New Hires Add Little To NFL Pregame Shows

Monday, September 08, 2008


I was trying to come up with a way to do a video highlight with clips from each of the pregame shows for each Monday, but I'm still working out the kinks. In the meantime, I wanted to share my thoughts (and get yours) on each of the pregame shows. I'll get into each network individually, but I thought as a whole every show seemed to lose a bit on their fastball and only one really has improved (see below). It's not that Strahan and Patrick were necessarily bad, but all of the new teams seemed a bit dull compared to last year. The only crew that even came across as slightly excited that it was the first weekend was that of the Sunday Countdown team. The three network groups really didn't wow me and in the case of NBC....made me want to change the channel. Let's get into them network by network....
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NBC: I still just can't get past the amount of people on the show and all of the switch overs and moving around of the analysts gets distracting about ten minutes through. While I thought Dan Patrick was good in his first showing, I personally think Keith Olbermann despises his role on the show. He seriously makes me want to change the channel and I think he's so polarizing that other people probably feel the same way. Bob Raismann of the Daily News even went so far as to call Olbermann an "agenda-driven punk" and that he should have "better things to do".

Now I don't necessarily agree with the term agenda-driven punk, but I can understand Bob's frustration. As far as the rest of the program goes, I really think that Peter King should be getting all of Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis' airtime. Sure he plays to his favorites, but he has more relevant information than Barber or Bettis could ever come up with combined. I feel bad for Cris Collinsworth when he tries to start up a discussion with those two.

The show should really just be Costas, Collinsworth and Dan Patrick with Peter King providing reports, but every network seems to think they need an ex-player to provide nothing these days.

CBS: The only difference between CBS and NBC is that with the peacock I get mad an say I'm going to change the channel, and with CBS I actually do. I just don't get a sense that any of the participants, outside of JB, are that into their roles.

Also, if you saw the halftime show you probably lost your mind just like I did. I tuned in to catch any information on Brady's injury and they spent the whole time airing a glorified commercial for the new CBS building that Robert Kraft built outside of Gillette Stadium. I understand that there needs to be time fillers occasionally, but they really should have scratched it and talked about one of the most important injuries in the history of the league. Maybe CBS wanted to ignore it in hopes that people will still watch Patriots games this season on the network, and not hurt them in the ratings game (thank god for Brett Favre right?).

FOX: I really thought Michael Strahan was going to wow me during his first show, but he too came off as lackluster. I can't stand the whole Terry Bradshaw "dumb redneck" schtick they put us through every Sunday and with Strahan now on-set, it's only going to get worse. It really takes away from the genius of perhaps the best analysts the Sport has (minus Jimmy Johnson). Although I did chuckle when Howie Long said, "he brings our Championship total to eight and our divorce total to six," about Strahan.

Menefee is getting better though and it's still my go to pregame show in the morning. Well, until Frank Caliendo shows up and then I switch to ESPN. Speaking of which....

ESPN: I don't know what it is about this group of people, and I hate to say this in their presence (Hi Bristol!), but when Emmitt isn't on the show....Countdown is actually not bad. Sure it's a bit cheesy, and both Ditka and Key are a little bit over-the-top, but the analysis is there and they seem to be genuinely excited that early in the day for Football. If you can get past all the chuckling every 10 minutes, they actually have a lot of good points and gameday information. The show is especially good for you fantasy freaks out there because they update injuries and starter info just about every 15 minutes or so.

I'm not saying it's the best, but it somehow became tolerable in the offseason.
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All in all, I'm just not overwhelmed with any of the shows or the new hires. Outside of ESPN, the other three have regressed, and in one case even became almost completely unwatchable. I really hope for NBC's sake that they get rid of some of that ridiculously large cast of characters, but that doesn't seem likely to happen in the near future.

No place for partisan Keith Olbermann on NFL show (NY Daily News)

26 Comments:

how come no breakdown of the nfl network pregame show?

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 3:50:00 PM  

What about the Bloomberg News-esque SportsCenter Live/NFL Primetime last night?

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 3:51:00 PM  

The CBS show is garbage, at least the post-game variety. JB will say something like, "Great win for the Jets." Then they go down the line and each commentator basically says the same thing but with different cliches.

At least Bradshaw's stick makes Fox feel a little less structured and can be entertaining. Strahan can be good but it will take him a little while.

Oh, and Bill Cowher reading off of a teleprompter scares me.

Sean O said...
Sep 8, 2008, 3:55:00 PM  

ESPN was definitely the best and that is really hard to type out.

I do not think Strahan is in his comfort zone, yet. BTW, how cheap is FOX really with their graphics on things other than that stupid robot? Strahan was fine with the pre-recorded stuff but that Jay Glazer spot was just dumb. How about honor Jay for completely making The World Wide Leader look inept on the Brett Favre story?

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 3:56:00 PM  

collinsworth IS an ex player!

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 3:57:00 PM  

I didn't wake up early enough. Did ESPN continue to exploit the 8-year oldr?

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 3:57:00 PM  

Costas is so annoying and so is Collinsworth.

NBC would be smart to just have Olberman and DP do the entire show.

It is so disjointed it is almost unwatchable...

Jeff V said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:07:00 PM  

Tom Brady's injury one of the most important in the hisory of the game?

You're kidding, right?

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:09:00 PM  

I actually liked Strahan.

During Fox's rapid fire segment, every question that they asked Howie he had to think about for at least 5 seconds. Don't you think that he would be relatively aware of what was going to be asked so he didn't come off like an idiot? It's who do you think is going to be better than the experts think and not rocket science.

The intro to Countdown is so cheesy that it's great. All of the "analysts" walking through a gay steel mill while Chris Berman has a look on his face that reads "there better be some scotch in here".

GMoney said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:09:00 PM  

"...one of the most important injuries in the history of the league."

If not the Planet.

Daniel said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:12:00 PM  

I think my brother said it best when he sent me the following two texts last night:

"What do you call 20 well-dressed guys jerking each other off on national television?

"Football Night in America."

Brett said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:16:00 PM  

ESPN: Better this year

NBC: Just Need Dan Patrick, Cris Collinsworth and Peter King

CBS: Good to me

FOX: Does not need strathan

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:30:00 PM  

Very thoughtful, had a great time reading your post

Jay Smith said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:31:00 PM  

espn: chris berman = unwatchable.

cbs: tolerable.

fox: terry bradshaw destroys the show no matter how good howie and jimmy are.

nfln: can't wait to see it. missed it last week due to hangover.

nbc: last year was perfect with costas and olbermann doing highlights. why fix something that is not broken? also, the cast seems a little thin. can ebersol add a few more people perhaps?

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:35:00 PM  

While Strahan may have been no great shakes, he did at least TRY to offer insight and did back up his claims each time.

My favorite moment was during the studio show after the morning games when Bradshaw starts fellating Brett Favre and Strahan interrupts him to talk about how lucky the last TD was and that Brett played fine but he wasn't personally "willing" the Jets to victory. The look on Terry's face, first for being interrupted, and then because Strahan started bagging a little of Favre, was priceless.

Nice to see that Mike doesn't pull punches for the guy that laid down to give him the single season sack record.

KeiferNandez said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:38:00 PM  

If you don't think it's one of the most important injuries in the history of the league you're out of your mind.

With Brady out for the season the league will lose millions of dollars from advertisers and merchandise sales and ratings will definitely suffer.

Sep 8, 2008, 4:50:00 PM  

I actually think that Dan Patrick has improved Football Night in America. Bob Costas always seemed uninterested and was unentertaining as a highlight reader. Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick doing the highlights together was very interesting and very good. Bob Costas is much better in his role of anchor. The only change I would suggest is getting rid of Tiki and the Bus, thus leaving Collinsworth to do all of the analysis.

jfein said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:54:00 PM  

"With Brady out for the season the league will lose millions of dollars from advertisers and merchandise sales and ratings will definitely suffer."

perhaps, but the patriots will lose more games :o)

i stopped watching the pre-game shows years ago. i use the 9a-10a hour to go to run errands or take my 16 month old nephew (he hates costas too) on a walk.

-dan

-dan said...
Sep 8, 2008, 4:58:00 PM  

OK. I don't so much mind your comment that Brady's injury is one of the most important in league history. Reigning MVP with a 16-game (or more) regular season winning streak goes down in the first quarter of the first game. I can't think of many other injuries with that kind of impact.
But your defense of it in the comments is absurd. Do you really think NFL advertisers buy spots based on Brady? The league and the networks won't lose a dime, because most of the ad contracts have been written for the year. And merchandising? Come on. Brady's isn't even the most popular jersey. Ratings might suffer in New England.
Just when I think you're turning the corner and offering well-thought out critiques, you let this slop get through. Please think before you write. Thank you.

AA Hates ESPN said...
Sep 8, 2008, 5:32:00 PM  

"agenda-driven punk"

yeah, that's about right

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 5:59:00 PM  

Dr. Z wrote something on SI.com a while back talking about the good and bad football announcers. He talked about how much he really thinks Howie Long should be in the booth and thinking about it for a while, I am beginning to agree. FOX lacks really good analysts and PBP guys. Strahan would then become what Howie was as a smart, outspoken, monster on defense.

Not a fan of PK. I think he jumped the shark years ago and has been nothing more than a name-dropper and free-advertising for Starbucks. I think Barber needs to go and try to get an MBA and Jerome I think is destined to become strictly a Steelers announcer. Keith (Should just to do sports and I am with him politically), DP, Collinsworth, and perhaps a former defensive player/coach would be put in. Costas is a baseball guy.

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 6:25:00 PM  

"With Brady out for the season the league will lose millions of dollars from advertisers and merchandise sales and ratings will definitely suffer."

Oh, brother. Lets just shut the league down. Its done.

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 6:31:00 PM  

You're quoting that bald dwarf Raissman who embarrasses himself and his newspaper on SNY in New York?

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 7:15:00 PM  

Bob Raissman should not be talking about partisanship. He crossed the picket lines during a newspaper strike and would be considered by many "a scab". Plus IT IS embarrassing on how little he knows about sports but is a sports media critic who often chastises people in the business for their own opinions.

Anonymous said...
Sep 8, 2008, 8:12:00 PM  

espn: Ditka is over the top but great and adds alot of fun.

cbs: I disagree, I don't think they are as bad as you think. Cowher needs to time to get over his surprising shyness, and JB is great and keeps all of the others in moderation.

fox: Jimmy is ok, Howie is great, and Bradshaw is a mess so maybe it balances out.

nfln: Rich Eisen, Jamie Dukes, and Rod Woodson aren't too terrible but Bryant Gumbel more than makes up for them in horribleness

nbc: Olbermann needs to go. You'll be in a bar and people will see him and just have knee jerk reactions. And he's not good either. Nbc of all networks is one of the worst.

Anonymous said...
Sep 9, 2008, 12:16:00 AM  

CBS - Let me be the first to say it...JB is annoying! I know he's touted as this great studio host, but I can't stand his constant "Shanno'n" fake french rendition, or his sudden bursts of excitement like someone just prodded him in the back.

I agree, none of the pregame shows are anything to write home about. Just get on with the games.

Anonymous said...
Sep 15, 2008, 9:19:00 AM  

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