So last night’s telecast was rather interesting. Monday Night Countdown had more analysts than ever, Tony Kornheiser complained about the heat in Arizona and Emmitt….well, Emmitt actually wasn’t that bad (not THAT bad at least). The broadcast definitely got stale at times, namely the second half, but you can expect that in a preseason game. Let’s break this out and do a paragraph on each element, shall we?

Countdown: Your players were (from left to right) Trey Wingo, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter, Tom Jackson and Emmitt Smith. The problem wasn’t the content, in fact they all had solid contributions at one point or another, but rather just too many cooks in the kitchen (per usual).

The best segment of the show came when their collection of former players at the ready explained how Favre would help each individual offensive position for the Jets next season. Carter discussed how the offensive line should buy in right away, Key broke down how the receivers should be excited for not having just 6-yard routes to run, and good ole’ Emmitt actually made sense when explaining how all of this would lead to a huge year for Thomas Jones.

Emmitt still had his moments, and while this pregame show wasn’t bad, it still wasn’t great. In all honesty a host (not Berman), Tom Jackson and Cris Carter would be solid, but with 80 people on the payroll that’s probably not possible.

1st Half: Okay, what the heck happened to the whole nixing the sideline reporters thing? Michele Tafoya was all over this broadcast and Suzy Kolber was milling around during Countdown. As recent as a month ago, Tony Kornheiser confirmed that the two would likely be seeing less time but he wasn’t sure of the reasoning.

Other than that obvious addition, or rather non-deletion, the first half was pretty spot on. Lots of Leinart and Bush talk, but that was expected, and amazingly….and I mean AMAZINGLY….very little Favre talk. The trio talked about the potential of the Saints offense, delved into the dicey acquisition of Shockey and had a few good interviews. It was a good mix.

Halftime: By far the best part of the program. It was just Wingo and Carter on the set (which looked insanely small with just them at the desk) talking highlights. The two even delved into Baseball and Golf and had a pretty good rapport that obviously developed over the Summer during NFL Live.

2nd Half: This is where things usually derail for the trio. Tony goes off on inane tangents, Mort forces stats talk and Tirico is left picking up the pieces. If the game is a blowout or a preseason game, it’s even worse. Never fails.

This game was no different with Tony’s cheesy joke du jour being that it was ridiculously hot in Arizona. Who knew it was hot in the f’ing desert? I’m not sure how many actually enjoy his act at this point of the game, but it can’t be many. He also added in a “Brett Favre has been traded to the Knicks” joke for good measure. Look for it around either the 3-minute mark of the third quarter or the 11-minute mark of the fourth of every game this year.

Tirico, on the other hand, was extremely good throughout the game and even made me laugh out loud at one point in the second half with this exchange….

“You have a incredible amount of facts at the ready. You knew that was the only first down of the half. I think no more than five people in the world knew that.”- Tony Kornheiser
“Enjoyable moments in play by play. Men dream of the fourth quarter in preseason games. These are the happy moments of the year.”- Mike Tirico

(I guess that’s a good segue into the quotes)

Your Top Ten Quotes:

We’re changing up this year. Going with both good and bad in the same spot….well, mostly bad.

10. “The question I have for Matt Leinart, does he love playing in the National Football League? Or does he love the benefits of being a player in the National Football league.”- Cris Carter (Great way to pose it)

9. “Jaws, this maybe as good a quarterback situation as any team in the NFL.”- Mike Tirico on the Cardinals (Ummm really?)

8. “Watch Terrell Smith here, this is one of those Chris Berman lines…..rumbling, bumbling, bullying to the endzone.”- Ron Jaworski (Huh?)

7. “This just in….Brett Favre has left Jets, he signed with the Knicks, I’m tired all the stuff the Jets said about me.”- Tony Kornheiser (Boooooooo!)

6. “440 Completions for Drew Brees.”- Ron Jaworski
“That was like five years for you right?- Tony Kornheiser (Now that’s funny)

5. “This is the thing, Brett Favre is coming to New York and leaving Green Bay.”- Emmitt Smith (Thanks for the insight Emmitt!)

4. “He’s been the Most Valuable Internet Player for awhile with those beer pong photos. You want to say, hey dude….it’s not Entourage.”- Tony Kornheiser on Leinart

3. “I don’t know how they can truly be comfortable with Aaron Rodgers considering that the fact, that, he has only played in that number of games.”- Emmitt Smith

2. “I don’t know anything about Football, but I believe what Keyshawn says.”- Cris Carter (I’d rethink that)

1. “Where does Hochuli go to get his shirts made that tight?”- Tony Kornheiser (Come on, you knew an Eddie Gunz joke would make it in)

In the end (I’m sure it doesn’t read like it above) the broadcast wasn’t bad. With the way the past two years have gone you have to know that this is a vast improvement. There were still some elements that were less than desirable, but that just comes with the territory. Again, it was the first preseason game of the year.

There is one final note I wanted to make though. For the first time ever, Jaws really got on my nerves in the second half. He was forcing things and his stance that the Packers were better off without Favre was laughable. Especially after Tony asked him why he’d pick Rodgers and he responded, “Because when you build a Football team you build it for the future. Right now they could probably win more games with Brett Favre.” Huh? That makes zero sense. I understand he’s the “nice” one, but he’d be better served by at least once talking bad about something or someone. Just a thought.

Overall Grade for the Night: C+/B- (I can’t talk myself into giving out a solid B out this early in the season)

(Normally there’d be a video of the night in this spot but this post ran super long. Once I get the format down and/or figure out how to add a “jump” feature….it’ll all go in the same spot. Stay tuned for your MNF Video of the Night coming in the next post. Oh and if you have suggestions on the “Review” format and/or a title for the brand new “Pam Ward Chronicles” of the NFL, let them be known in the comments.)

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