Mariotti Offers A Comforting Hand To Kornheiser, Himself

Shouty Jay Mariotti says he'll miss Tony Kornheiser on MNF, a man with whom he feuded cattily for indeterminate reasons over the years. This seems mystifyingly bighearted until you realize he's actually writing about himself.

I thank him because he did the sportswriting profession proud in his three years on Monday Night Football. Kornheiser technically isn't a sportswriter anymore, having escaped the dying newspaper business like many of us, but when he was hired for one of the most high-profile assignments in sports television, he was dismissed by many viewers and critics as a columnist painfully out of his league.

As it turned out, he often carried the prime-time broadcast with his sharp observations and well-grooved wit, providing the background knowledge necessary to pull off the sideshow shtick. ... Kornheiser, a journalist at heart, knew that the style couldn't exist without the substance.

...

I'm sad to say that no one's going to be putting another sportswriter in that booth or any other booth. Kornheiser is the first and last of a breed.

The column is a bro-hug from one increasingly irrelevant sports columnist-cum-TV personage to another, which I suppose is sad in its own way. But then here comes Mariotti, basically using Kornheiser to loudly proclaim his own value in this modern age, when "the written word stopped being more powerful than the spoke word."

I am one of those writers — a regular on Around The Horn, the lively, seven-seasons-and-running debate show that precedes PTI on weekday afternoons — and our target audience of thirtysomethings, twentysomethings and teens clearly likes to watch more than read. ... AOL has an enormous monthly audience of sports readers on FanHouse, and when the site launches video, that's when quantum leaps in viewership will take place. It's a video age.

Point being, the people on the video screen have to be informative and compelling.

People like Tony Kornheiser, Mariotti writes, and here's wagering he can think of another. The psychologists, I believe, call this projection.

Admit it: You'll Miss Kornheiser on MNF [FanHouse]