Usually a broadcast can make a game better. Well, in theory at least. These days commentators are a bunch of do-no wrong GODS that "tisk" when a player does something they deem wrong (Dan Dierdorf). Some talk way faster than they think. Others (likely forced) give a 30-second dissertation of what happened after every play when "incomplete" would suffice. Speaking isn't an absolute necessity during broadcasts; in fact, in many cases (depending on whom is calling the game) we'd welcome silence. We saw the play.
It's why I like a guy like John Madden, whose primary focus remains on the field, primarily the play. He doesn't deviate to anything other than the play. He tells you honest-to-goodness absolute truths -- no matter how obvious they come across. The Patriots offense is struggling? Madden: Throw it deep to Randy Moss. There. Simple. Effective. Easy to remember. When he credits an offensive line not named the Denver Broncos, he faithfully draws circles around their sweaty guts. He loves big uglies. Madden doesn't come across as know-it-all, though clearly his mark in the NFL will be lasting far after he's gone. I know many don't like him for his obvious comments (known as, Maddenism), but I often find myself enjoying a broadcast of a poorly played uneven game simply because he's talking football. And being a Cincinnatian, I have a soft spot for Al Michaels.
At first, I liked Tony Kornheiser because he made Joe Theismann look foolish. Now, I can't stand him. He's like the guy that jokes in class, but no one laughs. He tries way too hard to generate interest of the game's storylines -- though he's simply dong his job trying hard to keep you from flipping over to Prison Break (they're freaking out already!), or the Terminator series that's B-O-R-I-N-G. In truth, most fans watching Monday Night Football aren't watching because of Kornheiser, or his stumping of the night's storylines (Kurt Warner's rebirth, for example). We're watching because of the game, and once the interest in the game becomes dull, people flip the channel.
Quickly becoming a favorite, Ron Jaworski is more faithful to the game than Mike Tirico's man-crush on superstars, or Kornheiser's moments of fictionist laughter when he realized what he said wasn't funny. Jaworski's breakdown of the play is unlike anything that anyone else does. If fact, if resources and time were available, I wouldn't mind sitting there having Jaws breakdown each play; to hell with Tirico and Kornheiser.
It's not that I dislike the Phil Simms of the world or the Troy Aikmans. I think they're just fine. However, neither keep me in the broadcast, talking about the mechanics of the game. And in their defense, they are prompted to speak by the Joe Bucks and Jim Nances of the world. Madden will just talk, Michaels be damned.
In a recent CJ (Cincy Jungle) poll, I asked if the equal punishment between Henderson and Whitworth was (a) fair, (b) total crap. Of 102 voters, two said that the fine was fair.
Other than winning to avoid an 0-9 start, what other significance was last Sunday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars? It was Ryan Fitzpatrick's first career win as a starting quarterback after going 0-7 in his first seven career starts.
Even I hate it when I do this. The Bengals rushing defense has allowed 138.1 yards rushing per game this season (25th in the NFL). But if take out the 229 yards rushing allowed to the Ravens, the 198 yards rushing to the Cowboys and the 177 yards to the Titans, the Bengals average dips to 106.5 yards rushing per game.
The Bengals defense has been called for a penalty 13 times this season. In six games, the defense has been called for a flag one time or less. In their past four games, they've only committed three fouls.
The offense, on the other hand, has been called for penalties in the following chronological order of games played: 5, 5, 8, 6, 7, 4, 4, 7, 5.
You think this year's offense is bad? Through nine games, the Bengals offense has 125 points (13.9 points per game) and is generally considered the worst part of our team. However...
In 2000, the Bengals offense scored 185 points (11.6 points per game). That 4-12 team went 10 quarters without scoring a point, were shutout three times and managed 20 points or more three times. Akili Smith (as you can imagine) started 11 games that season, completing 44.2% of his passes, scoring three touchdowns and averaging 104.4 yards-per-game. Scott Mitchell replaced him and finished the season with a passer rating two points worse than Smith.
Bright spots that season was Corey Dillon's franchise setting 1,435 yards rushing and Takeo Spikes' solid season (110 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions).
For comparison's sake, the 2005 Bengals scored 421 points. They scored more points in either half (231 in the first half, 190 in the second half), than the 2000 Bengals scored all game (185).
The Bengals defense has given up 12 rushing touchdowns this season. They allowed 11 all of last season.
The Bengals are on pace to give up 174 points in the fourth quarter this season. The most points that they've given up in any quarter since 2000 was the second quarter in 2002 (157). The most points since 2000 they've given up in the fourth quarter was 116 in 2003. Ironically enough, the least amount allowed in the fourth quarter was 70 points in... 2000. Though we suspect opposing offenses were in kill-the-clock mode since the five minute mark in the second quarter.
Michael Shayne Graham (see "Shayne" link below) has converted 42 of 46 field goal attempts since 2007.
Even though they don't update them anymore, several Bengals players have My Space pages.