GUEST COLUMN: The words of football
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 by Mark Magnan
We are in the middle of football season. I really enjoy football, it is a good time of year. I follow the game on all levels. We are fortunate to have a good high school program in this area. That is evident by the quality of the players recently put into both college and the pro ranks. That says a lot for the leaders at the local schools.
I am lucky that at times I get to see the game from a view point not always available to the regular fans. This adds a lot to the understanding of the inner workings of the game. I get to see and hear some parts of the game that normally are not well known. This makes it more interesting to me. There is still a lot that I don't know or understand, especially when it comes to the strategy. What I have learned is about some of the finer details of the nitty gritty on the turf.
One of the obvious things you get when you are actually at a game, being either in the stands or on the field, you get the game announcer. Most of the time this is just "matter of fact" announcing. After all you can see what is going on and often you can hear the plays.
On TV we get the luxury of having both a game announcer (play by play) and a color announcer. The play by play announcer gives us the cold hard facts. They would be equally at home in the press box over the loud speaker or speaking into a broadcast microphone. This position requires a vast knowledge of the game. It does seem that not very many of these specific game announcers were former players or coaches. They are professional announcers that have a lot of experience in both speaking and of course, the game of football. I find for the most part, these are an acceptable part of watching football of TV.
The flip side of this is the "color" or "analyst" that works with the play by play announcer. His job is to make the game more interesting, by adding color. It seems that the recent trend is to use former players. Therein is my issue. Often these former players don't do a good job of hiding their allegiance for their old team, or the dislike of some of the old nemesis teams. Along with that they are not professional speakers and are, well, just annoying. Something just this side of fingernails on the blackboard. (for the younger readers, blackboards were replaced by dry erase boards, and the horribly irritating sound you could create with fingernails was lost forever... thankfully.) Often the "player" announcers use the words "me" and "I" a lot, referring to the time when they played. Or how they had to play the game. Of course it was always worse in the past, just like when your parents had to walk to school in the snow, even though they lived in Texas.
Many of these color announcers play Monday morning quarterback while the game is still ongoing. They point out mistakes and faults of the players. A running back should have run outside, or the quarterback wants that pass back, or the defense missed that play. Well if we could rewind the play I am sure that the coaches and players would be able to score of every play, knowing what "could" have happened. Of course we do the same thing at home, I think it is expected of the home fans to replay the game like this. We certainly don't need a former player, with an annoying voice that played for a disliked team to tell us what our team did wrong. We get it!
We also see the "former-player announcer" that played for our team, that is going overboard trying to be unbiased, to the point that they seem to be almost against their old team at times. I can be plenty critical of the poor play put up by my team. At times I wish I had a hot-line to the head coach, because I could call a better game. There are enough negative comments coming from my easy chair to last throughout the game. The last thing I need is a former rival player taking my side and running my players down. I can do that, the announcers should refrain from it.