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Ranting About Football Announcers

Reviews are more useful when they're accurate. Reviews are more fun when they're negative. Best of all is when they're accurate and negative, in which case they're informative and humorous all at the same time.

Every year, Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman reviews the current crop of NFL television announcing teams. In this year's roundup, he goes for the jugular on ESPN's Sunday night trio. From what I've seen, he absolutely nails them:

ZERO [stars out of five]

Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire, ESPN -- How is it earthly possible to drop from half a star to none? Easy. They used to provide a teeny weeny bit of information. Now they provide none. And they contradict themselves, often from one series to the next. I don't think they're really fully aware of what they're saying. Theismann in the early KC-Denver game: "The single most classic rivalry in TV." Hmmm. Does Chicago still play Green Bay? Maguire on Cleveland-Baltimore, Week 9: "Jamal Lewis averages six yards a carry. All you have to do is keep giving it to him, and you'll keep getting in second-and-four situations." My God! Brian Billick must be told immediately! Theismann, Bills-Patriots, Week 10, after Brady throws a pick: "You've got to figure the receiver went where he shouldn't." Absolutely. Great QBs never throw interceptions on their own. And through all this, the slow, half goofy drone of Patrick, with every word emphasized, no matter how meaningless. "And tonight! We have sixty-three! Thousand! Fans!" (Whew). Oh, we get some inside stuff all right. Theismann on his exclusive interview with Pittsburgh defensive coach Dick LeBeau during the Steelers-Jaguars telecast: "I saw Dick LeBeau before the game, and I told him, 'Nice to have you back,' and do you know what he told me?" No, what? "Nice to be back." And of course, there's Suzy Kolber and her sideline essays that run right through the live action, and finally, some serious pregame handicapping -- again from Theismann. This was before the contest in which Oakland upset the Broncos: "They can just forget about throwing the ball to Jerry Porter when Champ Bailey's on him. There's no place to get the ball in." That was the game in which Porter caught touchdowns off Bailey for 42 and 14 yards, plus another 52-yarder off him. But so what? Who remembers what is said? Who cares? Me, your faithful narrator, your TV guide.

Sadly, I'm sure we're due for another season from this trio.

By the way, Joe Theismann is the ex-jock who once famously said:

Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.


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