Kirk Herbstreit has been burning the candle at both ends this season as a result of adding Thursday Night Football to a portfolio that already included College GameDay, the marquee Saturday night matchup on ABC/ESPN, and the hours of studio work previewing or reacting to the latest playoff rankings. The travel alone seems daunting for anyone not on that George Clooney Up in the Air frequent flier plan. There have been some questions about his ability to keep such a grueling schedule in the coming years, including one posed directly to Herbstreit during a media call yesterday previewing rivalry week.
Herbstreit, who signed a five-year deal with Amazon and re-upped for the same time at ESPN, said that he knew it would be a challenge, and is trying to consistently tap into the right mindset.
"To be able to get on air, it requires a lot of work for me, to watch film, and get ahold of the coaches and the players, and all of that," he said. "It sounds stupid, but I've tried to stay incredibly grateful and positive. I think when you get tired, it's easy to complain."
Now, obviously, commenting on football is not back-breaking manual labor but it would be interesting to see some normal people crisscrossing the country under intense scrutiny a few back-to-back weekends and see how they hold up. My guess is it wouldn't end well.
"I've tried to stay almost in a Navy Seal mentality," Herbsteit said. "No one cares. You guys maybe do it in your business like, 'oh, you're never going to believe this. I've got to get up at 4 a.m.' and people are just like, 'oh, really? That's great.' No one cares."
It seems like he's working hard because he is working hard. There's no denying this. Your mileage will vary on if the jam-packed schedule has affected the performance we've come to expect. The effort remains the same, if not intensified considering the plates being juggled.
"I bust my ass as hard as I can to be prepared, the most prepared analyst I can be," Herbstreit said. "I think it's a mindset of staying, like I said, positive, and grateful, and work as hard as you can. But it's been much more than I anticipated, and I've got four more years of it, so there's no backing out now."