I'm sitting here in front of the Magnavox, waiting for Monday Night Football to come on, a cold beer in my left hand, an aerodynamic brick in my right. O.K., I know it's early, but can't you hardly wait? I mean, let's fire just about everyone on the show, hire a loner college-football analyst, a grouchy ex-running back with no sideline experience, a 26-year-old neophyte and a blue-tongued comedian who's never worked sports.
God, I hope it works. I hope it works because it's so different. I hope it works because maybe—just maybe—we won't have to listen to the usual booth full of jocks discussing the merits of the roll-up zone.
Dan Fouts, the new analyst, has always been different. While the rest of his San Diego Chargers teammates would listen to halftime speeches, Fouts would sooner go have a smoke and a beer. He was the kind of quote you'd send a limo for: He just didn't give a damn. His dad was an announcer too. Plus, he replaces Boomer Esiason, who always seemed to be broadcasting from an Arena Football League game on a smaller TV set somewhere.
During his playing days, new sideline reporter Eric Dickerson was always about as congenial as a dyspeptic rattler. He never talked to anybody unless he thought he could make a buck out of it. Then again, I can't think of an NFL running back who seemed to want to get to the sideline more.
The other new sideline reporter, Melissa Stark, is walk-into-a-pole gorgeous and knowledgeable. Of course, Lesley Visser, at 46, is walk-into-a-pole gorgeous and knowledgeable. Go figure.
Which brings us to the new third man in the booth, turbo-mouthed Dennis Miller, who is such a crazy, inspired long shot that producer Don Ohlmeyer must have titanium marbles. It's a little like hiring Lenny Bruce to emcee your parents' 75th-wedding-anniversary party. Could be fun. Could be the worst television disaster since She's the Sheriff.
The only tiny, little problem I can see with giving Dennis Miller an open mike on prime-time network TV is giving Dennis Miller an open mike on prime-time network TV. First of all, how will Miller stop himself from using four-letter words for three hours when he can't go 12 seconds on his HBO show without them?
Ohlmeyer: O.K., Dennis, if you think you're ready to try it again, we'll remove the duct tape.
How will Miller's sophisticated, scatological rants play at places like Darlene's Trucker Eats in Keokuk, Iowa?
Trucker: What'd that boy just say about the Bolsheviks?