Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Jul 2011

MMQB: Everybody is Ready For Some Football

While PK continues his vacation, this week's guest MMQB is Al Michaels. The erstwhile do-it-all analyst and longtime prime time football announcer discusses how the lockout has affected America, offers a bit of money management advice (craps, yes -- avacados, no), offers a [bleeping] classic Earl Weaver story, and explains why L.A. might wind up with two NFL teams instead of one.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 18 Jul 2011

54 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2011, 4:53pm by ChrisP5


by Fargo :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:16am

It's amazing how enjoyable this column is to read when it's not written by Peter King.

by Jerry :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:03pm

I wonder how you'd feel if any of the substitutes had to fill the space once a week instead of once a year. (It's actually less frequent than that.)

by Fargo :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 9:57am

Yeah, you're probably right....expecting PK to produce something entertaining and readable every week is unrealistic. It's not like he's being paid to be a professional sportswriter or anything.

by Dean :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:23am

I don't see LA getting a team any time soon. Biggest reason? As soon as LA has a team, then the other 31 owners can't threaten to move there.

Each time the TV contracts are re-upped, there's talk about the networks requiring the league to get back into that market, but if it hasn't happened yet, the network boys aren't suddenly going to force the leagues hand now.

by CuseFanInSoCal :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:44am

Eh. Eventually, some team will tell the city / county / state "build me a stadium or we're moving to LA", and the city / county / state will say "bye".

by Sophandros :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:39pm

Also, no teams in LA means no games being blacked out in LA; one has to wonder how much more advertisers are willing to pay in the current situation than when there is a chance that the second largest media market in the country has games blacked out.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by tuluse :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:09pm

I don't see LA getting a team any time soon. Biggest reason? As soon as LA has a team, then the other 31 owners can't threaten to move there.

Well eventually it just becomes an obvious empty threat and no one will buy the bluff. So you actually have to move a team there at some point. Then once you have moved a team there, whichever city has been vacated will be the go to threat for NFL owners.

Also, LA is a big enough city to support two NFL teams, so just because one is there doesn't mean another can't move there.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:29am

LA is only big enough to support the Lakers.

by dryheat :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 10:49am

Only as long as they're good.

by Dean :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 11:49am

And as long as you can show up fashionably late and leave early.

by Drunkmonkey :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:59am

I'm not saying this as a slight in any regard to Peter King, but this was one of the most enjoyable reads I've come across in way too long. I realize it was shorter, and that in truth I don't really read the MMQB that much, just the comments here, but this was definitely worth the 10 minutes that I spent not working on thesis papers.
One thing I can't believe is how Michaels thinks he won the lottery again with Collinsworth. I'm sorry, but I can't stand him. He's probably my least favorite thing about sports overall.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 11:16am

Which I think is odd, because Collinsworth is in my opinion pretty fantastic. He's smart, critical without being constantly negative, and doesn't Dierdorf (talk about how X player is TEH BESTEST EVAH). I'd listen to Collinsworth over pretty much any other analyst, I love the guy.

I didn't think this MMQB was all that different from one PK would write; pointless hotel/travel notes, bits about how so many people love football, the usual. That being said, it's Al Michaels writing it, so I automatically like it.

by Brendan Scolari :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 2:06pm

Agreed on Collinsworth, he is superb. Knowledgeable and critical at the right times, I don't think there's a color guy I'd rather listen to besides perhaps Mike Mayock.

Beyond that, what would you expect Michaels to say? "Collinsworth came in after Madden, but I can't exactly say I'm thrilled. He's a pretty mediocre color guy". Of course he's going to praise him on the record, regardless of what he actually thinks.

by dryheat :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 3:44pm

I'll go one better and say that Collinsworth is a much better analyst in the booth than Madden ever was. I find his voice a little off-putting, but I'd rather listen to good analysis in that whiny/condescending tone than nonsense delivered loudly and cartoon-like.

by tuluse :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:20pm

Madden the late years, you're right, but Madden in his prime was awesome. He was entertaining and knowledgeable. He always took the time to point out good offensive line play. His collection of anecdotes and "insider" information was superb.

Plus--and I'm guessing this is something you don't care about--he had a very inviting personality, he made you want to listen to him. To sit down and watch a football game with you pal John.

by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 5:21am

I don't really think it was late years V early years. I think it was good game V bad game. On a good, close game, Madden was amazing, but on a bad, not close game he just seemed to lose interest in actually analysing anything.

by Daniel2772 (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 12:42pm

Collinsworth better than Madden is just silly. Not that Collinsworth is horrible, but I don't particularly like him. I am old enough to remember Madden in the mid 1980's and he was the best. He has forgotten more about the game of pro football than Collinsworth will ever know. I think the job of being a color commentator has deteriorated so much that we now look at any former player that can string together enough words to form a semi-sensible thought as something to be celebrated. It is sad. I will give a shout out to Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk. They did an NFL network broadcast a few years ago and they argued strategy and technique the whole game. It was really great.

by Yesimadolphinsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:41pm

Joe Buck says play by play commentating has fallen off too. He then opines its because of the lack of moral fiber in American society.

by Tim R :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 6:24am

Yeah I remember that Faulk - Sanders game, they were great. I'm quite annoyed they never gave them another chance.

by Dean :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 9:58am

We forget sometimes that we are a minority. Yes, the readership here most likely appreciated the nuances and loved hearing about it.

BUT the overwhelming majority of football fans were lost and bored, and if the networks started skewing their coverage towards us, the ratings would end up in the shitter. Casual fans found that level of analysis boring and run away. Pathetic though it may be, there's a dynamic out there that actally LIKES jackasses like Kornheiser who sit in the booth and try to talk about pop culture rather than the game.

by tuluse :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 4:46pm

Kornheiser got fired after one year, so not too many people liked him specifically.

I also remember reading an article about how networks analyze the effect of the people in the booth totally wrong. Most people are willing to put up with being annoyed by the commentators because they just want to watch football. So when the producers go over the viewing numbers, they look good and think they've made a good decision while really everyone is annoyed.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 7:23pm

Two years. They replaced Theisman with Jaworski for the second year but kept Tirico and Kornheiser.

He also was not fired. He quit.

by tuluse :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 9:40pm

He also was not fired. He quit.

It sure looked to me like he was asked to leave and "quit" to save face.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 10:14pm

Ask Raju Narisetti how well that works out with Kornheiser.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 10:11pm

wasnt it 3 years? 2006 2007, 2008

then J. gruden tkae over 2009

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 10:16pm

You are, unsurprisingly, correct.

by tuluse :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 10:30pm

I appear to have suppressed memories of this whole ordeal.

by tuluse :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:11pm

Collinsworth comes across as extremely knowledgeable to me, but also extremely condescending. I have a mixed reaction towards him.

by Shattenjager :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 8:45pm

I don't like Collinsworth, either. He's an improvement over Phil Simms, certainly, but I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be.

Honestly, I've never heard a color analyst I did like.

by MJK :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 11:34am

LA NFL stadium in City of Industry? Really?

That's in the heart of the Inland Empire, practically inaccessible from all of the pricier coastal neighborhoods whenever the freeways are backed up (which is always). I don't see the typical luxury box denizen (which is how most NFL owners make a huge part of their ticket sales money) who lives in Costa Mesa, or Santa Monica, or Laguna Beach, let alone Beverly Hills, being willing to fight traffic to get all the way out to City of Industry for a football game when they could go to the beach or Hollywood instead.

Also, according to friends of mine that live nearby, the "Industry" in City of Industry is, well, let's just say not work safe to talk about. Apparently the town is chock full of porn shops, sex toy companies, etc., and that's just the legal half of the "Industry".

Seems an odd place for the second largest urban area in the country to be making a bid for a coveted NFL franchise...

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:13pm

I think he quietly agrees with you. Not much before, he says "Candlestick (Park) got built in the worst possible location." He then talks about the two LA sites: "The league would clearly prefer the downtown location. But we all know politics. And there's no way to predict where the monkey wrenches will be thrown."

by Lance :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:28pm

This link-- put together by the people proposing the statium-- has some arguments in favor of it. That said, as someone who lives in West LA, the thought of driving out that far on a Sunday morning is frightening. And Monday night? Forget it. The stadium would be empty because all the ticket-holders would be stuck in traffic!

by Karma Coma :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 3:06pm

"That's in the heart of the Inland Empire"

It isn't. City of Industry is in the San Gabriel Valley, part of L.A. County. The Inland Empire is the Riverside-Corona-San Bernardino-Ontario area. Although, in recent years, I've been hearing further and further places included - Victorville, Temecula and Palm Springs/Indio.

It would be easier for Orange County patrons to access City of Industry on a Sunday via the 57/55 & 60 than it would to take the 5 north through L.A. All the roads are jammed on weekdays, but the OC/ San Gabriel freeways are not bad on Sundays. Going anywhere from Santa Monica is terrible so it wouldn't matter where the stadium is built to them. It'll always be easier to leave L.A. on the weekend than for 60,000 extra people to flock downtown simultaneously. See any Lakers game for an example of this.

What your friends say about City of Industry is true, to some extent. (I'm glad to hear that Americans are still injecting bulb sealant into our own jack-o-matics and that those jobs haven't been lost overseas.) However, there are seedy sides to many NFL towns, so that shouldn't rule out City of Industry any more than it rules out Miami or Atlanta.

I'm not saying someone should base an NFL team there, but it's as worthy of consideration as another stadium for an overpopulated city with useless public transportation.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 11:59am

Al Michaels is a [bleeping] good writer and I'm not the least bit surprised.

by CincySaint (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:34pm

Sorry but I have disagree with most of the posts so far. I thought Michaels came off as a spoiled, arrogant, Republican egotist. (Oh wait, he is most of those things.)

The whole thing about the boutique hotels -- hey Al, get over yourself. Just because those places are trendy and don't cater to old rich guys like you doesn't make them bad. I like them and I travel on business a lot, too.

The only thing in his column I liked was his advice to NFL players to watch their money. I thought Michaels putting a short NFL career in context with how much the rest of us earn in a lifetime was very insightful.

Next time, stick to football.

by Sophandros :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:41pm

I enjoyed his jab at the true architects of the economic downturn...

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Whatev :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:35pm

He might be wrong about associating the "trendiness" with his actual complaints, but I can't imagine that you would be enthusiastic about staying at a hotel with slow service and uncomfortable furniture either.

by Reality (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 3:01pm

"I thought Michaels came off as a spoiled, arrogant, Republican egotist. (Oh wait, he is most of those things.)"
Because the young Democrats love snooty staff and uncomfortable furniture?

"Just because those places are trendy and don't cater to old rich guys like you doesn't make them bad."
These are expensive hotels branding themselves largely on their exclusivity. And you don't think that catering to the wealthy (and not just simply wealthy, but an internationally known icon of broadcasting) should be a key part of their business plan?

by TomKelso :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:28pm

to be fair to Al Michaels -- and do you know how hard it is to write that? -- he seems to have a better sense of what caused the financial crash than most of the folks he's lumped with.

But this hotel thing is a classic whinefest of his -- Chicago radio still gets huge laughs out of his complaining about the room he got stuck in when the Bears had to play one season in Champaign

by Whatev :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:40pm

The answer to question 3 is: Al Davis will never die.

by CuseFanInSoCal :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:47pm

Well, there's the Bill Simmons conspiracy theory that Al Davis is already dead and we're seeing 'Weekend at Bernie's' in real life -- and this is why the Raiders have been improving lately. :)

by andrew :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 3:10pm

raiderjoe takes over the team.

by MatMan :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 2:23pm

I really miss Al Michaels on MNF. Mike Tirico is great to listen to, but pretty much everyone else they've brought in since Al has stunk. Except Kornheiser. He was the best part of that trio.

by Floyd (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 3:04pm

The reason MNF has stunk is because of Tirico, not in spite of him. He's awful at setting up his color guys. He even makes Jaws bad. Kornheiser might have worked out if he had a better play-by-play guy to work with. But as long as ESPN is in love with Tirico, the MNF booth will stink.

by Southern Philly :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 4:39pm

I'm just going to assume his post was sarcasm. I hope it was.

by tuluse :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:17pm

MNF sucks and will continue to suck because of the production staff. They clearly have no interest in appealing to hard core football fans, and as an added bonus have no idea how to entertain casual fans. So we're stuck with crap, unfunny jokes and bits, Gruden comparing everyone and his dog to Brett Favre, and whole lot of forced laughter.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 7:02pm

I'm with you regarding the on-air personalities, but I think you meant to call out the producers...not the production staff which is very good. They've got some of the best production values out there. Great camera angles, tons of different looks available almost instantly... They go overboard big time with all their graphics, but they're very well done.

What continues to bug me is how much better Jaws could be if they just allowed him to go a bit more in-depth. He can explain football like no one else but offers almost none of that skill to MNF. It's clearly a decision the producers have made, but even casual fans would enjoy it the way Jaws does it. My other issue is that Jaws and Gruden sound a lot alike and at times I still won't be sure which one said something. Usually, if somebody is being complimented, I just assume it was Gruden.

by tuluse :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:07pm

Yes, the producers is what I meant.

I think both Gruden and Jaws could be a lot better if they were told to get more in depth (I don't think Gruden is quite the lost cause a lot of other people do). I think Tirico is very average, he mostly does his job and doesn't annoy me too much, but at the same time I'm never glad to hear him. I will say that he's better at football than basketball.

An uncle of mine once theorized that producers intentionally either put stupid people in the booth or instruct them to say stupid things so that the audience at home can correct them and feel smart. Which would explain a lot of decisions, but I think it's giving producers too much credit.

by ammek :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 4:03pm

He writes just like Word Smith in Philip Roth's Great American Novel. I half-expected him to come out with a load of words beginning with B.

by Jerry :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:05pm

I was in the William Penn Hotel a couple nights before the January 2009 AFC Championship, and saw that it was media HQ. I don't know if it was this past January.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:28pm

31 coimments already? Cant read akll now. Going to finish off what elft of Tommyknocker Butthead ((think 5 bottlels.) then dirnk that read this and comment larte. Goping to vbe interetsing to see what Michael have to sya.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 9:09pm

are you resady for some football? some monday night party? with hank amd al and dan readsy to oget the good timnes rolling rolling again. da da da da da da da da da da and all myrowdy friebds are herre for molnfday nigh eye ite

by Dean :: Thu, 07/21/2011 - 9:35am

Hell yeah! I'm so ready for some football, I'd even be willing to sit through that damn song!

by ChrisP5 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/06/2011 - 4:53pm

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