Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Priest Holmes puts down nachos. Picks up mic.

I don't know if anyone else has taken a swing at this softball, but it'll be news to my mom, so here goes. The Star reported today that Priest Holmes recently attended the NFL Broadcast Bootcamp in the hopes of transitioning to a career in broadcasting. The article is a comical example of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

It opens with the clever conceit of handing football players playbooks with complete words rather than simple X's and O's. Having prepared us for the herculean tasks we are about to witness, Randy Covitz tells us that the players are staggered by the volume of instructions and tips involved in sports broadcasting. What are these behind the scene mysteries revealed to our aspiring analysts?

Know the players’ names.

Know their numbers.

Their colleges.

Their strengths and weaknesses.

And say it clearly, quickly and intelligently.*

For real. I realize NFL players aren't reputed to have the best minds around. But I'd like to credit them with basic observational skills and having watched a ton of football games on tv. Maybe they only watch game tape on mute. I don't know, and I wouldn't blame them. I do know that this is a list of instructions and tips grade school children would be able to produce with little prompting. I'd like to think that this is Covitz putting a patronizing spin on things and that the players aren't really staggered by this information.

I can almost convince myself that it's Covitz's spin. Holmes makes comments reflecting his newfound appreciation for avoiding "dead air," which is the kind of thing that seems obvious but is much harder to do than it looks. (Avoiding, not appreciating.) But then it gets silly.

[Holmes] benefited from some lessons from Dick Vermeil, his former coach with the Chiefs, who has had a distinguished career as an analyst.

“He talked to us about preparation,” Holmes said. “They were giving him credit as the one who invented the flip board, where you have the offensive and defensive (depth charts on each side) and can use it for tidbits about each player.”

Maybe I'm not appreciating the complexity of the flip board, or the insight necessary to create it. The way I'm reading it, it didn't occur to NFL broadcasters to use cheat sheets until Dick Vermeil came into the booth. I don't want to disrespect the particular skill set necessary to be a good broadcaster. And I guess it isn't news that NFL broadcasting is full of stupid. But the tone of the article presenting the easiest and most obvious parts of the job as these terribly complex and challenging things amuses me.

The article takes on a more dignified tone as it gets down to the real business at hand - promoting Priest Holmes as a candidate for a broadcasting job. I wouldn't exactly disagree with the nice things Dick Vermeil says about Holmes' potential. I've always been skeptical of claims that Holmes is a deep thinker. I know he can teach busty blondes how to play chess,** and that seems like a good transferable skill for an NFL broadcaster.

Holmes might be great, but I'm not particularly excited at the prospect. He gave us some great years at RB, and I always loved when he'd dive into the end zone. But then he just sort of collected a paycheck from Texas and showed zero interest in the team until the last crazy comeback. In my perverted and impotent sense of fan justice, I'm tempted to withhold my (meaningless!) support for him for awhile.

* The secret of Shannon Sharpe's broadcast career is not revealed.

** This cheap shot should not be taken as an endorsement of the belief that all large breasted blondes are stupid. Just the ones who dated Priest Holmes. Sorry, ladies.

1 comment:

  1. shannon sharpe's secret?

    Razzmatazz baby. Razz.Ma.Tazz.