Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Out With the Old, In With the Polish Rifle

So Theismann's gone and Jaworski is in for Monday Night Football. This is, I think, an improvement for several reasons:
  • Jaworski speaks in complete sentences
  • He's widely recognized as being among the best analysts out there (if not the best) when it comes to breaking down what's going on and communicating it to viewers who aren't part of Bill Belichick's extended family
  • He doesn't visibly loathe Tony Kornheiser, which may or may not be a character flaw but which will make it easier for him to work with the man
  • His tiny little glasses, which make him look oddly non-threatening for a man who spent years working in South Philadelphia.
Overall, I expect the quality of the broadcasts to improve, particularly since the math will likely look like this: More Jaworski, Less Kornheiser, No Theismann. There will still be squawking - there will always be squawking, unless the zombified corpse of Howard Cosell rises from the grave and chomps through Tony's pate on-air - about how it's not what it used to be, but I think it will be better than it has been in a long while.

MNF's problem, ultimately, is that the glory years with Cosell made it into more than a show. It was simultaneously a sporting event and a social phenomenon, because, God knows, the games themselves were rarely worth watching. It survived on spectacle for a while, but the momentum from that has run out, and now it has its own ghosts to live up to. It hasn't done that too successfully of late. The games have still too often been blowouts, the announcers unsteady and arrhythmic.

But steps are being taken in the right direction, I think. It won't be what it was. This isn't 1977; it can't be. But with Jaws on board and the ability to at least try to schedule better games on the fly, it can at least be good.

And if not, well, Randall Cunningham can come into the booth on third and long.
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