Colin Cowherd catches a lot of flack. It has become a pastime of sorts, for sports media elitists, high brow sports fans, and disgruntled people from Cleveland, to denigrate Cowherd and his show, on social media and other sports talk shows. In no way is this written to deter people who belong to these groups from airing their grievances with the highest rated sports talk show host in America, nor is this written in an attempt to reimagine “The Herd” host as a victim in a system that has rewarded him handsomely with a contractual agreement of $6 million George Washington’s per year. Rather, I will simply do what Colin Cowherd has done so magnificently for 15 years: challenge the audience to think differently.
Sports media is a crowded business with an overflow of incredibly intelligent personalities, writers, hosts, and opinionists. However, despite the abundance of brilliance, the industry suffers from a serious case of groupthink.
Too often in the analysis of such complex and dynamic sports we reduce players, teams, organizations and styles of play to whatever the last analyst said about them. This is where Colin Cowherd comes in. He has made a business for himself filling the niche created by groupthink.
While it is easy to write off some of Cowherd’s takes as clickbait, or errant hottakes, the audience must understand the value in what Colin has done. When the entire sports community refused to debate MJ being the NBA GOAT, Cowherd had that discussion years ago. When Russell Westbrook was lauded by the sports world for putting up “video game like numbers” in his MVP season, Cowherd consistently criticized his style of play and personality, issues which have resonated since. When the entire sports media conglomerate decided that East Coast programming would be its bread and butter, Cowherd decided to talk about USC football, The Warriors, and The Dodgers.
Rather than present sports news in convoluted jargon, with inside jokes, industry references and one dimensional views of sports, Cowherd chooses to contextualize sports on a human level. Nearly every show opens with a life anecdote or a parcel of wisdom. This allows the audience to consider sports outside of the societal bounds we place it in by associating it to concepts and institutions perceived to be far more culturally valuable.
While Cowherd can be wrong and have bizarre opinions that you may wholeheartedly disagree with, he fulfills my two main tenets of a modern day sports personality: make the audience care and give them an entertaining show while doing it. He consistently chooses the road less traveled, and based on show ratings, it has made all the difference.
Now, here’s this: