The Peyton And Eli Show…

So, did you watch the regular telecast of Monday Night Football, or did you check out Peyton and Eli doing their brand of “commentary”?  I wanted to see how they were going to present the “chat-version” of this NFL telecast; so, I flipped over to ESPN2 to check it out.  Here is my Bottom Line:

  • I loved the Peyton and Eli show!

Let me put that assessment of their first presentation into context here.  I enjoy the regular broadcasting team that ESPN offers up on Monday nights; while they are not  a modern equivalent of the original MNF team with Dandy Don and Howard Cosell and either Keith Jackson or Frank Gifford, the current guys are very good:

  • Steve Levy is a sports lifer; he is solid in his delivery, and he does not have any annoying schtick that gets in the way of his play-by-play.
  • Louis Riddick is – in my opinion – a rising star.  He knows football and he expresses his thoughts and opinions clearly and concisely.
  • Brian Griese is the “weak link” here by comparison – – but he is as good as the color analyst on any network’s #3 broadcast team.

Please do not interpret anything I say here as a denigration of that announcing team.  The presentation by Peyton and Eli was refreshingly different.  They mixed it up; sometimes they “called the play as it happened”; sometimes they called it – or the defense – before the snap; sometimes they just chatted with their guests.  It was a different experience, and it was enjoyable.  Over and above different and enjoyable, it was educational; even if you rooted against both Manning brothers in every game they ever played, you must acknowledge that they know something about football.  And they shared lots of that with the audience; it was a football education sans tuition.

Next Monday will be the Lions at the Packers and I will once again check out Peyton and Eli’s presentation of the game.  Here is what I do not yet know:

  • Is this format sustainable?
  • I know that the format of a play-by-play guy along with one or two pleasant and knowledgeable sidekicks has been around for more than 50 years.  While I loved the first “show”, I have no idea if this new way of presenting football will be as enjoyable come Christmas time.
  • So, I am just going to “take it one week at a time” and see how this format evolves or stays the course.

[Aside:  One of the “guest commentators” was Russell Wilson.  I think Wilson should save copies of his contributions to this coverage if he aspires to a broadcasting slot once his playing days are over.  He was really good too.]

Moving on … here is a comment from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

Moldy oldie: Proof that there’s no bottom to boxing — at least not in Florida — is allowing almost 59-year-old Evander Holyfield to climb into a ring Saturday for a potential eight-rounder against 44-year-old Vitor Belfort. The thing smacks of elder abuse.”

The prescience of that remark is demonstrated by the outcome.  The bout was scheduled for 8 rounds (two minutes each in lieu of the normal three-minute rounds).  The bout was originally supposed to have Oscar de la Hoya as the aged boxer in the match, but Oscar came down with COVID-19, so Holyfield took the bout on short notice – – as if everyone knew that a 58-year-old man would assuredly keep himself in shape to undergo such an activity at the drop of a hat or a positive coronavirus test.

The folks in California where the bout was supposed to happen would not sanction that switch; it is not clear if they would have sanctioned it without the “short-notice situation”.  But the promoters/organizers found that Florida would sanction the “fight” and so they moved it there.  [Aside: Score another point for Florida and common sense with that decision …]

Mercifully, the fight lasted less than one round.  The referee declared a TKO and Holyfield was the loser.  I hope the folks who paid to see this spectacle realize that they could just as well have set that amount of cash on fire and received similar levels of entertainment.

Switching gears …  I ran across an item in the Raleigh News and Observer reporting that the NC State Athletic Department “will reduce the traveling parties for away games in hopes to minimize exposure or the spreading of COVID-19.”  The only folks traveling to game venues away from campus will be “those who are vaccinated or who have an exception from the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OEID).”  To get an exemption from OEID, there needs to be a claim of a religious or medical reason why vaccination is out of bounds.

While I applaud NC State for incentivizing vaccination, it does beg the question a bit.  If indeed the goal here is to “minimize exposure or the spreading of COVID-19,” then how are those minimization goals kept in play for home games and practices at NC State facilities?  Senator Hiram Johnson once said, “The first casualty, when war comes, is truth.”

If a “war” is not a shooting war but merely a “political war” – and vaccination has become a political war zone –, I would argue that the first casualty is logic because truth has no place in any sort of political matter be it war or simple discourse.

Finally, here is another absolutely accurate analysis from Bob Molinaro:

Bad takes: Nobody can deny Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame credentials. But even as a Cooperstown shoo-in, Jeter’s enshrinement is being greeted online with wildly fluctuating assessments of his talent. Overrated, say his detractors, who may suffer from Yankee envy or are weary of media godding up of The Captain. But those who anoint him the game’s greatest shortstop have also strayed far enough off base to be tagged out.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………