Taylor Twellman: From MLS to ESPN
By - bill326
I still think Stu Holden and Twellman are one dude using two names to get paychecks from both ESPN and Fox.
nah, you can tell because at Twellman has actual passion and Stu will say some form of a monotone “Eat your heart out Alexi” after every good goal
How dare you trash Stu Holden in my presence.
he has to keep up the characters to avoid getting caught
A really great article by Felipe. I really love that Twellman has become an evangelist for soccer at ESPN. Like being adamant that he's not the only one who talks about soccer on SportsNation and telling Scott van Pelt to do soccer the way he wants to do it rather than how it's perceived he 'should' do it.
I’m a fan of TT. I don’t always agree with all of his takes but like that he’s not afraid to share his opinion. Also, I like that we get an American color commentary perspective on a game with British play by play. There’s little nuances and analogies that can be used to highlight what is happening for an American audience that are slightly different than an all British broadcast. Also, Jon Champion and TT have a great report. They have the perfect amount of silences interspersed with commentary and just enough but not too much witty banter between the two.
I came to this thread thinking I would be the only pro TT guy here. Glad I’m not. I roll my eyes at some of his comments every now and then, but I do that with any commentator. I like his honesty.
This is kinda my feelings too, I don't love Twellman however I think he is a better soccer talking head than many of the other guys. I don't agree with his takes always and he annoys me sometimes with random tangents on aire but I think he does a decent job. Also I think him being outspoken on concussion awareness and player safety is a good thing to have in the game. I like him more than Alexi Lalas who is a dumb hottake merchant and think he has more colorful or interesting commentary than like Stu Holden. I think sometimes he talks too much on broadcast, but that isn't the worst sin in the world imo.
Also in general irt Ericksen collapsing, I get people being upset however in the heat of the moment people will make mistakes and when Twellman has made mistakes he seems to be willing to go "Hey I messed up and should have said it different" and take a little accountability that a lot of people don't. As someone with ADHD I sometimes will say something impulsively that doesn't exactly mesh with what I am thinking or have the words come out right so I definitely sympathize with his story.
>I think sometimes he talks too much on broadcast, but that isn't the worst sin in the world imo.
IMO, this seems to be a difference between American commentary and British commentary. And a lot of people seem to think the "British way" is the only way. Latin American commentators speak a LOT more on broadcast, but a lot of people in these threads on reddit don't seem to speak Spanish so don't care.
American commentary, in every sport (not just baseball and football - you'll see it in the middle of basketball or hockey games), has a lot of chatting.
My pet theory is that chatting is a thing because of baseball. There's so much dead time in baseball that the ideal commentary environment was seen as two friends having a chat at a baseball game.
I thought that was somewhat fun when I was a kid but it infuriates me now.
Sure baseball was the biggest sport in the US until, say the 1970s, but I think it's far more of an outgrowth from radio commentary. Where obviously you are going to have more talking.
And people still love their local radio folks. I have definitely heard of people who say they mute the TV and try to sync it to the radio broadcast.
we need new voices in us soccer
I like the ESPN lineup tbh. TT and Champion are pretty steady on the comms, and Sebe Salazar has been killing it w his Euro coverage too, and his show with Herc is dope. And I know how people feel about Ale, but I just think he’s a funny guy
Same, listening to Ale is basically 15 minutes of thinking get this dude off the screen, to laughing as something he said.
They got their flaws but it's not like they're covering that up like Fox's rehearsed pregame and studio. Kill me, I can't stand Stone, Stu and fucking Lalas sitting at that little desk, it kills the vibe so hard.
I like him more than Alexi
I like spraining my ankle more than I like Alexi.
Very good article. I'm a Twellman defender because even if his commentary can be bad at times, he comes from a good place. Unlike Alexi Lalas. But I assume most US soccer fans hate Alexi more than Twellman.
That "What are we doing?" rant will be remembered in US soccer for a long time.
I’m fine with what he has to say about US soccer most of the time, but I absolutely cannot stand him as a commentator. He makes games almost unwatchable for me.
Would you mind elaborating on why you think he’s unwatchable and how you think a good commentator is different and an example of who you believe is a quality color commentator?
I’m always fascinated by people shitting on announcers as they usually don’t impact my viewing experience one way or another.
I think I’ve heard ever commentator called terrible at some point or another and I really don’t get it.
Of course. The worst part about him as a color commentator is that he talks far too much. He's also constantly interjecting his opinions and if teams aren't going along with how he thinks it should be, he complains endlessly about it. I also just dislike his voice. It's just too energetic for me to listen to for an entire game. Especially when he talks as much as he does.
And feels he needs to repeat the same point many times.
TT might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But in order for US English-language mainstream sports media to improve at covering soccer, we need more people with soccer ties to rise up the ranks at a major network like ESPN.
For example, I feel like First Take talks about boxing (of all sports) more than any non-football/basketball sport, mainly because Kellerman is a boxing guy and he’s a major player at the network. TT gaining more visibility at ESPN can only be a net positive for soccer coverage on the network. Heck, I’d settle for him being soccer’s Barry Melrose. Introduce him on SC with the MLS on ESPN jingle and give him a few minutes with SvP during the MLS playoffs or after every USMNT WCQ match.
The writing is terrific, and Twellman is an interesting story. It's totally unsurprising to me that Taylor's go to source for broadcast wisdom is noted dumbass Joe Buck, who shared this nugget with TT:
>'When I start a game I know 50 percent of the broadcast can’t stand me because their team’s probably losing or you’re saying something about that team.’
In reality, 75% of us hate Joe Buck because of his inanity and bad commentary, which should itself be a clue that he will misunderstand why people don't like him. Same with Twellman for me. That and the fact that he can't manage to pronounce "Attinella."
Joe Buck is a legend in broadcasting and he may not be your cup of tea and that's ok. It's not a coincidence that he keeps getting all the big games.
*Jack* Buck was a legend. *Joe* Buck is a legacy.
You're right that it's not a coincidence, having an in goes a long way. But the only game I ever enjoyed that Joe Buck called was one where he borrowed from his dad: [Game Six, 2011 WS](https://youtu.be/4GQlkLSyCTA), which is coincidentally tied with the Double Post game for my favorite sports memory.
Definitely helps you get your foot in the door. Doesn't automatically get you 21 World Series and what...3 or 4 Super Bowls?
Joe Buck rules dude, lol
Joe Buck is like Nickelback. The song is mediocre, it's basically the same as the last one, and yet there are millions of people that will fight you for their reputation.
Thx for Gio. He's awesome.
Nah he's just a good broadcaster who has improved immensely over the past 10 years. We'll have to agree to disagree.
Commentators like Twellman and Buck make the game about themselves. They treat it like it’s their talkshow and there can’t be any dead air. I prefer commentators who are like well informed fans. Just reacting to the play and adding the names to the action.
Yes. I'm a big fan of Champion for similar reasons.
>Just reacting to the play and adding the names to the action.
That sort of commentary bores me to tears.
The game is the excitement. I don’t need the sensationalism of some wanker who won’t STFU about the same inane talking points over and over through the match. “Spain just got their COVID shots 2 days ago… Spain just got their COVID shots 2 days ago… Spain just got their COVID shots 2 days ago.” —-Twellman
I'd rather have a commentator who actually seems excited and interested in the game. And are you are dinging Twellman trying to come up with anything interesting during one of the dullest games in years?
A bit of banter is called for in a dull match. I prefer that to repetitive talking points, but to each his own. For the record I didn’t find that match dull. Even Twellman got it right when describing the disconnect between Spain’s style of play and neutral supporters’ frustrations. The ball movement and probing attacks were indicative of a resurgent Spanish side. Their lack of quality in the final 18 will have to be addressed. I was supporting Sweden. Their defensive performance was amazing considering how many of them play for small clubs. And Berg’s miss was agonizing.
I still feel like Twellman talks way too damn much during a game but besides that he's alright I guess. I know Jon hates his guts though....
Please. If Jon actually hated his guts, he would easily have the pull to get Twellman assigned to another Pbp guy.
Not to mention I can tell you don't follow Champion's Twitter.
Thank you for altering me to the fact that Jon Champion is active on Twitter.
Half his commentary during the Spain/Sweden match was reminders every 5 minutes that Spain just got their COVID vaccine shots. Some of his commentary is very good, but I hate that he feels he needs to always be speaking.
That was a real nice, and mature summation events from Sunday. He dealt with it directly and at the same time with a tone of, be mindful that it was in the midst of an event that affected all of us personally at some level because it's easy to see yourself. Acknowledge an error and move on.