Shutdown Corner - NFL

Football viewers in the D.C. area (like myself) have been stuck listening to FOX's "B" announcing team of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa an inordinate amount of times in the past six seasons. It's bad enough to suffer through the Redskins 5-11 campaign of 2006, but to do it while listening to Siragusa wax rhapsodic about the tugging that goes on underneath fumble piles, all while knowing that the only actual thought going through his mind is how much he wants to eat hot dogs, is a double-whammy of awfulness -- like getting kicked in the face during a proctological exam.

It's not just Goose though. Last week my friend Ben and I were watching Browns-Redskins game when we heard Ian Eagle mention that Cleveland KR Joshua Cribbs was from Washington D.C.. "Cool," we thought. "He's a local playing a road game near his home." But then Eagle mentioned it again. And again. Five times he mentioned it. And Cribbs isn't even on the field that much!

Everyone has their announcer pet peeves. I did an informal survey of some of my friends and here are the five biggest grievances:

5) Incorrect terminology. The Wildcat isn't the single wing. And a quarterback handing off to a receiver is an end around, not a reverse. 

4) Announcers telling viewers "watch this" and "look here". Dude, it's on the TV. I'm already looking.

3) Booths refusing to deviate from their talking points, even as other things are going on. Announcers refuse to talk about penalties, lest they interrupt themselves. Or their "key player" could be having a horrible game, but it gets ignored because they don't have anything in their notes about it. This goes into the next one: 

2) Not discussing penalties. I think the NFL has said something to the networks about not harping on penalties, because there have been less replays of holding calls and illegal contacts than ever. Sure, when there's a big pass interference or something that calls back a touchdown, you'll see a replay. But regular holding calls in the middle of the second quarter aren't getting shown anymore and it's a disservice to the fans. My conspiracy theory is that the NFL, intent on having refereeing becoming less of a topic du jour, has "requested" that networks focus on other things. Like Tony Siragusa's opinions on the best chili in Cincinnati.

1) Sideline interviews. The next informative sideline interview will be the first.

The annual Dr. Z TV Commentator Rankings were always the best source for rants about bad announcers. But those are a yearly compendium, so most of the foibles were weeks old by the time Dr. Z got around to them. And the indispensable Awful Announcing focuses more on individual lines and screw-ups, rather than errors in style and form.

Now, though, there's a great blog on washingtonpost.com called The Playback. Bloggers from the Post (like Dan Steinberg) and others from the sports blogging world (like Dan Levy) review one game per week from start-to-finish and a give thorough, detailed analysis of the good and the bad for that announcing team. The end result is a highly-readable and entertaining account of the (mostly) poor efforts put in by those at FOX, CBS, NBC and ESPN. The most recent post on Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcotts doing Browns-Redskins is a good place to start. You might even learn something. For instance, did you know Browns kick returner Joshua Cribbs is from Washington D.C.? Neither did I.

Leave some of your NFL announcer pet peeves in the comments section. We'll post some of the best early next week.

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