DENVER — It was a night of big firsts during Monday’s NFL contest between the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers in Denver – but no one anticipated a sideline reporter’s rocky, show-stealing debut.
Sergio Dipp became an unlikely star after his awkward “Monday Night Football” debut caught the attention of social media users.
History was made Monday – two African-American head coaches faced each other in their debuts, and ESPN play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins became the first woman to call an NFL game in 30 years and the first to do so before a national audience.
Dipp later said it was that historic diversity that he wanted to highlight when Mowins went to him for a report on rookie Broncos coach Vance Joseph during the first quarter.
“Folks, it’s a pleasure to be with you guys, here on the field, from up close, just watching coach Vance Joseph from here, you watch him now on the screen,” Dipp haltingly said.
He then more confidently said, as ESPN switched to a shot of Joseph, “His diversity and his background is helping him a lot tonight. Quarterback at Colorado, defensive back in the NFL and here he is, having the time of his life this night, making his head coaching debut.”
It was Dipp’s only report of the game, but it made him a trending topic online – especially when he didn’t reappear for another sideline report.
The 29-year-old has been with ESPN since 2013, but has reported mostly for the Spanish-language “ESPN Deportes.”
He seemed to be taking the response in stride after receiving some ribbing on social media.
Dipp gave a statement in a Twitter video on Tuesday morning, saying he hopes to “have another chance.” He explained that he grew up in Mexicali, in Baja California and “meant no disrespect.” He said that he knew it was 9/11 and was only trying to “show some love to these historical coaches” on “the most heartfelt day in this great country.”
Dipp added that he hopes to have another chance will “be sure I make the most out of it.”