Mike Greenberg and Rob Ninkovich on Get Up. Mike Greenberg and Rob Ninkovich on Get Up. (Awful Announcing on Twitter.)

Sometimes, broadcasting bloopers can seem a little too on-the-nose. That’s what happened with Rob Ninkovich’s farewell to ESPN on Get Up Friday. Ninkovich had been an ESPN NFL analyst since 2019, but the company’s latest round of cost-cutting saw them opt not to renew some contracts in addition to conducting outright layoffs, and Ninkovich was among those not offered new contracts.

While the company is trying to cut costs, though, they’re still willing to spend big on some areas. Those include Stephen A. Smith and First Take, and the high-profile debate opponents Smith currently has, and the ones he may add. And so that made it interesting that Ninkovich’s on-air farewell at the end of his final appearance on Get Up with Mike Greenberg was cut off in the transition to First Take, which started with Smith talking about how much of a businessman he is.

“Thank you so much. Had a great time the last few years, built a lot of great relationships. Greeny, you’re the best in the business. I mean, listen, I’ve learned from some of the best in football and in media, and it’s not a coincidence, it’s hard work, but it’s also talent, and you’re the epitome of that. Have a great one. And…” And then it cuts to Smith introducing First Take with a discussion about his pink shirt, saying “You know something? I usually don’t come to work dressed like this, ’cause I’m a businessman. I’m a business, man.”

However, this wasn’t actually Ninkovich’s final ESPN moment. Well, it was his final moment on the main ESPN network, which showed softball much of the day Friday. That meant that NFL Live aired on ESPN2 instead. But Ninkovich was on NFL Live (in a different Hawaiian shirt than the one he wore on Get Up in the morning), and his farewell there was a little smoother (and actually was incredibly short, maybe in a correction to what happened on Get Up):

Anyway, the Get Up farewell was awkward. And to be clear, that’s not on Smith. He’s not the one flipping the switch from program to program. And his opening remarks certainly weren’t intended to be received as a comment on ESPN personnel decisions, or intended to cut Ninkovich off. And he’s expressed his own uncertainty amidst ESPN cost-cutting (although it certainly doesn’t seem he’s actually threatened at the moment).

It’s also not clear from the outside if that show-to-show shift comes from a manual switch or an automatic transition at exactly 10 a.m. Eastern. If it’s the latter, there wouldn’t be an easy way to avoid this after Ninkovich’s comments ran long. (Although, it’s interesting that the Get Up to First Take transition happened at 10:00:12 ET as per TVEyes, and the NFL Live to Around The Horn one happened at 5:00:22, times that don’t seem super automatic.)

In any case, the better way to handle this would have been for Ninkovich to wrap up more quickly. And many live TV shows have in-ear countdowns or other clear indicators of just how much time is left before a break, so the awkwardness here might be at least partly on Ninkovich. Or, if Ninkovich did have a lot to say and needed more time, that could have been discussed pre-air, and Greenberg could have set up his farewell with more time remaining in the show.

At any rate, this isn’t a huge problem for anyone. Ninkovich gave a nice farewell to the network in the time he was given, and seemed largely done. And this is far from the most awkward transition we’ve seen in broadcasting, and it’s far from unprecedented. In particular, Greg Cote ran into the hard network out so many times on The Dan Le Batard Show it became a bit of a meme, which some people even brought up in response to this.

And Cote himself chimed in:

But this was a bit awkward. And it was especially awkward as Ninkovich’s final (for now) moment on Get Up, and with what cut him off being this particular First Take clip. And it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to hear the rest of what Ninkovich was going to say there.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.