Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Football announcers

(Note: there is a high probablility that this post will have no actual merit. But, its the offseason, so lets do it.)

I haven't posted in awhile, mostly because the offseason is so long, and so boring. Nobody is doing any drives worthy of bronze racecars, and so I idle.

Then at dinner the other night, I was aked to do a John Madden impression. This is not done by voice, but rather in saying the most pointless, obvious football thing ever.

"You see, you want to move the ball forward in the game of football. And eventually you want to score a touchdown, because thats the most points. If you can't score a touchdown, kick a field goal. Because you need points to win." Thats about what I said over chicken wings.

I concluded the demonstration by quipping, "And Pat Summerall asks himself...WHY?!?!?"

Later that night, as I so often do, I thought over how dinner went. Usually this is a time to reflect on why I didn't come home with a girl, or at least get her phone number. That night though it was more along the lines of, whatever happened to Pat Summerall?

Was there anybody better at play-by-play then Pat. He did what so few even try to do today. He simplified a complex game. His typical call would be something like, "Hasselbeck drops back, to Jackson, touchdown. Twenty-six yards."

Simple, effective, to the point. Then Madden (or whoever FOX paired him with on the D crew when Madden bolted) would go nuts over the play.

I realized how much I missed his simple call when listening to the All-Star game last night, as called by Joe Buck. Buck is a great baseball guy, because his job is to do the opposite of a football announcer's. He makes a simple game complex. He tells stories of past heroes of the game while drawing comparisons to the players before his eyes. He comments on the crowd, the weather, and the feel of the game. That's what baseball announcers do, and that's why many of us can survive the summer.

Football announcers today take that approach, and its to bad. Its already a complex game. We already have countless hours of programming each week to preview each game and talk about each key player.

The men manning the mic these days would be well served to mold their craft after Summerall's. Don't get in the way, let the game do the talking.

I'm not sure who usually does the FOX telecasts of Seahawk games, but they seem to do a good job with it. Outside of Raible and Moon, they're as close to the hometown crew as one can get. I don't want them to be homers, and they aren't. They are simple, they work well together, and they make the game fun. I almost cringe when the Seahawks are the national game, because all of the A broadcast teams are prima donnas who constantly fill the air with their words, and the atmosphere at the stadium is forced out of the cast.

Maybe I think about these things way to much (after all, I'm a radio/TV student in college) but maybe its just a good way to kill time until training camp. (14 days, of this writing)

(to comment, click the green number to the right of the title above)


  1. I guess 8. Alan had 8 beers with his chicken wings.

  2. My guess is 10. Alan had 10 beers with his chicken wings.

  3. It was a school Killians for me.

    8 would make me very, very happy though.

  4. Nice simplified post, bokonon.

  5. "I almost cringe when the Seahawks are the national game, because all of the A broadcast teams are prima donnas who constantly fill the air with their words, and the atmosphere at the stadium is forced out of the cast."

    By fill the air with their words do you mean words like........"I don't know if this is a good Seahawks team we are witnessing or a very bad Philly team."....?

  6. Yeah, that quote pretty much sums up Madden's intelligence.

  7. Madden doesn't know if that was a very manly woman he hired or a very feminine man. Marv Albert on the assist.

  8. I kinda like Madden, he seems to understand that he's a dolt, and he's embraced it. I respect that. I'd like to see him on the sidelines and not in the booth though, agree, he and most announcers ruin the game. Summerall lost his crap though, he seemed drunk or delirious last time I payed attention to him. Alzheimers?

  9. Don't get me wrong I love Madden. He's one of my favorites. I for one think we should have more black commentators (being that the league is about 80% black) on national broadcasts like MNF and SNF. Are theismann an them not into the interracial thing? Oh well, it's 2006 I shouldn't even have to want for ish like that but I do so...... yeah something is not yet right. Make it so!!!

  10. It is true, Summerall did lose his touch at the end of his career. Regardless, he was still good.

    Madden has his moments, but his novelty is wearing off on me, I suppose.

  11. I totally had something typed out as a retort to bigo... never mind, so I got two words for you, Warren Moon.

  12. Yeah Warren Moon, great but that's local. You can bring up Ron Pitts and Mike Tirico too. I think it should be lopsided the other way, there should be a few white commentators and many black ones, what's wrong with two black gentlemen for the MNF broadcast????? What's wrong with 3 for SNF???? Why are there 3 white guys on SNF why can't it be 2 black one white or 1 black, 1 samoan, and one white??? DIVERSITY PEOPLE!!!!! WTF??????

  13. I think it should be lopsided the other way, there should be a few white commentators and many black ones, what's wrong with two black gentlemen for the MNF broadcast?

    Whats wrong with two black gentlemen in the MNF broadcast is the same thing wrong with 2 white gentlemen, or women, or asians, or automatons. Nothing. As long as the info is good, I certainly don't care. Why do you think "it should be lopsided the other way"? Do the networks "owe" you something?

    I got a generalization that all races, genders, and orientations can get behind. All former players are horrible announcers.

    Go ahead, call me a ahthlete-ist.

  14. I have to agree with JoSCH on this one. As long as the announcers are good, they can call the game. Ron Pitts and Mike Trico do an awesome job each week, as do most of the announcers league wide. I don't care what color the person speaking is, I just want them to be knowlegable about the game and the players.

    But JoSCH, I would argue your point about former players. I honestly think Theismann does a decent job with ESPN, and Dan Dierdorf is pretty good.

    I don't know if you meant just football, but Tony Gwynn was outstanding in his work for baseball when he was a commentator. Joe Morgan is also very good on the Sunday Night games.

    Darren Pang is a fantastic hockey analyist.

    I'm rambling about announcers. I'm sorry.

  15. And who could forget about Don Meredith? He was very entertaining when he wasn't sober.

  16. All former players are horrible announcers.

    Go ahead, call me a ahthlete-ist.

    Aikman is kinda good. But all the other ones are crap Maybe we should get our friend Michael Irvin to become an announcer he is black you know.

  17. That entire MNF crew could be quite entertaining when they weren't sober!

    By the way, Bill Simmons had a nice criticism of Joe Buck in his chat the other day. He said he wanted Buck to be calling the World Cup Final just so he could hear what he would say after Zedan's headbutt. He said he'd use the phrase "vicious attack" so many time you'd be waiting for Zedan's pblic execution afterards.

    Maybe a little exagerration, but looking back at the Randy Moss "mooning" incident, it isn't to far.

  18. "I have to agree with JoSCH on this one." Of course you do. Like I expected otherwise, c'mon now.

  19. Bigo, we could be getting too far off topic, but I'd entertain a spirited but good natured debate over email. If anyone else wants in, chime in and be cc'd.

    Meeze, lol re Irvin. He is almost entertaining.

    Re anyone who likes former players announcing, I'll agree, they all have good points, just like anyone, but they all run their mouth when they shouldn't. And not just announcers, any talking head, the pre shows, countdown, all of them. I like Jaws, because he educates. But that is about it.

  20. I swear to god if this doesn't post...

    Bigo, were getting close to off topic, if you'd like to continue having a spirited and good natured debate over email I welcome it. If anyone else wanted to join, chime in a be cc'd.

    Meez, lol re Irvin, he's almost entertaining...

    Re past players announcing, they always have more warts than a newsman, they have good points, and can be entertaining (particularly when drunk), but I'll take a Costas or sane Summerall over them any day.

  21. Frick and frack. Blogger and photobucket I swear are trying to kill me. CONSPIRACY!!!

  22. It's cool JoSCH, back on topic. We can talk 'til we're blue in the face, but the booth will stay primarily the same color. Thanks though.

  23. Awwww... Don't stop!

  24. I used to love Theisman and Mike Patrick when ESPN first started doing NFL games. They added Paul McGuire to the booth, but that was subtraction by addition!

    As far as former players go, Phil Simms, Troy Aikman and Don Crickee (sp?) are pretty good. Never liked Deirdorf or Alex Carrass.

    Very interested to see how Mike Tarrico does. Used to watch him do the local sports on the Syracuse NY NBC affiliate 100 years ago. Nice to see an Upstate NY boy make good.

    I hope Tony Kornheiser doesn't crash and burn as bad as Dennis Miller did in the latest attempt by the network to resurrect Howard Cosell. Tony at least has a sportswriter's pedigree, so it won't make you cringe everytime he tries to breakdown the game (like it did when Dennis Miller tried). Kornheiser is definitely opinionated and polarizing (either love him or hate him) so he's kind of Cosell he's JEWISH!!!

    P.S. I'm back from vacation!

  25. Welcome back alba. We weren't even aware you had gone on vacation....