August 30th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

Written by Le Duke de Fromage

With the summer season winding down to days of humid torpor, comes a spectacle that only fanatical sports fans can understand. Pro football starts its annual frenzied extravaganza. For millions of fans the next 5 months is the only meaningful time of year. All the hype and buildup of training camps is over and now the real deal begins. Television has been showing a numbing array of preseason games that are mostly ignored except by the most die-hard fanatics, and an even more puzzling lineup of announcers unknown to most people. If you watch these games notice how empty the seats are. Ex jocks,station sports guys and dubious sports celebs revel in calling these games. This obviously is their time to shine.But woe to the poor fan who has to endure their inane, repetitive chatter. In most cases, their home team favoritism is embarrassing even to the most die-hard fan, and please learn how to pronounce players names.
In addition, this does not include the obligatory sports chick reporter. Above all this is an insult to every true fan. They appear to be chosen for their their looks, at times debatable, their ability to engage in inane chatter, and give the impression to the fan they really care about the game. They usually conduct interviews from the sidelines with players who seem to take it with complete lack of interest or slightly disguised humor. Or at times give the impression they just wonder what the reporter looks like with no clothes on. Reporting breathlessly on the latest injury or seizing a coach running into the locker room just before halftime, they barely justify the fact they are on the field.
[ watch Bill Belichek, Patriots Coach react to a pre halftime interview]
The idea that they can take themselves serious, never mind the poor suffering fan watching is hilarious. Not that their male counterparts are any better. Some of the biggest idiots in sports broadcasting are thrown at the public week after week under the guise of of pro expert. Retired from pro football, no matter, you are now a football expert, even if you cant speak intelligently. Have you ever seriously watched E.S.P.N.with a critic’s eye? where do they get these people? I dare you to tell me that such personalities as Suzy Kolber, Tray Wingo, or Skip Bayless knows more about the game than you do. In addition, the constant commercials, every 5-6 minutes bombard your senses to a point of dull acceptance, enough to go back watching Skip Bayless analyze anything of no real importance. Yet they do it with the sense that would suggest they are omnipotence. Stating the obvious fills about 20 minutes of a half hour show the rest are commercials. Admittedly they are clever at their presentation;some would say they are good at what they do. But what do they do? Does it justify your watching? Evidently the networks think so.
It is a mind numbing. hypnotic, gambit designed to keep you glued to your easy chair waiting for the games. And who knows some may find Suzy Kolber’s smarmy, yet coy demeanor appealing. Her condescending attitude is designed to make you feel she is all knowing, or at least more than the poor dummy watching. The fact that she is just a ploy or even more unsettling, eye candy for some is disturbing and an insult to intelligence. Her appearance is supposed to make you keep watching. Picture thousands of fans in front of their TV’s screaming,”WE want Suzy”. Honestly, I have never ever met a fan who said they watched a game because Suzy Kolber or Pam Oliver was on the show.
At this point I am stating I am not anti-feminist. It is just that if you accept the job you are open to the criticism that goes with it. Especially if you are there for the wrong reason. However, the networks insist that is what the public wants.I am inclined to believe that is what they think that’s what we want.
Sports announcing can be a very well paid job, the industry averages run from $28 to $210 thousand per year.Of course the big boys get a lot more. Some examples are Chris Berman $3 mil per yr., Terry Bradshaw $2.2 mil per yr. and Al Michaels $5.0 mil per. yr. E.S.P.N. does not publish salaries so you can only guess what your favorite sportscaster is making vs. what he or she is worth.The great thing about American sports is that everyone understands the average fan knows more about the game than the clown broadcasting. So why the hell don’t I have that job? Finally, this comment from Mike Ditka, ex player, coach turned broadcaster, “What’s the difference between a 3 week old puppy and a sportscaster? after 6 weeks the puppy stops whining”. Well the football season lasts a lot longer and these guys just ain’t gonna stop.
Whadayathink? turn down the sound or watch Turner Classic Movies

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5 Responses to “ARE YOU READY?”

  1. Michael Tabor Says:

    I love this essay; you hit on so many good points. Let me go down the line with my thoughts:
    • Indeed, Football is easily the hottest sport in the US for fans, Vegas, everyone…the game is great, and it truly has replaced baseball as America’s pastime. A few months ago I was going to write a light piece on all the reasons why we ought to change the name (football to Tackleball or something… football makes perfect sense for soccer).
    • Next – too many pre-season games, 2 is enough e.g. injuries, boredom, meaninglessness.
    • Now to the meat of the article. First are those god-awful ex-jocks. To be a “good” broadcaster is HARD WORK + you need talent. The Tiki Barber gig was a joke. Mike Francesa on the FAN goes bananas when this issue is brought up. He Takes it personally (+ we know he has a BAD temper) & I remember him going off on Deon Sanders ….
    • The eye candy : yes ladies, all heterosexual men like beautiful young women, always have and always will. Note: the aforementioned doesn’t translate into unfaithfulness, it’s just really a matter of lust for youth and beauty. Most men are faithful (or @ least 1/2 – lol).
    • Now as far as how knowledgeable these women are regarding sports, sadly, I must agree with you Le Duke, they know football superficially @ best. Now Suzyn Waldman KNOWS the game of baseball and she can go toe to toe with any man on the sport, but what men are looking for with these female broadcasters are their physical looks, & yes intelligence (no one wants a bimbo, well maybe some do – lol) counts but we’re not talking Al Michaels smart; just the lovely articulate, college-educated (advanced degree not necessary – lol), and a sweetly manicured voice to go along with the genetically inherited beauty.
    • To touch on the big boys of broadcasting – Chris Berman, Al Michaels and Terry Bradshaw (Terry really is an ex-jock who has what it takes, not brainy but lovable and fun) well they get the big bucks and quite frankly they deserve it. They’re the best and that’s all there is to it.
    • Lastly, this one goes out to Al Michaels, yes you are great at what you do, and you certainly are not limited to the world of just sports, we know that. That’s the whole problem, we know it all too well. I hope I’m not being unfair, or maybe I’m just jealous and filled with envy, but nevertheless, not since Howard Cosell, have I seen a man who is so POMPOUS and full of himself. I don’t turn the sound off, when he’s on because he’s great, but I do not like him.

  2. Sal Paradise Says:

    I’m of a generation (49 yrs. old) that recalls what a novelty the “NFL Today” was when it debuted on CBS in the mid-70’s. Prior to Brent, Phyllis and Irv (and give the network credit for setting the Politically Correct template) there was no TV showcase of NFL specific personalities and human interest stories. I do remember an NFL Films highlight show compellingly narrated by John Facenda pre-dating “NFL Today,” but it was strictly game footage. Phyllis George was the first pretty face associated with the league, and even as an NFL-obsessed adolescent I found her fluff segments, and especially her cloying, unabashed love for all things Dallas Cowboy, grating. While George perhaps deserves credit for her pioneering role, it doesn’t seem as if women have transcended the relatively low standard she set some 35 years ago. Watching today’s so-called ‘sideline reporters,’ I often wonder how these women reconcile their self-respect and professional integrity with the fact that they are little more than distracting eye candy held in low regard, if not contempt, by the people they ‘interview.’

    Oh, and Al Michaels is a pompous blowhard who comes across as someone who thought he’d be the next Cronkite or Jennings but finds himself stuck in the ‘soft’ news league of sports.

  3. Michael Tabor Says:

    Sal – nostalgia, Phyllis George…. I love the the politically correct template observation. Is there anything, I mean anything we can do where there isn’t just 4 white guys, or 4 asian guys, whatever. It’s always: man – lets see who is black, an asian (oriental is now not p.c.) woman, maybe a black woman too, and then finally a white guy. If an alien were studying us and had only the media, business brochures, etc. he/she/it would think that the human species is never homogenous in social or working situations.

  4. Michael Tabor Says:

    Al Michaels thinks he’s the president or something. I’ve never seen a man who is so impressed with himself – why because he did a nice job covering the O.J. chase ? I wish I could deflate that ego somehow.

  5. le duke de fromage Says:

    “From the wind swept tundra of Green Bay eleven staunch warriors thunder accross the field breathing fire in every frost laden breath”, Sal, I can still hear the erie Haunting voice of John Facenda seducing me into picturing football as the last gladitorial battle of armegadon. His voice combined with the strangly hypnotic strains of Drunken Sailer were mezmerizing. He was without a doubt the best and will probably never be matched as the voice of pro football.Alas, the glory days of weekly highlights are gone and for me sadly missed.As are Sumerall and Madden.

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