Monday Night Football should stop hunting for three-man magic
Like most of the legions of
Sports fans simply don't need three-part harmony. The games we watch on TV are not so endlessly complex that they require a trio of voices to explain the left tackle just missed a block. If anything, the technological advances on game telecasts in all sports provide so much visual information, the trend should be toward fewer voices, not more. Want to know down and distance? Red-zone efficiency? Field-goal percentage? Batting average with runners in scoring position? It's all on the screen, enough for do-it-yourself color commentary, no verbal explanation necessary.
Monday nights next season will feature the ex-quarterback Jaworski, a game-film junkie who gives viewers every X and O they could desire, and Gruden, fresh off the sidelines. We don't need both explaining the intricacies of the zone blitz. Give us Tirico, a fine play-by-play man, with Jaworski or Gruden, not both. It's no coincidence that from 2002 to '05,
Gruden should be aware that since Cosell, no one has really distinguished himself in MNF's third-man slot, nor has anyone lasted more than a few seasons. Some of the personalities who passed through the booth were awful. Take Miller, the acerbic comedian who for some reason seemed too intimidated to use his cutting humor in the booth, much like a nerd who feared the jocks would give him a pounding. Or take
The three-man concept has managed its rare successes outside the
Barkley's wild-card, what-will-he-say-next presence makes that three-man setup work. If