Poor Verbal Decisions

by Colin Donohue

I know there’s already a Web site dedicated to awful announcing. (It’s called Awful Announcing.) But I decided to keep track of some doozies myself this weekend during Week 1 NFL action. I paid some casual attention to the Eagles at Panthers and the Dolphins at Falcons games at 1 p.m. before devoting my full attention the Redskins at Giants (big-time fail, Skins). So here are some gems from the announcers of the early games.

“Give him enough time, and Donovan McNabb will burn ya.” – (from Dick Stockton, Eagles at Panthers) What a duh statement. If you give any QB time, he’ll “burn ya.”

“Guess what? That Eagle defense is going to have to get on the field again.” – (from Stockton) This wonderful bit of business was uttered after the Eagles punted to the Panthers. That’s usually when a defense has to come back on the field.

“That fan has no chance of cooling off his intensity, does it?” – (from Charles Davis, Eagles at Panthers) Davis said that as the camera cut to a fan blowing on Steve Smith during the second quarter, during which the Panthers were already losing 24-7. This is a bad metaphor. And the fan might not have cooled off his intensity, but I’m sure a 38-10 drubbing did.

“Ten plays, 74 yards. So they had a 74-yard drive.” (from Stockton) Nothing like being redundantly repetitive.

“… and now Charles Goodell’s son, Roger Goodell.” – (from Stockton) The cameras showed former NFL commish Paul Tagliabue in Panthers owner Jerry Richardson’s box, so Stockton began to list all the NFL commissioners through the years. He got to Goodell and obviously forgot his first name, so he used Roger Goodell’s father’s first name in stead.

“He’s always been known as a smart coach. And the heat is a factor down there.” – (from Davis) That’s a non-sequitur if I’ve ever heard one. He was talking about Eagles coach Andy Reid, if you care.

“What a catch by Tony G.” – (from Greg Gumbel, Dolphins at Falcons) OK, there’s nothing wrong with the call, but since when has Greg Gumbel been buddy-buddy with Tony Gonzalez? Dude’s not a rapper. Can we please enact a law that requires all announcers to use full names, not some bastardized version of their first and last names in a vain attempt to sound hip and now?

Of course, Dick Stockton is a veritable verbal goldmine. He’s been losing it for 13 years now. I remember when he called a Washington Bullets-Cleveland Cavaliers game back in the late ’90s. The winner made the postseason, the loser stayed home. Stockton was all over the map in that one. He couldn’t remember anyone’s name. And yet, he’s persevered ever since, continuing his career another 10+ years despite the fact he’s really no longer great at his job. I guess the saying, “Good enough for government work” applies to NFL announcing. Maybe the saying should change.

If you visited awfulannouncing.com, you saw this clip. I had every intention of posting it here, as well, because it’s true, play-by-play man Gus Johnson apparently has an aneurysm when this miracle catch by the Broncos Brandon Stokley results in a game-winning TD. (For the record, Johnson is a good play-by-play man. He’s certainly better than Gumbel and Jim Nantz, both of whom are terribly boring. They will put you to sleep for sure.)


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