So for some reason last Saturday night I continually subjected myself to the inane musings of three different commentators on three different college football games. And since misery loves company I feel the need to inflict some of the pain on my readers as well.
Brent Musburger, Matt Millen, and Bob Davie were the guilty parties this weekend, but by no means are they the only sinners when it comes to filling our ears with useless trivia, incorrect information, statements of the obvious, or the repeated utterance of all three. Instead of the old adage "those who can do, do, those that can't, teach" (with which I do not agree, by the way) I firmly believe that these days "those that can do, do, and those that can't talk about it endlessly and for some inexplicable reason are paid to do it."
Each of the three guilty parties, though, is a poster boy for his own particular brand of inanity. Musburger is a know-it-all-who-is-mostly-wrong whose status as a semi-iconic broadcaster is a constant source of befuddlement for me. He always tries to "capture the moment" through some over-the-top description rather than allowing the viewer (or listener in his case) to reach his or her own conclusion, or even enjoy the moment in some way other than that which Brent tells you to. Brent's babbling is so predictable, there's even a hilarious drinking game in his honor.
Davie insists on saying the same thing over and over and over. During the South Florida v. UConn game I must have heard him say on at least five different occasions (and keep in mind I was switching between that game and the Florida State-Virginia Tech and Oklahoma-Nebraska games too) about how "similar" UConn and South Florida were and then supposedly backing it up with meaningless statistics ("see! told you! they both have 163 total yards through three quarters!!!"). We got the point the first time Bob. And the second. And the third . . .
The winner in the race for my opprobrium award, however is Millen. I admit it stems at least in part from his miserable tenure as the General Manager of the Detroit Lions, something from which they still have not recovered two seasons after his much belated departure. Really, how much of an expert can a guy be who drafts a wide receiver two consecutive years when his team's defense is the worst in the League?
Millen's forte in the booth is, not surprisingly, stating the obvious. "They could really use a first down here" on third and long. Or short. "They need a touchdown here" when a team is down by 21 with five minutes to go. Thanks for that, Matt. We never would have figured it out without you.
There are some good broadcasters doing football games (Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth are very good on Sunday Night Football, and as much as it pains me to say it, Kirk Herbstreit is funny and insightful), but with the bowl season upon us, I plan to keep a finger on the mute button or else my television set may not last until January 11.