We learned last month that Mina Kimes’ contract at ESPN is set to expire this year. And while there is no shortage of potential suitors lining up for the 37-year-old NFL analyst, that doesn’t mean she’s taking her well-earned reputation for granted.
While The Ringer, Meadowlark Media, and others are undoubtedly hoping for a chance to pry her away from ESPN, the most likely scenario is that Kimes stays with the Worldwide Leader following a decade where she rose from writer to panelist to podcaster to NFL Live analyst.
Still, despite that meteoric rise, Kimes says that she feels like she constantly has to prove herself over and over again. On a recent episode of The Pivot podcast with Ryan Clark, Kimes said that her nerves when she started working as a TV analyst have driven her success.
“I used to be so nervous about ******* up,” Kimes said. “Paralyzed. Some of that is because of my identity…I was very anxious about making mistakes. I was constantly like ‘Who the hell cares what Mina Kimes thinks of this team?’. Because when you’re a reporter, you’re bringing people a story. People reading it cause they’re interested in Jalen Ramsey.
“When you’re an analyst, you kind of are the story. You’re the expert, and I just always felt like — when you guys (former NFL players) come to being analysts, you bring instant credibility. I always felt like I had zero credibility. The only way I could build credibility was doing it and doing it for a while. I feel like I have to prove myself every single time. I still feel like that.”
“Sooo nervous about f*cking up”@minakimes is 1 of the brightest minds in football, but she knows she doesn’t come from the pedigree that gives you instant credibility. Mina has not only overcome that obstacle, but has excelled.
Tap into @thepivot! https://t.co/GX6llK6uM7 pic.twitter.com/xt0Y0BJfFm
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) March 3, 2023
Kimes also said that while she’s certainly gotten plenty of negative reactions from viewers, she feels like by being consistent and being supported by her male colleagues, football audiences have accepted her and her perspective in a relatively short amount of time.
“The reality is, the vast majority of people are cool with it now,” said Kimes. “I’ve found it’s kinda just become normalized pretty quickly. Now, it’s not become normalized just because I showed up and was like ‘Wow, dazzling them,’ it’s become normalized because I was just on TV a lot. And, and I cannot stress this enough, I was with people like Ryan…he gives me credibility in the way he reacts to me, supports me, big-ups me… Viewers see that and they’re like ‘Oh, he respects her.’
“That’s really how, I think, progress is made in this space, frankly.”
Kimes might be at the center of a bidding war if she decides to test free agency this year, a sign that all of that proving herself has paid off.