SBD/Issue 2/Sports Media

ESPN's No. 2 "MNF" Crew Draws Criticism For Misinterpreting Call

ESPN's "MNF" Crew Of Golic, Young And
Greenberg (l to r) Draws Heat From Critics
ESPN's "MNF" crew of Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic and Steve Young called their lone game of the year last night with Chargers-Raiders, and they "seemed confused with the rules of possession," according to Nancy Gay of During the first half of the broadcast, Greenberg and Golic were "vehemently contending" that an incomplete pass to Raiders WR Louis Murphy, which would have resulted in a touchdown, "had to be a catch because he had two feet down before the ball slipped from his fingers as he went to the ground." However, "when the second half started, it was clear someone from the NFL office had been in contact with the folks in Bristol." ESPN "showed a previously unseen angle of the play in question that showed the ball completely falling from Murphy's grasp once he got to the ground, and Golic even conceded he had spoken to the replay assistant at halftime" (, 9/15). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio writes under the header, "ESPN 'B' Team Justifies Their Assignment." While waiting for the ruling on the Murphy catch, the crew "sounded like three guys sitting around someone's living room, reinforcing each other's inaccurate understanding of the rules." And while Greenberg "seemed to be focusing on the right thing," Golic and Young "apparently influenced him to agree" that the pass was caught. The crew "explained the situation after halftime," but even then Young "made little sense" (, 9/15).

MONDAY NIGHT RAW: Several writers and bloggers reviewed ESPN's coverage of Chargers-Raiders on Twitter. The San Jose Mercury News’ Ann Killion wrote, “God these announcers are horrendous. Can this really still call itself MNF??” San Antonio Express-News writer Richard Oliver: “The greatest showdown tonight: Mike Greenberg vs the roster. Poor dude has misidentified the ballcarrier two or three times already.” Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson wrote, “I've listened 2 Mike & Mike for 5 minutes and I already want to turn the game off. Why does ESPN think this is a good booth combo? My god." Blogger Tony Arnoldine: “Mike Greenberg is doing a horrible job tonight. It's like he's trying to talk like a 40's bad guy. … I'm very close to muting this Raiders/Chargers game.” SI's Richard Deitsch noted "if Twitter Search ('mike and mike') is an indicator of real-time opinion, ESPN's MNF announcers are taking a beating. Ouch" (, 9/14).

Jaworski, Gruden, Tirico (l to r) Praised For
Their Work On Bills-Patriots Broadcast
LEADERS OF THE PACK: In Buffalo, Alan Pergament writes the regular "MNF" crew of Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden was a "pleasure to listen to" during Bills-Patriots. Tirico "could be the NFL's best play-by-play man" if he were to "cut down on his identification mistakes." Pergament: "He sees just about everything, involves his analysts and instinctively says numerous clever and funny things." But the "star of the game was Gruden," as he "sees things that viewers don't see" (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/15).

TALENT REVIEWS: YAHOO SPORTS' Scott Pianowksi wrote "two things are obvious to me: Cris Collinsworth is the best in-game analyst by far these days, and NBC's game production blows everyone else's away" (, 9/14). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes CBS analyst Phil Simms "turned in a vintage performance" during the net's broadcast of Jets-Texans Sunday. Simms throughout the game "showed why his wires rarely get crossed with others in the analyst biz," as he "made fun of himself." He also "debunked analyst-speak," and he "made things simple." Meanwhile, Raissman writes NBC's "Football Night In America" co-host Dan Patrick "clearly ... did not prepare intensely for Sunday's show," as he asked studio analyst Rodney Harrison "if he was ever victimized by a strange play, costing the Patriots a game." Harrison immediately referred to former Giants WR David Tyree's catch in the waning minutes of Super Bowl XLII (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/15). In Dallas, Barry Horn wrote Fox play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert "may be the closest thing to Pat Summerall at any network," and that is "a compliment." Horn: "The less said in the TV booth usually better" (, 9/14).

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: In Albany, Pete Dougherty noted viewers of Fox' NFL games this weekend "noticed a 'stuttery' look to the picture, almost as if they were watching a movie with a bad projector." A Fox spokesperson in an e-mail said for some cable customers, there is an "unknown issue with the cable box that causes dropped frames which results in a 'stutter-y' look." The spokesperson said Fox is "working with the cable companies to figure out what the cause [is] so we can correct it" (, 9/14). Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Phil Richards notedswith the roof at Lucas Oil Stadium "open and the sun shining brightly Sunday," some viewers of the Jaguars-Colts game on CBS "complained about annoying contrasts between shadow and light" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/15).

QUITE A DEBUT: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Scott Greczkowski wrote the NFL season "kicked off with a touchdown with the kickoff of the new NFL RedZone channel," which is the "best thing to happen to the NFL since the invention of the instant replay." Greczkowski: "I am not a big football fan but the NFL RedZone had me glued to my set on Sunday afternoon." Meanwhile, Greczkowski wrote DirecTV "seemed to kick its HD coverage up a notch this year, as the HD was some of the best-looking HD I have seen on satellite in a long ... long time" (, 9/14).

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