I love the product that the NFL puts on the field. The strategy. The athleticism. A running back juking a defensive back to the grass and sprinting for a touchdown. A wide receiver making an absurd catch. A QB converting an unlikely 3rd down by escaping relentless pressure and making one hell of a throw to a receiver. A 4th and 1 play @ the goal line with the game on the line like week 1’s game of the Saints vs Packers.
What I do NOT love about the NFL is the people who provide the commentary to the game. Namely, Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico of ESPN.
The NFL has one game on Monday nights that are broadcast everywhere. A lot of the 1pm and 4:15 games on Sunday are regional coverage, so you and I, the viewer, depending on where we are, get a certain game broadcast to us because it’s closer to where we are.
These national broadcasts on ESPN, however, present a problem. The people who bring the games to us have no souls. No backbone. No spinal column. No intestinal fortitude. (and they fired anybody who might’ve had any even if they declawed and neutered him before the show came to air…RIP Tony Kornheiser on MNF!)They are not providing us viewers with an honest take on the game. What they are doing is helping the NFL create star power by constantly and consistently praising or damning certain position players. They will NOT let us as the viewer use our own eyes and brains to see who’s doing well and who isn’t. They are merely puppets with a script, who make sure to get some talking points across during the telecast without leaving too much drool and slobber on their headsets.
Tony Romo presents an interesting case because of who he plays for (Dallas), who he replaced @ QB (Troy Aikman….a legend) and what his team means to the NFL as a whole (America’s Team)…
Let’s go back to Week 1, shall we?
He had just thrown this pick to Revis and rightfully so, he got skewered with criticism. We, as football fans with varying levels of football knowledge, saw the play and shook our heads in disgust because this throw cost the Cowboys the game. There were other flubs by Tony but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So week 2 comes along…
Tony comes back from a fractured rib, a punctured lung, nausea and painkilling needles to help lead the Dallas Cowboys to victory. An effort that any of us can respect….but here’s is where the problems start to come into play….
And now we come to week 3
The video above is but a sliver of the oral congress that goes on whenever a player, often the quarterback makes a play. Ron Jaworski should be ashamed of himself. Ashamed.
Football is a team sport. Always has been. Always will be. And yes, there are certain people who may be more talented than others within the framework of an NFL football game. Not everybody can throw the ball so people like Romo who can take a snap, backpedal, assess coverages and throw the ball to an open or double covered receiver successfully do deserve some praise
But to sit there and shovel this manure to me that Tony Romo is a magnificent player due to his circumstances is ridiculous. Yes, he has overcome something that I would never want to experience in my life. A fracture anywhere is nothing to laugh at. I remember spraining my wrist a long time ago and I was walking around as if I were dying for a week…So I’m not trying to downplay what actually happened to him. My problem lies with the fact the team is never mentioned, unless its in support of what the star player has done.
Why is it that I have to look to the boxscores in week 2 to find out that Miles Austin caught 9 passes for 143 yards and THREE touchdowns? Does he not have a tough job, running his routes on an injured hamstring, trying to escape the coverage of the entire defensive back seven without using his hands to defend himself? Jason Witten had over 100 yards receiving. Complete afterthought. His offensive line had to block the San Fran defense the entire time. Not a mention. Their rookie kicker, Dan Bailey….let me repeat that…..ROOKIE KICKER…had to nail a tough 48 yard field goal at the end of regulation just to get the game to overtime. Hell, Jon Kitna’s touchdown pass helped contribute to the win even with his two interceptions! What about the offensive co-ordinator calling the plays in? The coaches, who come up with gameplans and have to adjust them, midgame? The punter? And don’t get me started on the idea of the ENTIRE DALLAS DEFENSE being disregarded for their efforts!
The team aspect of football is constantly neglected by ESPN and the NFL during their telecasts and that frustrates me to no end. Each side of the ball is referred to separately and only become a team again @ halftime or the end of the game. A majority of the time, regardless of wins or losses, the star player is the usually the one to win the game or the one who didn’t do enough to win said game..
What’s funny is that the league and ESPN like to make sure we know who the main character is. The hypocrisy here is that whenever someone wants to do something to represent themselves within the league as an individual, such as grow their hair long, wear a particular set of sweatbands, eye black strips with letters/numbers on them or colorful cleats….anything that might set them apart from their teammate in ANY WAY, that person is reprimanded and fined a decent amount of money. Yet we’re supposed to be okay as football viewers whenever you constantly single out Tony Romo with closeups from your HD cameras. making sure his helmet is off and he’s sipping on the cup of Gatorade….got to get that product placement in……Right….I see how this works…
Tony Romo is a good quarterback. Good. Not great. Not bad. Not JaMarcus Russell-bad. But GOOD. This whole thing about ESPN puppets using superlatives such as spectacular, memorable, and electrifying to try and build this mental image of Tony as someone who’s single-handedly defeated an army of hundreds really pisses me off. Stop hyping the man up when he succeeds and stop tearing him down when there’s one bad game. Stop trying to create dramatic scenes out of things that happen in REAL LIFE or I may have to doubt the credibility of the NFL in general. This isn’t a reality show? Or is it? To quote the philosopher, Method Man, “Is it really real, son….is it really real?”
NFL, stop trying to foster hero worship in the minds of us fans just so you guys can make a profit off of us buying merchandise. ESPN, please do me a favor and stop shilling for these guys even though they stuck a billion dollars in your back pocket. Provide me a product, slant-free, so I can come up with my own opinions. That’s all I ask. Go find some spinal column, offer me up an honest assessment of what’s playing out from the booth and don’t tell me one man has won the game, singlehandedly.