Monday, October 03, 2005


As regular readers of LLatPoN will recognize, the bloggers here are all 100% American. And as such, we're all ridiculously huge football fans.

The fall is a holy time for us, as it brings not just the return of the NFL and college ball, but enough related activity -- like fantasy leagues and an extra thirty or so hours of TV time -- to fill the voids that are our lives. My wife blessedly lets me have Sundays to myself, my friends and my DirecTV NFL Uberfan package, and I enter a warm and friendly womb in which NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is my benevolent and wise ruler.

So I love football; I live for football. But as the modern-day poets of Poison reminded us, every rose has its thorns. And the biggest, fattest, dumbest thorn of football season is, without doubt, John Madden.

I know there are people for whom Madden embodies all that's great about football, but I have it on good authority that all such people are communists. Madden may have had good days with the Raiders way back when and he might have lucked into endorsing the hottest NFL video game, but at his current job -- color commentary -- he is absofuckinglutely horrible.

A good color man will offer insight on the game, thoughts on why a certain kind of offensive play worked, what kind of coverage the defense is using, what strategies are being employed and what adjustments are being made on the fly. Madden, however, tends to offer the kind of color commentary that would come from a seeing-eye dog: He simply describes what's happening as if you didn't see it yourself, and he does so with the intelligence of a slightly retarded labrador retriever. A slightly retarded labrador retriever who likes to yell "BOOM!" a lot.

His commentary during the action generally veers between the obvious and the oblivious. Here's a pearl of wisdom that just came down live: "It's almost impossible to play offensive football without an offensive line." Really? Who knew? If his comments aren't empty to begin with, they slowly circle into nothingness, like a turd in the toilet bowl. This isn't an exact quote -- remembering it perfectly would cause me to slip into a coma -- but there was a line from tonight's game that went something like this: "You see, Robert Ferguson can give you the short catch, and he can give you a medium catch, and he can give you a long catch too. So there are a lot of catches he can make, and he made one there. A good medium catch."

The instant replay is normally where a color man shines, but for Madden it's where the inanity shines through. Most of his replay commentary falls into two categories. First is the hey-didja-see-that? style that would've been perfect for the golden age of radio, but which doesn't really add much to the televised game. Yes, John, I saw that one guy hit that other guy real good and then the one guy fell down. Thanks for the insight. Second is the telestrator replay, where Madden gets to play with his crayons all over the pretty screen. There is nothing too inconsequential or too obvious that Madden can't break out the telestrator and dumb it down more. I once saw him circle the different kinds of cleats on a running back's shoes. Gripping, John. Gripping.

Alright, halftime's over. Back to the game and the ageless wisdom of the man who created the turducken. Thank God I have Lionel Hutz's wisdom to guide me. Sweet liquor eases the pain.


Studiodave said...

He is perfect for the video game commentary where there are 20 phrases randomly thrown into the games action.

"Boom! He's going to feel that tomorrow." - Madden 97

Otto Man said...

Excellent point. Given his closeness to the game, I'm starting to think he might be a robot like the DJ 3000, programmed with a bunch of vapid phrases.

"Those clowns in Congress did it again. What a bunch of clowns."

"Hey, how does he stay up on current events like that?"

Thrillhous said...

Turd in a toilet bowl. Classic.

I think his inanity was less obvious when he was teamed up with that drunk Pat Summerall. Nobody could get more names wrong in a single game than Summerall.

Otto Man said...

You're right about Summerall -- he and Madden made a perfect fit, since Summerall couldn't handle the basics of the play-by-play job (like recognizing players by the big numbers on their backs). Together, Madden and Summerall comprised a sort of remedial sportscasting team.

Volanta said...

I concede the point. But I would take ten John Maddens if someone could just get Joe Theisman off my television. Narcissist from hell.

Otto Man said...

Yeah, I'm certainly no Theisman fan either, Volanta, but I tend to overlook his vanity because Mike Patrick and Paul McGuire do a solid job around him and drown him out.

Plus, whenever I get upset about him, I can just remember the crippling leg injury. He's had his pain. Remember the Letterman bit with the Joe Theisman pencil sharpener? His leg was the hand crank, and it just went round and round.

Otto Man said...

Oh, it happened after I made this post, but last night's second half featured another classic Madden moment. He used the telestrator to show us where Bret Fav-rah's fingers were when he held the football.

Thanks for the tip, John. I was having a problem distinguishing the flesh-colored digits from the leather-brown football. Thank God you were there to show me where the fingers were.

Studiodave said...

Seriously, the man love they have for Farve is disturbing.

"Look at the zip on that ball as the defense easily intercepted it."

And, unlike the rest of the NFL, Farve has had deaths and sickness in the family.

Nice to see they are preparing Eli for when Farve retires.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

After watching the last 20 seasons of football, I have yet to hear any punt returner NOT described as "dangerous."

Otto Man said...

And now, a word from Fantasy Football Guy. Enjoy.

Mrs_Thrillhous said...

Speaking of football, the Hokies are #3 or #4 this week. Whatever polls said they're #3 are right.

I don't mind Madden so much. Theismann is the source of most of my football misery, and Joe Buck takes the rest.

If Theis"man"n had to watch the injury clip every time he said something dumb, would he eventually stop?

Volanta said...

Excellent idea. Only if I can administer a la "Clockwork Orange"!

sideshow bob said...

I, like an red-blooded, beer-swillin', cheese and sausage scarfin' Wisconsinite love the Packers, but the Farve-worship thing is even wearing a little thin for me.

Yes, he's a great quarterback and guy, but I doubt if any QB has thrown more red zone ints than him. I get this sinking feeling anytime they get the ball inside the five yard line and he drops back to pass...if I wanted to see that, I could just do it myself on his damn video game!