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John Walters
August 14, 2000
Eric Dickerson was thrown for a loss in his MNF debut
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August 14, 2000

The Runner Stumbled

Eric Dickerson was thrown for a loss in his MNF debut

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"Ironically," Dennis Miller noted in his July 31 Monday Night Football debut on the telecast of the annual Hall of Fame Game, "you can't get any good Cantonese food in [Canton]." Just as ironically, MNF colleague Eric Dickerson, who has a bust in Canton, was a bust in Canton.

We don't want to get off on an overwrought parody of a witty comedian's trademark conceit, but during his debut as a sideline reporter, Dickerson self-immolated faster than a Buddhist monk on a Saigon street. What in the name of Solomon Wilcots was executive producer Don Ohlmeyer thinking when he invited Dickerson to join the MNF crew? Dickerson's previous foray into gridiron commentary was in 1996, when he was a Big 12 analyst for Fox Sports Net. That experiment ended with Dickerson's being replaced in midseason by former Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis.

Following the first weekend of MNF rehearsals, in July, Ohlmeyer conceded that "Eric needs some work, and I'm spending extra time with him." After Dickerson's performance at the Hall of Fame Game, maybe two-a-days are in order. We can forgive Dickerson for referring to 49ers wideout Terrell Owens as " Terrell Davis." However, in interviews with Howie Long, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice, Dickerson appeared nervous and was incapable of asking a cogent follow-up question. It's too early to cut him, but unless Dickerson improves, it may be time to, in another Miller phrase, "start blowdrying Ted Koppel's hair" on his MNF career.