Monday, September 11, 2006

Al Saunders Makes Two Million Dollars!
The much-hyped season debut of Monday Night Football is over. It was notable for several reasons -- it was on ESPN, it featured the debut of Tony Kornheiser, it was on September 11, and it involved the Redskins.

It wasn't that great. ESPN's coverage didn't seem much better or worse than any other football coverage. The intro, that involved Arnold Schwarzengger and I'm really not sure what else, seemed like a big waste of some expensive graphic techniques. I was hoping that Hank Williams, Jr., maybe would have taken a wrong drunken turn during the ride from ABC to ESPN, but that didn't happen. The new version of the player intros is dumb -- one guy talks, the rest of the guys are listed on the screen and may or may not be mentioned by the guy who's doing, we're told, the introductions. ESPN gave us two sideline reporters, which really paid off when after the first quarter, Suzy Kolber told us that Pierson Prioleau, who we saw being helped off the field with his right leg in a splint after the opening kick-off more than a half-hour earlier, appeared to have an injured right leg. But her hairstyle brought back fond memories of the original Charlie's Angels.

Tony Kornheiser exhibited an Austin Powers-like fixation with how much money Dan Snyder (who knows Tom Cruise, by the way) pays Al Saunders. Two Millions Dolllars!! Say it again, Tony. When you're looking at a stadium filled with 90,000 people, all of whom have paid an average of more than $100 for a ticket and are decked out in Redskin flair from head to toe, two million dollars just doesn't seem like that much money to me.

Even more annoying, Tony has discovered this new thing called Fantasy Football, and he thinks it's cool to mention it when one of his players does something that earns him points. I can't think of anything more annoying, and that's coming from a guy that's been in the same fantasy baseball league for about 20 years. Tony's said elsewhere that he didn't even pick his team, so I really don't get what the point is, although I suspect that he is mocking me. On a positive note, Tony didn't talk about his money or golf, and he didn't whine about what time he goes to bed. He also made nice with Joe Theismann. At least I think it was Joe Theismann, although he kind of looked like a wax museum version of Joe Theismann. Maybe those fancy computer graphics were involved.

September 11-wise, it was cool to see all the flags in the stadium. I saw a sepia-toned Chris Berman, with his head taking up the entire screen of my tv, introduce a halftime feature, but I didn't listen. I can't remember the last time that Chris Berman said something that was remotely interesting to me. Quite possibly, never. I half-watched the feature, which seemed very nice, if a little lacking in new material.

As for the Redskins, well, they weren't as bad as they were in pre-season. But they do have some problems. Brunell could have looked worse. The offense showed an inclination to go with screen passes. If they keep it up, look for better defenses than the Vikings to score touchdowns. Clinton Portis looked good the time he was out there. Although we'll never really know the truth about his injury, he sure looked healthy, and I think they would have benefitted from getting him more carries. Antwan Randle-El looked good, as did the great Santana Moss. TJ Duckett didn't even play. Most troubling was a continuation of their inability to get the ball into the end zone from the red zone. Maybe Al Saunders will figure this out by next week. After all, he makes Two Million Dollars!

Defensively, the Redskins couldn't stop the Vikings on third down. You don't really have to say more than that, because you can't win giving up first down after first down. There were some unfortunate penalties in the second half that didn't help either. I think the Redskins benefitted from the fact that Vikings receiver Troy Williamson was apparently wearing his big brother's helmet, which came down over his eyes and prevented him from having an even bigger game.

While it was bad, it could have been worse. They could have lost in overtime.

So, uh, bring on Dallas!


cleavers44 said...

Nice analysis. By the way, did you get the latest Gourds CD yet? It's damn good.

tadcranky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tadcranky said...

Blood of the Ram, right? Yup, it's great. Maybe a roadtrip's in order during their annual Montana swing this winter...