Cris Collinsworth does not hate your team. He wants to make that clear.
Fans tend to have axes to grind with broadcasters, specifically national ones, suspecting they are carrying the water for the opponent or outright trashing their team. In some cases that might be true, but ordinarily it’s just a matter of the analyst criticizing a team and the respective fanbase taking issue with it.
But that oft-held belief has led to many run-ins with fans for longtime NBC Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth, who said Tuesday on the “Pat McAfee Show” that people always wants to know what he hates their favorite team or player.
“The No. 1 question that I get from everybody in every single city, including Cincinnati (where I played), I just had a lady today came up to me in the airport and she said ‘Why do you hate Joe Burrow?’” Collinsworth said. “I go, 'What are you talking about? What do you mean I hate Joe Burrow?’ And she goes ‘I heard in the Super Bowl, you criticized him one time.’ I’m like well heaven forbid I criticize a guy who made one bad throw in the Super Bowl, he’s only like God here in this town.’
“But that’s all I hear, why do you hate whatever.”
Ordinarily, he takes it in stride – with one exception.
Collinsworth was in Indianapolis in Feb. 2012 to call Super Bowl XLVI between the Giants and Patriots. He was out to dinner on the eve of the game, and when he left the restaurant he noticed he was walking by a large group of New York fans.
“I go walking by the table – and I’ve heard this a million times, literally, from every fanbase – and this guy turns around and goes ‘Hey, Collinsworth,’” the former wideout said. “So now, I already know what it is. If they say ‘Hey Chris' then it might be hey we really like you, but no, (it was) ‘Hey Collinsworth, tell us why you hate the Giants?’ Ordinarily I launch into this thing about how I don’t hate them I just have to critique, that’s my job.
"So I walk by, and just this one time, in my entire life it’s the only time I ever did it, I walked by and said, ‘I don’t know, I just hate them’ and walked out the door. I was (thinking) you idiot, this is going to be on the front page of the New York Times, proof that Collinsworth hates the Giants. But I didn’t care, it was like the only time in my life I’m like 'I’m free, I’m free.’”
The Giants did end up winning that Super Bowl, so if Collinsworth really does hate them, then it must have been a tough night for him.