Fans like to criticize announcers for being overpaid and while Kirk Herbstreit is certainly well-compensated for his work at ESPN and Prime Video, you can’t say he didn’t earn his $18-million salary, appearing on Thursday Night Football, College GameDay and ESPN Saturday Night Football on ABC, all in the same week. Herbstreit’s gauntlet of a schedule brought him to 36 cities this past season, working 49 on-air assignments since September 3rd, according to Front Office Sports.
We used to marvel at Joe Buck’s workload during the MLB postseason, covering the World Series while somehow finding time to anchor Fox’s coverage of Thursday Night Football and its Sunday game of the week. But that was only one month of the year, compared to Herbstreit, who kept that balancing act up for an entire season. To illustrate how impossibly hectic Herbstreit’s life must have been, the 53-year-old Ohio State alum, during a three-day span in November, called an NFL game in Green Bay Thursday night, shuttled to Bozeman, Montana for College GameDay Saturday morning, then traveled back east for a game in South Carolina later that night.
It’s debatable whether Herbstreit’s dual existence, juggling his ESPN responsibilities with his new gig at Amazon, is something to be celebrated, glamorizing an untenable lifestyle that could be taking years off his life. As our corporate culture continues to evolve, stressing the importance of work-life balance while setting clear boundaries to prevent burnout, Herbstreit seems to be bucking against that trend, stretching himself impossibly thin at great risk to his health and sanity. The good news is that Herbstreit will have the next several weeks to regroup, getting a needed breather before inevitably ramping up for April’s NFL Draft.