MEDIA WATCHDOG: Defending Dierdorf

Street Talk MEDIA WATCHDOG: Defending Dierdorf

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When you begin to type “Dan Dierdorf” into Google, the second option that pops up is “Dan Dierdorf sucks.” Needless to say, he’s not exactly a fan favorite of the football enthusiasts. Here in Baltimore, Ravens fans in particular have given the former lineman a hard time for some of hhis comments during CBS broadcasts — most recently in their game against the Jets in Week 12.

In late November, CBS announced that Dierdorf will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season. They cited the “physical difficulties” of traveling each week at the main concern.

“I have been blessed to spend my entire life in the game I love,” Dierdorf told reporters according to Michael David Smith of “I had an opportunity to go from the field directly to the broadcast booth where I have had the privilege of working with the giants of our business including Ray Scott, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, Dick Stockton, Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Verne Lundquist, Dick Enberg and lastly, my partner, Greg Gumbel. It has become a challenge for me to travel to a different NFL city every week, so it’s time to step aside. This has been a wonderful ride as I really have lived the dream.”

Despite his resume, which not only includes a Hall of Fame career on the field, but also three decades in the booth as an analyst (longest current tenure on television), 12 years on ABC’s Monday Night Football and three Super Bowls, fans around the league can’t stand to listen to Dierdorf’s commentary. They think he’s biased, citing comments he makes about the opposing team. Ravens fans notoriously complain about Dierdorf’s analysis. They all think he has this secret built up hatred toward Baltimore as if his 13 years with St. Louis had anything to do with such a bias.

The fact is, Dierdorf got old and as a result his analysis has suffered. “Dierdorfisms” have become popular on social media. Last season during the Ravens-Broncos game, he called his broadcast partner, Greg Gumbel, who he has worked with for six years, “Bill”. People snap screenshots of his “grumpy” faces.

But a bias? I don’t see it.

Sean Pendergast of the Houston Press wrote that Texans fans are rejoicing at the news of Dierdorf’s retirement. He said that the broadcaster was added to the “Texans Public Enemy” list and cited comments that Dierdorf made during a Houston-Baltimore game last season.

Dierdorf could not stop slurping Baltimore outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who was returning from an Achilles tear that afternoon. While the Texans piled on touchdown after touchdown in building a 29-3 halftime lead, Dierdorf was painting Suggs’s admittedly gutsy performance like it was “Kellen Winslow being carried off the field in Miami” reincarnate.

From that day on, every Texans game that involved Dierdorf in the broadcast booth became a firestorm of anger, and Twitter for those three hours degenerated into a sea of mustache, lisp and “sex with Terrell Suggs” jokes (a degeneration that, to be clear, was not necessarily a bad thing).

But I thought he hated the Ravens? Does he hate the Texans too? Or do most fans think broadcasters always have a bias against their team?

I’ve heard Dierdorf say things over the years that have left me scratching my head, but I don’t think he has it out for any particular fanbase. It’s my hope that when this season ends, Dierdorf’s career will be remembered for the high points and not for sticking around a few years too long.

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Michael O'Nair

About Michael O'Nair

The Media Watchdog has been lurking, observing the local and national sports media for quite some time. He’s connected, in it and clandestine. Like Batman is to Bruce Wayne, the Media Watchdog is to Michael O’Nair.

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