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Final

The broadcast interview

In the midst of an important budget meeting, a reporter barges into your office with a cameraman, puts a microphone in your face and asks "How are things going so far?"

That's the analogy I use when contemplating our in-game interviews with coaches during MLS television broadcasts. We are literally stepping in to their work world and asking them to assess their team's progress in the heat of competition.

And I think it's unfair to the coaches.

A couple months ago, Fire head coach Dave Sarachan answered a question from me during a match on live television. His optimistic response to my question was immediately contradicted as the evening's opponent scored a goal before I could pull the microphone away from him.

Lightning strikes twice the following week when Sarachan (this time wearing a headset microphone) was again being queried by the hosts during an in-game interview on live television, and the opponent scored.

Last week as Crew head coach Greg Andrulis was preparing to take a question from me during a second half live television interview, the Fire's Andy Herron whipped around and unpredictably launched a shot to score against the Crew. I was thankful I hadn't yet begun the on-air conversation with Andrulis.

I immediately stepped away from Andrulis (as I have with other coaches in the same situation) and allowed him the chance to work with his team rather than be bogged down by on-air chit-chat.

You should know that the league has asked the 10 coaches to participate in these brief exchanges during televised matches. In my experience, they've all been open to meeting the obligation - even though they may not like the idea.

While I believe a coach's assessment of a game is an important part of a broadcast, I think we should incorporate their insight into the pre-, mid- or post-game portion of the broadcast, not the in-game portion.

It's all about timing. But the Sarachan examples show that even the best-laid plans don't always work. Let's eliminate potentially disastrous situations by interviewing coaches "outside their offices," removed from the heat of competition and the threat of contradiction made possible by the unpredictability of our game.

Chris Doran is a television sideline reporter for the Chicago Fire telecasts and play-by-play host for Fire radio. He welcomes your feedback at cdoran4@msn.com.

The views of this column do not necessarily represent the views of the Chicago Fire.


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