You Are What You Do, Because A Talking Head Said So

>> Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Every weekend when I watch football ... okay, wait. Let's start that over. "Weekend" is such a poor term for the football days anymore. I'm like the woman in the Best Buy commercial -- I watch Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and sometimes Thursday. Let's try that again.

Every so many days of watching football during the week, one of the ESPN or Fox "talking sports heads" says something that makes me shake my head.

For example, while I missed this one personally, rumor has it a few weeks ago that Lou Holtz said of a wide receiver, "Isn't it great when a wide receiver catches a ball with his hands?" I'm sorry, Lou, I forgot my Coach to English Dictionary. What do "hands" mean in your language, and what part of the body do wide receivers catch balls with on Planet I Used to Be Irish? Well, at least this wasn't one of the long "Lou-isms" that had Mark Mays staring at the old Coach and saying, "Huh?" Ya gotta love Coach Holtz, but honestly, understanding him is sometimes harder than understanding Toddler. He is starting to remind me a little bit of Yogi Berra ... and sometimes like Beano Cook.

One of my absolute favorite parts about listening to football pundits talk is listening to them decide when to justify what happens on the field. In a nutshell, if a player does something successful, he is brilliant. If he tries and fails, he has made a "crucial mental error." Either he is a rookie and "will have to learn" or he is a veteran and "should know better by now."

Let's take some examples. How many times have we ever heard this:

1. A. Oh, no, look at how close that pass was to an interception! That was a poor judgment call. A quarterback should never throw back across his body to hit a receiver. He's just asking for the ball to be picked off by the defense. He should have just thrown that ball away.

B. WHAT A BRILLIANT THROW! Not many men can make that kind of pass, on his heels, running the other way, throwing back across the field. But he saw the receiver open, and he had just enough touch on the ball to drop it right over his receiver's shoulder.

2. A. That's a rookie mistake, trying to make too much happen. Coach ____ will be after him in practice about that. A player should always fall on the ball in the case of a fumble. Trying to pick it up is just asking for trouble.

B. Man, what presence of mind he had to just scoop that ball up and start running with it! What a great fumble recovery!

Of course, individual plays are not the only place for commentator-reversal. Reputation and player value can change just as rapidly. Just two or so years ago, Kerry Collins (Tennessee) was generally referred to as an aging quarterback and a good backup for an emergency in the remaining few years until his retirement. Now he's a stellar team leader who just might be the man to take the Titans to the superbowl. I take this one personally, because Kerry Collins is a month younger than me, and I am not an "aging" anything.

Coaches, too, are not immune from this phenomenon. Just think about every time the coach went for it on 4th down instead of settling for 3, or each and every decision for (or against) a 2 point conversion and you know exactly what I mean.

When it comes right down to it, as much as I love ESPN's College Game Day, all those talking heads are just ex players and coaches that wish they were still playing and coaching. They are fun to listen to, but the only way to get them on your side is win every chance you ever take, and if that were possible no one would watch football anymore. So, kudos to those pundits who don't start out every sentence with, "When I was playing for Michigan," and watch out for falling metaphors

See ya next Saturday.


  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by 2008

Back to TOP