Time to Abolish Sideline Reporters
“I don’t disagree with you at all regarding the role of sideline reporters.  Most of the time, I find those interviews to be fairly useless,” a nationally relevant sideline reporter once told me years ago. The opinion I expressed and she agreed with was “sideline interviews serve no purpose.” In our off-the-record chat, I stated further, “We never needed these practices to begin with.” And we have the testimony of NFL Network and Notre Dame reporter Alex Flanagan. This exchange between Flanagan and The Sherman Report says it all. Sherman: “You know what the critics say about the value of sideline reporters. CBS doesn’t even use them. What’s your response?” Flanagan: “I’m often asked to defend the job of the sideline reporter. I think of myself as an accessory. I don’t know if you can appreciate this, but I tell my female friends, ‘When you get dressed up in that great outfit, the one thing that can top it off is a great accessory. Like a necklace or ear rings.’ Are we a necessity for a telecast? No. But I can see a lot of things that happen on the field that (the announcers) can’t see from up high.”...