"Man, I don't like to use that kind of language. I hate for the kids to see that stuff. But you forget the camera is on you, you know? It just pops out. Nine times? My mother is going to call and reprimand me for that."
Lip-readers are more fun than naked Jell-O fights. One time an unidentified Colts fan went up to the Broncos' ubiquitous Barrel Man and said, apparently, "Hey, we can get you some pants!" Now that's the new American spirit shining through.
(For kicks, we watched a replay of the Rose Bowl game. The camera zeroed in on a gorgeous blonde who smiled and appeared to say something vaguely sexy to her friend. Turns out, the lip-reader says, it was, "Is there something gross on my face?" Sometimes life's better without a sound track.)
The next game was the Jets' 24-22 win over the Raiders, in which we found out Oakland coach Jon Gruden has a mouth he shouldn't kiss his mother with. He also has one that's easier to read than a stop sign. Most of the time he made no effort to cover his lips, which meant the lip-readers could read what plays he was sending in. Once, they read him saying, "Left side, 290, radical," and it went for a left-side touchdown pass to tight end Roland Williams. When our correspondent asked Williams after the game if that was, indeed, the name of the play, Williams's eyes got big, and he said, "Where'd you get that?"
It is a very odd feeling to have three hearing-impaired women telling you what play the Raiders will run next. If Fassel didn't believe it before, you think he does now?
Even when Gruden tried to cover his mouth, he did it two inches too low and with his play card, so that an entire side of plays could be read easily by any schlub with a TV set and a zoom button. Hey, nobody said football coaches were Mensa members.
All in all, despite the rampant profanity, I decided there are three major advantages for hearing-impaired NFL fans:
a) They have access to a part of the game that's unknown to most of us.
b) They gain a new appreciation for its verbal intensity.
c) They never have to listen to Jerry Glanville.