Pittsburgh Media Report: Are Paul Steigerwald & Bob Errey Warping Penguins Fans’ Perceptions?

Steigerwald and Errey

Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey have been together on the Penguins’ TV broadcasts since 2006. (Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins)

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Media Report, a regular feature on City of Champions. Read the previous edition.

Before I get started, thanks for all the well-wishes regarding last week’s post.

On with the show…

Pensblog co-editor Derek Rocco fired off a series of interesting tweets during Friday night’s Penguins game that got me thinking. Rocco, a.k.a. @TPBDerek, said that he thought listening to Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey perform their broadcast duties on Root Sports could warp naive fans’ view of the team.

I agree with this, at least to some degree. Steigerwald and Errey are the voices of the Penguins for most people, despite Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Lange still doing his thing on the radio alongside analyst Phil Bourque. Considering the Pens’ remarkable local TV ratings, Root Sports dictates the agenda when it comes to game broadcasts.

It’s evident Steigerwald and Errey gloss over the Penguins’ errors more than their radio counterparts, and part of that difference may be attributed to Root Sports management. Since the brand change from FSN Pittsburgh to Root, it feels like the broadcasts are more partisan than they used to be.

Not that we should expect a team’s media partners to function completely objectively, but the primary job of any broadcaster is to report the action accurately. There’s never any doubt that Lange is playing it straight, a reputation he’s earned in four decades of expert work. His legendary status was built on much more than fun catch phrases, which any longtime listener would be able to tell you.

Steigerwald’s call is (usually) competent, but his delivery has a little too much marketing sheen for my taste. The Penguins and their stars are plenty good enough to let their play stand on its own merit, a fact the Root broadcast doesn’t jive with. (This is not to impeach the work of reporter Dan Potash, host Rob King and studio analyst Jay Caufield, all of whom I hold in high regard.)

For that matter, I don’t share Rocco’s views on Errey. Can he get carried away defending or lauding the Pens? Yes, but he’s entertaining while doing it. I can forgive a lot of ills if a broadcaster makes me laugh. Also, I think Errey’s ability to describe why certain things happen on the ice is very good, which is essentially why has the job.

Nevertheless, Root’s rooting tendencies do have an affect on all of us, even if we believe ourselves impervious to outside influences. It’s easier to get along than disagree, so some newer Penguins fans probably think the hockey world revolves around the flightless fowl more than it actually does.

That mentality is good for the franchise’s health and its continued growth in popularity, but it doesn’t make for better hockey fans. As much as that may bother some of us, it’s a trade the Penguins and Root are willing to make.

Topics: Bob Errey, Paul Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Penguins, ROOT Sports Pittsburgh

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  • Jamie

    I’m not sure about competent… How often do we miss game action because Steiggy is telling some story about the great dinner he had last night? He’s not the color guy anymore. Needs to stick to whats happening on the ice.

    • Matt Gajtka

      Maybe I should rephrase…he’s competent when he’s focusing on the game. It was basically the nicest thing I could say, really. He misidentifies players on a regular basis, too.

      • csher#91

        Constantly calls Zatkoff, “Fluery”, whenever he gets the nod.

        • Matt Gajtka

          The one that drives me crazy is when he calls a guy with a lefty shot the name of a guy who shoots righty, or vice versa. Hockey’s a fast game and a tough call, but that’s one of the few “cheats” you have as a broadcaster.

  • Drangus

    Just like I used to do with Myron Cope on DVE for Steeler games, I listen to Lange/29er on the radio while watching the TV broadcast on mute. I wonder how many other Pens fans do the same.

    • Matt Gajtka

      I would love to, but the delay really bothers me. Plus I do like Errey most of the time.

  • FireFox91

    I think Root should seriously consider looking at trying to get Mike Lange back but keep Bob Errey. With the exception of his unique (and awesome) goal calls, Lange is gives a straight and detailed call. He leaves the zany stuff out. That is where Errey comes in, he is zany and fun to listen to. Perfect yin and yang. I don’t hate Steigy but he tries to do both and is a master of neither.

    • Matt Gajtka

      They were together for a couple of years. I fear Mike is slowing down lately, but it would be nice to see that duo reunited.