Footballs fans everywhere rejoice! Your Monday nights will no longer include having to hit the mute button on your remote every thirty seconds.
ESPN has dumped Joe Theismann from the Monday Night Football announcing booth and replaced him with Ron Jaworski.
Theismann has long been one of my least-favorite announcers. His obnoxious superiority and unwillingness to ever acknowledge that he was anything but the Supreme Football Knowledge Master made him nigh-unbearable. Sunday nights used to be pluperfect football hell because, no matter how interested you were int he game, you had to stuff cotton in your ears to avoid Theismann’s ego and Paul Maguire’s insufferable cumudgeoning. It was healthier to listen to them through a thick pad of cotton swabbing rather than run the risk that your brain would flee your skull and take solace in an episode of Gilmore Girls (though give your brain credit, Lauren Graham is a Grade A beauty).
ESPN thought it had itself a dynamic duo when it yanked Maguire and inserted sports jester Tony Kornheiser as the network picked up the Monday Night Football gig last year. Kornheiser would bring the funny and Theismann would bring the insightful analysis. Problem was, Kornheiser brought both, even while practically begging Theismann’s permission to make anything approaching a serious football comment. Apparently, ESPN decided that if they really wanted a third guy in the booth, he should be more insightful than the funny man. Thus, Theismann, whose best insights were always about himself, had to go. The network says they’ll keep him around in some function or another. My guess is that he’ll take Jaworski’s spot on the various NFL highlight shows the network has. He’ll probably be the go-to stand-up interview during what used to be NFL Prime Time (another show ESPN has all but ruined).
As for Jaworski, well, I like him. He knows his football, isn’t afraid to wade into controversy on the field, and gets along with the other folks in the studio. He’s capable of giving and taking a joke and ought to mesh well with Kornheiser. His ego’s just big enough to make him a good announcer but not so big that you can’t get it all in the booth each week.
As a side note, I’m kind of sad to see that they’re keeping Suzy Kolber shackled to a sideline reporting gig during MNF. Kolber is a very good sports reporter and she’s been around ESPN long enough to have earned a headline gig. She isn’t on the same plane as Michelle Tafoya and it’s a shame that the network thinks she is. If the network had any sense at all, they’d move her to a choice spot on Sports Center or give her an in-studio analysis show during the week. She’d be killer with football and baseball (perhaps as an occasional host of Baseball Tonight). If nothing else, they owe her big-time for her not punching a drunken Joe Namath in the snoot a couple of seasons ago.
Category: Stuff I Like