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....
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.
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)