I do not know how many of you are aware of the guttural dislike that exists between Troy Aikman and Skip Bayless. If you are in your 30s, you might wonder why either of these folks would even know one another let alone care enough about one another to dislike the other. Well, there is a history … and today both of these folks are now in the employ of FOX Sports.
The fact that both of these gentleman cash significant weekly checks from the same mega-bank account does not make them brothers in arms. Troy Aikman – quite simply – has no time for Skip Bayless. Here is what NBC Sports’ profootballtalk.com quoted Aikman as saying:
“To say I’m disappointed in the hiring of Skip Bayless would be an enormous understatement. Clearly, Jamie Horowitz [President of FOX Sports] and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to building a successful organization. I believe success is achieved by acquiring and developing talented, respected and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless.”
Let’s rewind the tape – – so to speak. Back in the early 1990s – before Skip Bayless was the patron saint of the “Hot Take” – he was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News and Troy Aikman was the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Sometime in that period of history, Skip Bayless wrote a book about the Cowboys and the inner sanctum of the team which implied VERY directly that Troy Aikman was gay. Even if one subscribes to the current narrative that such a sexual orientation does not matter a whit, it surely did in the early/mid-1990s. Troy Aikman did not appreciate those allegations then and he has not forgotten them in the intervening years.
Skip Bayless was hired away from ESPN by FOX Sports recently with the idea that Bayless would bring his Hot Takes to FOX Sports in a way that duplicated/mimicked/outshone the “debate-style formatting at ESPN that has been successful during the weekday daytime hours. Reports say that Bayless got multi-millions to make that jump; I have no way to know if those reports are true, but I am sure that Skip Bayless did not take a new job that payed him minimum wage.
Troy Aikman has been the lead analyst for FOX in their coverage of the NFL. He and Joe Buck are FOX’s answer to Jim Nantz/Phil Simms (CBS) and to Al Michaels/Cris Colinsworth (NBC). Troy Aikman’s words above demonstrate to me that the fact that he and Skip Bayless both draw VERY comfortable salaries’ from the same source does not mean that the hatchet is buried. In fact, what those words say to me is that the execs at FOX Sports need to assure that any time Skip Bayless and Troy Aikman are in the same room, there are no hatchets within reach of anyone.
I enjoy Troy Aikman’s work as a color analyst on NFL games. Most importantly, I do not give a fig if the analysis he provides comes from the mouth of a gay person, a straight person, a bisexual person or an asexual person. I find his commentary interesting and insightful. When I am watching an NFL game, that is the highest priority for me – – assuming that the words are not coming from someone whose credibility with regard to NFL football is questionable such as PeeWee Herman.
For the record, I find Skip Bayless tiresome. I did not like his ESPN show with Stephen A. Smith (First Take) and I really do not like his new program on FOX Sports with Shannon Sharpe (Whatever It Is Called). The only advice I might give to the mavens at FOX Sports is pretty basic:
If you keep these two folks separate from one another, you can probably continue to make inroads into the existing ESPN audience. Mazel Tov with that…
HOW-EVAH (channeling Bayless’ former co-host, Stephan A. Smith, here) if you ever have to choose between the two because having both of them in the same company is about to resemble the 21st Century version of the Gunfight At The OK Corral, keep Aikman and jettison Bayless. In my opinion, it is not even a close decision…
It is really good to have readers for these rants who can provide commentary here that is substantive and well beyond the level of the “Hot Take”. Here is a communique that I received yesterday from a reader here in the DC area regarding the NFL Mythical Picks from earlier this week:
“When was the last time that the teams who played in the Super Bowl opened the next season playing each other?
“It was 1970 – the first year of the full AFL-NFL merger, when the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-10.”
I am surprised that it took the NFL this long to provide such a match-up to start the new season. I realize that the NFL schedule is formulaic and that it is not always possible to have the Super Bowl teams play one another in the subsequent year. Nonetheless, I would have thought it would have happened at least once in the past 46 years…
I want to point you to a column written by Brad Rock in the Deseret News this week. The rivalry between BYU and Utah is an intense one; it may not be at the same level as Army/Navy – – but it is close. This column relates how such a rivalry can exist without the need to trash the opposing school’s coach or kidnapping the opposing school’s mascot.
The rivalry is there.
The intensity is there.
AND the maturity is there too.
Sports are a part of life; sports do not equate to life nor do they have such meaning that they define life. Sports are important enough to me that I have been writing about them on the Internet 5-days a week for more than 15 years now. Nonetheless, sports are entertainment; they are not the core essence of my life and they ought not to be the core life of anyone else. This column is worth reading in its entirety…
Finally, consider this comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald regarding Usain Bolt’s performance in the Rio Olympics:
“Usain Bolt won his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters. My favorite point was at the 70-meter mark when he passed Secretariat.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………