Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Catching up - Part 1: Mr. Tony on "MNF"

I'm probably biased, but of the many post-mortem critiques I've heard and read about Tony Kornheiser's debut in the "Monday Night Football" booth, I thought The Wayne Fontes Experience nailed it best.

In response to a Detroit sports talk show's criticism of Mr. Tony, Big Al wrote:

He did just fine. His appearance was going to rate high in my mind anyway, because as we all know, the less of the Norman Einstein quoting Joe Thiesman we hear, the better. But the Sports Infermo guys are going off on Uncle Tony because he's not your typical analyist. As if there isn't enough of boring, clueless, illiterate, and loud former football players on the air already. You mean they want more of the grating Theisman? Or miss the past his prime, and hugely annoying video game pimp, John Madden? It's basically the same lame arguement many gave when Dennis Miller was doing MNF.

To quote Allen Iverson, "we're talkin' 'bout practice." And that's the point that so many of the naysayers seem to be missing. How many more people watched a pre-season game between the Vikings and Raiders, just to see how Mr. Tony would do? Isn't that what ultimately matters?

I said this in Big Al's comments already, so I apologize if it's a rerun, but it bears repeating: When the hell did this become so serious? Are football fans actually determining their viewing habits based on who's calling the game? Sure, a broadcast is more enjoyable with a competent, entertaining announcing team. But weren't you going to watch the game anyway?

This isn't an insult to fan intelligence, like cartoon baseballs on FOX. This is about bringing a different perspective to a telecast with likely the largest audience. Is it so bad to have someone cracking jokes in the booth or making irreverent observations? Don't a lot of us do that while we're watching the games?

And don't fall for Kornheiser's "I only know eight players in the NFL" schtick. You're just buying into the persona he's created to get worked up about that. He knows what he's talking about. His career is a testament to that. He knows he's not there to break down pass coverages and a quarterback's progressions. That's Theismann's role.

Here's another question: In today's world of sports bars, how many people even hear the announcers while watching the game? Maybe more people view "MNF" at home, given the late Eastern time zone start. But a hell of a lot of people are watching at the bar with their buddies. And I don't hear too many people critiquing the announcers in that setting.

Maybe this eventually won't work. But is it really that bad to have tried?

Besides, isn't it more fun to picture what the Washington Post break room would be like if Kornheiser and Paul Farhi were there at the same time? Or is it just me? (Sorry Tony, I guess you don't get the Mitch Albom treatment. Clearly, Carole Leigh Hutton isn't running things at the Post.)


  • At August 17, 2006 1:56 PM, Blogger Mini Me said…

    What did we really expect from Tony K? He really doesn't know that much about football. Most of the time he will just add comical yet meaningless commentary.

  • At August 17, 2006 9:53 PM, Anonymous Evan said…

    For the record, I liked Dennis Miller. He was pretty damn funny.

  • At August 17, 2006 11:13 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    I, too, liked Dennis Miller on MNF because, well, I like Dennis Miller (MSNBC show notwithstanding).

    And I love Tony K.

    And I agree with Ian who asks "When the hell did this become so serious?" Exactly. This was nothing but a warm up for Tony and he'll steadily improve. Get off his back and lighten up for the love of God.

    People, Howard Cosell is dead and the last time I checked Wikipedia, he ain't coming back.


  • At August 18, 2006 12:06 AM, Blogger Greg Eno said…

    Like I commented on Big Al's blog: an you imagine a booth with Dennis Miller AND Howard Cosell?


  • At August 18, 2006 3:02 AM, Blogger twins15 said…

    Does Tony add much football-wise? No. However, he's funny and entertaining, and at the end of the day, I'd rather listen to that then hear Theismann tell me that Aaron Brooks is a veteran QB that showed a few years ago he has some talent, which I think was mentioned like 100 times.

    This reminds me, how in the heck is Theismann still on the air anyway?

  • At August 18, 2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Mini Me said…

    I enjoyed the old ESPN Sunday Night Crew.

  • At August 18, 2006 11:35 AM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Here's something that both amuses and annoys me about Theismann: I love how he attaches a "football" qualifier to everything.

    "The Denver Broncos are a talented football team..."

    What, like I thought they were a hockey team, Joe?

    "Look at where Culpepper goes with the football here..."

    Again, we know he's throwing a football, Joe.

    "When these two teams get on the football field..."

    You get my point.


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