Kevin Harlan spent nearly five minutes sandbagging her, but it took him four minutes and 12 seconds to say "Erin Andrews." We're all a little Richard Sherman'd out at this point to be sure, but there's been an equally disturbing conversation happening alongside the "thug" discussion. Apparently Richard Sherman happened because Erin Andrews is bad at her job.
Kevin Harlan called her "the interviewer" but he's talking about Erin Andrews when he describes the "drama queenish" reaction to the interview. Jeff Pearlman at least came out and said what Harlan only alluded to: Erin Andrews was only there because she's pretty, not because she's a good reporter. Cutting to the chase: Richard Sherman only happened because Erin Andrews is pretty. Getting down to the real brass of it: if Erin Andrews weren't just a smiling pair of tits, we might not be talking about Richard Sherman.
There's no other way of listening to Harlan's interview or reading Jeff Pearlman's post. Each, while ostensibly defending the position of sideline reporter, offers a look at how men view their female colleagues. Kevin Harlan can't even name another reporter except Michele Tafoya, while Pearlman reduces them all to unnamed versions of his all-boobs-and-no-brains Erin Andrews. The thesis seems to be if only someone capable were there asking the important follow-up questions, we wouldn't be in this terrible situation of having watched an entertaining interview.
Watch the interview again (for a fourth time, even). Erin Andrews isn't lost; she knows exactly what she's doing. Sherman was already hot and she set him up and he knocked it out of the park. She took a lot of heat for the follow up question, which seemed obvious because Sherman mentioned Crabtree by name, but he never said anything about Crabtree talking about him. Sherman could have been talking to anyone, to the universe at large, when he said "don't you ever talk about me."
If anything, she was trying to get Sherman to directly call Crabtree out. Her producers later said they cut the interview off because it was getting "dangerous," so she couldn't have followed up much even if she wanted. But even assuming she flubbed in following up, that's a ridiculously petty nit to pick. Listen to the questions veteran sideline man Sal Paolantonio asks Bart Scott in the famous "Can't wait" interview. How much preparation do you think it took to follow up "how did that just feel" with "it looked like this team played with anger...why?" Who was scared for Sal Pal?
And what, exactly, more are you looking for out of a post-game interview, anyway?
Well to answer your question Erin, Michael Crabtree had been talking some junk about me at a charity event we both attended and I felt it was out of line and vowed retribution. You may hear differently, you may hear that I started it, but that's simply not the case. Anyway, that play was my retribution and I am excited to be going to the Super Bowl.
Of course not. There's a reason why dropping the mic is so vicious. You've said your piece. That's it. Boom. Erin Andrews gave Sherman the mic and let him slam it on the ground. That interview is exactly what we wanted to see. You know this because it's all anyone was talking about.
The ensuing national discussion wasn't shaped by Andrews's failure. Some went searching for a less ugly explanation for their outrage and landed on the pretty sideline reporter, who must be incompetent. But Andrews wasn't incompetent; she was slick. She watched Sherman unload in the interview immediately preceding hers. When her turn came, she didn't step all over his words like the hopping Fox Deportes (male) reporter. She knew he was going to explode and got out of his way, to our great benefit.
To suggest that Andrews messed up is to presume that there is something inherently wrong with what Richard Sherman did, which is preposterous. This, you also know. As this post-game interview progressed, unlike the thousands you will never remember, not a single person asked "why am I watching this?" That's because Sherman was electric and Andrews let him shine.