Wednesday, February 08, 2006

MNF: Fresh Meat

ESPN announced a new broadcast team for Monday Night Football's debut on the worldwide leader next year, and I think they've made at least two good decisions:

"Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser will be part of a three-man booth calling the games on Monday nights next season and Suzy Kolber and Michelle Tafoya will be sideline reporters."

Replacing the once-graceful-but-aging-fast Mike Patrick with another consummate professional in Mike Tirico is a great move. Tirico is a master of every sport he broadcasts, be it golf or basketball or college football, and his calls are always on the money.

If you watched the Michigan/Nebraska Alamo Bowl this year and marveled at the fact that the announcer called that wacky last play as perfect as any human being could have, then you're unknowingly behind ESPN's move as well.

I also commend the decision to promote Tirico to the post because it raises the profile of a classic black/white crossover. Much in the same way that Pete Sampras and Allan Houston share an uncanny resemblence despite a difference in race, I've always thought Tirico could pass for the black version of CNN's Jeffrey Toobin.

The other quality decision comes as no real shock: Paul McGuire's pink slip. "Here's a guy" who couldn't be any worse at his job, a commentator that offered absolutely nothing to the program aside from unintentional comedy and several Whaaaaas? per game.

I'm a big fan of his replacement in Tony Kornheiser, but I won't pass judgment either way on TK until I actually hear and see him do live color. He's a great talking head, but the jury's still out on whether he can hang in the booth.

And Theismann, well, he's Theismann. Sure, he's usually a moron. But he definitely knows how the game is played and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt with two new partners. It'll be like when the forgettable Dan Fouts left Monday Night Football and became a Grade-A college football analyst with a little change of roster.

As for the chicks, I guess I'm okay with them. They're at the top of the chick list, if that says anything. I just don't understand what they offer to the broadcast, other than a handful of suits patting themselves on the back for hiring more women. And that's okay. I was a fan of Eric Dickerson, because you at least knew you'd be getting a few seconds of trainwreck every night. Also 'cause he was paired with hottie Melissa Stark and we used to call them "Stark and Dark."

Come to think of it, if you were ESPN, wouldn't you hire Dickerson and The Juice to be the two sideline reporters? Shit, screw the games, I'd tune in every Monday just to see what unfolded on the field level. And I know most of you folks would too.

Oh, and if you want something to TiVo tonight, go 'head and set it up to record Larry King Live, who will host Full House star and recovering meth addict Jodie Sweetin. How rude!


At 2:22 PM, Blogger ethan said...

i love kornheiser. i can't wait to hear all the SUNY references.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Don Fiedler said...

Do you know that apparently Mike Tirico didn't beat his wife? I'm not sure why I've been insisting that for years now. Every time someone brings up what a good guy he is, I've always mentioned that he was arrested for domestic abuse. And yet, for fact-checking purposes, I tried to look it up on the netz and it's apparently not true. So here's to you, Tirico. Congrats for not smacking her around.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Don Fiedler said...

Wait, spoke too soon. Tirico was involved in some sexual harassment at ESPN:

"as for mike tirico - he has been suspended NUMEROUS times for sexual harrassment and if you read michael freeman's GREAT espn book - he tells of an incident in which one P.A. got fired on the spot and another suspended for sexual harrassment - but tirico who was also involved in the incident was only slapped on the wrist."

But since everyone knows that sexual harassment is cool, I won't come down on him too hard. You're only half a jerk, Tirico.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Kornheiser is a great entertainer who knows as much about football as the average guy who watches the games at the local bar. I hope he's able to entertain us without distracting us from the games, but I'm doubtful. I love PTI, but it's an entertainment show. When I'm watching a game, the game is entertainment enough and I want the announcers to illuminate what's on the field, not try to overshadow it.

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Kornheiser auditioned to be MNF color man the year that they gave it to Dennis Miller? -eb

At 3:27 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

It's all true about 'Grabby Mike.' If you notice that anytime he interviews Michelle Wie (or any other female golfer) on camera, his hands are out of the shot. He's got to wear handcuffs to restrain himself because he's such a sexual demon.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous christina said...

i personally think thar theisman is there just so someone can look like an ass.

and i think they should bring melissa stark back!


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