By Joe Torosian
Bill Daggett: “I don’t deserve this — to die like this. I was building a house.”
Will Munny: “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”
When I turn off a preseason game, it’s not because of the bad football but because of the horrific announcing. You never have an appreciation for network announcing teams until the NFL Preseason and have to hear local broadcasts.
Years ago, NBC experimented by showing an NFL game without an on-air announcing team. It was just football without commentary. And in an age before graphics, before lines marking first downs, before lines marking the line of scrimmage, and down & distance superimposed on the field for television…Football without commentators didn’t work.
It’s time to bring that experiment back. The technology has caught up.
This is why…
The assumption is that anyone who puts in the work can be an announcer. Truth is, they can’t. At least not at a high level, not an NFL level.
You can major in broadcasting, study broadcasting, but if you don’t have the chops…Then you don’t have the chops. There’s a lot of people who can sing, but there’s only a handful that you would pay to sing. There’s plenty of people who can talk about sports, but there’s no glut of good announcers.
Didn’t we learn this lesson in Citizen Kane? You can give lessons, take lessons, but it boils down to some people can sing—like Celine Dion…And some people can sing like—Joe Torosian. I might work harder than Celine, I might be more committed than Celine…but Celine should always be hired to sing before me.
She has the talent to sing. I don’t.
On the football field, I’m a firm believer in hard work beating talent. When speaking into a microphone, not so much.
No matter their schooling, no matter the work they’ve put in, no matter their gender, race, religion, they should not be put on the air if they suck. I don’t want to hear they deserve a chance. Deserve has nothing to do with it. Do they have talent?
Are you telling me there was a producer or executive that heard Beth Mowins voice and thought; “This is good. It’s really going to work!”
No, they didn’t. And if the Execs tell you they did, then they are lying. They put Mowins on the air because they thought she deserved a chance. She worked hard, she earned it. And I’m not taking that away from her. I have no doubt she worked hard all the way up the ranks, but why did they put her behind a microphone in an NFL game?
Because she’s a woman, who deserved a chance.
And if I say I don’t like her voice, then that’s code for not wanting women in sports. Yada, yada, yada, unleash feminisms Third Wave cavalry on me.
But I don’t like her voice, a lot of people don’t like her voice, but they’re forced to say, “it’s okay” because there’s a fear they won’t be loved, accepted, and labeled a hater.
But I digress…Have you heard Andrew Siciliano? He works hard, he’s a good studio host, he worked himself into a position where he “deserved” a chance…and he sucks. It’s not what he should be doing. (And I won’t even get into Mina Kimes offering color commentary)
Have you ever mentored somebody in a particular field? Have you seen them put in all the hard work of preparation and paying their dues? Of course, you have, we all have, but at some point you realize… “The dude just doesn’t have the chops.”
(Like Randy Jackson in the old American Idol when they didn’t put somebody through to Hollywood. “Yo, dawg, this just isn’t for you.“)
Were you honest with them? No matter what anybody says in this supposed “keeping it real” culture…No one ever tells the truth. That’s why the Raiders and Rams have the broadcast teams they have.
Nothing easy about being behind a microphone or in front of a camera. Nothing easy about the preparation. Nothing easy about speaking clearly. But there’s nothing like talent versus those who don’t have talent.
If you grew up in the Los Angeles area, you feasted on Dick Enberg, Vin Scully, Chick Hearn, and Bob Miller…You know what is terrible and what isn’t. And to say anybody with hard work and desire should be behind a microphone, calling a game, is dishonest.
And you shouldn’t have to lower standards to make other people happy. Instead, tell them the truth. Dawg, this just isn’t for you.
Some can, some can’t. Some should be studio hosts, or—heaven forbid—sideline reporters. Maybe they should be writers, perhaps they should read the news on-air, but not everyone is built to call an NFL game.
And if you ever heard Phil Simms (or Mina Kimes) offer color commentary, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The Dude abides…
Author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b