SPORTO: Auto-Tuning Fox’s Eagles Telecast

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sportsguycropped.thumbnail.jpgBY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY You saw the Eagles game yesterday, but did you hear it? Maybe you were at the bar and missed out on the “insight” from the FOX broadcast. Or maybe you heard but couldn’t believe your ears. I’m here to fill you in on what you missed. On the call for FOX is the “C” team of Dick Stockton and Charles Davis (making the move to the NFL after working the BCS Championship Game for FOX). Chances somebody goes for a dog-fighting joke somewhere during this broadcast: 15%.

1st quarter: New boy Davis doesn’t say a word before the game, or after the kickoff, or before the first play. Then he’s silent again after only the 2nd play. You’re paid to talk! Say something!

Davis reveals that Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said that learning from his late boss Jim Johnson was like “the Harvard school of defensive football”. Shouldn’t he have referenced a school that is good at football?

While video shows Panthers coach John Fox running down the sideline, Davis cleverly compares him to Usain Bolt (get it? its cuz he was running…)foxstockdavis.jpg

2nd quarter: When Trent Cole knocks the ball away from Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, which would lead to the first Eagle touchdown, Stockton yells “Freeball!” Then he miscalls the touchdown, saying it was Omar Gaither, but quickly corrects himself (it was Victor Abiamiri).

At the 14:25 mark, FOX loses audio. Screw you  FOX,  I’m trying to write a column. This problem would continue throughout the telecast.

After Jake Delhomme throws his 2nd interception, Davis calls it the “worst possible start for Jake Delhomme.” Sorry, but wouldn’t a broken neck be the worst possible start? I’m just sayin’….

After the Eagles take a 24-7 lead, Stockton asks, “What is the answer Jake Delhomme can find for his team?” This is followed by 12 seconds of silence.

On DeSean Jackson’s punt return TD, Davis wants to make the point that the Eagles did a nice job of not making any illegal blocks. As he’s telling us, the replay shows a clear block-in-the-back by Chris Clemons. Davis plows right through, hoping we can’t see. But we can see, Charles.

They go to a camera shot of Stockton and Davis, and Stockton has his headset wire draped over his chest. Someone in the truck tells him about it and he jokingly blames Davis, “You’ve got to tell me to put this wire behind me”. You’re the 80-year veteran, Dick!

Less than a minute to go in the first half, and they’re already running out of things to say. You’ve got 30 long minutes to go, boys!foxstockdavis.jpg

3rd quarter: Holy shit! It’s sideline reporter Laura Okmin. We haven’t seen her since before the kickoff. What’s she got? Ah, some recycled coachspeak drivel. Good chance this is our last Laura Okmin sighting of the day?

When McNabb gets hurts after scoring to put the Eagles up 37-10, Stockton drops a syllable out of his name. I listened about 20 times to get exactly what he says, and it’s either “DonovanNabb” or “Donna McNabb”. Make your own joke.

Shot of Michael Vick in the Owner’s Box prompts Stockton to say, “In the house, Michael Vick.” Either Stockton is trying to incorporate some mid-‘90s slang or he wants us to make the “house”/”doghouse” connection (Vick is instreetclothes because he’s on league suspension…). I’m starting to think these announcers were warned not to utter the word “dog” under any circumstances.

They manage to hold off until the end of the 3rd quarter before Stockton fires out with, “Nothing could be finer” (than to be in Carolina…if you are over 95 you will get this 1922 Broadway reference). Way to keep it fresh, Dick.

4th quarter: Stockton says, “Donovan McNabb has thrown 2 touchdown passes today, more or less.” Actually, it was exactly two.

5:09 to go Kevin Kolb lifts his helmet to give us a tantalizing look at what appears to be the worst goatee in sports. Keep that helmet on, Kev!

Laura Okmin is back, but it’s never a good sign when a report starts with, “All I can tell you is…”. Don’t admit how little information you have!

With the camera on Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Stockton makes us smarter with, “One of the great owners in the National Football League, Jeff Lurie, who knows how to own.”

Despite the blowout, the stupidity was kept to a minimum as the game wound down. Or maybe I was zoned out. foxstockdavis.jpg

Random notes: Another season, and FOX still hasn’t cashiered their moron transformer-robot that helps distract viewers from the advertising heading in and out of commercials. In addition to his wide array of dance moves, this game found our metallic friend jumping rope and playing electric guitar (overhead!). But this is the NFL, shouldn’t the robot be mowing down pedestrians or slapping his robot girlfriend?

Times Davis refers to Stockton as “Dick”: 5

Times Stockton chuckles at something unfunny that he himself has said: 9

Stockton malaprops: “Panthers not quite up to quality on 3rd down”. “Spread the needle”. “You have to go far and deep to look for bright spots for Carolina.” “An incompleted pass”

Davis malaprops: “It’s constituted”. “Changed the curve”.

All-in-all, this was a decent effort by this crew. Stockton is a pro, and I liked Davis. Well spoken, understated and good at getting his explanations across. The Eagles will probably draw mostly the “better” announcing teams this year (if they are contenders like we all imagine), so I fear there will be few Chris Myers/Trent Green feasts to sink our teeth into.

Next week (vs. Saints): Joe Buck and Troy Aikman try to ruin the game for everyone.

 


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