Women’s History Month Interview Series: Q&A With TV Host & Sports Broadcaster, Lindsay McCormick
We continue our Women’s History Month Interview Series today with TV Host & Sports Broadcaster, Lindsay McCormick. Many of you will recognize Lindsay from her position as the Social Host of Sunday Night Football show on NBC.
1. Give us some background on how you got into sports. What motivated you to become a big time TV host?
It may be cliché to say this, but this is something I was born into. It’s something I’ve wanted since I was little and my mom has proof in photos of me interviewing my stuffed animals just shortly after I learned to put together a sentence. However, I’m not sure how great my follow-up questions were back then. [Laughs.] I grew up around the game. My grandpa was a star defensive end for the Fighting Illini and then was drafted by the Redskins in 1946. My brother worked with NASCAR, and to say my family is obsessed with sports is the understatement of the century. My mom’s play-by-play text messages include defensive schemes and would make John Gruden proud…although there are very few things he doesn’t like. Ultimately, this career was a way for me to relate to my family and make them proud. One of my favorite quotes is “A job you can quit, a dream you can give up on, but a calling will chase you forever.” This is my calling.
2. What has been your favorite part about your busy schedule?
Always having to stay on my toes and on my A game. #NoOffDays. (Yes, I just used a hashtag. Thanks Justin Timberlake & Jimmy Fallon.) Nothing pushes you more as a professional than being immersed in the game and the industry. It becomes second nature after a while when you are going from the practice field to watching film at home to talking about sports with colleagues to even chatting with fans on twitter about the game. I just wish I occasionally had time to do laundry…or sleep.
3. What has been your favorite job to work over these years?
I’m grateful for every job I’ve had in this industry, but this past season with NBC and Sunday Night Football was extra special. The Sunday Night Football bus became my home from September through January and I got to interact and learn from the best in the business. They are now my family. Bob Costas is the best for a reason. The detailed notes he takes while watching games and the preparation he puts into each broadcast would blow your mind. Also, how many people can say that they get to wake up and hang out with the funniest man in America, Seth Meyers as he promotes his new show? And don’t even get me started on our SNF Fans of the Week. I didn’t realize there were people as crazy about sports as me out there!
4. How incredible does it feel to be able to communicate with so many all-stars during post-game and sideline interviews?
What’s weird for me is that I don’t even think twice about it at this point. They are now my peers. And I’m just a year or two older than almost everyone I interview, which I see as a HUGE advantage. I’ve learned that players tend to feel more comfortable around someone they went to college with or someone their own age, and that helps me get the best interviews. Also, the mutual respect is there – they realize that I’ve put in time and watched film in order to ask the most educated questions and in return give me some pretty great responses.
5. Who’s your favorite person to work with? Who’s your favorite player to interview?
If I had a dime for every time friends and fans asked this, I would be able to take a chopper to the arenas/stadiums like Kobe. I can’t name just one. Seth Meyers had everyone rolling on the floor laughing from the second he stepped on the Sunday Night Football bus, so he’s definitely at the top of the list. And then KD, Kobe and Kevin Love, but not for the typical reasons that they are the best at their craft. All three make my job incredibly easy, give great witty responses and will interview with barely any notice. I find that a lot of athletes get tired of answering questions and going through the same routine season after season. These three act like it’s their first day in the NBA with such a fresh and passionate outlook on the game.
6. I know you’re very intelligent when it comes to sports. However, do the players/analysts/fans talk to you seriously when you try to talk about sports because you’re a female?
When you first get into the industry as a female that’s the number one thing you have to refute. But as long as you understand this and have a game plan to build credibility, it no longer becomes an issue. For me radio and print were a way to prove myself. A female that doesn’t understand the ins and outs of the game wouldn’t be taking callers’ questions for hours on radio shows. The players get used to seeing the same women in the locker rooms after a while. They keep up with stuff more than you would think. They remember the questions you’ve asked them in the past and have read some of the pieces you’ve written about them. They know who’s serious about their job. So for me it’s honestly never been an issue.
7. I know you’re an Auburn grad. What a season they put together last year! Can they feed off their success of last year? What did you think about their run to the BCS?
I couldn’t get out of bed for a day or two after the National Championship game. It felt like I had been broken up with by a boyfriend. OK, it felt a lot worse. But even with that outcome, to put together a season like Auburn did, especially after not winning a single SEC game the year before, is something extraordinary. That team should be incredibly proud. And believe it or not, this season will be even better than last. While losing a phenomenal talent like Tre Mason is never something you want to happen, Auburn is prepared. Rather than just have one guy do all the work in terms of the run game, they will spread out the carries between five or six different guys: Cameron Artis-Payne, Cory Grant, Peyton Barber, Jonathan Ford…who also has played cornerback for Auburn and who I believe is one of the most underrated guys out there, Kamryn Pettway and Racean Thomas.
The team is also stacked at wide receiver, with guys like D’haquille Williams aka “Duke.” This five-star receiver can be compared to Julio Jones. I mean he is the No.1 rated Juco guy in the country who will win matchups against the best cornerbacks. Can you tell that I’m excited yet!?
On the other side of the ball, we have 5-star recruit Tre Williams at linebacker. But our biggest improvement will be in the secondary. We stole a few players from Bama. My dad already is purchasing his tickets to Dallas…and I don’t think he’s joking. This is a team that got better and better every week last season and I definitely see that continuing to happen this year.
8. Which team has the best shot at winning the NFL Super Bowl next year?
I usually don’t make this prediction until free agency is over and after I see what draft picks have been selected, but If Seattle continues to play defense the way they did all last season, they will be tough to beat again this year. Russell Wilson will improve with another year under his belt and if they can bring in a true No. 1 wideout or tight end for him, other teams better watch out! Not to mention if Percy Harvin can stay healthy, Pete Carroll will be able to use him in more ways than one. They also made a smart move by letting Rice go and maintaining $7.3 in cap savings that they can now use to re-sign a number of key free agents.
9. Do you think defense will always win championships?
You do realize you are asking this to an SEC alum…I’ll always take the best defense over the best offense. I believe the stat was that in the five Super Bowls where the No.1 offense faced the No.2 defense only one time has the team with a more dominant offense won. I like my odds…
10. Will Peyton Manning have another season like last year?
Absolutely. I honestly felt bad for the guy after this year’s Super Bowl. As a whole the Broncos were just outmatched. The Seahawks came prepared. But of course a lot fans are going to blame the quarterback. For weeks following that game that’s all people were talking about. Here is a player who has had one of the best careers we have ever seen from a quarterback in the history of the NFL. To play the way he has since his surgery is outstanding. He’s not ready to retire yet, and we will continue to see more accurate throws, more great adjustments after reading defenses, more “Omaha”s and more overall greatness from him.
11. If you were to host a dinner with three women in sports (past or present), who would they be and why?
Ohh this is actually a difficult one for me. I just bought new dinnerware and I have more than three place settings. My first invite would go out to Suzy Kolber. Besides shopping next to her at Whole Foods, I never have had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with her. She’s brilliant. And the career she has made for herself is second to none in my opinion. I have a massive amount of respect for women who possess knowledge of the game. With that said I’m torn between Michelle Beadle and Jemele Hill. Every party needs that comic relief just in case I accidently burn the food that night. And naturally you have to invite the entire 1996 gold medal winning 1996 U.S. Women’s gymnastics team. Not only because I want to brag to my little brother that I had his childhood crush, Dominique Moceanu over and she enjoyed my cooking, but because I would love to hear Kerri Strug’s account of what was going through her mind on that last vault.
Thank you for this interview!
Anytime! Ohh and you guys. I would definitely invite you to dinner. That’s three, right? I was always great at math.
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