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Paul Klee: ESPN owes Sergio Dipp - the man, the myth, the legend — another shot on 'Monday Night Football'

By: Paul Klee
September 12, 2017 Updated: September 12, 2017 at 8:35 pm
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Caption +
FILE - This Sept. 16, 2013, file photo shows the ESPN logo prior to an NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Cincinnati. ESPN sideline reporter Sergio Dipp became an unlikely star of “Monday Night Football” thanks to an awkward debut on the broadcast during the Denver Broncos-Los Angeles Chargers game on Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Kohl, File)

ENGLEWOOD — I found the game where Sergio Dipp should make his "Monday Night Football" comeback.

It’s Oct. 16. Colts at Titans. ESPN will need a boost for that one, seeing as how the Colts are this year’s second bye week, and the Titans looked wholly underwhelming in a home loss to the Raiders. That boost is Sergio.

“Hopefully I’ll have another chance,” the ESPN sideline reporter said late Monday on his Twitter account.

The Broncos escaped the Chargers, 24-21, in the kind of season opener Colorado has come to expect. Denver does drama. Last year the Broncos won the opener on a missed field goal. The year before, with an interception in the end zone. The year before, in a Peyton Manning-Andrew luck shootout.

No wonder the Broncos are a prime time mainstay. Twenty-six straight years they’ve appeared on "Monday Night Football," the longest active streak in the NFL. This Monday proved again Mile High magic is a real thing, and it's good for TV business, too.

But this time the figure everyone’s talking about was on the sideline, not on the field: Sergio Dipp, who responded through his one-and-only hit like anyone who’s speaking a second language in front of 74,892 boozy maniacs and a TV audience of 15 million-plus would respond.

He crashed and burned. And in no way was it his fault.

ESPN tries way too hard to be woke. Instead of putting a qualified veteran of that hefty stage on the air, it put a 29-year-old reporter in an impossible spot. You pull a broadcaster named Robert Lee off a college game in Charlottesville, Va., to protect him from Internet hooligans, but put a man whose first language is Spanish on one of the biggest broadcasts in North American sports?

Help me out here. What did you think was going to happen?

Dipp smiled about the experience afterward. He’s a good sport.

“God bless America,” he said on Twitter.

The kicker arrived when Dipp proclaimed Vance Joseph was “having the time of his life” in Joseph’s head coaching debut. Was it true, V.J., that you were having the time of your life?

“I was until about the early fourth quarter. I was having a great time up 24-7 and we felt good about what we were doing,” Joseph said Tuesday, playing along. “Then we turn the ball over twice and they scored within what, one play and three plays? Then I was not having the time of my life.”

With a new coaching staff, young quarterback and injuries scattered across the defense, I thought the Broncos played about as well as could be expected. The issue that must be fixed — their playoff aspirations depend on it — is preventing Trevor Siemian from getting walloped. Otherwise, with the Cowboys, Raiders and a road game at the Bills next on the docket, the second Brock Osweiler era will begin sooner rather than later.

“The pass protection was not that good,” Joseph said. “Again, we were facing two elite rushers in (Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa). We knew it was going to be a chore, but we have to be better there. It was too much pressure on Trevor.”

Monday night was too much on Sergio, too.

Here’s a dirty little secret about what I do for a living: at least half my column ideas come from friends, family and you. So after the game when I turned on my phone to a string of text messages — and there were twice as many texts about Sergio Dipp as there were comments on the game — I had to go back and see what the buzz was about. The TV broadcast isn’t on in the press box.

Woo, boy.

You guys weren’t kidding.

Can’t let Sergio go out like that, ESPN. Colts-Titans, Oct. 16. The football world will be watching.

At least I had the time of my life!!! #BreakTheInternet

A post shared by sergioadippw (@sergioadippw) on Sep 12, 2017 at 11:32am PDT

Twitter: @bypaulklee

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