Another busy week along the banks of Lake Catatonic, so without further ado — “ado” making its long-awaited debut in this column — notes, quotes and anecdotes:
ESPN’s Sean McDonough remains underappreciated as a thinking fan’s play-by-play man.
Saturday after a look at Pitt’s impressive offensive season-long stats as it was beating Clemson, he encouraged guarded thought, saying those numbers include a 77-7 win over New Hampshire, one of those pay-to-slay, bowl-eligible jobs.
This, as has been largely lost to sports media, is known as context. Say it slowly with me: CON-text.
ESPN, the all-sports network that once reported that Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World” was “a walk-off home run to win the 1951 NLCS,” doesn’t normally include context, making McDonough stand out as unusual.
So if the Braves win the World Series, then what? Well, pandering political activist Rob Manfred has alerted Denver to prepare to throw the Braves a parade.
In a violation of the Geneva Convention as per cruel and unusual punishments, Fox, at the end of Panthers-Giants, stuffed with the speeches of blowhard Mark Schlereth, cut to Falcons-Dolphins, which likely had already been devoured by longtime, untreated Fox gasbag Daryl “Moose” Johnston.
Falcons-Dolphins, by the way, ended with what has already qualified as part of a coming, TV-displayed and discussed red-zone failure. The failure was a planned, short Falcons field goal to win on the final play.
If you don’t enjoy CBS’s nearly $1 million per game Tony Romo, I get it. He talks too much, has a raspy voice. But I find him different, impish, amusing and, my personal favorite, pleasingly sarcastic. Can’t help it.
Sunday, when Tom Brady floated a long pass into the arms of wide receiver Mike Evans, who caught it in-stride, Romo didn’t give it the, “Oh, wow, that Tom Brady!” bit. He merely said, “That pass nearly caught itself.” Perfect.
With the Buccaneers blowing out the Bears, a graphic appeared asking, “How many Tom Brady pass TDs has Jim Nantz called in the regular season?” Nantz said it was the work “of our esteemed producer, Jim Rikhoff,” to which Romo said, “Not very esteemed anymore.”
I’m with reader Ted Damiecki. We keep thinking an Astros-Braves World Series is between National League teams.
Replay rules continue to rip the life out of games for totally unintended purposes. Sunday’s Panthers-Giants was unplugged for 4:05 to determine if Giants receiver Dante Pettis’ shin brushed the turf before he scored.
It was ruled a TD before and after the protracted delay in pointless pursuit of perhaps. In between, Fox rules expert Dean Blandino concluded the immediately obvious — too close to overturn, thus another colossal waste of time.
Fox’s lead college football analyst Joel Klatt, former Colorado quarterback, is at his best when straight-talking, noting applicable things such as downfield blocking.
It’s when he starts to play ain’t-I-cool word games — “stick a foot in the ground to run north and south” when “cut upfield” would do it — that he needlessly turns off viewers who listened as ABC/ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit chose to lose value to become a self-impressed silly-talker.
Of course, there’s no one at either network to fix either man.
There’s a new “Key to the Game” — it’s “Stay ahead of the chains.” I don’t know what that means, but if it’s “Make first downs,” the next play won’t begin until the chains catch up.
Sunday, the Giants up, 5-3, 1:16 left in the half and with third-and-19 from their own 46, Fox play-by-player Adam Amin suggested that the Giants might use their remaining timeouts for when and if they get the ball back. He blew a great chance to say nothing.
All aboard for the Idiots’ Picnic!
It grows more ridiculous by the hour. Headlines this week claimed that both Texans owner Cal McNair — racist — Tony Romo — misogynist — were under attack for inexcusable public indiscretions.
McNair committed the unpardonable sin of referencing COVID as the “China virus.”
If only he’d referenced Legionnaires’ disease, named in 1976 after sickened American Legion convention attendees in Philadelphia. Or the German measles, the West Nile virus or Stockholm syndrome.
Romo was bashed for humorously suggesting that the fan in possession of Tom Brady’s 600th touchdown pass football might swap it for a date with Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen — a harmless crack designed to do nothing worse than suggest that she’s very attractive.
Shame on them! If only they’d been heard singing vulgar, women-degrading, pornographic, N-wording rap, they could appear in the Super Bowl halftime show.
But there’s no running from the Stupid Virus.
Fox’s Eagles-Raiders, Sunday, began with graphics reporting that the Raiders touchback percentage on kickoffs is 19th in the league, while the Eagles’ average kickoff return is 23rd in the league.
Thus, writes Philadelphia reader John Gidley, “You know the old saying: When the 23rd least irresistible force meets the 19th most immovable object, something’s gotta give!”
Why must we be treated as dimwits? Why are the most offensive protected while we’re left insulted?
Last Thanksgiving, CBS’ Nantz and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson presented Lions running back Adrian Peterson as a humanitarian of the highest order for distributing turkeys to the poor.
Left unsaid, but hardly unknown, was that Peterson was suspended for a season for the whipping of his 4-year-old son, leaving wounds that led to felony child abuse charges, later reduced. He also had never even met a 2-year-old son who was beaten to death by the mother’s boyfriend. But what a guy!
Sunday, Nantz and Wolfson teamed again, this time to note that there was “good ol’ ” defensive back Richard Sherman, out injured, standing on the Bucs’ sideline wearing a headset and whether he might like to become a coach.
Left unsaid, but hardly unknown, is that in July, Sherman was arrested for a pile of charges — including domestic violence, burglary and resisting arrest . Good ol’ Richard apologized, vowing “to get the help I need” — but then pleaded not guilty.
On CBS Jets-Pats, play-by-play man Andrew Catalon said Jets DB Marcus Maye has been rumored to be on the trade market.
Catalon made no mention that Maye has a possible suspension looming as he was arrested for a February DUI and allegedly leaving the scene of a crash — something he reportedly failed to or forgot to report to the Jets. He’s also being sued by an alleged victim of that crash. Maye has claimed innocence.
First inning of Game 2 of the World Series. A graphic parroted by a shameless Joe Buck reported that the Fox Bet Sportsbook has the Astros’ Over/Under hits total as 8.5. Pathetic greed has replaced mere avarice.
Howie Rose, after extensive surgery, continues to improve. He expects to be back for spring training.
Is the IRS as “woke” as other government agencies? I now “identify” as a 16-year-old, thus no need to pay taxes, right?
Oh, well, as we say along Lake Catatonic, let’s all “Stand with Kyrie!” — but not too close.