Thursday, September 21, 2006

YouTube has to be the greatest online invention since digital musical downloads started. I was just on there and was able to watch some of the really old-school NFL on CBS clips back when they did NFC games and Pat Summerall and John Madden were doing games together. I grew up for the most part watching the Fox broadcasts, but I look back at the CBS games with a certain fondness, back when I was starting to get into football, and my Redskins were actually any good - plus they had a catchy little opening theme that got you all psyched up to watch the game.

There's nobody doing games now who can match the Sumerall-Madden team when they were together. Summerall was great because he didn't take himself too seriously. There was an understated passion to his calls, which I would happily take a million times before the contrived excitement that some of today's announcers seem to have (Mike Tirico of ESPN being the first person I think of in that category.) I'll never forget that first Super Bowl the Patriots won against the Rams because of his call. (Vinatieri's kick goes through) "Right down the pipe...(pauses a moment as the kick goes through)...Adam Vinatieri...No time on the clock and the Patriots have won Super Bowl XXXVI. Unbelievable!" Just the bare necessities, does not feel the need to upstage the unbelievable action on the field. That's a man who respects the game and the fans who are watching.

Of those two, I'm less of a fan of Madden (though he is better than most of the current crop of annoucners), but he really was good when he was paired with Summerall back on CBS, because it was before he was the larger-than-life figure that he is now.

The disappointing thing is that the announcers for top games are hyped up like rock stars in their own right, and that takes away from the experience on the field. I mean, Tony Kornheiser doing Monday Night games? He was hired based on name-recognition, but too bad he knows less about the intricacies of football than your average hard-core fan. least I know I'll always have the sweet sounds of Summerall and Madden waiting on YouTube.

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