If you're anything like me -- love the NFL, have a short attention span and don't subscribe to DirecTV -- then you probably spend more time on Sundays with Scott Hanson than you do with any friends, family or loved ones.
The success of Hanson's NFL RedZone is generally attributed to the fact that it cuts to every afternoon NFL game without commercial. That's true, to a degree. But without Hanson to guide the viewer from game to game, the final product wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable, or satisfying.
As host, Hanson has the underrated ability to let the action on screen speak for itself. Because he doesn't have an oversized personality or draw attention to himself, you'd think his presence on the network wouldn't be crucial. All he's doing is navigating the action. But then you notice those few minutes every game where Hanson's clearly off somewhere taking a break and the director is cutting to games without the host explaining why or setting up the action. It's then you realize that without Hanson, NFL RedZone is just channel surfing.
While watching RedZone one day, I was, as usual, singing Hanson's praises when a friend of a friend commented that the host had the easiest job in the world. After a few calming breaths and a big swig of whatever I was imbibing at the time, I pointed out that Hanson's job only looks easy because he makes it seem that way. The beauty of his work is that he never lets the frenetic action of NFL game days overwhelm the viewer. He's a calming presence. Can you imagine Chris Berman doing a show like this? Or, for as much as we love him, Gus Johnson? It takes a steady hand and reassuring presence to guide the RedZone ship.
When a game is going down to the wire and we haven't seen a play in a while, I'm confident it's at commercial or has a lull in the action, because Scott Hanson has assured me that I won't miss a thing. When he says, don't worry, nothing's going on in the Falcons-Bucs game, I don't worry. His word is bond.
I mention this now because Hanson did an interview with The Tony Kornheiser Show on Thursday morning and talked about the magic of RedZone, how he auditioned for the gig and the fashion tips he receives. I recommend listening. (It's the 12-9-10 show, hour one.) He's as personable and affable on radio as he is on RedZone. Some of the choice quotes:
On the audition: "They put me and a handful of other guys in a room and gave each of us a Super-Gulp. And the last guy to leave the room was a host. And I have the willpower of a ninja."
Why RedZone works: "I really believe the success of this show boils down to two things. One, the American sports fans, of which I'm a part and you're a part, loves to know it all. And we can't know it all unless we've reasonably considered it all. And you can't consider it all unless you've seen it all. On NFL RedZone, you see it all. Now that can be said about a lot of things. The second part to that is our microwave society -- I want it now, I want to know now, I want see it now, I want it yesterday, and we give it to you."
Other enjoyable parts on the talk involve Hanson discussing how his fantasy team factors into his announcing, whether he and the crew make fun of teams when his audio is cut and how much he loves Gus Johnson. Hanson used Gus as an example of an exciting announcer. He didn't give an example of an unexciting one because he didn't want to burn bridges, so he used the generic "Joe Smith" as an example. That sounds an awful lot like a certain, non-exciting announcer to me!)
If this sounds like a love letter to Scott Hanson then, yeah, I guess it is. What can I say, the guy is fantastic at what he does.