Thursday, October 18, 2012

NFL Thursday - West Coast Defense, plus a prayer for Jon Gruden

Commentate so hard!
Before we get into what promises to be a lock down defensive struggle, I'd like to mention a rumor swirling around some football circles that could be great news for anyone who loves Monday Night Football but  doesn't love the sound of a fork being scraped continuously across a china plate.

University of Tennessee fans, apparently dissatisfied with losing close games to both superior and inferior teams, are calling for coach Derek Dooley's head and have swallowed the little red pill that makes a fan base think that Jon Gruden is willing to step down from his Monday night pedestal and charge to the rescue (since apparently his wife was a UT cheerleader).  There are so many flaws in the validity of this rumor that I'd never mention it except the prospect of not having to see his squinty face or listen to his hyperbole every Monday is too juicy a bone to leave unchewed.

All six people who regularly read this blog know that, for me, Jon Gruden is the pinnacle of Monday Night Buffoonery. Worse than Dierdorf. Worse than Dennis Miller. Worse than Ron Jaworski. Way worse than Tony Kornheiser (who everyone else hated but I loved). Gruden is fancied as the NFL insider who can break down the plays, highlighting the offensive and defensive formations so we, the humble viewers, can better grasp the intricacies of the sport we spend nearly 20 hours a week watching. In ESPN's imagination he is John Madden incarnate. The difference being that Madden had a rough lovability about him, a sense of humor and a way of making the plays we just watched fun to re-watch.  All Gruden does is praise the living daylights out of whatever gritty QB happens to be holding the football, then drops inane codes for the schemes we're seeing: Banana left, 30-squat! Triple cookie rubber cat! A-Flap, sweaty hooker!
Maybe I'm just not enough of a student of the NFL, but knowing the arcane names for defensive formations doesn't seem to be doing enough to advance my enjoyment of the game for the tradeoff of having to listen to Gruden rant them at me. I assume Mike Tirico invests heavily his ongoing emotional therapy. So to the Vols I wish you the best of luck. Gruden may or may not be a good football coach. And I personally won't believe myself free of him until I see him strolling the streets of Knoxville in hand-me-down, orange pants, but I sure am pulling for you.

Tonight's game:

As you all know, 60% of the time I'm 100% wrong about my Thursday night forecast. Which gives me great hope that my fear of the Seahawks can only be a good sign for the 49ers. But like Gruden in orange pants -- I'll believe it when I see it. The 49ers have a lot going for them in general, but much of it is based on their ability to run the ball, to run the clock, and keeping opponents from doing the same. Unfortunately Seattle is pretty good at those very things, plus they have one of those wacky young QBs who is just as apt to throw a pick as they are to scramble for a 60-yard TD, which when mixed with a clinically insane coach leads to meth-lab levels of volatility. Volatility is not something that plays into the 49ers game plan. For proof re-watch the Giants delivering large whuppings on the 49ers who, unable to figure out if they should clamp down the run or the pass, clamped down on neither.

I'm still starting the 49ers D b/c you just don't bench star players not named ARod. Keeping Gore on the bench against a smothering Seattle run D, starting VD and crossing my fingers. If Russell Wilson is smiling at the end of the night I'm probably not. Unless Gruden calls to confirm that he's headed to Knox-Vegas, that would help ease my suffering.


Anonymous said...

Really "but doesn't love the sound of a fork being scraped continuously across a china plate"

You must be waaaaaay out of touch with reality. Gruden is a breath of fresh air and bring actual energy to ESPN aka the mothership.

This paper is in a downward spiral.

Anonymous said...

Gruden would be an upgrade over what TN has

Anonymous said...

Gruden has his downside but Kornheiser was horrific, and Dierdorff was just plain obnoxious.

ericdedwar said...

A) Somebody get Gruden's agent off here.
B) I'm happy to admit that some people really like Gruden, and those people are welcome to their opinion along with whatever psychotropic cocktail their institution is serving today. I may be out of touch with "reality" but I am very much in touch with MNF having watched it relentlessly for years, and years, and years.
C) There is almost no way this rumor is true. I want it to happen way too much for there to be merit to it, and if there's a fanbase that gets routinely kicked in the orange pants more frequently than UT I'm at a loss to recall its name.
So yeah, love him or hate him, I think we're stuck with him. Sorry Tirico.

ericdedwar said...

I also will agree that MNF was not the optimum platform for Kornheiser, but I personally love his brand of criticism. He's better on PTI and in print, but I loved the critical eye he brought to the game. But whatever, I understand I'm in a huge minority on this one. Maybe they should give Wilbon a shot.

Anonymous said...

Gruden is Keith Jackson compared to Dierdorf and Jaws. For a brief second, I thought you knew something.

Anonymous said...

I put the Disturber down in my dog's training crate. He immeidately saw this article and crapped on it. Where did this clown come from that penned this nonsense? Ugh!

Mark P said...

You could ease my suffering by taking on a new profession. Somewhere down the road, you gathered the perception that this is all about you. I don't know of a soul who really cares what you think. Jon has eighteen years in the NFL as a coach, with eleven years as a head coach. Not to mention one super bowl championship. He brings an element to MNF that is much needed. The days of Howard Cosell, that you long for, are long gone. Believe it or not, many of us today understand the game and learn from all the "insane codes" as you call them. Comparing Jon to the others really shows how in tune you are. The comparison with John Madden offers a true insight to your football ignorance. There is no true comparison. They are both geniuses of the game. I’m guessing that in today’s media, non intellectual, false fact articles that lure comments are graded higher than stories with real substance and factual input.

Anonymous said...

Eric: Yes UT has taken its blows recently, but being a Bama grad that lived in Tennessee for eight years post college, I can't say it's not nice seeing them suffer. I had all I could take around those people. They still offer a license plate at the DMV in the state that states "UT Vols 1998 National Champs" 14 years later. And thousands still pay the extra $50 annually to have said plate... A lot of the blame is owed to Ole Phat Phil and his antics. UT will be back and return to glory, probably sooner than later. I can't say good luck, but hopefully it's a good game this weekend! Roll Tide!!

Anonymous said...

I like Gruden. I think he's funny and brings good football talk to the booth. He's no politician or politically correct. I like that. And don't forget, he led his new team to the Super Bowl and won against the team he had coached the previous year. All at 39 years old... Someone try to tell me he doesn't know football.

ericdedwar said...

A) Inane is not the same as insane.
B) This fact does not disqualify you from being both.
C) I weep for the world if even a small, lunatic fringe of people really, truly believe Gruden = Madden.
D) Wikipedia now lists Gruden as the UT head coach. I swear I didn't edit the entry!
E) Being a great coach does not make one a broadcaster any more than being a great broadcaster makes one qualified to be a coach.
F)When ESPN was great -- and it was great -- it had more broadcasters than athletes and coaches. Now it's almost all athletes and coaches with a handful of broadcasters and frankly (with a few exceptions) they all start to sound the same to me.

Anonymous said...

Why does the observer promote this blog? An 8th grader could write crap like this.

ericdedwar said...

beg to differ - this blog is written at a 6th grade reading level. You want Infinite Jest you'll have to look somewhere other than the Fantasy Football blog.
But when it comes to finding an average tight end or reading random rumors that may or may not be completely unfounded you can't beat the Fantasy Football Owners Manual!

Notorious L.E.V. said...

Please! Make this happen! I can't stand Gruden. His eyes and freaky stares scare me.

ericdedwar said...

Thank You L.E.V., good to know I'm not the only one creeped out by the dude.

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading when you said you loved Tony Kornheiser. He was the worst announcer in MNF history. His show PTI is great, but he knew nothing about football. Tony would ask Jaws the dumbest questions. Therefore, that makes him (Dennis Miller second) the biggest buffoon ever on MNF.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell are you, we know you are a dumb--- and you are way too confident in your estimate of 6 viewers. That is enormously high is enormously high.

Anonymous said...

For all of you Volunteer fans out there, Cutcliffe is your guy. He does more at Duke with less.....I think his heart may still be in Rocky Top....

Factjunkie said...

"For all of you Volunteer fans out there, Cutcliffe is your guy" Didn't he turn down the job last time they offered it to him??

And eric-
"When ESPN was great -- and it was great -- it had more broadcasters than athletes and coaches"

Wow really.. so you want to learn about a sport from people who watch the sport instead of play or coach it. Would you want a doctor that studied watching ER reruns? The problem with Tony Kornheiser is that he knows a lot about something he knows nothing about. He has read a book that said an NFL player can jump 30 inches so he spews how easy a 30 inch jump is. I would rather have someone that has made the jump tell me about it instead of a professional spectator.

Is Gruden a polished PC hack who is trendy and grouchy. No. Gruden is a football coach who gets Football players to open up and talk to him because he speaks their language. Like him or hate him, the players respect him and so they talk to him. They can take him telling them they blew a play more than Kornheiser because they knew he knows what the game feels like, not just how it looks.

J said...

I see I missed a nice argument being out of town most of the weekend.

I do not agree with the idea that Tony K was good. He's unwatchable in all formats. But if you like him, fine. Just because someone likes something you don't does not make liking that thing idiotic.

Gruden is a good coach. He's overbearing as a broadcaster. Way too much hyperbole. If he is interested in a possible coaching opening in Charlotte, I'd be happy to have him.

Due to a work schedule that necessitates a 5 AM alarm, I rarely get to watch much of the Sunday or Monday night games. Even if I was unemployed, I doubt I would watch much of the MNF game. ESPN is convinced of its own deity and most of its original programming is over-the-top and I can barely stomach it. About the only thing I watch on ESPN are live events, College Football Final and the 2 minutes on Monday night devoted to "C'mon, man!" I absolutely refuse to watch even 1 minute of SportsCenter. Tebow-mania turned me off permanently.