Year In Re-View

December 24, 2001

With the Emmys out of our rearview mirror and the Oscars three
months away, we know you're in awards withdrawal. Thus we proudly
present SI's first View-ers Choice Awards, commemorating the best
and worst of sports broadcasting in 2001. The envelopes, please:

Person of the Year: Jim Rome, Fox Sports Net. After nearly
flaming out seven years ago following his infamous interview with
Rams quarterback Jim (Don't Ever Call Me Chris) Everett, the once
too-obnoxious-for-his-own-good Rome has matured into one of the
sharpest interviewers in TV sports, presiding over a show that
mixes conversations with newsmakers and cutting-edge commentary.

Best Newcomer: Troy Aikman, Fox NFL analyst. The former Dallas
quarterback made a smooth transition to the booth and could be
heir apparent to John Madden.

Best Studio Show: Inside the NBA, TNT. The free-for-all among
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith provides enough
information to sate the hard-core fan--and more punch lines during
one postgame show than you'll hear during a season of NBC's
sitcom Inside Schwartz.

Best Documentary: Winning Is Living and Losing Is Dying: The
George Allen Story, ESPN. This fascinating NFL Films production
tackled the life and legacy of a brilliant but complicated coach.

Best Bout: The Aug. 30 Lennox Lewis-Hasim Rahman brawl while they
were guests on ESPN's Up Close had more action than their Nov.
17th fight--and was far more compelling than most of host Gary
Miller's punchless interviews on the now deceased show.

The Melissa Rivers Award: To ESPN's Chris Connelly, whose
afternoon interview show Unscripted has, since its Oct. 22nd
debut, been as illuminating as one of Missy's red-carpet Oscar
night interviews on E!

The Worst Damn Sports Show of the Year: The Best Damn Sports Show
Period, Fox Sports Net. Comedian Tom Arnold and sports go
together like Tori Spelling and Academy Award winner.

Most Pleasant Surprise: ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, with
entertainingly acidic Washington Post scribes Tony Kornheiser and
Michael Wilbon. Who knew watching two guys with faces for radio
could be so entertaining?

The Boo-yah Award: To ESPN's Stuart Scott, who gave Ravens
linebacker Ray Lewis a hug after a testy Super Bowl press
conference. Somehow we doubt Edward R. Murrow similarly embraced
Harry Truman following a State of the Union Address.


COLOR PHOTO: NEIL LEIFER NFL Films' compelling look at George Allen (above) was 2001's best documentary.

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)