Public Four’s website is up and running a lot better (now with pictures!). Check it out. Also, for those who like podcasts, the Tripwire podcast is pretty awesome, and their website will more than do the job while Pitchfork gets their effin serves working.
We said we were going to do it, so here we go…
Here is the BBC’s preview for the Premiership season, and here is Mark Lawrenson’s thoughts on the upcoming year (he likes the Hornets to stay up). Not sure who he is or what his word is worth, but any man named Lawro gets a shout out here at VFLOAB. (and yes, Lawro is a lame nickname… I think the Brits should hire some Canadians to come up with some nicknames for ‘em. Lawro would become Lawry, Becks would become Beckie… don’t you love Canadians? And don’t you love how every effin hockey player gets an ‘I-E’ or ‘Y’ at the end of their name… and that’s their nickname. Oh
We watched Monday Night Football the other night because… we love Tony Kornheiser. We’ve been listening to him on the radio since high school… we listened to him on the radio in college, we watched him on PTI (and were one of the five people excited about PTI when it started), and we loved him when he left ESPN radio only to come back on the local DC sports radio station. Tony’s funny, he’s smart, and he even says something interesting about sports once in a while. There isn’t much not to love about Tony.
So when it was announced that he was going to be doing Monday Night Football… we got excited. This was going to be a success… Tony was funny and knew a thing or two about sports.
And then we learned that Joe Theisman was going to be the other color man. And that’s when we got worried. See Theisman is just brutal in the booth. He’s a moron, talks too much, ALWAYS says the players are the greatest humans of all time, and of course, you’re destined to hear “Great players make great plays!” at least twice a game. He’s just bad, there’s no other way around it… oh yeah and his voice is annoying.
So there we were watching the first quarter and hating every second of Monday Night Football. First off, it didn’t feel like Monday Night Football. I’m not an Al Michael’s fan, but at least he makes the game sound like an event. Mike Tirico made you feel like you were, well, watching the ESPN Thursday night college football game feature two middle-of-the-road ACC teams. In other words the game didn’t feel “special”. And I understand, it was preseason, but can’t Tirico sort of sound interested? Because the flip side of all this is… the NBC Sunday Night game? That feels like the event.
The second thing is that ESPN seems dead-set on dumbing down the broadcast (which I might add, is my number one problem with
But here in lines the problem… Theisman doesn’t have a sense of humor and Tirico may or may not be a robot. So basically if Tony were to take something on like this, he’d be on his own. They’d be no straight man or anyone to play with the joke with him. In other words no Wilbon, and this MNF booth might be dead not because of Kornheiser, but because of the other guys in the booth.
What I’m getting at is this… the color guys in a booth are almost always former players (Chris Wheeler of the Phillies radio booth being the only non player I can think of; and btw Wheeler may very well be the worst color man in the history of sports). Anyway, these former players usually stink. Not only are they unpolished, they’re almost never critical and do a horrible job at explaining what is going on. Once in a while you’ll get a good color man in baseball (Al Leiter is always great; I’ve enjoyed Jim Price’s work with the Tigers, and then there is Steve Stone who might be the best in the biz), but I can’t think of many good football or basketball guys (aside from Lee Carso and Kirk Herbstreit).
So to just cut to the chase, get rid of these lame players that bring next to nothing to the booth. They’re never very good and often times the play-by-play announcer makes it his goal in life to be best friends with the ex-jock color man. I hate it… and I’m getting sick of writing about this. So that’s all. (Though wouldn’t a Brent Musburger and Kornheiser tagteam be great? Then against maybe not…)
Oh, one last thing… interesting piece here on lazy sports writers and ESPN. (thanks Deadspin!)