Tonight I saw a skinny old guy in a suit pounding on a desk in my classroom who called himself Skip Bayless. He argued Ben Roethlisberger, who hasn’t played a regular season game yet this year, is a top five quarterback in the NFL today.
Sounds like The REAL Skip Bayless, right? The only problem was he didn’t seem anything like the guy we are all used to seeing on ESPN’s First Take every day.
He spoke to my class called “ESPNization of America” at Quinnipiac University, just a quick half-hour drive from Bristol, Conn.
My class and I saw a much more mellowed out Skip than the one on First Take, as my friend learned from Jay Crawford a few years ago. Skip didn’t raise his voice once in his three-hour Q&A. In fact, sometimes he needed to speak up.
Some fun facts/stories from Skip:
- His producers at First Take have never told him after a show he went too far. They trust he knows his boundaries.
- His meetings before First Take when he argues for certain topics to be covered on the show are more entertaining than the actual show sometimes.
- He drinks two Mountain Dews every morning before First Take. He’s not a morning person, but wakes up at 5 a.m. during the week.
- When he followed the Dallas Cowboys in the early ‘90s, after a loss in the playoffs he was called to the back of the plane by an intoxicated, 300-pound left tackle named Mark Tuinei, who then backed him into the plane’s bathroom door. Tuinei had a problem with Skip because of what he had written about Troy Aikman. Skip told us he thought Tuinei would have killed him if coach Jimmy Johnson hadn’t broken up the scuffle.
- Favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.
- Favorite TV shows are True Blood and Entourage.
- Favorite actor is Jack Nicholson.
- Favorite actress is Marisa Tomei.
- Favorite late-night snack is a protein bar.
- The only team he roots for every year is Oklahoma in college football. He doesn’t dislike any team, not even the Yankees. But he does root for whichever team he picks to go all the way before the season.