Monthly Archives: October 2011

Chargers v. Chiefs Telecast an ‘Overall Success’


In arguably the most exciting Monday Night Football game of the year, the Kansas City Chiefs were given new life thanks to a Philip Rivers botched snap in the closing minutes of regulation. Ryan Succop kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime to give Kansas City the victory at home 23-20.

Although I always enjoy ESPN’s production of Monday Night Football, there is a slight change I would like to see. That change deals with the pre-game show. The Monday Night Football “Launch” starts at 8:30 p.m. and is a preview for the game. However, Monday Night Countdown is on before the Launch, so there is no need to delay the game for more pre-game discussion. ESPN broadcasts the game to start at 8:30 p.m, but kickoff does not actually happen until 8:40 p.m. My suggestion is to start the “Launch” at around 8:20 p.m.; therefore, kickoff would be scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CBS has this type of pre-game. “First on the Field” happens roughly 10-15 minutes before kickoff. The announcers talk briefly about the teams, and kickoff is set for 1 p.m. This is a great method to use because people who just want to watch the game can turn on the television right when the game is advertised to begin to see the kickoff at 1 p.m.

On another note, it is disappointing to see Hank Williams Jr. not open up the broadcast. His voice has always been a huge part of the telecast, but I understand ESPN’s reason to cut ties with him. Nonetheless, a piece of the Monday Night Football puzzle is missing.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this Monday Night Football telecast. Mike Tirico is fantastic doing the play-by-play. You can tell the excitement in his voice when a big play happens. Analysts Ron “Jaws” Jaworski and ex-NFL head coach Jon Gruden are excellent for the broadcast. “Jaws”, a former player, usually provides analysis from a player’s perspective. On the other side, Gruden uses his past coaching experience to analyze everything going on throughout the game. Also, watching and listening to Gruden, one can tell the passion he has for the game of football. Whether he is praising a player or criticizing a player, Gruden’s passion can be heard in every analysis he makes. Gruden is not afraid to speak his mind, and he always backs up what he says when making critical statements.

Monday Night Football is the NFL’s biggest stage week after week throughout the regular season. This week’s exciting game combined with the excellent production work by ESPN proved the telecast to be an overall success. 

No TV Mute for Wiltsie in Lions v. Broncos Matchup


In this matchup, we find the resurgent Detroit Lions traveling to Sports Authority Field to take on the struggling Denver Broncos, led by their exciting second-year quarterback, Tim Tebow. The level of anticipation of this game was particularly high on both sides with Detroit looking to bounce back after dropping their previous two games with dismal performances, and Tebow making his first home start of the season. Excitement was in the air. The broadcasting team for this game was FOX Sports broadcasters Dick Stockton and former Denver Broncos’ safety, John Lynch.

I cannot stand the Tebow fad that is going on, so I was skeptical going into this game on how the commentators would be, especially when I found out a former Bronco would be part of the broadcast team. Given the hype and anticipation behind Tebow’s first home start, I was quite pleased with the commentating done for this game (this could be in part due to Detroit dominating the game). Stockton mainly focused on the play-by-play portion of the commentating and did a good job at bringing some emotion into his broadcast. Lynch took on a coach-like persona during the broadcast and analyzed the action that took place. I may be biased, but it seemed as though he took a particular interest in the Denver Broncos, specifically Tebow. The focal point of the broadcast, for the most part, was Tebow, which would normally disgust me, but, due to the nature of the game, most comments were in fact negative toward him. Stockton and Lynch would both take jabs at Tebow’s throws, pocket awareness, but mainly his decision-making. Two instances that stood out to me involved Tebow: The first was when he threw horribly toward a receiver late in the first quarter and Lynch went on a small rant about his ability to navigate the pocket and make the throw. The second involved Tebow scrambling for a 15-yard gain late in the game and he was up-ended by Detroit safety, Louis Delmas, which sent him flying feet-over-head. Both commentators then took the time to seemingly coach Tebow on how an NFL quarterback should not risk himself that way, but they then retracted somewhat and said that is how he is and maybe that is how he should play. Beyond comments involving Tebow,  not much was directed toward the Broncos during this broadcast.

When looking at Detroit, there have been numerous accounts of dirty play from the Detroit defense following a loss from the Atlanta Falcons. So, during the beginning of the broadcast, we heard a lot about the issues surrounding Matt Ryan’s injury and the controversy that followed. An early portion of the broadcast also focused on Matthew Stafford and his ankle injury, which occurred the prior week, but those comments focused on how well he looked playing and how much his ankle appeared to be bothering him. Aside from comments either praising the play of Calvin Johnson or talking about the controversy involving Detroit’s “Dirty” Defense, the commentary toward Detroit was relatively positive and somewhat playful. The biggest example of this came following a sack of Tebow by Lions’ linebacker Stephen Tolloch. Tolloch went down to a knee and “tebowed” which is a new fad started by Tebow himself. The commentators both took this as a playful joke amongst players and laughed it off the way it should have been. But, in the days following, the media has put a negative spin on the whole joke saying that Tulloch was mocking Tebow’s religion, which is a complete joke. Tulloch was just having fun with the whole fad and the media is just trying to keep the bad boy persona going for Detroit.

As a whole, this broadcast was well done, in my view. If anything, I feel they could have done a better job on keeping the coaching down and more on the broadcast in general. It is nice to get insight every now and again, but Lynch seemed to scrutinize every mistake made by the Broncos. Overall, this was an exceptional broadcast, far from the typical broadcast, which require my TV to be put on mute.

World Series: Game 6

By Matt Ostrow

The two commentators on call for Game 6 of the World Series between the Rangers and the Cardinals were Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. It was an amazing back and forth game that fans enjoyed. The commentators did an average job, but there were multiple things that took away from such a great game.

Joe Buck did the play-by-play and, at times, was the only one speaking for almost the whole half of an inning. Buck was also very unemotional during very exciting plays that had me running around my apartment. For example, when Adrian Beltre for the Rangers hit a home run in the top of the 7th inning, making it a 5-4 lead for the Rangers, with no emotion, Buck said, “that one is gone, the Rangers now lead.” The job of the commentator is to capture the moment with emotion. It was a huge home run in the scope of the game and he needed to show more excitement with a play of such magnitude.

The other big issue I had with Buck’s commentary was that for a big part of the game, he would not even comment on the plays happening in the game, but talked about Pujols and his future. For almost the whole top of the 8th inning Buck talked about Pujols and free agency. He completely ignored the pitches being thrown by the Cardinals pitcher and only commented on the actual game if their was an out recorded or the ball was put in play. I understand Pujols is one of the best players in baseball and his future is important, but that conversation should not be happening during Game 6 in the top of the 8th inning. Those conversations need to happen pre-and post-game. Also, the coverage felt pretty unfair because most of the conversations were about how great of a comeback story the Cardinals were even when the Rangers were ahead 7-4 in the 8th inning and about to clinch the World Series.

Buck did do some things well, though. He gave many good statistical comparisons between the two teams or similar players. Another thing he did that was beneficial to the fan was: every time a new player entered the game he talked about how they came to be on their current team.

Tim McCarver rarely spoke, but when he did he had good insights into the game of baseball. When there were big plays, McCarver would explain why that call was made by the manager. I really enjoyed his analysis of the big plays and what possibly the player or manager could have done.

There were some things that Fox did well in producing the game. There were great replays of big plays with multiple angles and speeds. There also were a lot of great shots showing the managers reacting to big plays throughout the game. Something Fox did poorly was, it played the same song that they play for Sunday football and it totally does not fit the emotions of baseball.

The most memorable moment of the commentary was when Freese hit the walk-off home run in the 11th inning and Buck said, “We will see you tomorrow night.” This was not only a a great phrase to use, but is an honor to his late father, Jack Buck, who used that same phrase in 1991 when Kirby Puckett hit a walk-off home run in Game 6 of the World Series. A walk-off is always a special moment no matter what, but that call by Joe Buck made it even more memorable.