When they decided to hire Bart Scott , CBS Sports brainiacs made the following mistake: They should have used him to replace one of the stiffs sitting at the big boys’ table on “The NFL Today” rather than relegating him to the kiddies table on their new “The Other Pregame Show.” That’s how good Scott could be.
Still, the move is understandable. “TOPS,” a four-hour Sunday morning show, will air on CBS Sports Network, a phantom cable outlet. Scott’s presence will produce desperately needed buzz, giving CBSSN a fighting chance of finally beating the Emergency Broadcast Signal in the ratings race.
Scott marketed himself to CBS in a most unusual way. The fact that he has a big mouth does not separate him from other former NFL players who tried making it on TV. What separates Scott is his overt dislike of the media.
So, when CBS Sports boss Sean McManus heard Scott once tried organizing a player boycott of the local media while he was with the Jets, he must have said: “Bart Scott, that’s our guy.” Or maybe what really impressed McManus was when Scott angrily approached Dan Leberfeld , the Jets Confidential publisher who was taking his picture, and said, “I’ll kick the s--- out of you.”
Perhaps Scott will re-enact this moment with Adam Schein, the host of “TOPS.” He would have proper motivation. When Schein was a cast as member of SportsNet New York’s Jets postgame show, Scott was his frequent target. Schein’s commentary even strayed into personal territory, such as when he questioned Scott’s intelligence. Or when he demanded Scott “show more respect to the men and women who cover the Jets.”
If Scott is looking for another warm body to throw down with, he should look no further than Brandon Tierney , who also will be yakking on “TOPS.” Tierney has sometimes shown symptoms of the dreaded loose cannonitis disease.
Like when he was working on SNY’s “Wheelhouse.” After a show where Bruce Murray took a well-placed, condescending shot at him, Tierney rushed into the studio where Murray was working. Legend has it Tierney threatened to shove Murray’s head down his stomach and keep pushing until it came out his ... Either that, or he just threatened to kill him.
So on “TOPS,” Scott will have plenty of ways to channel the aggression he once displayed on the football field. He will need all the inspiration he can get. Scott is coming into this gig with the bar set high and great expectations.
His outspoken manner and even his decisions to challenge the media should translate into a fearless presence on TV, making him a guy who will feel comfortable ripping players and coaches. Anything less will lead him to quickly be declared a total fraud.