In the Golden Age, there was ABC Monday Night Football. Those of us of a certain age remember the days of Howard Cosell, “Dandy Don” Meredith and Frank Gifford. They, along with funny, colorful characters such as Alex Karras and perhaps the greatest sportscaster of all time — Keith Jackson — were a part of our families every Monday night.
Then, disaster. ABC Sports, the Roone Arledge hall of perfection, was suddenly supplanted on Monday nights by ESPN. And when they took over and they gave us precisely what? Joe Theisman. We endured, suffering boredom and boorishness. It was, after all, still football.
Now it’s something less. We have Dogface Michael Vick’s return, unbidden. Thank heaven that Plaxico “Accidental Discharge” Burress won’t play this season (nor will Dante “Killer” Stallworth). The NFL Rogues’ Gallery won’t be headquartered on the field.
It couldn’t possibly get worse, could it? Yes, it could. And it did, thanks to NBC-Universal CEO Jeffrey Zucker and NBC News President Steve Capus.
Thanks to these hyperliberals who run NBC, this season we’ll again be repulsed by the voice and face of MSNBC’s dolt laureate, Keith Olbermann, on Sunday Night Football. It’s just too much. With Olberboy on the screen, it’s not even football any more.
The uberpompous Olbermann became a familiar figure on SportsCenter by wisecracking with the subtlety of a crack-back block. But since he was Peter Principled into political commentary he has become a caricature of liberal hysteria.
This is the man who told Playboy in 2007 that Fox News was worse than Al Qaeda: “Al Qaeda really hurt us, but not as much as Rupert Murdoch has hurt us, particularly in the case of FOX News. Fox news is worse than Al Qaeda — worse for our society. It’s as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was.”
Then you have Olbermann’s melodramatic rants against President Bush, like this one in from 2006 on “Countdown”: “We now face what our ancestors faced at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering: A government more dangerous to our liberty than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.”
As Olbermann kept ranting about the subject, he got even wackier: “We have never before codified the poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow. You, sir, have now befouled that spring. You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order. You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom. … These things you have done, Mr. Bush — they would constitute the beginning of the end of America.”
This is the same analytic genius who once told President Bush to “shut the hell up” and said of now-former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that he was a “quack” pushing “fascism.”
And NBC can’t pretend that Olbermann’s political unwisdom is kept separate from his sports “analysis.”
For example, Olbermann couldn’t resist a cheap shot at Sarah Palin during last season’s SNF coverage. When Trent Edwards was carted off the field in a game against Arizona due to a concussion, Olbermann reported the quarterback was “okay otherwise but he said, ‘I can see Russia from here.’”
As HUMAN EVENTS’ A.W.R. Hawkins reported on Wednesday, the NBC Sports team began last year to have co-host Dan Patrick do the “color commentary” for Red States and Olbermann do it for the Blue States.
But the NFL wants to stay out of politics, right? (Will someone give the commissioner a cup of coffee and wake him up?)
NBC wants fans to be stuck with Olbermann’s odd mixture of politics and sports for three more seasons. His current contract with MSNBC — put in place during last year’s presidential election — is for four years and reported to be $7.5 million a year. (I bet you thought “Cash for Clunkers” was a car trade-in program.)
Turning off the sound isn’t enough. Turning off NBC is the only solution. Maybe ESPN can buy some of those old Monday Night Football shows and air them opposite KO. A rerun of a 1973 Monday Night Football with Howard and Dandy Don would be vastly better than KO live.
Enough. Calling NBC is useless because Zucker and Capus bow daily before the Olbermann altar. Call your local NBC affiliate and tell them to get Olbermann off NBC Sunday Night Football. They may actually listen.