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Football on TV changes, coach-speak doesn't

November 10, 2012 12:10 am


TV brings us great games like the Florida State-Virginia Tech clash this week. But coaches' quotes are usually dull.

CONTRARY TO pop- ular belief, I do watch televised sporting events other than baseball.

And, like any good writer would, I analyze the telecast to see if I can find a column hidden in there somewhere. Occasionally I come up with some pretty interesting stuff.

Take college football, for example. Production methods have changed dramatically over the years, but the coaches' interviews are still the same.

"They're a good football team and we'll have to play our best game to beat them," the coach always says.

This guy could be playing a fifth-grade girls team and he would still make the same statement. I suppose that is one of those verses they have to memorize in coaching school.

Just once I'd like to hear a coach come right out and say, "This team is a bunch of pansies and if we don't beat them all my players should just give up football."

I'll give odds you'll never hear that sentence uttered on a college football telecast.

College head coaches still look the same as they did 40 years ago, grizzled old guys who would pass for drill sergeants or dance hall bouncers. Show them on a black-and-white TV screen and you'd swear you're watching a game from the 1950s.

Maybe the coaches haven't changed over the years, but television coverage sure has. Remember when they actually showed the playing of the "The Star-Spangled Banner" before each game?

Remember when halftime entertainment was the home school's marching band and not a bunch of guys sitting around in suits and ties hollering at each other?

TV networks now have those on-the-field reporters, too, usually good-looking women who aren't quite sexy enough to make it on Fox News.

And these gals, along with their male counterparts, grab the coaches as they head in at halftime and ask something like, "What will you have to do in the second half to win this game?"

Well, duh! His team will have to score more points than the other team! They didn't teach you that in reporters school?

When the coach that is behind comes back on the field the reporter asks, "What did you tell your players during halftime?"

Hey! The coach probably shouted so many swear words that if he repeated them on the air the network would lose its FCC license. Just once I'd like to hear a coach repeat into the microphone what he actually said.

Commercials tell the viewer a lot about how networks and advertisers perceive their audience for a particular sport.

Professional football, for example, features any number of beer commercials. In fact, when TV reporters want to get fan reaction on some football game, they always go to a bar.

Then there are all those Viagra and Cialis commercials during golf tournament telecasts.

Makes you wonder what TV advertisers think are the favorite pastimes of football fans and golfers, doesn't it.

Maybe I'm just too analytical when it comes to TV sports, but sometimes it just seems that the interviews and the commercials are better than the games.

But then I need something to keep my mind occupied until baseball season comes around again.

You know what I always say: There are only two seasons in the year--baseball season and the off season.

Until April, I guess I'll just have to suffer through all the football cliches and the beer and Viagra commercials.

"We're a good team and they're a good team and we came to play!"

I don't think they're making that last comment down at Blacksburg this season.

Sorry, Hokie fans!

Donnie Johnston:

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