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Top 10 "This is SportsCenter" ads


Not only is Sports Center a shell of its former shelf, but the insanely creative and revolutionary “This is Sports Center” commercials aren’t what they once were either. This is the top 10 best ads that ESPN ever created WITH LINKS!

10. Satellite Golf- The title of James Andrew Miller’s oral history of ESPN is “Those Guys Have All the Fun”. This commercial could’ve shared that title. It showed what made Sports Center cool. These are just regular dudes who like talking sports and hitting wedges.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE-NrJfyCdk

9. Overseas Markets- The combination of Kenny Mayne and Dan Patrick is perhaps the most underrated duo of the golden age of Sports Center. Patrick has always been most closely associated with Keith Olberman because of their creation of “The Big Show”, the title the pair seemingly created for themselves on the Monday edition of the show. But Mayne and Patrick always struck me as two sides to the same coin: Patrick’s dry humor with a wink and a smile, while Kenny Mayne played Patrick to the hilt but never broke from his so dry you’ll chafe persona and became pound for pound the funniest anchor ESPN has ever had. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2FVGBwzYDs

8. Eisen Between Rounds- This is Sports Center ads often played up how doing the show was like sports its ownself. There was the spot where Mayne and Patrick are interviewed in the lockerroom after a show, Stu Scott and SVP ripping off “warm-up” suits, only to reveal another suit underneath but this one is the best. Lou Duva telling Rich Eisen not to be a lollipop and giving him some tea is classic. Eisen has crafted a tremendous career at NFL Network, but his run on the Worldwide Leader shouldn’t be forgotten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db-5PKy0ffw

7. Anchor Pairings- Some faces you may have archived in your memory like Larry Beil and Gary Miller appear in this one about work place pairing flirtations. But it’s Mayne and Charley Steiner (not the last we’ll see of Steiner) that steal the show. Mayne’s closing quip “I don’t even know who you are anymore” is an all-timer. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehk2QpPvk-Y

6. Perfect Show- The minutiae of broadcasters striving for perfection is probably more true than people think. Such as, when you ask a guest a question and they lead with “good question” almost every radio show and podcast I’ve ever been on we’ll mimic adding a tally to the board. Broadcasters are just as competitive as athletes, maybe more so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPJKXbNTmWM

5. Trade Deadline- I’ve never seen an episode of Melrose Place, but even I understood how out of place Charley Steiner was as “Bobby the pool boy”. Putting the anchors in scenarios outside of the Sports Center bubble is gold and Steiner delivers. Charley Steiner has looked 53 years old my entire life, so the idea of him playing a hip/trendy/20-something is abjectly brilliant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkBX7r4HqhA

4. Catch Phrases- One could argue what got the show over in the early 90’s more than anything was the catchphrases. Stuart Scott was a machine, Craig Kilborn was hip, DP had the delivery, Mayne the creativity and Olberman used inflection better than an auctioneer. They had to practice these, right? Funny that from this commercial which shows Mayne failing to create classics like “the finest meats and cheeses in all of the land” accidentally stumbled upon the gold of “Yahtzee!” Maybe it really is that easy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubp_f3J0ZR4

3. Big Papi in a Yankee cap?- Perhaps the most well-known spot especially in this region, David Ortiz dons Jorge Posada’s ballcap. This is the most modern submission on the list, also one of the few to make the cut that revolve around athletes. (Side note. There are tons of compilations of “This is Sports Center” ads, but I only included spots that I could link singular ads. This #3 ranking would have been reserved for the Stuart Scott/Evander Holyfield/Charley Steiner “Steiner, come out and get your whopping!” commercial if only a link to it existed. I miss Stu Scott.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPjRk4NJCiw

2. John Clayton? – The most famous ad of them all? This was mind blowing because nobody knew anything about John Clayton except that he was on ESPN several times a day from an undisclosed location. Whoever came up with the idea of him living in his mom’s house, having long hair and listening to Slayer is a genius. It ran so opposed to what we thought Clayton was really like that it worked to tremendous effect. This one should probably be ranked higher, but I stand by what I’ve done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvXRaSvxmqg

1. Y2K Test-This is the most memorable to me. There’s so much happening in what I view as the quintessential “This is Sports Center” commercial. There are tons of athlete cameos, because you know, they just hang around Bristol all day. There is panic because Y2K was going to take the entire world down.

There is Mark McGwire hammering a computer because that is the only way to defeat the machines and of course Kenny Mayne’s “we’ll have more from the NBA and an NFL trade” because of course the show must go on. But the capper is always Charley Steiner, lantern in hand, tie wrapped around his head, face painted (because Charley Steiner would have face paint on hand) and quoting Braveheart. Y2K represents everything these spots were: funny, timely, plugged in and irreverent. This one encompasses all of that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeBzjJ71W_E

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