I heard an amazing thing Saturday evening: an NFL broadcasting team that actually sounded like it was enjoying the game! And on Fox even, home of the portentous Joe Buck.
Kenny Albert, Daryl "Moose" Johnston and Tony "Goose" Siragusa rolled into the night appreciating the Arizona Cardinals' upset of the Carolina Panthers. As the game got more and more out of hand, the broadcasting team became more and more interesting as they explained why it was happening and reveled in the unlikeliness of it all.
Albert oozed the enthusiasm he inherited from his dad Marv while the two analysts sparred on issues such as whether to go for a field goal or why Carolina QB Jake Delhomme kept throwing interceptions.
It was like being at the game with a few friends, not that one is likely to have friends who know so much. Johnston, who played on three Super Bowl teams with Dallas, and Siragusa, who was a key player in the Ravens victory in Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, easily switch from talking about their experiences on the road to the Championship to dealing with the potentially stultifying statistics that Fox supplies visually and aurally for the ADHD among its viewers.
When three Baltimore Ravens are arrayed on the bottom of the screen, Siragusa avoids a potentially deadly roll call of achievements by vigorously saying, "look at that guy!" as rookie quarterback Joe Flacco's picture is vigorously circled with a telestrator. The easy repartee is all the more remarkable because Siragusa is standing on the field in the Erin Andrews position, which you would never know if they did not show him every now and then, because he is a full participant.
Finally, as Kurt Warner did his final kneel down, Albert intoned, "I have one more for you Daryl. This is only the sixth time in NFL post-season history that a team with a losing record on the road has beaten a team that was undefeated at home" or something like that. Johnston interrupted Albert by saying, "too much thinking for me," and continued on in the background with references to smoke coming out of his ears, and the like.
Sadly, that is it for the Albert team this year. It is back to the mausoleum with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman next week for the Eagles-Cardinals. Back to the grave business of pro football.
Where, exactly, was Joe Buck while his father Jack was urging St Louis Cardinal fans to "go crazy folks" when the Redbirds won a playoff game* or telling a national radio audience that "I don't believe what I just saw" after Kurt Gibson's 1988 world Series blast off of the Eck?**
Was he reading a book? He is bloodless! And now it comes out that Buck and Aikman have been improperly escorted to games by U.S. Marshals.
Although I appreciate Brent Musburger's work these days on the NBA and college football, it was a liberating day in 1990 when CBS removed his stranglehold on its sports programming.
Please Fox, get rid of Buck. And you don't have to look far for an NFL replacement. Marv's son, who kept stats for his dad at a New York Rangers game when he was six years old, is right there in your stable.
* Corrected, thanks Grailknight, The call was "Smith corks one into right, down the line! It may go! Go crazy folks, go crazy! It's a home run, and the Cardinals have won the game, by the score of 3 to 2, on a home run by the Wizard! Go Crazy!"
** "Gibson swings, and a fly ball to deep right field! This is gonna be a home run! Unbelievable! A home run for Gibson! And the [Dodgers] have won the game, 5 to 4; I don't believe...what I just saw! I don't believe what I just saw!"
UPDATE: Check out this comment on deadspin by Bobby_Big_ Wheel:
It's fun to imagine Joe Buck doing other famous calls:
Dave Silk clears the puck, it doesn't look like the Soviets will be able to regroup in time, and the U.S. advances to the gold medal game against Finland.
For some thoughts on San Francisco sports journalism, scroll down at www.stephenkausblog.com
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