Saturday afternoon during the ABC telecast of the Ohio State - Minnesota game, the network did one of those annoying plugs for some other event it’s carrying. In this case, it was for the NASCAR race Sunday. They showed the pictures of the top five drivers. “Color” commentator Chris Speilman asked, “where’s Montoya”, referring to NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya.
“Out eating a taco”, said “color” commentator Bob Griese.
Montoya is out eating a taco. I see. Bob Griese should be out of job, but the network forced him to apologize for the stupid, tasteless, racist remark several times during the remainder of the telecast. So it’s all good in ABC-land, I’m sure. I’d have loved to heard what some ESPN exec told Griese when he called the booth, though. He got a week's suspension.
Griese is one of the many former jocks who are now overpaid to bring “color” to sports broadcasts. As a quarterback, he was pretty good; as a TV sports guy, he’s average or less. He’s done it for decades and he’s there because of his athletic ability, which did not translate to television football analysis. He’s about as good at announcing as his son Brian is at quarterbacking. But his name is Griese, he’s “The Thinking Man’s Quarterback”, and he’s in several jock halls of fame.
This is the same Bob Griese, born in Indiana, who refers to our state as “Wes-consin” on football telecasts. I’m sure the mispronunciation was pointed out to him scores of times, but he’s Bob Griese. Hall of Famer. That ancient Brent Musberger still does it, too. The Wes-consin Badgers. But Musberger turns 93 next month, and can be excused.
I’m also sure that the “Thinking Man’s Quarterback” isn’t well-informed enough to know that Juan Pablo Montoya is from Colombia. Bogota, to be specific. Not exactly the home of the taco. Mr. Hall of Fame no doubt assumed that with a name like that, this Montoya fella must be from Mexico. Them Mexes like tacos, huh? Gimme some beans with that, willya?
There are so many bad sports announcers. The name Joe Buck comes to mind. He has a job for one reason, and one reason only: his dad, Jack, was a great broadcaster. Joe constantly mispronounces ballplayers names (he obviously does no “homework”), often misses significant strategic shifts during the course of a game, and fancies himself a comedian. (His HBO show “Joe Buck Live!” failed miserably and was taken off the network.)
And that McCarver guy who works with him should have the common decency to either retire or get a prescription for Aricept.
I know, I know. Harsh. But sports broadcasting, which has given us some of the most colorful characters around (Harry Caray to name one) and some of the most literate and insightful practitioners (Vin Scully to name one) is now driven by the cult of personality that America is obsessed with.
Jon and Kate. Balloon Boy Family. Octo-Mom. Their popularity seems to be in direct proportion to their distance from normalcy. Chris Berman, who was once really good sports announcing, now seems to be part buffoon, part Chris Farley wannabe.
By the way, whatever happened to Barry Alvarez’s career as a Fox Sports “color analyst”?