Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cup of Joe anyone? The New Monday Night Football

Something tells me that I’m in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed the old Sunday Night Football broadcasting crew of Mike Patrick, Paul McGuire and Joe Theismann. Initially, I didn’t like them and that feeling was driven by my underlying contempt for Theismann. After all, he was a Redskin and his games were shoved down our throats on Sundays here in The Land of Pleasant Living.

But when I got over the silly bias and the fact that I’m a native Baltimorean and it is my inalienable birthright to detest things about DC (after all, I genetically inherited a B’more inferiority complex, you know?), I grew to like Theismann. And I wished that the Sunday Night crew would do the Monday Night games that we now watch on ESPN.

Oh well….

Anyway, my feelings towards Theismann were aided by an event that I was part of back in 1995. Then I worked for a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic and Theismann was our guest speaker at a sales conference held in Panama City, Florida during Spring Break. How’s that for a conference location?

Anyway, after a night out of “team building” until the wee hours of the morning, Theismann was scheduled to address our group of approximately 150 strong the first thing the next morning….or should I say, uh, in a couple of hours.

A grabbed a cup of Joe (pun intended) and made my bleary-eyed way down to one of the ballrooms for Theismann’s presentation. I was ready. I was going to ask him about changing the pronunciation of his name to match that of the Heisman Trophy. What a blabbering phony he was.

During the first 5 minutes of his speech, I listened as Theismann humbled himself before all of us. He talked about teamwork and about recognizing individual strengths and weaknesses and pulling together as one. You know the old “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” theory.

“Maybe he’s not so bad”, I thought.

And then he did it. Before our entire gathering in so many words he admitted how egotistical it was of him to change the pronunciation of his name. And then I thought, “I actually like this guy.”

After his speech was over, I had a chance to talk to Joe (notice he’s Joe now) and he actually seemed to listen. We talked about Bert Jones and that Monday Night game in Baltimore when Jones’ arm was practically hanging yet he managed to make some miraculous throws to help the Colts win.

I then did the previously unthinkable – I had a picture taken with Joe with our arms around each other.

Maybe I was out too late the night before…

Anyway, all that aside, I was thinking last night while watching the Eagles move up and down the field on the Packers and wishing that Steve McNair could throw the ball like Donovan McNabb, that Theismann (notice we aren’t as chummy anymore) is actually the weak link in the trio of he, Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser. I think he’s trying too hard to be as good as the 90’s John Madden and now Troy Aikman.

He’s not.

You know I never used to like Troy Aikman either, because he was a Cowboy and I liked the Niners.

Wonder if Aikman does any public speaking?


f7eleven said...

I've been whining all season about the lack of Mike Patrick's play-by-play.

Kornheiser is certainly an improvement of Paul Maguire though.

And at least MNF doesn't play the most annoying intro in televised football history.

ExiledRaven said...

This is one of those forsaken moments where I actually agree with Dr. Z. If you watch the Monday night "B" lineup, they are fantastic. Jaws, Dick Vermeil & Co. They actually do great play by play and talk about the game almost the entire time.

When they briefly talk about a player, it's insightful and on point. During an awful game, they stuck with the game rather than pulling a Madden and talking about some random garbage.

The reason this isn't the "A" lineup? ESPN has to be flashy. While the group is great, they're not playing into ESPN's loud soapbox "listen to me!!" character.

Please do us a favor ESPN, give the B team the start.