Around the Horn

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Not to be confused with the baseball term, also known as "around the horn".
This article is about the ESPN sports discussion show. For the BBC radio comedy, see Round the Horne.
Around the Horn
Around the Horn logo.svg
Around the Horn Logo
Genre Sports talk, debate, competitive banter
Presented by Tony Reali
Starring Tony Reali, Woody Paige, Bill Plaschke, Kevin Blackistone, Bob Ryan, J.A. Adande, Jackie MacMullan, Michael Smith, Bomani Jones, Tim Cowlishaw, Pablo S. Torre and other sports writers (see below)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 2,580 (as of June 1, 2014)[1]
Production
Executive producer(s) James Cohen,
Erik Rydholm,
Mark Shapiro
Producer(s) Dan Farmer,
Aaron Solomon,
Bill Wolff
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ESPN
Picture format 480i (4:3 SDTV) (November 4, 2002 - February 4, 2011)
480i (16:9 letterbox SDTV) (February 4, 2011 - present)
720p (HDTV) (September 27, 2010 - present)
Original run November 4, 2002 – present
External links
Official Website

Around the Horn (sometimes abbreviated ATH) is a daily, half-hour sports roundtable on ESPN filmed in Washington, D.C. It airs at 5:00 pm ET, as part of a sports talk hour with Pardon the Interruption. The show is hosted by Tony Reali.

History[edit]

Around the Horn premiered on ESPN November 4, 2002, hosted by Max Kellerman. It replaced the interview show Unscripted with Chris Connelly. On February 2, 2004, Tony Reali, known as "Stat Boy" on Pardon the Interruption, became the show's new host when Kellerman left ESPN. The show's launch team and daily production management was led by broadcast executives James Cohen, Todd Mason, Mark Shapiro, Erik Rydholm and Joseph Maar. On July 10, 2007, the show celebrated its 1,000th episode in a show won by Jay Mariotti.

10 Year Anniversary Artwork by Tony Reali, Chris Gavin and Mars Lewis

Around the Horn marked 10 years on the air Friday, November 2, 2012. On the eve of this milestone, Tony Reali offered his thoughts on the show’s successful run and what the opportunity has meant for him personally:

"Pele wore it on his back. Phil Jackson once wore it on his head. Pearl Jam debuted with it. Dudley Moore thought Bo Derek was it. Ten. X. 10. And now, it’s our number. 2,217 shows and I can remember every single one except that show from April 11, 2005. Or, at least the 2,000-plus I have done. I remember the day Woody Paige almost choked on confetti and pop rocks celebrating his 288th win. The day Michael Smith broke out an impromptu Bad News Brown impression for 64 points. I remember having Tupac's mother on as a guest panelist and thinking “This woman could take all our jobs.” I remember when Kevin Blackistone dressed as Barth (from You Can't do that on Television) for Halloween. I remember Jay Mariotti working 265 straight shows. 265 straight!

I remember February 1, 2004. I got the call to host the show the next day while watching the Patriots - Panthers Super Bowl. Max Kellerman was in contract talks. Could I sit in? I had been a panelist previously and hosted a couple of times but never a day after the Super Bowl. At first I said ‘no’. I was scared stiff. I couldn’t comprehend this was how ESPN hired its hosts. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.) I was 25 and my entire broadcasting career consisted of 10 seconds a day as “Stat Boy” and saying inappropriate things on radio at Fordham University . When I finally said ‘yes,’ I realized I had no clothes. I wore my only suit to work the next day — sweated through it — and put together a hosting stint that has to go down in history as the worst of all-time. But I did get through it, and I’m much better for it. I wore the same suit to work the next day, and by Wednesday I needed a new tie. It was 18 months later when I signed my first contract to host the show. Aaron Solomon is the producer and he is a rock. He’s steered this show to where it is now, along with (associate producer) Josh Bard, (executive producer) Erik Rydholm and (ESPN senior coordinating producer) David Brofsky . But, first and foremost, this show is about the panelists and our crew — currently Bob Ryan, Woody Paige, Tim Cowlishaw, Bill Plaschke, JA Adande, Kevin Blackistone, Jackie MacMullan, Michael Smith, Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Israel Gutierrez — and all of the panelists we’ve had through the years have carried us. If you want to say anything about this show, call it a survivor. I can’t think of a higher compliment. The thing I love most about hosting this show is that it mirrors my personality: sports, games, jokes, pop culture — and none of it taken too seriously. I mean, we have a mute button and a scoring system NO ONE UNDERSTANDS. I like that. And it’s only possible because we don’t take anything as life or death. And, I think, that was something the original reviewers of the show never got. Maybe the show didn’t always view itself like that. For me, the strength of this show is in the friendship and chemistry and relationship between the panelists and the discussion that comes from that. As host, my job every day is to try to tap into that. And that’s why we’ve started posting “Behind the Horn” scenes every day on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — to show that these guys are real and none of what we do is fake. Our panelists amaze me. I owe a debt to them. And to Max, Bill Wolff and Jim Cohen (the original producers and creators). So, how do I show my appreciation? By putting their faces — and the faces of 90 other people who we couldn’t do this show without — in a Sgt. Pepper knockoff."

Woody Paige has become the biggest staple on the show in recent years. As of July 21, 2014, Paige has 475.5 wins, which is the most in the history of the show.

The set[edit]

The original set was in the same Atlantic Video complex as the set for Pardon the Interruption. It featured the host's desk with the point triggers and mute buttons, opposite of four screens of the panelists with their score under them and the mute sign above them. Behind the host's desk was a map of the contiguous United States of America with the cities the sportswriters on the show appeared from. The map, divided into time zones, displayed the names of five newspapers representing each time zone. The Los Angeles Times represented the Pacific Time Zone, the Denver Post the Mountain Time Zone, the Dallas Morning News and Chicago Sun-Times both represented the Central Time Zone, and the Boston Globe represented the Eastern Time Zone. Originally this was to create a regionally biased discussion, but this was later phased out.

When panelist Woody Paige was based in New York, the logo of Cold Pizza was added to the Eastern Time Zone side of the map as Paige was featured on that program as well. Eventually, the logo of the Boston Globe was replaced by the word "Boston" as many of the contributors from Boston were no longer writing for the Globe. The other cities on the map would eventually meet the same fate, but none of the other cities where contributors were featured were ever added to the board (possibly due to a lack of space) before the map was jettisoned altogether.

On September 27, 2010, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption began broadcasting in high definition and moved from the Atlantic Video complex to facilities in the ABC News Washington bureau, where high definition sets were built for both shows.[2]

Each panelist appears either within the offices of their respective newspaper, in front of a screen representing the city they're located in, or in another studio. Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles (when Bill Plaschke is appearing) still use their respective newspaper offices as studio space while Washington, Miami, Chicago, and Boston each have their own respective screens. (Los Angeles employs this as well when J.A. Adande is a panelist.)

Rounds[edit]

The current Around The Horn format consists of the following:

  • Introduction: A commercial-free transition to the opening moments of the show starts with the host, Reali, introducing the panelists as "four of America's most (themed) sportswriters". For example, if the "theme word" is "indifferent", the four panelists would all do their impressions of an indifferent sportswriter. The show itself is then introduced with Reali mentioning three topics to be discussed, then exclaiming "Ten topics, one winner. Horn me!" The opening theme plays, and cuts to Reali for an introduction. The panelists are then individually introduced and given time for an opening statement. Most of the panelists use this time for jokes or criticism of the host or other panelists, which can lead to points or mutes. (One such example is when Woody Paige used his time by blowing a miniature plasticine horn, as a pun towards the show's name; this resulted in Paige being muted by Reali.) Also any scoring changes that can be seen on ATH's YouTube page, Reali will tell the scores and announce the panelist or panelists that committed the "Pre-Show violation" before the first "First Word" topic.
  • The First Word: Two current sports headlines are discussed. The panelists give detailed arguments and can also give rebuttals to other panelists.
  • Buy or Sell: A rapid-fire segment in which the panelists are asked to "buy" or "sell" (be for or against) three different concepts, also drawn from current sports headlines. In the first few months of this format and sometimes used with three panelists, four topics were discussed, with each having a shorter time limit to fit between the first and second commercial breaks. In the case of a scoring change happening during the first commercial break, Reali will tell the scores and announce the panelist or panelists that committed the "commercial break violation" before the first "Buy or Sell" topic.
  • 1st Cut: The contestant with the lowest point total is eliminated. In the case of ties, Reali often breaks them by miscellaneous things, like whose hair is better combed. If the awarding of a point causes a tie for the two lowest panelists, Reali sometimes gives the same panelist a second point to break it. Sometimes on shows with three panelists, the lowest score is spared from elimination.
  • Out of Bounds: This round, always played as the third round, is dedicated to talking about one story which is indirectly sports-related. Serious and controversial topics, such as steroid use and suspensions, are usually discussed in this round, and few to no points are awarded. This was a daily feature from the time of the format change until late October 2009. It is occasionally tied together with the "Lightning Round". "Out of Bounds" is now used in ATH today.
  • The Lightning Round: Another third round, this being a continuation of the sports discussion with two or three rapid-fire topics. Reintroduced to the show in November 2009; a different "Lightning Round" was part of the original ATH format.
  • 2nd Cut: The next contestant with the lowest point total is removed, leaving just two. (In the event all four contestants were in the third round (mostly an important Out of Bounds), the two lowest point totals are eliminated.) The camera then reveals the final two contestants and Reali typically says something to the effect of, "Two men enter, one man wins!" right before the cut to commercial.
  • Showdown: Mentioned above, the two remaining columnists take sides on any sports or cultural stories remaining. There are two or three questions, depending on the amount of time left. Usually, the westernmost panelist goes first for the first topic, with the other speaking for the second half. The panelists then alternate going first for the remaining topics. Each topic is timed between 15 and 40 seconds each depending on time remaining. Reali usually gives a panelist one point per topic, although he occasionally gives more than one point or deducts points depending on the strength or weakness of the argument. Only once there was a one person showdown and a four people showdown.
  • Facetime: The winner of the showdown and therefore winner of that particular episode gets around 30 seconds (more or less depending on time left in show frame) to talk about anything he or she wishes to discuss. Most of the time these are sports related, but often their own personal life or an issue in pop culture or the news is discussed. Lounge music is played in the background as the winner talks. The lounge music is not played in serious Facetime (deaths, major news (both sports and non-sports related)).
  • Goodbye: Reali says how long it will be until the next episode, for example, "we're on a 23-and-a-half hour break." On Fridays, he will sign off by saying "a 71-and-a-half-hour break." If there is an extended period until the show comes back on, Reali may simply say, "You do the math!"
  • Paper Toss: Signature sign-off of the show, with Reali crumpling his notes and throwing them towards the camera. As he does this, the panelists will often continue to chatter in the background as the show ends.
  • PTI Next: This simply tells viewers just that: that Pardon the Interruption is up next.

Previous format[edit]

Before the show was retooled in early 2003, the format was similar, wherein the first two rounds were largely the same but with different titles. There was a bigger difference after that. The show ran like so:

  • The Opening Round: The two biggest headlines of the day.
  • The Lightning Round: A quick-moving round with four topics where players had to make their points quickly or risk getting muted by Max Kellerman, the former host. Somewhat similar, though not entirely, to the Lightning Round currently on the program.
  • The Bonus Round: One final topic, with the panelists trying to earn some last-second points, followed by a sports trivia question for each panelist, worth five points.
  • The Medal Round: The panelists earned facetime equal to their scores converted to seconds, in reverse order of their placing. The winner received a gold medal, second place received silver, third place got bronze, and the fourth place finisher was given a foil ball. More often than not, due to time restrictions, the panelists were given less time than they earned, or at least one panelist would not be given any time at all. During this round, panelists could appeal to the Disembodied Voice for more points.

Despite the change in format, Reali still occasionally announces "ten topics, one winner" at the beginning of the show regardless of the number of topics.

Points[edit]

The show "scores the argument" by awarding points or deducting points from panelists at the discretion of the host depending on the strength or weakness of their arguments. The awarding and deduction of points has changed throughout the series. Originally, under host Max Kellerman, being muted cost a panelist five points. Later, Kellerman changed the scoring whereby "good" answers received two points, "great" answers received three, and a mute subtracted three points from a panelist's score. Shortly before Kellerman left the show, the mute was reduced to its current -1. After Tony Reali took over the show, the number of points awarded or deducted was randomized at his discretion. For example, Reali might give a single point for a weak argument, or many points for a particularly strong case backed by statistical information, or not. Points may also be taken away for self-promotion, such as bragging about a good column or a successful upset prediction. (According to Reali, "Self-promotion is the mating call of the mute button!"[3]) In addition, complaints about how many points that they or another panelist received, usually results in a deduction and/or mute. Reali mainly uses the mute button when a panelist interrupts another panelist, begins to ramble, or changes his or her previous opinion on a given topic.

On January 9, 2012, Woody Paige set a new scoring record with 71 points. Michael Smith previously held the points record before the showdown with 64 on January 20, 2011. The record previously was set at 63 by Jackie MacMullan in 2011. In the episode airing the day after Stephen Strasburg's debut, Woody Paige entered the showdown with 53 points despite having received a 25 point penalty at the beginning of the show due to a lost bet with Reali. The record for most points in the first round was set by Woody Paige at 41 points on October 30, 2009, that record was broken by Jackie MacMullan on May 12, 2010 with a score of 48, after she received a 25 point bonus for being named a recipient of the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award.[4] On November 18, 2011, Woody Paige reclaimed the title for most first round points and on January 9, 2012, increase the title to 55 points, after receiving 30 pre-topic points for correctly predicting a Denver Broncos win the night before. The highest margin of points going into Showdown was set on June 13, 2011, with Jackie MacMullan scoring 60 points, a 61 point lead over Kevin Blackistone with -1. The highest margin of points after a round was set on June 28, 2013, with Woody Page having 11 points, a 497 point lead from Jackie MacMullan, who had -486 points going into Buy or Sell. Subsequently on that June 28, 2013 episode, Jackie MacMullan was eliminated at the First Cut with a record low score of -474 points, due to starting with -500 points because of incorrectly predicting that Doc Rivers would not leave the Boston Celtics. Her losing effort was applauded by host Tony Reali and other panelists, including Tim Cowlishaw and Woody Paige.

Reali also makes bets occasionally with the panelists on sporting events, with the panelist gaining or losing a large amount of points based on the outcome. For example, in summer of 2007, Woody Paige made a bet with Reali that he could drink a gallon of water during the 30 minutes of the show. At the end, the tank was empty. On the next show, secret cameras revealed Paige dumping most of the water in a cooler. Rather than receiving the promised 100 points, Paige received several mutes. Paige also received 10 points from Reali on January 22, 2009, when on the previous episode's "Facetime" Paige cheered on the New Jersey Institute of Technology's basketball team to snap their 51-game losing streak, NJIT won, Paige received points and won again. Paige used the time to offer his "service" to any other failing team at any level.

Reali occasionally will deduct or award points of a panelist who had a strong opinion on a sports-related matter predicted earlier in time, which then turned out to be the staunch opposite of what truly happened when the topic showed itself on the show again. For instance, in the August 30, 2010, episode, Woody Paige was awarded points after it was learned Stephen Strasburg would need Tommy John surgery, this coming after Paige was deducted points in the July 29, 2010, episode when he suggested the Washington Nationals should shut Strasburg down in his first trip to the disabled list.

There have been some topics, most during the Out of Bounds segment, which have not been scored due to their sensitive nature. Such examples include Bob Ryan's suspension for his comments towards Jason Kidd's wife, the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case, former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén calling Jay Mariotti a "fag", Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident, Michael Vick's dog fighting and animal abuse, Rick Pitino's extortion scandal, Jay Mariotti's 2010 arrest, Aaron Hernandez first degree murder arrest in 2013, and other discussions of deaths. Other sensitive topics that do not award points are held at the beginning, such as the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, or the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.

After Paige encouraged viewers to come up with ways to improve the scoring system, the June 19, 2008 episode was played with no scoring or muting. This led to all four panelists reaching out of bounds and the showdown, with nobody being declared the winner.

On April 4, 2012, Bill Plaschke received 3 free uneliminations due to his ranking in the 100th percentile in the ESPN Tournament Challenge for the NCAA tournament. He picked a perfect Final Four, picked the championship game, and picked the winner who turned out to be the Kentucky Wildcats. This meant that he had the power to get out of three eliminations.

Notable episodes[edit]

On November 4, 2002, Around the Horn aired its first episode. Woody Paige, Jay Mariotti, Bob Ryan and T.J. Simers were the first four panelists to appear on the show. T.J. Simers won with 11 points, while Ryan, Mariotti and Paige were the runners up, respectively.

On July 10, 2007, Around the Horn celebrated the show's 1,000th episode with a highlight package at the beginning of all the best moments of Around the Horn since its first episode. Jay Mariotti won the Showdown in daring fashion. Because it was the 1,000th episode, Mariotti got an extra three seconds of Face Time.

On August 11, 2008, Michael Smith, senior writer for ESPN.com, returned to the show for the first time in nearly a year and went on to win the show with 25 points over Tim Cowlishaw, J. A. Adande and Woody Paige. Before the show, Tony Reali said "Who's that guy in Boston?". Smith has been in the rotating pool of panelists ever since.

On Halloween, 2008, Woody Paige dressed up as the Joker, Jay Mariotti as Batman, Kevin Blackistone as a doctor and J.A. Adande as Manny Ramirez. Paige went on to defeat Adande in showdown.

On April Fool's Day, 2009, Woody Paige hosted the show, with Reali taking his place as a panelist. Paige took great delight in muting Reali, while constantly deducting points from Reali and rival Mariotti. He changed the rules so the highest point total was eliminated, rather than the lowest, leading to a showdown between Reali and Mariotti. Mariotti won, but Paige quickly muted him and campaigned to be the new host, as Plaschke, Mariotti and Reali chanted, "Wood-y! Wood-y! Wood-y!"

The following April Fool's (2010) featured the show being played backwards beginning with the end credits, then Paige with his Face Time, then subsequent rounds being done in reverse order, with points being deducted and guests being added.

On August 5, 2009, the Showdown was between Mariotti and Plaschke, which ended with the final topic about Lou Holtz possibly running for the United States Senate. Reali asked both of them who on the panel would make a good congressman. Mariotti, who was in the lead at the time, commented that eliminated panelist Kevin Blackistone would be a great congressman. Due to this, Reali gave the Face Time to Blackistone instead of Mariotti.

On September 8, 2009, Woody Paige defeated Jackie MacMullan to get his 300th career win on Around the Horn. During his 30-second Face Time, he awarded himself a self-made "bronzed" blackboard with 300 written on it, and having one of his production assistants throw confetti on him (some of which got in his mouth and he playfully choked on), and had the same assistant pie him in the face.

On October 20, 2009, Jay Mariotti became the second ATH panelist to get a 300th career win.

On October 30, 2009, the panelists dressed up again for Halloween. This time Paige dressed up as The Wicked Witch of the West, Mariotti as Kate Hudson, Blackistone as Kanye West and Jackie MacMullan as her own Wheaties box.

On January 28, 2010, Cowlishaw got his 200th career win.

On May 25, 2010, Kevin Blackistone was awarded a record 13 points during the Showdown in a 13–0 shutout of Tim Cowlishaw, the largest margin of victory in Showdown history to that point. In the Face Time, Blackistone expressed excitement over the future of prospect Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.

On June 24, 2010, Woody Paige had the lowest point total after "Buy or Sell". When Reali asked him if he had any last words, Bob Ryan, who thought that he himself had the lowest point total, responded. Reali decided that if Ryan wanted to leave the show that badly, he could go. Reali subtracted enough points so that Ryan was in last place, then eliminated him.

On August 20, 2010, Jay Mariotti made his last appearance on the show, scoring 33 points, and losing in the Lightning Round. Around the Horn went on a 10-day hiatus, but Mariotti was arrested for domestic violence involving his girlfriend on August 21, 2010.

On August 30, 2010, Tim Cowlishaw went into the first word with –57 points. Tony subtracted them from Tim because of an incorrect report about Darrelle Revis. This is the third lowest point total ever at one moment. Also, they returned with a new room.

On September 7, 2010, Woody Paige celebrated his 1500th appearance on the show.

On September 27, 2010, Around the Horn was broadcast for the first time in HD. The SD version is widescreen 16:9. The format of the show remained the same, however, the graphics were noticeably upgraded along with a few other tweaks in the show's appearance. Bill Plaschke defeated Woody Paige for the first win under the HD format.

On the 2010 Halloween episode of Around the Horn, Tim Cowlishaw impersonated Al Davis, Kevin Blackistone dressed as Ron Washington, Bill Plaschke was a Chilean miner and Michael Smith was Agent Smith from The Matrix trilogy. Tim Cowlishaw won the Showdown against Michael Smith and scored 49 points in the main game. All panelists except Bill Plaschke (who was eliminated after Buy or Sell) had over 40 points.

On January 10, 2011, Bill Plaschke was the first panelist in Around the Horn history using the regular format to enter the Lightning Round with -15 points. This came with a missed pick in the NFC Wildcard Game against the Saints and Seahawks.

On January 27, 2011, Bob Ryan earned his 100th career win after defeating J.A. Adande in the Showdown.

On February 11, 2011, Reali decided to mix up the showdown a little bit. He announced that the day's Showdown would be called "Final Schmeopardy". The point system was played in the style of the "Final Jeopardy" round of the quiz show "Jeopardy!". The topic was introduced, a Jeopardy-style title card was shown, and Reali discussed the topic as normal. He then told both panelists to write down the number of points that they wanted to wager on that question. Whomever Reali judged to have given the better answer was awarded the number of points that they wagered. Whoever "lost" the topic lost the number of points that they wagered. After three questions, Bill Plaschke defeated Jackie MacMullan in a come-from-behind victory with a score of 29 to 25. With 29 points, Plaschke set a record for points earned in the Showdown.

On February 28, 2011, Tim Cowlishaw earned his 250th victory by beating Michael Smith in Showdown, who himself was looking for his 100th victory.

On March 4, 2011, Michael Smith earned his 100th victory by beating Tim Cowlishaw in the Showdown with a score of 2-1.

On March 10, 2011, Woody Paige made his 1600th appearance.

On April 27, 2011, Bob Ryan made his 300th appearance.

On June 3, 2011, Woody Paige was the first panelist going into the Showdown in the regular format with -3 points. Also, Tim Cowlishaw was the only panelist in positive points because Paige, Bomani Jones, and Bill Plaschke said the NBA Finals was over after two games.

On June 13, 2011, Reali penalized Bill Plaschke, Woody Paige, and Kevin Blackistone, who all had claimed that they would prefer to take on the Dallas Mavericks in the second round in the NBA playoffs. The Mavericks won the NBA Finals the night before. As a result, Plaschke started with –60 points (the second lowest ever in Around the Horn history), Paige started with –46 points, and Blackistone started with –31 points. Jackie MacMullan (who was not on the aforementioned episode) started with 15 points. MacMullan wound up with sixty points. Strangely, MacMullan was awarded the victory after the Lightning Round when both Blackistone and Paige failed to break even, and she was the only person in the Showdown. She was awarded two points on top of her earlier points for her solo performance for a total of 62 points and fell behind the ATH points record by 2 points.

On July 7, 2011, J.A. Adande earned his 200th victory, becoming the fourth panelist with 200 victories after Paige, Cowlishaw and Mariotti.

On August 1, 2011, Around the Horn started skipping the panelist intro. Around The Horn continued to skip the panelist intros except on Halloween and the Around The Horn Tournament of Champions Shows.

On August 5, 2011, Gene Wojciechowski made his return to the show as a panelist.

On August 30, 2011, Bill Plaschke got his 200th win, becoming the fifth panelist to do so.

On September 22, 2011, Jackie MacMullan earned her 100th win, becoming the ninth panelist with 100 victories.

On September 26, 2011, Kevin Blackistone celebrated his 600th appearance on the show.

On October 3, 2011, Woody Paige made his 1700th appeararence

On the 2011 Halloween Edition J.A. Adande was dressed in black for the NBA Lockout, Tim Cowlishaw as Ron Swason, Jackie Macmullan as Lady Gaga, and Woody Paige as a Dysfunctional Red Sox Clubhouse. Paige defeated Cowlishaw in showdown.

On January 9, 2012, Bob Ryan started out the show with –29 points for giving the Denver Broncos no chance of winning on January 6. Denver won their football game over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Woody Paige would go on to break Michael Smith's previous scoring record with 71. In addition, Paige defeated J.A. Adande 15-0 in the Showdown, breaking the show's record for the largest margin of victory in the Showdown.

On January 19, 2012, Tim Cowlishaw began the show with –50 points for what Reali referred to as a "pre-show violation." A video posted on the show's YouTube page revealed that Cowlishaw had suggested that fellow panelist Jackie MacMullan had botox.

On February 7, 2012, Michael Smith defeated Woody Paige in the Showdown despite the score showing Smith losing 1–2, after Paige made a comment earlier in the show that "points don't matter", referring to Kobe Bryant becoming fifth on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

On February 8, 2012, Woody Paige earned his 400th win.

On April 4, 2012, for scoring in the 100th percentile in the ESPN Tournament Challenge for the NCAA tournament, Bill Plaschke received 3 free un-eliminations, giving him the power to avoid elimination three times. On April 13, he used his first to knock out Bomani Jones, and would go on to win the Showdown against Tim Cowlishaw. He used his second on June 27, again knocking out Bomani Jones, but this time he lost in the Lightning Round. He used his third, and final, un-elimination on December 19, once again knocking out Bomani Jones, to keep his hopes alive for the 2012 Tournament of Champions, but was eliminated right before the showdown round.

On June 25, 2012, Tim Cowlishaw got his 300th career win.

On the 2012 Halloween episode Bill Plaschke was costumed as a leprechaun, Woody Paige was in a Hitchcock Movie, Tim Cowlishaw was the Ghost of Al Davis, and Israel Gutierrez was Barack Obama. Cowlishaw defeated Gutierrez in Showdown.

On November 2, 2012, Around the Horn aired a tenth anniversary show. The episode featured the return of original host Max Kellerman and the Disembodied Voice.

On December 19, 2012, Bill Plaschke used his third and final Un-elimination, knocking Bomani Jones out of the show, saying that he "Needed to help himself." However, he was knocked out in the Out of Bounds round.

On December 20, 2012, Woody Paige beat Israel Gutierrez with 0 points in the Showdown, after Gutierrez lost five points after self-promoting his basketball skills.

On December 21, 2012, J.A. Adande won the 2012 Tournament of Champions, a week-long tournament where the winners of the previous 4 days (including Tim Cowlishaw, Woody Paige, and Bob Ryan) competed against each other in a final debate.

On January 14, 2013, all four panelists started with -13 points. J.A. Adande, Bomani Jones, and Jemele Hill for getting most of the NFL Playoff games wrong (J.A. did it via Twitter while Bomani and Jemele did it on January 11, 2013 show). Michael Smith was off for two months.

On March 8, 2013, ATH aired a special Battle of the Sexes edition, featuring two of the most prominent male panelists (J.A. Adande and Woody Paige) and both the show's only active female panelists (Jemele Hill and Jackie MacMullan). It was the first time ever both Hill and MacMullan appeared in the same episode. Paige went on to defeat MacMullan in the Showdown.

On June 19, 2013, Woody Paige made his 2000th appearance on the show.

On June 28, 2013, Jackie MacMullan started off the show at -500 points (the lowest score ever in Around the Horn history) for Doc Rivers going to the LA Clippers. Jackie said that Doc Rivers would stay in Boston.

The episode on July 31st, 2013 marked the last time the program would be broadcast on ESPN America, and hence the last time the show was available to the rest of the world outside the USA. Reali ended the show, won by Jackie MacMullan, by recognizing this.

On the 2013 Halloween episode Bill Plaschke was costumed as Phil from Duck Dynasty, Woody Paige was a Boston Bullpen Cop, Kevin Blackistone was CeeLo Green, and Israel Gutierrez was Justin Bieber. Gutierrez defeated Blackistone in Showdown.

On December 24th, 2013 Pablo S. Torre won the 2013 Around the Horn Tournament of Champions by supporting the "rocket frog" photo as the picture of the year in the final showdown against fellow panelist Woody Paige.

Beginning Feb 10, 2014, to coincide with the Sochi Winter Olympics, ATH began "The MMXIV Games of Competitive Banter" during which the show follows its normal pattern of scoring and cutting the contestants down to one finalist, but then a mock gold, silver, or bronze award is given out depending on performance. 3 points are awarded for the last journalist standing (the gold), 2 for silver, 1 for bronze, and the totals will be added to through Feb 21, when a final winner is declared. J A Adande scored the first gold, Israel Gutierrez silver, and Woody Paige bronze. On the final day of the tournament, Feb 21, Pablo S. Torre won the gold, finishing with a total of 5 points. However, Woody Paige had already clinched as the tournament champion with his gold medal win the day before, amassing a total of 14 points for the 2 weeks, while Tim Cowlishaw finished with 13, and J A Adande with 6, for third place overall.

On April 1, 2014 the show celebrated April Fool's Day by presenting the show in a sitcom format complete with a laugh track and theme song.

On May 30th, 2014, in reference to the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee ending in a tie, Woody Paige and Pablo Torre ended up being named co-winners of the show, which Torre protested while Woody celebrated.

On August 21st, 2014, Tim was awarded a second victory for his impersonation of comedian and writer Stephen Wright during his Facetime.

Hosts[edit]

Guest hosts[edit]

  • Zachariah Selwyn (June 8, 2004 – June 11, 2004)
  • Duke Castiglione (July 3, 2006 – July 5, 2006)
  • Rob Stone (June 30, 2008 – July 4, 2008 and July 28, 2008 – August 1, 2008)
  • Woody Paige (April 1, 2009, as an April Fool's Day prank, as Tony Reali took Paige's place.)
  • Pablo S. Torre (March 12, 2014 (August 7 –15, 2014) (August, 25 – 29 , 2014_

Panelists[edit]

Active Panelists[edit]

Former panelists[edit]

Guest panelists[edit]

Rapper Snoop Dogg appeared in early 2009 as a "guest" in the JA Adande lounge and contributed to an NBA-centered discussion, but left after the first segment after apparently being offended by a remark made by Paige.

Active panelist statistics[edit]

As of May 30, 2014 (2,580 shows)

Name # wins # appearances winning % Special Notes
Woody Paige 471.5 2,111 22.3% All Time Wins Leader, All Time Appearance Record, Highest Scoring Record (71 Points)
Tim Cowlishaw 357 1,321 26.8%
Bill Plaschke 271 1,080 25.0%
J.A. Adande 255 938 27.2% 2012 Around the Horn Tournament of Champions
Kevin Blackistone 203 828 24.2% 2011 Around the Horn Tournament of Champions
Jackie MacMullan 147 480 30.6% Lowest Scoring Record (-474 Points)
Bob Ryan 140 443 31.6% Highest Winning Percentage (Active)
Michael Smith 127 431 29.5%
Bomani Jones 100 347 28.0%
Israel Gutierrez 42 174 24.1%
Pablo S. Torre 35.5 139 25.5% 2013 Around the Horn Tournament of Champions
Jemele Hill 14 56 25.0%
Frank Isola 15 50 28.0%
Bob Glauber 0 1 0.0 %

Former panelist statistics[edit]

Name # wins # appearances winning % Special Notes
Jay Mariotti 329 1549 21.2%
Michael Holley 34 120 28.3%
Jim Armstrong 18 75 24.0%
T.J. Simers 10 65 15.4%
Gene Wojciechowski 9 44 20.4%
Charlie Pierce 5 13 38.5%
Josh Elliott 5 23 21.7%
Adam Schefter 2 5 40.0%
Tony Reali 2 7 28.6%
Lil Wayne 1 1 100.0% Highest Winning Percentage (tied)
Bruce Arthur 1 1 100.0% Highest Winning Percentage (tied), First Canadian Panelist, First Canadian Winner
Mark Cuban 1 1 100.0% Guest Panelist, Highest Winning Percentage (tied)
Andy Katz 0 1 0.0%

Running gags[edit]

During the show's long run, it has developed certain comedic long-running gags, much like its sister show Pardon the Interruption. The most recognizable gag is the chalkboard in the top-left hand corner of Woody Paige's square on which he writes witty phrases that are different for each segment of the show, usually puns, such as "I'm chalk-bored".[8] Paige started using it while in New York, then brought it back to Denver a few shows after his return. In January 2010 Paige added an electronic ticker beneath the chalkboard and with shout-outs or other messages to athletes, viewers, or the show's competitors.

Another running gag involving Paige was his friendly rivalry with Mariotti, playing off a real-life dispute the two men had while working in Denver. The two have appeared in and won more shows than any other panelist, and have also faced each other in the Showdown the most times. Paige often mocked Mariotti on his chalkboard, and also repeatedly muted him and deducted points when he guest-hosted the show.

After the title sequence, Reali will greet the audience with a lines such as "Hey, now!", "That's right!", or "What do you say? What do you know?" Frequently, Woody Paige will attempt to say one of these lines before Reali gets the chance.

Reali introduces every episode with "Four of America's most ... sportswriters," inserting various adjectives sometimes, but not always, related to a sports story of the day. During Max Kellerman's tenure, Kellerman would begin the show by saying, "These four things, I know are true!" Reali used this early in his tenure on the show, but soon adopted his own phrasing.

Reali also often introduces the 'Showdown,' the final segment of the show, with the phrase, "Two men enter, one man ..." usually ending with a pun based around a winner. For example, on January 8, 2009, Reali introduced the 'Showdown' by saying, "Two men enter, one man wins a snuggie."

At the end of each episode, as the camera zooms out and some of the production staff come into view, Reali attempts to hit the camera with the rolled up ball of paper from that episode. Reali also ends most episodes with the tag-line "we're on a twenty-three and a half hour break" (seventy-one and a half if it's the Friday show). When it is an extended break in between shows, Reali usually says "you do the math".

During the early run of the show, Disembodied Voice would work in "Around the Horn" into his program breaks, such as "Will Shaquille O'Neal go, or hang around...the horn!" Other times, Disembodied Voice would use a word which sounded similar to "around" ("ground" or "down", for example) prior to "...the horn!" After Tony Reali assumed hosting duties, however, he stopped using the traditional "around...the horn!" and would instead say phrases such as "Horn me!" or simply, "Horn!" before a commercial break.

Tim Cowlishaw impersonated Raiders owner Al Davis before his death in October 2011 by using his accent in topics that involved the Raiders. This was initially viewed as hilarious by Tony Reali and the other panelists, however, was at times, muted because of the excessiveness of the voice impersonation. In an August 2011 show, Cowlishaw was deducted points for not doing the impersonation during a topic regarding the Raiders' quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Certain panelists have certain jokes associated with them. Woody Paige has become famous for urging the others to "Look at the schedule!" In the past year or so, Tim Cowlishaw has been known to try to earn points by beginning his arguments with "As the only panelist here who actually covered [an event]...". Cowlishaw also frequently adopts teams, calling them "My Cincinnati Reds" or "My San Diego Padres". Additionally, after introducing Kevin Blackistone, Reali will say "Everything appears to be everything." When Jackie Macmullan is a panelist, Reali usually says "Hello Jackie" when introducing the panelists. Jackie will respond politely, whilst referring to Reali as his full first name, Anthony. Plaschke will often say "It's over" early in a playoff series. Recently, Bomani Jones has appeared with a WWE Championship belt and pinkie ring, which he calls a "panky rang." When J.A. Adande wins, his facetime is usually spent in the "J.A. Adande Lounge" where he name-drops (and is occasionally visited by) celebrities.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reali, Tony (November 1, 2012). "Sgt. Reali’s Around the Horn Club Band turns 10: 2,217 shows and counting". 
  2. ^ Ourand, John (December 11, 2009). "ESPN's "PTI" and "Around The Horn" going HD next fall". Washington Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2 October 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Around the Horn" (2002) - Memorable quotes
  4. ^ Finn, Chad (May 12, 2010). "MacMullan is named Gowdy Award winner". The Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ Scott, David (2008-04-01). "Jackie Mack Taking Latest Globe Buyout". Boston Sports Media Watch. Archived from the original on 7 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  6. ^ Chicagotribune.com
  7. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (May 11, 2011). "Former ESPN personality Jay Mariotti charged with felony stalking and assault". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  8. ^ A transcript of a live chat with Woody Paige

External links[edit]