Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Dec 2005

Collinsworth and Madden Would Unite Analytic Minds

Yeah, I'm not so sure Chris Collinsworth is the guy I want working with John Madden next year. For sheer comedic reasons, I'd love to see either David Brent or Buck Laughlin in the booth. Or maybe even Stuart Scott. Has anybody else noticed the pained, puzzled expression Madden gets every time he has to talk to Scott during Monday Night Countdown? Multiply that by 100 and you've Sunday night fireworks. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 02 Dec 2005

18 comments, Last at 03 Dec 2005, 8:13pm by Giving HIm the Business


by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 2:58pm

Great indirect Parker Posey reference.

by JonL (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 3:39pm

I think an even better comedy option would be to have Madden to the play by play.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 4:23pm

I like the idea, although I also like the idea of a Collinsworth-Costas NBC studio show, and we can't have both. I'm generally just really down on announcers. It's hard to watch a game without hearing one say something stupid. But Madden and Michaels have brought their A games this year.

by Richie (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 5:12pm

MDS - I used to get annoyed by stupid comments. But I think just about anybody who has to talk on the fly for 3+ hours at a time is going to mix in the occasional dumb comment. Of course some have more than others, but they all screw up.

I caught just the end of a news report on the radio the other day about some sort of new game package that the NFL is trying to sell to a network with Thursday and Saturday games. Does anybody know more about this? Is the NFL thinking about having games every Thursday? I hope not.

by Richard (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 6:02pm

If Joe Buck is being cited as the premier of a given crop, perhaps it's time to burn that crop. I say try no play-by-play announcer. I'd certainly watch and give it a go.

by Richie (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 6:06pm

Wasn't "no play by play" tried out once? I think they used just two color guys. Terry Bradshaw and somebody else. I think it was a Jets game in the late '80s or early '90s.

I think somebody even tried a game with no announcers at all once.

by Aaron Boden (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 6:09pm


Due to the CBC strike, we had a bunch of CFL games with no announcers - Just crowd noise and the guy over the PA. It wasn't too bad, but we also didn't have any replay either, which kind of sucked.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 7:17pm

Did anyone else laugh at this?

"'Dick and John are close,' said Sandy Montag, Madden's agent."

by Richard (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 7:23pm

No announcers was tried once by NBC in the early 80s (I believe). For some reason, I think it might have been the Heidi game. Can anybody confirm that?

At halftime, Bryant Gumbel appeared on screen and explained to the audience what had been going on. It was kind of strange.

by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 7:28pm

Fox did this something like that for a preseason game in the mid 90's.

Can't remember if there were no announcers at all or if Jimmy Johnson and someone else would comment after each play.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 7:42pm

The Heidi game was in the '60s. (1968?) Before I was born.

The no-announcer game was a Jets-(Patriots? Dolphins?) game, most likely in 1980. I don't remember anything beyond that, even though I watched it. Well, that, and I was vaguely disappointed with the experiment -- every now and then, I had a question about the action, and nobody even tried to explain what was happening.

So kind of like Sunday nights on ESPN now, but quieter.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 9:49pm

Beginning next year, there will be night games on Thursdays and Saturdays in December. The rights to that package haven't been sold yet, but my money is on a newcomer -- maybe Comcast/OLN.

by Richie (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 10:14pm

Thursday night games is screwing with the fantasy football crowd - not smart.

by MAW (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 10:16pm


God, I hope Comcast/OLN doesn't get it, after the disaster that is their NHL coverage this year. Them getting the NFL would be akin to your local cable access channel covering a prime time game. We'll be yearning for the days of the Three Stooges if that happens.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 11:26pm

The NFL "no announcers" game was Jets/Phins in 1980:

There is a precedent for airing an NFL game without the use of broadcasters. On Dec. 20, 1980, NBC aired the New York Jets at the Miami Dolphins. The Jets were 3-12 entering the game and the Dolphins were 8-7. (Jets won 24-17). Since the game had no playoff implications, NBC decided to let the sounds from the stands and the PA announcer serve as the sole audio. No players were miked. Dick Enberg set the scene for viewers at the beginning of each quarter and then viewers were taken to the stadium.


by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 2:43am

5 is my nomination for post of the year. I started out really liking Joe Buck because he was polished and professional. Then after listening to him for a year or so I noticed his head is just as empty as the others and I find him annoying now.

He is a fake plastic tree.

I would really like to see them try to get back to basics with the announcing (one guy explains anything non-obvious that happens, other guy adds in USEFUL football wisdom (i.e. the non-"run the ball when you are ahead variety")

by Jerry (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 7:10pm

Re #6:

Fox did do a Saturday afternoon game with Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson in the booth. Like the 1980 no announcers game, it was a chance for the televising network to hype an otherwise unappealing Saturday telecast.

And Starshatterer is right. The Heidi game was an AFL contest.

by Giving HIm the Business (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 8:13pm

Something needs to change in the booths. Just because you played professional football does not make you qualified to talk about it. I've had more than my fill of Randy Cross over the years. A few years ago I caught a LA Dodgers broadcast, and was delighted to hear only one voice calling the action. Vin Scully's solo effort was far more complimentary to the sporting event than any so-called insight I'd ever heard from a color guy. Maybe the networks fortunate enough to carry the NFL should take a cue and try broadcasting with only a play-by-play annoouncer. I'd love to hear Marv Albert back in action ("...picks up the first down, and more!") without having to defer to some moron interjecting after each whistle.