FRISCO - Matt LaFleur seemingly goofed. Sean McDermott seemingly goofed.
By not ripping into Sunday's losing coaches in the NFC and AFC Championship Games, did Troy Aikman and Tony Romo also goof?
My SI colleague Jimmy Traina writes smart and funny reviews of the world of sports media, and does so here with his "Random thoughts on Sunday’s NFC and AFC title games.''
Traina on Aikman and the Green Bay coach, who wasn't able to overcome now-Super Bowl-bound Tampa Bay:
Fox's Troy Aikman did a nice job addressing Matt LaFleur’s nonsensical decision to kick a 26-yard field goal down eight with 2:09 remaining. “I’m really surprised by that decision, Joe. I thought that they’d go for it on fourth down. You’re just not sure with Tom Brady that they’ll get another shot at it,” said Aikman.
Traina on Romo and the Buffalo coach, who wasn't able to overcome now-Super Bowl-bound Kansas City:
It would’ve been nice if (CBS') Tony Romo had taken Bills coach Sean McDermott to task for kicking 20- and 27-yard field goals against the high-powered Chiefs. Romo was shocked by the 20-yarder late in the first half, and even suggested the Bills might be running a fake field goal, but he never directly called out McDermott for hurting his team by being so conservative.
Should Aikman and Romo, the two former Dallas Cowboys QBs now at the top of their professions in the TV business, have torn the coaches to shreds? Traina believes so, and more, offers a reason for why they didn't.
Aikman could’ve been more forceful in hammering LaFleur for making such a terrible decision, but you’re just not going to get analysts tearing into coaches on NFL telecasts.
Again, network analysts aren’t going to spend more than a couple of seconds calling out coaches during telecasts.
I generally defer to Traina on these matters (he knows TV), but because I've dealt with Aikman and Romo for years preceding their work as analysts, I have a slightly different take.
When Romo disagrees with you, in interviews and in conversation, demonstrates a mastery of the eye-roll and the sideways grin. It's really not his nature to "rip'' people; he's more subtle than that.
On TV, he does plenty of enthusiastic squealing ... but it's about positivity. That's just his nature.
And Aikman? Listen closely over the years - and again, this is how he talks when there are no TV cameras presence - to what friends know to be a trademark of Troy's version of negativity.
"I don't know that that's a good idea,'' Aikman will say.
That is Aikman's version of saying, "That's a bad idea.''
He's talked that way for at least 30 years. And so this is where I disagree with Jimmy a bit: This isn't Aikman "going soft'' on LaFleur; This is Aikman being Aikman.
Want high-volume and hyperbolic analysis of these two decisions? The network sports channels have turned into screaming matches. Who can issue the harshest judgment? Presented most forcefully? Cranked up most loudly?
Nah, a little "subtle'' is good for the TV-watching soul.
And there is something else. Traina and most of the rest of the football-watching world wasted no time (via social media) in trashing the two decisions as obvious goofs. But is it possible they are something slightly less than "obvious''?
On the LaFleur call, the math doesn't add up for me - but I'm not above being willing to listen to the coach's reasoning. Did he have even the slightest justification for thinking he'd get the ball back?
On the McDermott calls, again, I am with Romo on being "surprised'' by the field-goal decisions - but I'm not above being willing to listen to the coach's reasoning. Is "he was too conservative'' a fact? Or an opinion?
Ideally, of course, LaFleur and McDermott get all their calls right and Aikman and Romo do the same (and Traina and Fisher do the same!) ... all in spur-of-the-moment, real-time, "Pop quiz, Hotshot!'' style. But sometimes, we can have days to prepare in order to get it just right, and we still goof. On both sides of the camera. Witness ...
Patrick Mahomes ... goes with the "yawn,'' again, championing the strength of subtlety.
CONTINUE READING: Aikman EXCLUSIVE: Cowboys Will 'Sleep Well' If They Sign Dak