Brent Musburger. Kirk Herbstreit. Eminem. Does someone seem out of place on that list? Well, he shouldn't -- at least, not in an ESPN college football telecast.
Eminem, a Detroit native, stopped by the ESPN broadcast booth during Saturday's Notre Dame-Michigan game in Ann Arbor to promote his newly released single, "Berzerk." Em's appearance, however brief, was nothing short of glorious.
Some of his friends weren't as positive about the rapper's on-air prospects:
Others simply thought the interview needed a little extra boost:
SI.com's Zac Ellis and Martin Rickman broke down Eminem's brilliant interruption of college football in the latest Campus Union Debate:
Martin Rickman: Well, Eminem made his ESPN Saturday night football debut, and personally, I think it met every expectation we could have had. Don't you?
Zac Ellis: As a college football fan, a viewing experience typically doesn't get much better than one with Brent and Herbie in the booth on a Saturday night. But this was way better. With only a brief cameo, Eminem provided everything fans could have wanted (or imagined) in a broadcast: confusion, a minor sense of discomfort and a general feeling of "What exactly just happened?"
MR: Let's run through what did happen, shall we? There was a clip of one of Eminem's more disjointed songs in quite some time, then some footage of him looking around and being generally confused. Eminem didn't know that he was on live TV. He said "live TV freaks me out" and "I'm really uncomfortable right now." He told Brent -- in front of Kirk -- that Brent was on his broadcaster fantasy team. You can't make this stuff up.
Brent asked Eminem about the spread in the Detroit Lions game; Eminem responded that there was nothing he wanted anyone to know about his new album. This wasn't just an interview -- it was performance art. I thought I was watching Andy Kaufman.
ZE: If I didn't know any better (and I don't, really), I'd think ESPN execs found Eminem in the luxury suites at Michigan Stadium and gave him 20 bucks to come into the booth. That thing could not have appeared any less prepared. But I think we would both agree that was the beauty of it: There was Brent, who puts off a sense of tradition and glory around the broadcasting of the sport; Herbie, who adds a bit of flair with his analysis; and now good ol' Marshall Mathers, whose presence takes everything to an entirely different plane. Are we positive we didn't just watch a skit from Saturday Night Live? I'm not really sure of anything at this point ...
MR: Brent is such a pro. Kirk was over there giggling in the corner and couldn't compose himself, but this is how we know Brent has been doing this forever. He takes what's given to him and he runs with it. He stayed composed despite the weirdness of it all, and he called Eminem "Mathers" as if that was his first name. I want this to happen every week. I don't need a different rapper each Saturday, I just need Em in there. Unless, of course, this means ESPN can get C-Murder to Skype in from jail or something. The sky is the limit. You want to beat Fox Sports 1, you pull out the big names.
I can't think of a better way to boost ratings than to keep Em in the booth for every Saturday night game. At first glance, one might suspect the person who organized Em's cameo would be looking for a new job in the morning. But upon further reflection, it's obvious that person should be promoted, at the very least, and more likely hailed as a visionary or a genius. Sure, Em is uncomfortable on live TV. We see that. But alongside Brent's professionalism and Herbie's slight giggles, I know I'm watching this each weekend. Just please, please, please get Em to offer his opinion on Johnny Manziel
. That's something the world needs to know.