Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday Night Football has new, balder look

This story is now nearly a week old. and thus untimely, but that’s how The Big Picture rolls: a week late and few hundred bucks short.

For those of you who don’t keep up with the rumors and gossip of the broadcast world, Monday Night Football is moving from ABC to ESPN next season and will have a new look. Al Michaels, the face (better yet, the voice) of MNF for the past couple of decades is out, and in comes Screamin’ Mike Tirico to call the play-by-play. Joining Screamin’ Mike will be Joe Theismann (who has been calling ESPN’s Sunday Night game for several years) and Washington Post columnist and Pardon the Interruption host, Tony Kornheiser.

Let’s do some analyzing of the analysts, shall we?

First off, we’re sad -- in fact we’re devastated -- that Mike Patrick, who was the play-by-play announcer for Sunday Night Football, will no longer be calling NFL games for ESPN. We love Patrick and think that he could make the most boring plays exciting. He will be missed greatly.

But Screamin’ Mike isn’t bad. He’s no Patrick, but he’s not bad. Screamin’ Mike can make a dull game pretty exciting because, when listening to Tirico, every play sounds like a big play. For example, on first and ten, Shaun Alexander could run an off-tackle for three yards and Screamin’ Mike would, well, scream so loud that you’d be worried that he was about to have a heart attack. (The false excitement is a good thing, by the way). In our minds, energy equals entertainment and it’s not like we’re watching football for educational purposes.

As for Theismann, he’s been on ESPN for a while and we don’t really have any problems with him. He occasionally will have some good insight and rarely will give you a comment like, “The team who scores more points will win.” That’s for the dickheads over at Fox to do.

Then we get to Kornheiser who’s the oddball, curve ball, eight ball, magic eight ball, black eight ball (holla!), screwball and black sheep of the group.

Kornheiser, bald, is a sports writer who took his wit, humor and smooth head to ESPN a few years back and buddied up with fellow Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon to do a sports talk show, Pardon the Interruption. His success has apparently led to bigger and better things – like calling football games. We’re not exactly sure what Kornheiser, serving as an analyst, will bring to MNF. He’ll probably be a mix between Dennis Miller and Theismann, in that he’s funny and witty, and kind of knows football.

We’re a bit skeptical about Kornheiser because he’s, you know, a writer opposed to an ex-football player. He likely doesn’t know the game as well as a former player and doesn’t have the same experience playing on the field and showering naked with teammates in the locker room. But we think Kornheiser’s funny, smart and a bit offbeat, and we like that kind of stuff. We think he’ll make for an interesting analyst.

As for Al Michaels, he had to get out of his contract with ABC to head over to NBC with partner John Madden. They’ll have the call on the new Sunday Night game on that network next season.

But this is the best part: in order to get released from his contract with ABC (which is owned by Disney) Michaels was traded to NBC for rights to broadcast Friday coverage of the next four Ryder Cups, “increased usage of Olympic highlights,” and the rights to this cartoon character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who starred (starred?) in silent Disney cartoons back in the days before the invention of hearing. (Lucky Rabbit, not affiliated with Trix cereal, was an early version of Mickey Mouse or something).

We think this is one of the funniest, most fucked up things to ever happen and we swear we’re not making it up. Yes, Al Michaels, as in “Do you believe in miracles” was traded for a cartoon.


Sorry for the tangent, but some things are too good to leave out. Anyways, I’m out of space, time and luck. Check out Screamin’ Mike, Joe T. and Tony Kornhole next year on Monday Night Football and see for yourself how the trio turns out. (Oh, and seeing Kornheiser’s bald head won’t actually make you go bald. We don’t think, anyway).

This column was published in the University of Washington's The Daily.

In other news: Vice President Dick Cheney accidently shot a man while hunting yesterday at a Virginia McDonald's.


insomniac said...

I think you're giving Joe T way too much credit. I remember in the Redskins/Bucs playoff game, Theismann saying something along the lines of, "What Clinton Portis wanted to do was get as many yards as possible before getting tackled."

Fox has not cornered the market on the obvious.

JMC said...

Theismann certainly makes some bonehead comments, but in a much more endearing way than anyone on Fox could ever manage.