Monday Night Football

I’m not a rabid football fan, so I usually just watch the Seahawks play, and they’re rarely on Monday Night Football, so I haven’t seen it much recently.

But last night, they were on, and I got to watch their patented “fold it up and go home” defense.

That is hardly surprising, and not really worth a post. What I’m writing about is the quality of the commentary. It’s really gone downhill since I watched it last. There were three things that stuck in my mind.

  1. Seattle makes in interception, and all they can mention is that it was caught by a safety. I can see the number clearly (but not the name), so it would have been nice to tell me who did it. Nope, two replays, and then to commercial with no mention of the player’s name.
  2. A touchdown throw from Testaverde (to Johnson, I believe) looked like it was questionable. Then, ABC nicely showed a reverse angle replay that made is really really clear that the official (who had the same angle) made the right call – it was a touchdown. But they only showed that angle once, and Michaels and Madden went over and over a replay from another angle claiming that it wasn’t a touchdown.
  3. Cowboys punt. It’s a short punt, and it bounces up and off of the chest of Cowboy in coverage. The official thows his beanbag at the spot. At that point, it’s a “free ball” for the Seahawks – they can try to grab it, but if they fumble, they get the ball at the point it was first touched. Michaels and Madden totally miss this and call the ball for the Cowboys, and it takes them about 45 seconds to figure out what has happened.

That’s pretty poor. Production isn’t great either – the graphics are overblown, and there were at least a couple of times when the montage of previous plays made you miss the start of the next play.

Comments (26)

  1. Aaron says:

    I am pretty much convinced that 99% of professional journalists have IQs below 80. Watch the news, watch the sports commentary, read the paper. Is this the best they can do?

  2. Chris says:

    Isn’t an as IQ of 80 just barely speaking english? Oh wait, I see your point.

    As for football: Madden is an icon in the sport, and for good reason. But is the best we can do for the sport? 2 anouncers with a combined age of ~150?

    I guess I preffer Troy (Concussion Boy) Akman, Chris Collonsworth, and Joe Buck (I’m only sure about the spelling of Joe Buck).

  3. Tim Marman says:

    Chris Collinsworth, Troy Aikman and Joe Buck are – in my mind – far and away the best NFL announcers out there.

    Madden and Michaels are OK – they have their ups and down and can be a little repetitive. But generally they do a good job.

    The ESPN Sunday Night crew is ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE (they changed mid-season when Theissman came back). So bad that I actually have to mute the TV. If they tell me one more time that "he just doesn’t quit"… ARGH!

  4. I always watch Monday Night Football, and maybe I have played EA Madden on PS2 too much. It almost seems like at times, Madden is some AI unit just randomly giving color commentary that really don’t have anything to do with the play that just happened.

    Sometimes I wonder if he is watching another game in the booth.

  5. Ryan Dunn says:

    Hmm… I saw the game too.

    Regarding your points:

    1. I don’t remember exactly the timing, but I do remember them saying the name (Bierra) and commenting it was his first career pick. It is quite possible that they did this after the commercial you are talking about.

    2. I have to say that I did not see the angle where it looked like a touchdown. To me, it clearly looked like he was out of bounds. I would not mind seeing that again from the angle where you said it looked inbounds, because that was a heartbreaker for me.

    3. It was not clear until replay that a Cowboy touched the ball (I was watching on a 19" tv, so maybe a larger screen it would have been obvious), and to me I thought the Hawks just muffed a punt return and it was Cowboys ball – I was inwardly groaning.

    Regarding the graphics, any and all computer animation by MNF is attrocious. Those computer animated players that move around to illustrate trivial points are laughable at best.

    Personally, I find Madden plain annoying and rarely insightful.

    PS. If you need me, I will be curled up and crying in the corner for my woeful Hawks.

  6. Brian Scott says:

    I agree. Maybe I just get annoyed to easily, but the combination of Madden’s commentary, the eratic laughable graphics, and missing the start of plays is sometimes just to much for me.

    I just want to watch the game. Just show me the game please…

  7. I Denmark we are so lucky that the channel showing NFL each sunday evening/night can’t cut to commercials, so everytime there are commercials in the US we get to se all the replays. Often it’s funny because it is two "young" reporters, mid-30 i guess. Claus Elming (NFLming) and Jimmy Boejgaard (Falcon-eye) they are just like you and me wan’t to tell who did what and even show the right angels. Beside their high NFL qualifications (NFLming played at a US college as far as i remember, and is head coach for a team in Denmark) they are funny. So whats the point of my comment…guess i just wanted to tell how lucky we are (except we can’t see more than one or two games a week)

  8. Steven Bone says:

    Being in Pittsburgh (big Steelers fan), the tradition here is to turn the volume of the TV down and turn on the radio to listen to the hometown announcers. The play-by-play commentary is great – probably because the target audience is not watching the game and they have to be descriptive. People trying to learn or get into the game of football have an advantage listening on the radio while watching on TV because often the announcer gives the names of the formations the offense/defense is lined up in.

    If I’m watching the game at a party where they leave the TV announcers on, I am always disappointed at the quality and lack of detail.

  9. anon says:

    Chris: "Isn’t an as IQ of 80 just barely speaking english?"

    No, you’re thinking of my language. People who can’t speak my language are really stupid.

  10. Mark says:

    I will agree that it appears that TV announcers may not score high on an IQ test, but I don’t think that necessarily implies that they don’t have the capacity to be very good announcers.

    My favorite, he is not a play-by-play or even sidekick, is Ron Jaworski. He brings a level of insight into the game (usually by describing in detail a play) that I don’t think I have ever heard from any other announcer. I feel like I am in the film room preparing for an upcoming game. If you follow only the action around the ball during a game, you are missing 80% of what is actually going on and Jaws does a great job of drawing that out. It is great teachers like that who can explain the intracies to a layman that I really enjoy, whether it be during the Monday night pre-game or attending an ASP.NET training class, or reading an ASP.NET book.

    I wonder how Jaws would do in the booth during a game?

  11. kilroy says:

    time to bring in Merlin Olsen

  12. John Hanson says:

    Many of the comments here are very interesting. I hope someone sees the way that Michaels constantly kisses Madden’s butt. In three years of MNF have they disagreed or critiqued the other just once? I would like to know the true story of how Madden basically threw his last broadcast partner Pat Summerall(a great partnership) under the bus to take the MNF gig.

    The ESPN Sunday night crew is beyond crap.

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