Apparently, there are a few NFL analysts with not enough to do during their time on the air, and that includes doing their homework. According to Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf, Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci and Deion Sanders are among those who have made sport of Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano's predilection for wearing sunglasses under any circumstances -- including at night or when his team is playing in a dome. In contrast to whatever those people may be thinking, Sparano is not trying to be nouveau chic, he is not trying to be Hollywood or South Beach, and he is not trying to live out some cheesy Corey Hart lyrics.
Oof. Anyway, per Cote's blog, the real reason for Sparano's eyewear preference is far more serious:
Sparano, while working in a Connecticut restaurant as a teen, lost his sight for nearly a month after hot grease from a deep-fryer accidentally splashed in his eyes. To this day, his eyes water excessively and are extremely sensitive to light. That is why he often wears sunglasses when others might not. It is why lights are rarely on in his office. The look happens to fit rather nicely with South Beach chic, come to think of it. And makes for easy jokes. But the look also reminds that Sparano seeing at all might be what some would even consider a miracle.
Precisely. It would also behoove most of the fine gentlemen on the list above to remind themselves that they'd be hard-pressed to find any members of the fairer sex to testify that they're standing on the precipice of the Brad Pitt Hunkalicious category. In fact, many of those guys are a tad goofy-looking (as is the esteemed author of this very post, if you really want to know).
[Related: Playful NFL coach pranks his player]
Melody Gardot, one of my favorite singers, has suffered from extreme sensitivity to light since she was involved in an auto accident when she was 19 years old. She doesn't wear her shades to be jazz cool; she doesn't have a choice if she wants to live and work in the world. It's the same with Sparano, and those who don't want to study up on the people they cover before they start acting like juvenile delinquents by making fun of things people can't control -- and certainly would rather not have to deal with -- should probably just keep their mouths shut. Sparano is a good guy and a fine coach, and he shouldn't have to put up with this garbage.
- Deion Sanders
- Steve Mariucci
- Dan Dierdorf