Big games deserve better than this
Just a few reasons I'm happy that football season is almost over:- nImagine you're ABC and you're telecasting the national championship of college football. Of course, the real national champions played a few days earlier, when Southern Cal thumped Michigan in the Rose Bowl Ñ but you've got the Sugar Bowl, which is for the BCS title.
And now imagine that the very best play-by-play broadcaster you can come up with for that game is Brent Musberger. I mean, that's the best you can do? It's bad enough that the NBA is still using him for radio play-by-play, which really exposes his lack of preparation and skill. In football, put him on your regional games if you want, but he's just not good enough for a big-time game.
nImagine now that you're the Fox network and you're telecasting a humdinger between St. Louis and Carolina in the NFC divisional playoffs and the best play-by-play man you can find is Dick Stockton. This is a man who was over the hill 15 years ago.
Stockton was a step behind all day long and incapable of adding anything of value. His analyst, former Dallas fullback Darryl Johnston, was overmatched, too. All in all, it was a classic case of stating the obvious and not even attempting to offer analysis or comment Ñ let alone criticism.
nIs there anything Ñ other than a leather helmet Ñ more outmoded in football than a sideline reporter? Ugh. What a waste of time. The epitome of that is the Fox experiment of putting one-time lineman Tony Siragusa on the sidelines.
The man just sort of hangs out with nothing to do. When asked for comment, he's usually at a loss. I believe the best thing they could do with him is put him in a clown suit with a rubber ball on his nose. If it walks like a clown and talks like a clown, it's a clown.
nI promise this is the last comment on announcers, but every year about this time I grow weary of their continued descriptions of half-yard lines. You know, 'The ball is on the half-yard line.' Or it's on the 'twenty-two-and-a-half-yard line.'
Guys, there are no half-yard lines. You can say someone gained a half a yard. Or that the ball is a half-yard from the goal line. But I challenge you to wander down to the field and show me a half-yard line. I've been around for years and never seen one.
nI'm tired of coaches who aren't true to themselves. And in the long run, I think they are doomed to failure. Take St. Louis coach Mike Martz. Please.
Here's the purveyor of 'The Greatest Show on Turf.' He's 'Mad Man Martz.' He's the offensive genius. The guru. And then, with his season on the line and the Carolina Panthers on the run, he chose to play it safe, to not trust his quarterback, and to play for a tie at the end of regulation in Saturday's playoff game.
It may have been the right decision for a number of coaches who live and die with their defense. But St. Louis is an offensive team. Martz was a fool to put the game in the hands of his defense.
And make no mistake, that's what he did. He made no attempt to save time on his team's final drive in regulation. The Rams huddled a couple of times when they could have gone without one and missed an easy chance to slip in an extra play prior to the two-minute warning.
With the season at stake, Martz lost his nerve É and then he lost the game. It served him right.