Especially with the lockout coming to an end sooner rather than later, with free agency possibly kicking off as soon as this weekend, normally my reflection on someone else's commentary is limited. Just no time and really, who cares about someone's commentary on someone else's commentary. But usually I make the lone exception for those that write commentary on or about the Cincinnati Bengals from the Dayton Daily News; a newspaper that thought highly enough of their Reds and Bengals coverage, that Chick Ludwig and Hal McCoy (two of the great local beat writers) were unceremoniously kicked to the curb, probably in reaction to the newspaper's declining circulation by seven percent in 2009 and another 8.4% in 2010. Times are rough, man.
But the truth is, we just don't get contributing writer Dave Long taking shots at Bengals color analyst David Lapham, calling him "intolerable as color commentator" in the headline.
Being enthusiastic for a former team is understandable. But Lapham’s incessant 140 decibel whines on seemingly every play makes listening to the Bengals on radio almost impossible. His bellowing drowns out the play-by-play man on whether a pass was caught or tackle was made.
I want to hear game action, not what he loudly thinks about an official missing a chop block four plays ago.
Dave Lapham will be entering his 26th season as the color analyst for the Cincinnati Bengals on the radio. His trademarks are well known to most; enthusiasm of the game, bellowing sadness when the Bengals do poorly, shouting hallelujah when the Bengals succeed. Descriptions that are told through unchecked emotion sometimes provides the clearest pictures, context, depth and an added dimension. Former Bengals great Bob Trumpy said of Lapham, "He went to two Super Bowls with them, and then had to watch them lose for a decade. But he never lost his enthusiasm. He made it fun, even though it was awful. Sometimes horrible."
Perhaps Ben Stein would be more accommodating to the less enthused to hear the game not with words, but emotions. Case in point.
Dan Hoard: "And that touchdown gives the Bengals a four-point lead with seven seconds left the game."
Ben Stein: "Yes. The quarterback took three steps backwards. The quarterback threw a football to his left. The football went through the air. The wide receiver, what's his name, caught the football. The wide receiver scored a touchdown. The wide receiver is dancing. The other players in similar uniforms are jumping around. It seems like everyone is excited. Bueller. Bueller. Bueller. Buel...
Dave Lapham: "Holygodfuckingshitcakes the Bengals just won! Take that you assholeprickshitface Steelers."
Take your pick. Alright. So we're embellishing Lapham a little. But not much.
Today is the 198th day since last season's final regular season game and provided all goes well, there's still 54 days until the scheduled first regular season game in 2011. Of all the commentary that could have been used against the Bengals, why attack Lapham who is genuinely one of the nicer people that you'll meet. It's not like the Bengals getting arrested again isn't, you know, more intolerable.
It's because he'll shred you alive with so many statistics that you're head could actually do an MMA tap out with so much knowledge you didn't have before? He'll point out how the Bengals are doing on third downs during the game, the season and he'll tell you how they do when converting third downs, integrated with a turnover ratio and the team's uniform combination. Maybe it's because after his excitable personality, he'll undress you with detailed analysis of a play or a player. He sees things unfold that the television crew completely misses and he does it with a Bengals frame of reference, like when the Bengals line up six-man formations. Rarely when he talks, does he act as if he's talking down to you. In many respects, he's apart of you, expressing the same emotion that you're feeling. You'll get your play-by-play. You'll get your results as soon as they happen. It's just that added emotion in the background that just adds the colorful context that the NFL is all about.