Something needs to be done about our expectations of the sideline interview. Not a single person with a functioning brain thinks they are worth a damn, yet they persist, making athletes worried, coaches angry and viewers uncomfortable.
It's unfair to really ask for anything insightful from an in-game interview, whether it's strategy, emotion or a prediction. Coaches and players are professionals, paid to coach and play. They shouldn't break character for any of this nonsense, they should just give mindless interviews and move on to what's important. And we should just suspend our disbelief for the 20 seconds it takes. Everyone involved just needs to repeat quietly to themselves: "Here's a waste of time in between game action. I am mentally prepared for this." Berating a sideline reporter or giving them an intentionally obstructive interview is the peeled and portioned orange of low-hanging fruit.
So here's Bo Ryan moving the goalposts with each answer to Tracy Wolfson during an interview at the half of the Big Ten final, when his lead dwindled to 24-23 over Ohio State. A transcript:
Wolfson: You had a nine point lead, allowed them to get back in it here, what changed down the stretch?
Ryan: Well, it's not what you allow, it's what the other team takes advantage of, so...
Wolfson: And what did they take advantage of?
Ryan: Well, they made some shots.
Wolfson: so what do you need to do to adjust?
Ryan: [interrupting] try to keep them from making shots.
Ryan was likely miffed with the end of the half performance and now answering stupid questions (made more stupid by Ryan's reaction) is only adding to the aggravation, but how is he not used to it by now? Just give the standard coach-speak talking points and get out of there without making things worse. The conceit of the sideline interview is bad enough, don't draw our attention to it.