The Electric Commentary

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dr. Z's TV Commentator Awards

Guess who's bringing up the rear:

ZERO STARS
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.

As Bill Walton would say, those are some special, special commentators.

Although I must say that I disagree vehemently with his high ranking of Brian Baldinger and Kenny Albert (what, Phil Musburger wasn't available?) as their call of the Packers/Lions game earlier this season was the single worst broadcast I've ever heard. They incorrectly described several basic NFL rules (they were especially bad on what could or could not be challenged), they ignored game action for most of the day, and they continually referred to Packer safety Darren Sharper as "Jamie" for over an hour without correcting it. Just atrocious.

But to each, his own.

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