Home > Sports, TV > What's worse than bad football? Even more badder announcing

What's worse than bad football? Even more badder announcing

It’s halftime of the epic UNC-Wake Forest showdown. UNC is down 17-3, and the football landscape has shifted so wildly in the past few years that I’m no longer upset that the Tar Heels are losing to the Demon Deacons. We live in a world where Wake Forest is the incumbent ACC champions, and UNC stands at only 2-5 on the year. Crazy world. Up is down. Day is night. K-Fed is a great dad.

So, since I’m not irritated at the play of the Tar Heels, why am I fired up enough to crank up the four-year-old laptop and hammer out some text? Well, it’s because this game comes to us via the Lincoln Financial Sports Network (the regional outlet for ACC country). And that means the “game of the week” crack announcing crew of Steve Martin and Rick “Doc” Walker.

Now, when I’m watching a Lincoln Financial Sports game, I’m not expecting anything on par with a network game or an ESPN effort. But, I would expect it to outclass the local public access coverage of Dipshit High School. In the first half, Martin and Walker have not met that lofty standard.

What have they done?

  • Martin has done a lot of stuff that grinds my gears, including calling a simple reverse a double reverse (two handoffs, one to the wingback, the next to the WR). On one of the first plays, he identified an outlet pass to the fullback as a “screen!” even though he had, you know, no blockers in front of him (which is really what makes it a screen). All of these things added together make it wish it was the comedian Steve Martin doing the game. At least he would be intentionally funny.
  • Martin has also made some weird, weird calls. Wake Forest, on first-and-10, ran the ball for six yards. Martin dismissed it as a short gain. Um, I’m pretty sure Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe was happy with a six-yard gain. Later in the first half, Martin calls a 1st-and-15 play for UNC, and a nine-yard pass from the Heels led to another “short gain” call. Nine yards isn’t enough?
  • “Doc” Walker is doing his best impression of Tim “Rambling Nonsense” McCarver. He has picked out several points, and keeps going to them in different ways. UNC is young, they’re not old, they’re lacking experience, they’re youthful, etc. He doesn’t have a command of the English language, but he does own a thesaurus.
  • This may be the most unforgivable aspect. Throughout the game, it seems like Martin is having trouble spotting the ball. He can’t seem to get the down and distance. Maybe their spotter is hammered – or watching another game.
  • All of this culminated into a breathtaking piece of commentary. UNC punted and the ball went out of bounds at the Wake Forest 24. UNC was called for holding after the punt, which left Martin scrambling to figure out why the punt team didn’t come back out on the field. Walker drops in that it’s OK to hold if “you’re protecting the quarterback.” That’s great, except it was a punt, not a pass. Then, Martin, says that the penalty will take the Deacons to “near midfield” (even though it’s a 10-yard penalty from the 24 – which still leaves 16 yards to midfield). And then, Martin – who has undoubtedly called hundreds of games – lays down the final part of this failure, by thinking that it was a 15-yard penalty, does the math wrong anyway, and just stammers until the referees actually place the ball on the ground.

Now, I know what you’re probably saying. “C’mon, dude, they’re just human.” Yes, that’s true. But, in this case, it’s obvious that they aren’t on their a-game. If you could get past the fact that my voice sounds like I’m a hyper 14-year-old, I’m sure I can do better. At least I’d know how many yards a holding call is. Jeez.

Gotta get back to the game. Wake Forest is getting ready to score halfway through the third quarter. Guess I should try to find a good flick on HBO.

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Categories: Sports, TV

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