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The Rant

Clearing up leftover issues on the new MNF crew

Posted: Thursday February 16, 2006 10:19AM; Updated: Thursday February 16, 2006 11:33AM
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I haven't watched one second of the Olympics, baseball camps are just opening and things are quiet on the NFL front. I have nothing to rant about. I'm at peace with the sports world. Well, I'm a Knicks fan, but what's the sense in ranting about them at this point?

Since nothing has me stirred up at the moment, I figured I'd revisit last week's column, which generated tons of e-mails and a passionate response from readers. Before I get to Joe Theismann, I want to clarify one thing.

I mentioned last week that fans want a play-by-play guy who won't be a comedian instead of a broadcaster, and I cited Joe Buck. Many of you thought I was using Buck as an example of a solid broadcaster. I wasn't. I goofed. In an attempt to be witty, my point became unclear, and I apologize. I am not a Joe Buck fan. I think he's bad on baseball and worse on football. However, he bothers me more doing the NFL than MLB. Let me explain this bizarre opinion.

Football, for the most part, is non-stop action. Therefore, Buck has less time to be annoying. But baseball is filled with so much downtime that Buck has ample opportunity to try his comedy routine.

I say Buck bothers me more on NFL telecasts, though, because I get the impression that he's a baseball guy who just swoops in to do football because Fox wants him to be the face of its sports package. I don't know what it is about Buck's personality, but it just doesn't translate well to football. And his lame shtick seems even more out of place during an NFL telecast.

OK, back to last week's column. A bunch of you asked who I thought ESPN should've brought in to do the Monday night games. Last week I voiced my displeasure with the hirings of Theismann and Tony Kornheiser. I didn't mention Mike Tirico, though, because I have no problems with him. I think he's a solid play-by-play man. That leaves one spot open, because I'd refuse to implement a three-man booth. Who would I hire to join Tirico as the analyst? In my dream world, I'd pick Dr. Z. But his foray into television didn't work out so well. So in the real world I'd choose Tom Jackson.

Jackson seems like a fair, sensible guy who knows the game well yet doesn't talk down to the audience. He doesn't shout and yell and come off as Mr. Know-It-All.

As for Theismann, I knew he wasn't the most popular announcer, but I was shocked at the amount of mail I got -- 98 percent of it ripping the former Redskins QB. That just re-emphasized the point I tried to make last week: Why don't networks know what fans want and don't want? All they have to do is ask. Fans have proven that they're not shy about offering their opinions.