Shutdown Corner - NFL

Awful Announcing has been all over a miniature war of words going on between ex-quarterbacks turned-commentators Boomer Esiason and Troy Aikman. Boomer, for reasons I can't imagine, got things started by going off on Troy Aikman on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show. Boomer feels like Aikman was a little too pro-Cowboy in his commentary on FOX.

"It was the first time that I heard a legitimate bias from one Troy Aikman towards the Dallas Cowboys. You would've thought that the Arizona Cardinals weren't even in the building. I was taken back by some of the things that Troy was saying, and I like Troy. I really do. He's a very bright broadcaster, but the bias that was coming from him yesterday was actually stunning."

What I find stunning is that Boomer Esiason appointed himself ombudsman of NFL broadcasters. Why he feels like it's his place to tell other analysts how to do their job, I couldn't tell you. More on that in a second. Here was Aikman's response, as e-mailed to Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News:

"Well, I'm glad Boomer is watching the NFL on Fox. I take great pride in not showing a bias towards any team that I am broadcasting and I'm confident the teams that I have covered over the last eight seasons would agree that I've been balanced and fair with my coverage. Also, I never much got into critiquing other quarterbacks when I played and I don't get too wrapped up in critiquing broadcasters now."

The first thought I have here is that I've never found Aikman to be at all pro-Cowboy. It's not like he shows up in the booth wearing his old jersey, with a pair of leather boots and a Cowboy hat. If there's any bias there, he does a good job of hiding it. I think it's the kind of thing where if you're listening for it, you'll probably be able to find examples of it. If you're not, you probably won't.

But I think the bigger point is this: So what if Aikman did have a Cowboys bias? I expect analysts to talk about what they know, and spending his entire career as a Cowboy, yeah, Aikman might have a little bit of attachment to the organization. He's human. It happens.

Everyone's got biases. Am I to believe that Boomer Esiason played 14 years in the NFL and never liked or disliked anyone? And that every day he walks into the CBS studio or the Westwood One booth, he just checks those feelings at the door? What is he, a cyborg?

That's the thing about biases. They're there, whether you want them to be or not. And that's okay. You do your best to call things down the middle and you try to be perfectly fair, but there's always a human element involved. Let's embrace it, not stifle it.

Does anyone else feel like Boomer does, that Aikman is too pro-Cowboy? Are there any other announcers who lean to much in a certain direction?

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