The Wise Guy: What if NFL Announcers Had Their Own Combine?

For football junkies, the NFL combine is like Easter.  Not so much a joyous celebration like Christmas (the Super Bowl), but a time to pay our respect to the physical specimens who sacrifice their bodies for us each year.  Don’t tell me you weren’t “born again” when RGIII ran his 4.38/40.

But for every would-be savoir, there is a high priest waiting to cast judgment upon their feats. Yes, I’m talking about those pesky announcers.

But what if the tables were turned? What if the announcers were put through a combine for all of us to judge? Oh, what sweet redemption that would be.  I can dream of some of the drills right now…

Tony Siragusa Blocking

Every football player needs to know how to block (even QBs on reverses).  Similarly, every announcer should possess the skill of blocking Tony Siragusa from clogging up precious airtime with onomatopoeia (ed: wouldn’t want to be ya) and non-sequiters. Because you never know when Moose Johnston is going lose it and hand in his IFB for good.  Here’s how I envision the drill going:

Kenny Albert: And it’s 1st and 10 for the Eagles

You: Looks like the Giants are in a standard cover 2 formation

Siragusa: You know, Kenny, I read an Encyclopedia Brown book last week cover to cover.  Get it?

You: Look for the Eagles to exploit the middle of the field in this soft zone.

Siragusa: You know what’s a soft zone, Kenny? My belly.

And so on and so on. The key is, like a QB facing a Gregg Williams’ blitz, maintain your composure and keep your eyes downfield.  Once you engage the goose, you’re, well, cooked.


Pronounciation Gauntlet

Let’s face it, proper names are hard to pronounce.  But when it’s your team playing and the national announcers botch the pronunciation of the jeresey you’re wearing, you’re pissed.  This drill will work on a sliding scale of increasing difficulty such as: Terrell Owens (often botched, even now); Nnamdi Asomugha (sometimes botched); Osi Umenyiora (sometimes botched); Israel Idonije (sometimes botched, on rare occasion he is mentioned). Hey announcers, how about a nice summer vacation to Nigeria?

Instant Replay Wonderlic

In a perfect world, Mike Pereira could clone himself and be everywhere on Sundays, but unfortunately there’s only one of him and sixteen games to be played.  With the advent of HD and the recognition by coaches that strategic challenges of key plays are well worth the potential loss of timeout, that means (by my completely unscientific estimate) about 10 minutes of each game will need to be filled by announcers explaining the rules to us.  What is a football move? How do you define maintaining control through the catch? When is a touchback really a touchback? And don’t even get me started on the tuck rule! These questions seem no more challenging than those facing 16-year olds in a driver’s license exam and, like that exam, easily learned through a day of hard cramming.  But every year, highly paid professionals announcers mess them up (yes, I’m looking at you Dan Dierdorf).

Absurd Cross-Promotional Reading Dunk Tank

This drill isn’t so much a substantive test as it is for the personal pleasure I get out of announcers reading promos for the crappy TV the networks force down our throats when football is not on.  Here I think Joe Buck is the gold standard.  He reads the promos with a dry sarcasm that conveys that he knows that we know these shows really suck.  At the other end of the spectrum is Jim Nantz, who reads the promos for Simon Baker’s “The Mentalist” as if  they were written by the ghost of Bobby Jones to describe Amen Corner. C’mon, Jim.  Nobody watches “The Mentalist” except old women with cats and people, who sadly, have actual mental problems.

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