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Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Updated: August 4, 12:59 PM ET
Lisa Guerrero

Page 2 Staff

Of all the people to submit to Page 2's 10 Burning Questions, few have ever been happier than Lisa Guerrero.

Lisa Guerrero
Lisa Guerrero says she has "always been around dudes and sports."
Eric Neel caught up with Guerrero shortly after it was announced that she had been hired as the new sideline reporter for ABC's "Monday Night Football."

"Pinch me. This is the opportunity of a lifetime," said Guerrero, an accomplished actress and former reporter for Fox Sports.

Of course, Page 2 wanted to know all the important details ... like the story of how she made Dennis Rodman cry, what she plans to wear for her first game, what she thinks of John Madden, and who she's picking for Super Bowl XXXVIII.

1. What are your earliest memories of "Monday Night Football"?

Guerrero: I was raised by a single dad. My mom died when I was 8. So my dad raised me, and he's a huge football fan. Some of the best memories I have growing up were from watching "Monday Night Football" with my dad. When I found out I got this job, I cried, of course -- I'm a girly-girl -- and then I called my dad, and he cried, too. On so many levels, this is a thrill for me.

So you come to this job as a football fan?

Guerrero: Absolutely. My background is really different than the experts in the booth. I'm not an X's and O's guy. I'm a fan. I hope to be a complement to the guys in the booth, whether it's in providing an injury update or to further a storyline or whatever. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring another element into the mix. They're not expecting me to break down man-to-man vs. zone, but I know enough about football that I can add my own take and have my own style.

2. Let's play word association: John Madden.

Guerrero: Turducken. He has a tradition where he stuffs a turkey with a duck and a chicken.

Nice. Al Michaels?

Howard Cosell
The familiar voice of Howard Cosell immediately takes Guerrero back to her childhood.
Guerrero: Legend.

Tom Arnold?

Guerrero: (Laughs) Legend in his own mind.

Howard Cosell?

Guerrero: My childhood.

Lisa Guerrero?

Guerrero: (Laughs) On top of the world.

3. You're someone who has posed for glamorous photos and been comfortable with your sex appeal. Does that undermine your credibility as a journalist in any way?

Guerrero: I'm 39 years old, for some 18-year-old college kid to come up to me and say, "Lisa G, you're hot!" -- I take that as a compliment! I'm as old as their moms are. I'm comfortable with my femininity, and I don't try to change what I look like just because I'm reporting on football at the end of the night.

Women have been multi-tasking for generations -- raising kids, going back to school, being single moms and breadwinners -- you can have a lot of elements to yourself. I prefer to say, "Yeah, I'm a woman. I'm proud of what I look like. I'm proud that I look like my mom. I'm proud of being Hispanic. And I'm proud of what I do as a professional, too."

This is an old question, going back to Jessica Savitch. Being attractive and being credible can and do go together. Yes, female broadcasters care about their hair and makeup, but I know a lot of guy newscasters who care about their hair and makeup as well.

That sounds like dirt on the "Best Damn Sports Show" guys.

Guerrero: I have so much dirt! You mean the fact that Tom Arnold would spend more time with the hair and makeup people than I would? And that Michael Irvin would care more about his wardrobe than I would?

And what's the story with John Kruk? Genius or crazy?

Guerrero: Oh he's just crazy. Genius? I've never heard the word genius in any way connected with John Kruk.

4. What's the worst stereotype about women as sports fans?

Melissa Stark
When you're the sideline reporter for "MNF," the whole world is watching.
Guerrero: There are so many. It's hard to just narrow it down. But I think a lot of people from our parents' generation tend to categorize women. You know, you're the pretty one, you're the smart one, you're the sporty one, and so on. But here we are in 2003, and now we're allowed to be a little bit of each of those things. We're starting to push the envelope in terms of the expectations, and you can also have your own style, personality and sense of humor, because now we're allowed to.

What's the best thing about being a woman in a typically male world?

Guerrero: I've always been the only girl in those environments. It's comfortable for me -- I prefer it, actually. I've always been around dudes and sports. This, though, is the biggest job in sports. I know I'll be under a spotlight, I know I'll be under the microscope. I'll be criticized if I don't articulate something right, and I'll be criticized if I don't wear the right shade of lipstick. Television is a visual medium, and you want to look good, but beyond that it's about reporting, about giving information to the viewers.

You've gotten guys to open up to you. Do you have an advantage with male athletes as a female reporter?

Guerrero: I think so. My approach is a very human one, as a fan. I'm not going to relate to an athlete as a peer. I'm a fan. I'm not interested in Barry Bonds the baseball player, but in Barry Bonds the man who plays baseball. I want to know about what makes an athlete tick.

Dennis Rodman
Guerrero turned the Worm into a sobbing mess.
5. Is it true you made Dennis Rodman cry?

Guerrero: Yeah, I called him out at a press conference. It was when Dennis was deciding whether to sign with the Lakers. He showed up late with Carmen Electra and the entourage, dropping f-bombs and stuff. And he told us he'd just called the conference to see if we'd show up, and then he said if he became a distraction to the Lakers he'd quit.

So I stood up, in my little pink outfit, looking like I'm from Entertainment Tonight or something, and I said, "You already are a distraction. You've kept the Lakers hanging for three weeks. You're wasting our time, and you're probably the most selfish athlete I've ever seen." And then he started crying.

So fear and intimidation is a big part of your job, eh?

Guerrero: (Laughs) Yeah, I hope so. If I can make a man cry, that's good by me.

Who are you looking to make cry this year?

Guerrero: No, I don't really want to make anyone cry. I'm looking forward to talking to Brett Favre, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice. Guys who are old-school. I like the guys who come back, the guys who prove themselves over and over again. I'm looking forward to talking to Bill Parcells, too, and to seeing how that marriage with Jerry Jones goes.

Who do you pick for the Super Bowl?

Guerrero: I'm going to go old-school and say Oakland and Green Bay.

6. In one word, describe your style for us.

Guerrero: Southern California Chic.

How's a SoCal girl going to stay warm in Lambeau?

Guerrero: Well, one of the things we girls like to do on occasion is shop. So I plan to prepare thoroughly and have several outfits waiting in the wings in case of inclement weather.

What will you wear on opening night at the Hall of Fame Game?

Guerrero: Something appropriate and feminine. I love color and I love to dress like a woman.

And the lipstick?

Guerrero: It's called Prrrr by Mac.

7. Prior to landing this job, what was your career highlight?

Guerrero: Sitting down with Barry Bonds last year and getting him to open up about everything from supplement usage to the death threats he received during his home run chase.

Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds opened up to Guerrero about the travails of his record season.
What's your career mulligan? What would you want to do over?

Guerrero: I think the "Sports Geniuses" show. I thought I was going to be a co-host and get to talk sports, but it ended up with me being the "cutesy" one. Live and learn, you know. That was a long time ago.

8. Will you continue to act now that you have the "MNF" gig?

Guerrero: No, one of the great things about my three-year deal is that it's year-round. They've offered me an opportunity to cover a lot of things in the offseason, too.

We hear you're a severe workaholic. The Los Angeles Times called you "the hardest working person in sports."

Guerrero: Yeah, I'm sick. It's a sickness. At one point I went 51 weeks without taking a day off. When I worked with Fox, I went three years without taking a vacation.

Walk us through a typical day for you.

Guerrero: In the morning, I reach for the sports page. I fight my boyfriend for it, but I usually end up getting it. On my morning run, I listen to sports talk radio. I get back from my run and turn on SportsCenter, then I do my research preparing for football season, and at night I go to games.

You've got it bad. We could probably get you some help.

Guerrero: Please! Is there an intervention?

9. Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

Guerrero: One would have to be my boyfriend. He'd be really bummed if I didn't invite him. And let's see ... Joe Montana because he's my favorite football player of all-time. Michael Jordan -- ditto for basketball. And Rita Hayworth, who I think was just the ultimate glamorous Hollywood movie star. She's my favorite. I have her movie posters and photos of her.

10. If I could give you one super power -- the strength of 100 women, the ability to fly, or the ability to turn invisible -- which would you choose and why?

Guerrero: The ability to fly, because I could hover over the huddle and bring you some fantastic updates.

You're always working.

Guerrero: Always.