SPORTO: Auto Tuning Fox’s Eagles Broadcast 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. It’s Week 2, and Saints-Eagles looks like a big game on paper. FOX brings in its “A-Team” of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver.

1st Half

I’ve only had High Definition TV for a couple weeks, and I thought it came without a downside. That was until I saw Joe Buck in HD. His hair looks freakier (like a frozen, headless seagull) and his ears are more gnarled in HD. Weird, because Troy Aikman looks totally normal in HD.

Aikman opines that he thinks Kevin Kolb will play well. Put absolutely no stake in this statement, his job is to make you think you’ve tuned into a good game. Thus he can’t say, “I’ve got a gut feeling Kolb is five months away from being the new Graduate Assistant Coach at North Texas State.”

I quickly forgot about Joe Buck’s hair when I saw the alarming yellow fashion disaster that sideline reporter Pam Oliver was using for a jacket. Didn’t hear a word she said, I was like a deer in the headlights looking at that thing. Mental note: next time, close eyes tightly as soon as I hear “Pam Oliver”.

The Visitor: Troy Aikman “visited” with Kevin Kolb before the game, he “visited” with Saints coach Sean Payton over the summer. Kolb and Eagle TE Brent Celek “had a chance to visit”. I wonder if anyone got krimpets on their sojourn.

Aikman says Kevin Kolb is a “pretty cool customer”. Give it another half, Troy. Aikman also relays a quote from Eagles’ owner Jeff Lurie, who reportedly said, “There’s not a guy in our locker room that’s more respected than Kevin Kolb.” Riiiiight. Is it possible this is a misquote and Lurie actually said “less respected”?

Troy on Saints running game: “Where they’ve got to be better is when they do run it, they’ve got to be more effective.” Translation: They’ve got to be better at being better (or They need to be more effective in their effectiveness).

Troy: “Back when I was playing we tried to stay out of 3rd downs altogether.” There’s some practical advice, Einstein.

The Eagles are using plenty of unconventional formations, and Buck tries to crack a joke, saying, “We have seen the playbook, I think they’re on page 93.” Tick, tick, tick, finally Aikman realizes it’s a joke and bellows out with hearty laugher.

Four minutes to go in the 2nd quarter, game tied at 10, and the praise is really flowing for Kevin Kolb. “Kolb is tough” (Buck), “and a smart player” (Aikman) with “pinpoint accuracy” (Aikman). Finally it all boils over with this gem from Buck: “I’m sure he’s going to get a lot of attention by other organizations around the league after this effort against the Saints”. Bear in mind that aside from the big TD toss to DeSean Jackson, to this point Kolb is 9-for-14 for 60 yards. On the very next play, Kolb throws behind Jackson, missing out on an easy first down. The Eagles punt, the Saints score in 2 plays and never look back. Presumably those clicking sounds you hear are from 31 other NFL general managers putting down the phone.

Troy: “A minute and a half is a lifetime to Drew Brees.” He’s so good, he can distort the fabric of time!

2nd Half

If you closed your eyes like I did when I heard the name Pam Oliver, then you missed the point where she forgot what she wanted to say, looked up to the heavens and said “ahhh…what”.

The Eagles’ Ellis Hobbs fumbles the 2nd half kickoff. After the ensuing Saints touchdown, two Eagles fight each other for the same spot on the extra point coverage team. Andy Reid nails the referee in the back with his challenge flag. Things are going downhill quickly. Kolb’s first pass of the half is intercepted. Maybe he has more time than the FOX crew thinks to work on his Hall of Fame speech. Suddenly the Eagles are down 31-13.

Now down by 21 points, Ellis Hobbs enthusiastically celebrates his 63-yard kickoff return. During this display, he does the “two thumbs pointing at myself” move, thus answering the question, “Who lost the decisive, momentum-destroying fumble in this game about 10 minutes ago? That’s right, this guy!”
After a Reggie Bush touchdown run makes it 41-20, Aikman says, “That’s pretty indicative of the way that this defense has played throughout the day…. Pretty bad.”

The highlight of the game comes midway through the 4th quarter when FOX promos its new buddy comedy, “Brothers”, starring Michael Strahan and, yes, Carl Weathers. “Michael Strahan is about to face his toughest challenge…moving back home with his family! They may be related but that doesn’t mean they relate!” (the answer to your question is Friday night, 8pm). Almost as good as the promo was this exchange:
Aikman: “I’m looking forward to watching that”.
Buck: “As am I”.
Aikman: “I really am, I don’t know if you are, that didn’t sound very convincing.”

Next week: Chiefs at Eagles is a CBS game…one of only two chances to get Gus Johnson. Cross your fingers.

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