Erin Andrews is one of the best sideline reporters in sports media, but she hates going on camera with coaches during the game.
On the latest episode of Calm Down with Erin and Charissa, Andrews responded to a listener who asked about the challenge of interviewing coaches mid-game.
“They’re hard,” Andrews admitted of mid-game interviews. “We on Fox, which I’m actually glad about, don’t do those ones where they’re on camera. I don’t like that, I’m not talking badly about any network that does it, but the reason I like how we do it, either going into the half or coming out of the half, the coach can be as annoyed or as fired up or as honest as they want.”
With Fox, Andrews interviews coaches during the game, but she speaks to them off-camera and then summarizes the conversation on the broadcast. According to Andrews, coaches are often willing to give her more information or a better quote without the camera.
It makes sense that a coach is willing to offer more during an interview off-camera, especially when it’s with a veteran sideline reporter like Andrews, who they can trust to properly clean up any quotes or sentiments before relaying them on-air.
Last week, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had an awkward exchange when he was interviewed by NBC sideline reporter Melissa Stark after the first quarter of their Wild Card matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. While Harbaugh wasn’t particularly rude, it was clear that he had no interest in talking to Stark.
John Harbaugh was not enjoying that interview with Melissa Stark. 🏈😬 pic.twitter.com/R8KsIz1Fnc
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 16, 2023
“I have to be honest with you, I didn’t think he was rude,” Andrews said of Harbaugh. “I just thought it was a coach that was coaching in the playoffs…it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all. Maybe I’m just so hardened to this sh*t, but I feel like this is the job we decided to do. It’s not going to be all happy-go-lucky, peaches and cream on the sideline. We are in their world. Yes, I know it’s part of the business, but we are asking them to take a minute and I hate those.”
It’s one thing when coaches are just short or uninteresting during an on-camera interview, but they can also be jerks to sideline reporters, and being “in their world” shouldn’t excuse coaches or players from that.
Being a sideline reporter is one of the more thankless jobs in sports media. Reporters are expected to get something interesting out of the interview, while the coach or player being interviewed is usually attempting to end the conversation as quickly as possible. And usually, when a coach says something on camera that garners interest, it’s because they were getting testy about having to be on camera. Maybe Andrews is right, and off-camera interviews are the way to go.