Alright, so Tech lost to Georgia (Again. Who let a freshman touch the Wreck?), but in order to keep my blood pressure down, I took to becoming more frustrated with ESPN’s color commentary than the game itself. (It’s a coping mechanism. I’d like to NOT have a heart attack before I’m 30, thanks.) If ever there was an illustration of all of the things NOT to do if you’re a football commentator, this broadcast was probably it.
Mark Jones, Ed Cunningham: you are on notice. Seriously, have either of you actually ever called a football game before? Ok, I know you have. I also get that it was an early kickoff, and there have been awesome rivalry games going on since Thursday. And Thursday was Thanksgiving. Maybe you were calling the game while hungover. While under the circumstances, it’s understandable, it’s also terribly unprofessional. And even if you’re not all there, you usually have the facts right there in front of you–yet you still managed to get those wrong. So maybe it’s your producers’ fault. ESPN does tend to drop the ball pretty often in this regard (pun intended).
Anyway, without further ado, I bring you the short list of the stupid things that came out of Mark Jones’ and Ed Cunningham’s mouths this afternoon:
- While showing footage of Georgia Tech’s student body mascot, the Ramblin’ Wreck, lead the team on the field, they remarked “I wonder how much that would go for on Cars.com. Really? Really?! That’s about as classless as wondering how much Uga IX would cost at a puppy mill.
- They had NO IDEA as to the difference between a cut block and a chop block. (If you don’t either, take a second to read that link. It’ll change the way you watch Georgia Tech football.) They got it all wrong at the beginning of the game and had to come back later with a segment discussing the difference, presumably (and hopefully) after a producer provided them with the proper information and gave them both a firm smack upside the head. Although, to be fair, it seems the SEC refs didn’t know the difference, either.
- They talked about all of the roads in Atlanta named Peachtree and mused about how locals don’t get lost all the time. This turns up so often in commentary about games held in Atlanta that it should be considered a trope at this point. It should also be considered a top sign that your football commentators suck if they fall back on it.
- Later in the game, they showed footage of the Georgia Dome, and one asked, “Is that on Peachtree?” To which the other replied, “I bet it is!” Oh, you’re so witty and clever. Peachtree isn’t even near the Georgia Dome. Have either of you even been to Atlanta before?
- Speaking of tropes, I discount any announcing team that falls back on “Georgia Tech’s offense isn’t built for fast scores.” While its current offensive lineup isn’t built for fast scores (owing mostly to the fact that Tevin Washington can’t seem to complete a pass to save his life), the option is built for scoring in whatever amount of time the offense damn well wants.
- Georgia Tech vs. Georgia is the state’s big rivalry game, so I understand the need for a little cultural color commentary. But it helps if the facts you’re spewing are actually correct. As they came back from a break, they showed footage of candy made with pecans and peanuts. The commentators proceeded to state that Georgia is the country’s “top producers of the three ‘Ps’: peanuts, pecans and peaches.” I believe South Carolina and California, who both produce more peaches than Georgia, may have something to say about that.