The NFL Network’s Thursday night coverage features Matt Millen, Joe Theismann, and Bob Papa in the booth And Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Deion Sanders, and Marshall Faulk on the Halftime and Post-Game Shows. And Kurt Warner, Sterling Sharpe, and Jim Mora as analysts on the kickoff show.
Oh, and Jay Glazer, Michael Lombardi, and Kara Henderson also on the kickoff show. And Dom DeLuise directing an ensemble singing the “French Mistake.” And Fran Charles as host of the kickoff show. nd Max Weinberg on the drums. And Jason La Canfora as kickoff reporter, with Alex Flanagan as sideline reporter. And the complete cast of Lost, season 4. And Mike Mayock, Bucky Brooks, Paul Burmeister, and Steve Wyche on NFL.com/Live. And Kenny Powers on mid-post kickoff analysis. And, well, I’m probably forgetting some, but the NFL Network proudly tells us they have a 23-person broadcast team on Thursday night.
The number 23 is so awkward. It’s a prime number, not divisible, unnatural. So here’s my idea, and I think you’ll like it: 24-person broadcast team. Think about it. You want to go with a 8-4-2-6-4 formation for the pre-other pre-booth-post-post post lineup, you can. Or you can go 4-6-4-6-4. Versatility.
I can think of two members of the current roster that I can do without. I feel truly sorry for those of you who were watching it live, because I watched this one on DVR and was able to fast forward some of the commentary between plays. Theismann is unbearable as it is, but then to combine him with Matt Millen is a stroke of genius. That two-minute drill by these two was a thing of beauty. My personal favorite was Matt Millen suggesting that it was an option for the Ravens “to let them score quick” like Holmgren did once, before clarifying that he doesn’t agree with doing that. Just to set the scene, Baltimore had the ball at the 9 yard line, with 1:10 left, and Atlanta was ahead by 6 at the time. Yes, Matt, because letting someone score in a tie game where they will otherwise kick a game-winning chip shot after draining all the time is the same as having a lead by six where there is no field goal option.
Why do these networks think that more bodies are better when it comes to television coverage? It seems like the Sunday pre-game shows are getting more and more absurd, with so many people that some have to sit off to the side like they are banished to the kid’s table at Thanksgiving dinner. The NFL Network has upped the ante, so it’s your move, ESPN, FOX, and CBS. The stakes have been raised, and we aren’t ever going back to the days when Brent Musberger, Irv Cross and Jimmy the Greek.
Here’s one guy that happens to think less is more.