clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Football on the radio

New, comments
A fairly obvious title for Merrill's book...
Last night I went to a company christmas party and ended up having a rather long drive home by myself. I took the opportunity to check out the Bears/Redskins game on the radio and really enjoyed it. I realized that it had been quite a while since I'd listened to a game on the radio and I had forgotten how great it can be.

The game was called by Dick Enberg and Dennis Green who I think did a really good job. Radio play by play guys are almost always better than TV play by play guys. They do different things, radio guys are painting a picture while TV guys more often than not are just trying not to get in the way. To me, there's so much more tension and anticipation in a radio broadcast. That classic "McNabb drops back, he looks left, looks right, he fires deep down the right side and it is... caught! Caught by Kevin Curtis who runs across the  30, 25, 20..." You see that all on TV, but the way it's painted on the radio can be so much more impactful.

Monday football has become unwatchable thanks to the way it's covered. The announcers are horrible, the presentation is about everything but the game... On the radio it isn't about anything but the game. You can't have a stupid celebrity interview during the action or make dumb jokes to one another because the play by play guy needs to be calling the action. I listened to Enberg tonight and just caught up in the excitement he brought the game, whereas I'm sure on NFL network Brian Gumbel was just as awful as usual. On the radio you have a master at calling games with a great football voice, and on TV you have weak voiced news reader who was only hired because he has a recognizable name. NFL network does a decent job presenting games overall, but Gumbel is brutal.

Also, I really enjoyed Denny Green as the color guy tonight. I thought he was insightful and it almost seemed as if he was coaching the whole game. Every situation he'd give you his evaluation of what was going on and tell you what the coach was thinking and what he'd do. It was all about tactics rather than the "wasn't this awesome!" stuff you get on TV. I think back to watching Eagles games on TV this year and just hearing the nonsense from guys like Brian Baldinger. He just repeats what you just saw and passes it off as analysis. I'm sorry but repeating that a guy just caught a ball and then saying he's the best in the NFL at what he does is not analysis. Talking about the route the WR ran, the playcall, how the play set up, what the defense was doing... that's analysis. Not "watch him hold on to this ball!"

Normally, I watch games at a bar with some friends and family so I don't get to listen to Merrill & Mike. However, I really think I'm going to try to make a point to listen to the radio this weekend.