Stephen A. Smith is almost undoubtedly the most valuable personality that ESPN has to offer.
Between his hot takes, electric demeanor, and the seemingly endless hours of time he’s able to fill for the network as a television panelist, radio host, interviewer, interviewee — and many more hats he tends to wear — there is no face more familiar to casual viewers of the Worldwide Leader.
But even Stephen A. has an off day every once in a while. On Thursday morning, Smith was apparently in need of an extra cup of coffee.
While previewing Thursday night’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers on “First Take,” the conversation went to Smith, where things derailed.
Smith caught Max Kellerman and Tedy Bruschi off guard with mention of Chiefs running back Spencer Ware. Ware had taken over the starting role for Kansas City since Kareem Hunt left the team, but had already announced as doubtful on Thursday night, forcing the Chiefs to turn to Damien Williams as the lead back.
The Chiefs have had a lot of turnover at the position over the past few weeks, and this would have been forgettable if it were the only mistake.
Kellerman caught the error, which Smith was quick to correct.
“I’m thinking Tyreek Hill, I’m thinking Patrick Mahomes,” Smith said, recovering smoothly into references to two of the Chiefs’ stars. He then referred to the “San Diego Chargers.” This was not the worst mistake in the world either, but it has been two years since the team moved to Los Angeles, and suddenly the errors are starting to mount.
Smith then mentions an impossible matchup between Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, who tore his ACL in May and hadn’t played a snap all season and Derrick Johnson, who no longer plays linebacker for the Chiefs.
“I’m thinking about Hunter Henry and the way he’s played this year and as effective as he’s been,” Smith says. “He’s going up against Derrick Johnson, and I’ve gotta keep my eyes on that.”
Bruschi and Kellerman’s faces say it all.
Stephen A. Smith is great, but it may be time to take a vacation.