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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Fun With The Sunday Night Football Crew

I spent Christmas day bumming around my apartment and watching football, which meant I got to "enjoy" the commentary of ESPN's Sunday Night Football crew. While I watched the Vikings fight to stay alive in the playoff hunt and tried not to get confused by the Ravens' purple uniforms - usually the Vikes' color, I figured I'd keep track of the irritating things Paul, Joe, and Mike said.

The situation: Brad Johnson throws a touchdown pass to Travis Taylor.
The quote (Paul Maguire): "You know what? That's as much Travis Taylor and Brad Johnson, but the guys that deserve 90 percent of the credit? That offensive line."
The analysis: I'm not understanding the math here. Is he saying Taylor, Johnson, and the offensive line all deserve 90 percent of the credit for that score?

The situation: Kyle Boller picks up a first down on a keeper on 4th and 1.
The quote (Joe Theismann): "People don't really realize sometimes how critical a quarterback is on a quarterback sneak."
The analysis: There might have been a good point trying to come out there, but I'd venture a guess and say that people understand that a quarterback is absolutely necessary for a quarterback sneak. That's kind of like saying that nobody understands that a punter is necessary for a punt.

The situation: A graphic comparing Todd Heap to the two AFC Pro Bowl tight ends.


The quote (Mike Patrick): "Here are his numbers as compared to the two guys going to the Pro Bowl in the AFC in front of him, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez. The numbers [are] just about equal."
The analysis: I'm nitpicking a little here, but that's a very generous definition of "equal." Gates has over 200 more yards and 3 more TDs. And if anything, Heap, with 5 more TDs than Gonzalez, has better stats - not similar ones.

The situation: Nate Burleson has his helmet ripped off during a play.
The quote:
Theismann: "Watch this. Boom, here's the catch, and Adalius Thomas just rips his helmet off. That's a clean hit."
[Commercial break]
Patrick: "If you're still in the play, we'll just take your hat with us. That was not called; it was an obvious face mask that they missed!"
Theismann: "I don't know how you miss that baby! He's lucky his face wasn't with it!"
The analysis: Bad enough that Theismann missed the fact that the hit was clearly a face mask, as Patrick pointed out after the break. But don't go acting like you're so stunned that the refs missed the call when you missed it too!

The situation: Ciatrick Fason is stuffed trying to get through the pile on the goal line.
The quote (Theismann): "This is what happens when you have a back that's not real big. This is not a big back. He is not a power back. Michael Bennett would be much better served."
The analysis: Michael Bennett would be much better served...what? With a subpoena? Cold? With a cream sauce and a side of garlic mashed potatoes? I think what Theismann meant to say is that the Vikings would be better served by having Michael Bennett as their goal line back. God forbid an analyst should use the English language properly.

The situation: Jim Kleinsasser catches a pass and fights for extra yardage.
The quote (Patrick): "Boy, they've got two really good tight ends on this club: Kleinsasser and [Jermaine] Wiggins."
The analysis: Let's not get carried away. Kleinsasser hasn't scored a touchdown since 2003. Wiggins hasn't scored one this season. Neither has ever made the Pro Bowl. They have fewer receiving yards combined than at least five other tight ends in the NFL have by themselves. Are they decent? Yes. Are they really good? Uh, no. No, they're not.

The situation: Jamal Lewis runs for three yards.
The quote (Theismann): "Pat Williams just made the tackle on Jamal Lewis, and what happens is, what this defense is doing, what they're trying to do anyway, they're rushing the passer, but on the way through they're gonna make the tackle and make sure that they're always aware of where Jamal Smith is."
The analysis: Did Theismann really just call him Jamal Smith? After getting his name right earlier in the same sentence?

The situation: A montage of Ravens quarterbacks of the past and a scrolling list of their names begins with two images of Brad Johnson and Randall Cunningham playing for the Vikings.
The analysis: In all fairness, this one can be blamed on the producers. How did they slip Johnson and Cunningham into that clip?

Okay, I know there are plenty of things I must have missed during this game - for example, the time when they praised Kyle Boller's focus as he looked at his receiver after earlier criticizing him for locking onto one receiver. Boller was doing the same exact thing both times. I also didn't keep track of things like superlatives used, "You wanna talk abouts," and "Let me tell yous," because if I had, I wouldn't have been able to pay any attention to the game.

And if I hadn't been paying any attention to the game, I would have been right there with Maguire, who, as the Vikings were attempting a season-saving onside kick, was fondly recalling how much fun it was to play special teams back in the day.

At least the game was entertaining.


  • At Monday, December 26, 2005 12:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Having fun with your TIVO there, picking apart the Sunday Night crew? Well, I - for one - love them. Part of what I find endearing is their lack of pompous and self-righteous perfection and their easygoing good humor. For a Sunday night, they hit just the right note for me. Having said that, I must begrudingly agree that your comments were on point, as well as hilarious. Watching the Sunday night crew will never be the same again, now that you have sown the seeds of critical analysis. Ah, the loss of innocence!

  • At Monday, December 26, 2005 10:35:00 PM, Anonymous D-Mac said…

    This is excellent. The Sunday night crew is among the worst things on the planet today. (And I'm including George Bush and Saddam Hussein in that list.) I'm going to find a way to link this tomorrow. Well, I'll try at least.


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