There’s an interesting discussion to be had about the value of sideline reporting in 2022. There are absolutely times where there’s nothing notable for a sideline reporter to add, but there are also times where a particular injury update from a sideline is earlier and more significant than the general Twitter discussion about that injury. Something that may add some fuel to the fire there is a podcast from Fox sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson (seen above in 2018), Calm Down with Erin and Charissa, which drew a writeup from Brandon Contes at Mediaite Thursday:
“I was like ‘oh coach what adjustments are you gonna make at halftime?’ He goes, ‘that’s a great perfume you’re wearing.’ I was like ‘oh f*ck, this isn’t gonna work.’ I’m not kidding, I made up a report,” Thompson said on the latest episode of Calm Down with Erin and Charissa.
“I’ve done that too,” Andrews jumped in. “For a coach that I didn’t wanna throw under the bus because he was telling me all the wrong stuff!”
In a lot of ways, this probably isn’t worth the “Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson Make up Sideline Reports to Protect NFL Coaches: ‘He Was Telling Me All The Wrong Stuff'” headline Mediaite ran with. It’s very much not shocking that sideline reporters’ versions of what coaches told them ahead of halftime have been paraphrased. But it is still interesting that Andrews and Thompson would openly discuss this.
And there’s maybe something there on the idea of sideline reporters overall. There are not a lot of cases where any coach, in the college or NFL ranks, has said something notable to a sideline reporter ahead of or immediately after halftime. But where sideline reporters do stand out is with important injury reports. And this discussion is maybe a worthwhile note there; networks maybe don’t have to emphasize as much “Yes, we have a sideline reporter,” and it might be better if they just focused on what useful information the sideline reporters are able to provide. That might alleviate some of that pressure to come up with a “report” based on a coach who didn’t actually say anything.