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ESPN's Oz the Mentalist Experiment Was Enjoyable, Probably Not Worth Repeating

Liam McKeone
The wizards of Oz?
The wizards of Oz? /
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On Sunday, ESPN broke up the flow of standard NFL pregame fare by bringing in a guest celebrity. This is not an unusual move for a network to make, but ESPN's guest was noteworthy because he had nothing to do with football at all.

Oz Pearlman, AKA Oz the Mentalist, stopped by the Sunday NFL Countdown desk to read some minds.

Pretty impressive stuff. Never know how these guys do that. And it was a fun way to switch things up; after a certain point, once you've seen one pregame show you've seen them all and I can't say I've ever watched a pregame show with mind-reading so prominently featured. Or featured at all, really.

Still, it's probably not worth repeating. Oz the Mentalist was an enjoyable sideshow but guests on these pregame shows usually provide additive value from a football perspective. Which is usually a good idea because the people watching NFL pregame shows two hours before kickoff on Sunday tend to fall on the "football junkie" end of the spectrum. That audience wants as much football talk as ESPN can fit into the pregame window. Bringing in a mind-reader is an unwelcome distraction in that regard.

Points for trying something new. It's tough to keep pregame shows fresh for an entire season, even with the constant self-sustaining storylines the NFL churns out every week. But pregame shows should probably try to play to the loyal audience that will tune in every single Sunday morning. Oz the Mentalist isn't quite that.

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