Interview originally published on January 17, 2020.
Joe Brolly addressed the media following his unveiling as eir Sport’s newest GAA pundit and the former Sunday Game analyst was as riveting and engaging as expected.
The 1993 All-Ireland winner was controversially axed by RTÉ in the wake of last year’s drawn All-Ireland final. His relationship with the state broadcaster dated back some 20 years with Brolly addressing how hurt he felt at being cast aside.
Brolly also spoke of the censorship that was slowly creeping into the studios at Montrose, claiming he was given a script before going live on-air ahead of Dublin’s draw with Kerry in September.
The Derry man was working with eir Sport throughout their Allianz League 2020 coverage which was brought to an abrupt halt following the coronavirus outbreak. Despite claiming he’d never work with a subscription-based service, Brolly said the broadcaster had given him licence to speak his mind.
“It’s the first thing we discussed, that I would be interested subject to being able to speak my mind. Because what’s the point, it’s only football punditry. We could all talk about it,” he said.
Brolly has been outspoken on RTÉ’s decision to take a more statistical-based approach to their punditry in recent seasons. It’s something that he strongly disagrees with as he sees it as boring.
The double All-Star winner views punditry in a simpler way, describing it as like being in a bar with your friends watching a game. The Oak Leaf legend revealed that he pitched a new method of punditry to RTÉ based on how the NBA cover games.
“The way I see football punditry is simple. If I’m in the bar with a few pals of mine who are knowledgeable about Gaelic football, and we’re talking about the game and letting the dice fall where they may. If that’s your mindset, then you’re in business.
“You see that with the NBA coverage which I think is peerless. It’s about that false friendship where you’ve got guys who are very personable, who are enjoying the games and the personalities, sidetracking to what’s interesting and statistics come up in a box in the corner.
“I suggested that for RTÉ. This is too dull. Kids are not gonna be interested in this. A mother sitting with her kids watching the game, looking for the debate and the fun at half-time. They’re gonna switch off. The elderly doesn’t give a fuck about Kerry’s productivity rating in the second quarter. Nobody cares.”
While Brolly admits statistics can be helpful, he said the approach RTÉ had taken to meant he felt more like a newsreader than a pundit.
“Of course, statistics can be helpful. They can inform your narrative. But that’s it. It’s different for the manager of a team. But this, we were like newsreaders in the newsroom. We were reduced to reading out in essence, what was there for us. Where’s the fun in that? Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast in RTÉ for 20 years.”
An interesting point. Below is a clip of how Brolly feels live punditry should be done.