hired away from Fox Sports, where she was part of The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Guerrero wasn’t taken seriously as a reporter, viewed as being hired entirely for her looks rather than any kind of football or sports knowledge.
That perception, along with criticism and pressure from producers, put Guerrero in a really bad place, as the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand writes in a compelling profile.
“I considered killing myself,” Guerrero told Marchand.
Such a thought even crossing Guerrero’s mind is all that needs to be said. We’re talking about a television reporting job for a sports broadcast. Yet the humiliation she felt at being so widely ridiculed during her MNF stint, of embodying the worst perceptions media and fans had of sideline reporters, had her considering drastic measures.
This was one of the most difficult interviews I’ve ever given about the most difficult period of my life. Hopefully people see that no matter the personal and career challenges you may face, YOU WILL SURVIVE & THRIVE. https://t.co/88xeFrTjqg via @nypostsports
— Lisa Guerrero ??t (@4lisaguerrero) February 2, 2021
As she explains to Marchand, Guerrero was led to believe she was hired to bring an entertainment aspect to the MNF broadcast. Yet from the start, she had to report on football matters, such as injuries, coaching decisions, particular plays, etc. That’s what viewers have come to expect from sideline reporters, but it wasn’t what Guerrero thought she was meant to do and she was ill-suited for the role.
Subsequently, she was constantly at odds with MNF producer Fred Gaudelli.
“I was afraid of him screaming at me after every game and during the game. I cried every game. It was awful.”
For what it’s worth, Gaudelli told Marchand that he was “disappointed to be hearing about this.”
Just saw the print version of my story in the @NYPost this morning. Wow!! (Written by @AndrewMarchand) THANK YOU to all who have reached out with kind comments and support. It means the world to me ❤️ pic.twitter.com/FVRTzJA98o
— Lisa Guerrero ??t (@4lisaguerrero) February 3, 2021
Guerrero has rebounded well with her reporting career, earning praise for her investigative work on Inside Edition. She’s shown herself to be a dogged journalist whose journalism has solved cases and gotten criminals convicted. As she puts it in her Twitter bio, “I chase badguys on TV.” But the Monday Night Football experience was obviously extremely traumatic, which is disturbing to learn.
Please check out the rest of Marchand’s piece, which goes into more detail on Guerrero’s MNF difficulties, how she turned around her career, and what her current work means to her. It’s gratifying to see that such an ordeal and nasty comments from critics and viewers didn’t define her self-worth and professional merits.