One of the strange details of NFL broadcasts that’s received a lot of attention over the past few years is the Collinsworth Slide. For a long time, NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcasts began with a monologue introduction from Al Michaels, then Michaels introducing Collinsworth, and Collinsworth appearing in-frame with what was often a sudden “slide.”
The memes on that really exploded in 2018. That year, NBC’s own SNF Twitter account got in on the action with a video collecting Collinsworth‘s various entrances that year, and Collinsworth spoke to For The Win’s Charles Curtis on it, saying “My dad always said, ‘There’s no limit to the amount of people you can entertain as long as you’re willing to be the butt of the joke.’ And I’ve made a pretty good living off of that over the years.” (Collinsworth also told Curtis why the slide was necessary; it was about him needing to hit his taped-off mark for the opening shot with him in it, but also be out of the shot for Michaels’ monologue.)
Shortly after that, Collinsworth pulled off an internet-perplexing slide from the left. And the slide largely continued since then, albeit with exceptions such as the 2019 Hall of Fame Game and the 2020 season (where COVID-19 social distancing protocols were cited). But it hasn’t happened this year on either the NBC SNF broadcast (where Mike Tirico has replaced Michaels alongside Collinsworth) or the Amazon Thursday Night Football broadcast (where Michaels now works alongside Kirk Herbstreit). And Collinsworth provided some insight into that in a conversation with Kay Adams Tuesday on her new FanDuel TV (the rebranded TVG) Up and Adams show:
Here’s a guy who gave us alllllll the details on what happened to the iconic Collinsworth Slide.⁰⁰@heykayadams | @CollinsworthPFF pic.twitter.com/XQbD4UQwEG
— Up & Adams (@UpAndAdamsShow) September 20, 2022
The comments starting around 1:14 there are interesting, with Collinsworth describing his interactions with the cameraman responsible for shooting both him and Michaels:
“He goes, ‘Cris, get your ass out of the frame, what are you doing, get out of the way!’ I go ‘Well, you told me to sit on the piece of tape. What do you mean ‘Get out of the way?’ So he goes ‘Just lean out of the picture, your shoulder’s in the picture.’ So I go ‘Okay.’ So Al comes on, and he does his “Welcome, we’re at Lambeau Field today, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, dah dah dah, and let’s welcome in my partner, Cris Collinsworth. So then I just slide in, so I still have my legs between the piece of tape. And that’s how the whole thing got started. And somebody made a meme out of it or did something, and then it started to become a thing.”
Collinsworth then goes on to note why he’s not currently doing this, and to throw out some future options.
“Mike Tirico doesn’t do the opening monologue. So I’m sitting there, I could lean out, but it would be stupid. So what do you do? Do you do it just for effect? I don’t know, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe I’ll leave that way. As soon as I’m finished, maybe I’ll go that way.”
Adams then suggests a Lady Gaga-style entrance from the top, with “Maybe we’ll strap a harness on you, plop you down.” And Collinsworth goes “I like that.”
This is a fascinating interview on a few fronts, particularly for its embrace of what remains quite a niche sports media topic. It’s notable to have Adams get Collinsworth on the record on why this happened in a more comprehensive way than his previous comments, and it’s interesting to have them discussing what might be a future approach there. We’ll see what this means for the Collinsworth Slide going forward.
[Up & Adams on Twitter]