THE BORN LESAR
What can you learn from a guy named 'Booger'?
I think I'm gonna write about football this week, even though I realize some of you are less interested in that than you are about the real cause of toenail fungus. Stay tuned anyway, 'cuz I may sneak in some rumors about your sisterin- law before we're finished. You won't wanna miss that what with the holidays coming soon. By the way, on that toe fungus thing ... it's from kicking frogs. Everybody knows that.
Well, anyway, it's not really football itself that I want to rail on, but the half-baked announcers the TV networks are hiring to call the games. Yeah, I get it, there's some allure to having a former defensive lineman whose abdominal muscles have turned into tapioca tell you about life in the trenches, but you'd thing a prerequisite for the job might be that you know an adjective other than 'uhm.' Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that these guys are of below-average intelligence, it's just that when you get concussed every Sunday afternoon for 10 years, perhaps public speaking is not a post-football occupation you ought to pursue. Brain damage research subject, yes; any job that requires you to pair a noun and a verb and use them in a complete sentence, no. Last evening I watched the latest installment of Monday Night Football. The game itself was superb, pitting two solid teams in Seattle and San Francisco against each other, with the outcome not decided until the final play, in overtime, mind you. While the action on the field was exciting, the blather coming from the announcer's booth was so aggravating I had to hit the 'mute' button for most of the second half. I did turn it back up for the Geico commercials, though. You gotta' love that little green gecko.
You know you're in trouble when tuning in to an NFL game when the color analyst's name is 'Booger.' That's right, Booger McFarland -- apparently Snotnose Schneider was unavailable -- is the best ESPN could come up with for this gig, so now we fans have to endure this 280-pound (according to his Wikipedia profile anyway) mumbling mountain for the entire contest. Man, I miss Howard Cosell.
Booger -- whose given name is Anthony, by the way -- has never met a sickening superlative he can't repeat at least 27 times per broadcast. Among his favorites is the ubiquitous 'unbelievable,' as in, 'That touchdown run was unbelievable.'
No, Booger, you just saw it, it just happened, it's right there again in slow motion replay, therefore, it is highly believable. Now, if Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson would throw a pass so hard that it sliced off the hands of his receiver, that would approach unbelievable. As it is, Booger's definition of the word is 'almost anything I see because I have the vocabulary of a lab monkey.' I was gonna' play that beer guzzling game Monday night where you have a drink every time Booger says the word 'unbelievable,' but I'd have been smashed by the first commercial break.
Booger also likes 'amazing,' which can be appropriate, except, again, after the 15th time. By definition, something is amazing if it provides 'great surprise or sudden wonder,' and a running back's tackle-breaking, spinning, directionchanging jaunt to the end zone could certainly be described as such. However, every other play for Booger seems to bring a new 'sudden wonder' as he uses the adjective more times than an Easter preacher describing the Resurrection. Jesus rising from the dead, wow, that's amazing. Jadeveon Clowney sacking the quarterback. Yeah, not so much.
Booger's partner in the MNF booth is a guy named Joe Tessitore, who no one but his parents, his siblings and maybe some guy at the local McDonald's has ever heard of. It doesn't matter, because Booger talks so much that Tessitore is relegated to saying 'Good evening' as the broadcast gets underway and maybe mentioning the game score once or twice a night. In unscripted on-air banter between the two, Tessitore calls him 'Boog.' How sweet.
I shouldn't be so critical of just one football announcer, because, in my opinion, they're almost all guilty of gross over-exaggeration of a relatively simple sporting event. Look, guys, there are two teams, and a football. One team gets it and the other tries to take it away. Granted, game analysts have three hours of air time to fill, but how many of us really care that the run-pass option works 28 percent of the time when it's third down and 6 and longer, or that defensives that blitz out of man coverage formations are vulnerable to deep crossing routes.
Another of the most egregious violators of the 'can't you just please shut up for three seconds' rule is NBC color man Chris Collinsworth, who could write a 600-page single-spaced research paper to describe a play in which the quarterback drops the snap from center and falls on it. Collinsworth is quite incompatibly paired with the highly professional Al Michaels, which is like having brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking (I know, he died, it's just an example) discussing quantum string theory with Junior Samples from Hee Haw. After Michaels makes a succinct, well-spoken point, Collinsworth is apt to launch into some long-winded elocution regarding the chances of a screen pass working against nickel coverage in the rain with a second-string quarterback coached by a guy who married Vince Lombardi's niece's nephew (sure, I'll give you a minute to think that one through). Suffice it to say that Collinsworth, and Booger, and most of their ilk, they just talk too damn much.
I have been lately watching football with the TV sound off, and it's just fine. One can see for yourself what's transpiring on the field, without any ex-jock calling to your attention that the 1-yard run you just witnessed is 'unbelievable.' No. It's not. I saw it. It happened. I believe it. Now I believe I've had enough of this and I'm gonna turn the channel and watch one of those cooking shows in which the contestants get 45 minutes to bake a souffle out of orange peels, eel glands, organic butter and mud.
And hey, look at you, you stuck it out. Good for you. That deserves a reward, so as promised, about your sister-in-law. Keep this quiet, but I heard she goes to church every Sunday and knits mittens for the local homeless shelter.
What? I didn't say they were gonna' be sleazy rumors.
by TRG Editor Dean Lesar