There are a lot of insufferable personalities in sports media.
It’s hard to argue with Stephen A. Smith or his “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman aren’t in the upper echelon of the worst. There’s this stigma in sports media where the louder, more bombastic or insane the takes are; lands you on the air.
But here’s why Skip Bayless is the absolute worst of all of them.
Skip Bayless was a longtime Dallas sports columnist and former host of ESPN’s “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith before taking on his current position at Fox Sports 1 Skip and Shannon: “Undisputed.”
Bayless had floated around, working for The Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal and was clearly successful right before his first book God’s Coach: The Hymns, Hype, and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry’s Cowboys in 1989. He willed himself into being a national sports analyst by breaking stories about Dodgers players resenting Steve Garvey, calling him the “Golden Boy,” which was a provocative breaking news story.
He won a slew of awards like the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Newspaper Writing in 1977 for his coverage of Seattle Slew’s Triple Crown win.
Bayless was a legit sports personality.
And those same Cowboys – his Cowboys, he’s a fan, allegedly – won a Super Bowl in 1993 and he knew he had to follow it up with something just as outlandish called “Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the ‘Win or Else’” Dallas Cowboys.
But Bayless’ career grows increasingly desperate at this time like a once-famous film director searching for a hit after a string of box-office bombs.
To put it in context, though, you have to understand that Bayless was, somewhat ironically, at a low point in his career because his employer the Dallas Times Herald, had recently went under – desperately, independently selling his column to readers for $99 a year.
It was at that time when his name was sullied – being accused as a controversialist who would do anything to remain in the limelight. Coincidentally, Hell-Bent which you could argue was his last-ditch effort to remain relevant made an absurd unsubstantiated insinuation that Cowboys quarterback – HIS quarterback mind you – was gay.
Aikman refuted that accusation with understandable and believable disdain for its author.
Who would believe it without “anonymous sources” by a desperate man with his career crumbling underneath his feet? Bayless has a long fruitful record of ridiculous analysis that would cause an aneurysm in any true sports fan.
Here are some examples that he was unapologetically dead wrong about.
Derek Fisher will prove to be a much better NBA head coach than Steve Kerr, “I KNOW what Tebow can do in the NFL. I’ve seen it over/over/over. I’m not sure what Andrew Luck can do or if he has Tebow’s It Factor.”
In 2009 he wrote, “And then he also said in January 2009, before he was an NFL quarterback, ‘Tim Tebow is the next Brett Favre!’”
He also once said, “Johnny Football will one day be bigger in Cleveland than his buddy LeBron ever was.” That didn’t happen by a long shot.
Or how about the time he said in 2011, “Again, I think Cam can be a good NFL QB. But I think Tebow (given Cam’s opportunity and support) can be a little bit better.”
Cam Newton won the MVP of the NFL for 2015-16 season, while Tebow was out of the league and working for ESPN and about to endeavor on his minor league baseball career.
Or the time he bragged about his physical physique the way our egotistical gene-obsessed president brags about personal accomplishments, saying, “I’m pretty ripped. The pressure of the show drains me. It’s why I work out so hard. It’s why I’m jacked. I have to be able to stand up to the beating of it.”
And to add insult to injury, since Bayless left andjumped ship from ESPN to FS1, his former show First Take – with former co-host Stephen A. Smith, who is top dog on the show now –has skyrocketed with an increase of 70% in viewership and more than triple the ratings of Bayless’ new show “Undisputed.” This shows that Bayless’ hyperbole tactic is finally running its course.