The Green Bay Packers tied the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. We looked back at the broadcast for some unfortunate reason. Here are 10 things you might have missed and probably hope you did.
1. Rising Star
We all remember when he took the NFL by storm as a late first-round pick out of Marshall University. He had a reputation for running by defensive backs and smoking lots of ganja, the latter trait causing him to slip to pick No. 21 of the 1998 draft. Randy Moss would reward the Minnesota Vikings for taking a chance on selecting him and go on to give the Packers major headaches for the next six years. His impact was instantaneous.
Recently Moss began his new career as on-air talent at Fox Sports 1 and on Sunday he filled in on the desk for Howie Long on Fox pregame. What made him great as a player might very well make him great as a broadcaster. He comes at you full speed, he doesn’t pull punches, and he’s confident in his opinions. Moss’ knowledge, slight southern drawl and self-deprecating style make him a lot of fun to listen to. There aren’t many former players who make the transition to broadcaster look as easy as Moss has thus far.
When Terry Bradshaw was raving about what a genius Mike McCarthy is and that the Packers would beat the Vikings, Moss didn’t hesitate to pick against his old team stating, “I’m right there with you TB.” Later when asked again to pick the winner he said confidently, “The Packers and Scott Tolzien.”
Don’t be surprised to see Moss become a fixture on the Fox broadcasts in the fairly near future. He’ll become a great broadcaster, his ego will kick into high gear, and eventually he’ll start taking segments off and become a makeup, wardrobe, and green-room cancer.
You heard it here first.
2. Wait a minute… Terry Bradshaw called Mike McCarthy a genius?
Terry Bradshaw on Fox pregame…
“There are a lot of head coaches I would have loved to play for. Bill Walsh would have been one, Don Coryell would have been another. I played for a great coach, but I can say this… all you Green Bay Packers fans are witnessing really one of the greatest offensive minds, and that’s Mike McCarthy. What he does, his system is safe and just works. Scott Tolzien putting up big numbers… even though he has the turnovers. Same with Sean Payton and Norv Turner, here are three guys I refer to as geniuses of offensive football. Now I know the Packers are on a little losing streak, but I think today they’re going to get it done.”
So obviously Terry Bradshaw knows football, but I don’t understand the genius label for McCarthy. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I watch offenses with play designs that result in receivers being wide open all the time. I watch teams play the Packers defense week in and week out that have easy passes to complete because our defense is confused and blow an assignment. I just never see the Packers offense doing that to opposing defenses.
When I watch the Packers offense completing important passes, it is almost always the result of a great throw by the quarterback in a super-tight window, a superb catch by a writhing receiver, or both. I don’t see the Packers offense befuddling anyone and I don’t see plays designed that result in receivers running free. I see the same stale offense I’ve been seeing for the last several years. There’s a reason Matt Flynn was able to come in and look comfortable with our game plan, and that’s because the Packers are largely running the same playbook since McCarthy got here.
I can’t dismiss Bradshaw’s opinion, but I don’t have to agree with it either.
Simply put ask yourself this. When’s the last time you can recall a Packers receiver running free that wasn’t the result of a player slipping and falling down? Because to me that’s what offensive genius is, someone who can create a playbook that confuses the defense and/or puts them in really tough spots where they break down in coverage. Sean Payton definitely qualifies in this regard, as does McCarthy’s mentor Norv Turner.
Also, apparently, anyone the Packers defense has faced must be led by a genius. How else could you account for all the confusion and breakdowns in the secondary? (Rolls eyes)
3. Stand up and be counted, for what you are about to receive.
The Packers won the toss and elected to receive? A rarity.
I don’t like it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Always defer.
4. Oh sure… NOW you say that.
I cringed when Johnathan Franklin got hit on the opening kickoff return. You really didn’t get to see it in live action, but the sound of his helmet smacking into Vikings special teamer A.J. Jefferson’s was grotesque. The reverse angle replay, shown several moments later, didn’t give a true indication about how hard a shot that was. Jefferson tattooed Franklin at full speed right in the temple area.
Franklin would leave with a concussion and to add insult to injury, surprisingly good play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt mentioned how the Packers had plans to get Franklin more involved in this game.
That sounds about right.
The Fox broadcast of the Packers-Vikings started out with back to back thuds.
Did you notice the graphical error at the start of the first Packers possession? When introducing the Packers offense to the Fox audience, Marshall Newhouse was incorrectly highlighted as a rookie while David Bakhtiari was incorrectly NOT listed as a rookie. It’s a pretty simple mistake I suppose, since the veteran plays like a rookie and the rookie like a seasoned veteran.
To add to the debacle, color commentator John Lynch butchered Bakhtiari’s name, instead calling him (bah-kuh-TAR-ree). Thankfully it was only a minor annoyance for us because Davd Bakhtiari (Bahk-tee-AR-ree) is an offensive lineman, a pretty good one, and thus his name is rarely mentioned during a broadcast.
Lynch has no excuse though. NFL broadcasters always have production meetings with both teams in order to clear up such issues as well as to gather material for the broadcast. They are literally given access to the coach and key players to ask questions and mine for the information they need. For Lynch to not get clarification on the correct pronunciation for the player blocking Jared Allen all game demonstrates why he’s calling the worst game of the week. It’s the surest sign in the book that a broadcaster has not prepared properly when he doesn’t know how to pronounce a player’s name of a game he’s covering.
Sidenote: I personally apologize to Matt Interbartolo (In-ter-bar-TOE-low) who I wrongfully called (In-ter-BAR-tuh-low) in my first UWSP hockey radio broadcast circa 1996. I was totally unprepared. Then again I wasn’t getting paid either. Dude was a good player, too. One of the best I saw in my years at Point.
6. Child Care!
There’s been some recent conversations about the cheerleaders and/or lack of cheerleaders at Lambeau Field, but I have one major and I believe important suggestion for the ones used currently…
Sit down and shut up.
Is that one suggestion or two?
I can’t be the only person watching a broadcast from Lambeau Field on a quality sound system who has heard and been painfully annoyed by the sound of teenagers clapping and doing stupid cheers throughout the game. The NFL puts microphones everywhere and so everytime we get a game from Lambeau, the soundtrack mix is dominated by the sound of adolescent babbling, clapping and cheering. It’s one of those things where you might go a whole game and not even notice it, but if you happen to hear it for even a second it’s as if it is front and center and impossible to block out from that point forward.
Look, I get that the Packers want to keep with a family-type environment and not have to put forth the effort to scrape together five or six really hot chicks from the Green Bay/greater FoxValley area to form a real cheerleading squad. Because let’s face it… that would be a tall order and lots of work. So I say let the little middle school or high school girls come in and rub their pom pons together and whatever other nonsense you want to allow them; I’m all for letting kids have that opportunity and carrying on that tradition. But for the love of all that is holy, let’s limit the cheering to television timeouts only.
Do these kids really need to be yelling at the crowd when the game is going on? Are they somehow enhancing the viewing experience for anyone by doing that? No they’re not. They’re actually hindering it. The cheerleaders are at Lambeau as a sense of community, not to enhance the viewing experience in any way. I’m all for that sense of community, but not when the game is going on.
Make it happen.
7. Patterson a perfect fit for the Pansies in Purple
Did you happen to catch the extremely douche-like celebration Cordarelle Patterson embarrassed himself with after his nice kick return? If not, that’s too bad because it was totally befitting a member of the Purple Pansies. Patterson and an unseen teammate (fortunate for him) got to the sideline and did what amounted to a patty-cake routine, but with their feet. How adorable… if you’re six.
I guess we shouldn’t get down on Patterson so much. He’s an excited rookie and probably as of yet still unaware just how inept the organization he plays for is. If anything we should feel pity for the young man. How would you like to be a standout rookie wide receiver playing for a worthless team with not just one useless quarterback, but three? Here’s to hoping Patterson plays out his piss-ant rookie contract for Minnesota and finds a way to get the hell out of there. I’d prefer the Packers not have to face him for many years to come, but with whatever jackass is running things west of the Mississippi, there shouldn’t ever be any worry that the Queens could contend for anything but another high draft pick.
And by the way Cordarrelle, don’t let it bother you that Greg Jennings is making $8 million a year more than you even though you’re already way more valuable to your team. On second thought… you should be pissed. Enjoy that thought the next time you do that pathetic little dance number.
8. Denis Savard Would Be Proud
I like Scott Tolzien. I like rooting for Scott Tolzien. I felt he got the shaft when he was pulled from the game even though he was playing poorly. With hindsight firmly in the rearview mirror, it’s easy to say McCarthy made the right call. It certainly did spark the team and seem to elevate the play of the entire offense.
I’m not results-oriented though. I thought it was counterintuitive to what McCarthy had preached for weeks, that having a guy come in without any reps all week is a shitty spot for any team to be in… no matter how well he knows the offense. Then at the first sign of trouble with Tolzien, he willingly goes that route by inserting Matt Flynn. I thought it was wrong. I thought it was hasty. And there’s no doubt that it worked in this instance.
As of early Tuesday morning, McCarthy still hadn’t named a starter for Thursday. Everyone is saying Flynn, but I’m hoping it’s Tolzien. I continue to believe.
However, it’s entirely possible that Scott Tolzien never takes another snap as a Packer. If he doesn’t, no one can take away that play. No matter what happens to him from this day forward, he will forever have that legendary play at Lambeau Field that electrified the crowd to deafening levels and commenced with a leap into the arms of the adoring fans.
How many people have a moment like that?
9. Jamari Lattimore sighting!
You all know I love this guy. Last week he had one defensive snap. This week he had seven. Hopefully the trend continues and he has seven times as many snaps versus the Lions. Anyway, it’s progress.
10. Phoning it in.
The Packers defense always quits late in the game. I think I’ll follow their lead and wrap this up.