As I was discussing with my National Review colleague Russ Jenkins yesterday, it’s never too early to start thinking about football.
NBC has announced that ESPN veteran Dan Patrick will be joining the Football Night in America crew. Patrick shared the ESPN desk with a kindler, gentler, and absurdly mustachioed Keith Olbermann for many years. Here’s to hoping that Patrick can get him to stick to football. The only question is, with such a crowded FNA broadcast, will they use Patrick correctly?
Mike Florio over at the indispensable ProFootballTalk.com offers his take on how best to use him (and boy, Florio is clearly jonesing for some football):
Last year, NBC reshuffled the format a bit, relegating Barber and Bettis to the kiddie’s table, where the two of them and Collinsworth would provide the former players’ perspective on various issues. Costas and Collinsworth and Olbermann handled the highlights packages from the Sunday afternoon games, with Peter King chiming in on the results of any information gathering in which he engaged regarding any hot topics that had unfolded as a result of the 1:00 EDT and 4:00 EDT kickoffs.
We like the idea of Patrick and Obermann handling the highlights, but if we were calling the shots (and the shareholders of GE should be glad we aren’t), the show would be only Patrick and Olbermann, and no one else.
For years, ESPN handled the Sunday night highlights show with only Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. That’s it. No frills, just football.
Really, that’s all we care about come 7:00 p.m. on Sunday night. We want to see extended highlights of the games, and maybe snippets of post-game interviews and press conferences. We don’t need analysis from guys like Tiki and Jerome; we’ve got the rest of the week for that. We just want highlights. Extended highlights. With narration crafted in the present tense, so that it creates the illusion that the game is still be played as we’re watching the best plays from it.