Corder: The pretty faces of TV announcers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The running joke in the journalism business is there’s a reason why all the pretty faces land on TV and your vampires and gargoyles, such as myself, end up typing their lives away at newspapers and magazines.

The one-dimensional comedy grows funnier for me every weekend during football season, when ex-players, whose wives tell them to get a job or it’s ‘Sayonara,’ attempt to lavish us with their vast vocabulary and knowledge of a sport that dodo birds can grasp.

Take for instance Chris Spielman from ESPN’s broadcast of the Ole Miss-Memphis game last weekend. Spielman was one of the Detroit Lions’ all-time greats.

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As a linebacker, he struck fear into the hearts of many a player, totaling nearly 1,000 tackles in a 10-year career.

As a commentator, however, the only ones that shiver with anxiety are his producers, who are contemplating when to pull the cord.

One of Spielman’s more sublime commentaries in the demoralizing 44-34 Rebel loss to a Memphis centered on quarterback Eli Manning, who with a first half touchdown passed big bro’ Peyton for career touchdowns with 55.

&uot;They’re both great quarterbacks,&uot; Spielman prophesied.

The great and powerful Spielman, ladies and gentlemen, blessing us with some Ozlike insight.

Or consider former Auburn head coach and current ABC in-studio analyst Terry Bowden, the son of legendary Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden, who always looks like he’s getting ready to weld something with those orange Oakleys.

Terry, who himself could double as one of the munchkins with that glass-cracking voice, suggested N.C. State quarterback Phillip Rivers’ life away from the football field gave him the ability to lead the Wolfpack back from a 28-10 halftime deficit at Atlantic Coast Conference rival Wake Forest:

&uot;Because he is married and has the perspective of football, I think he has the poise to lead them back and I think he can,&uot; Terry proposed before N.C. State eventually lost 38-24.

WHAT? Where is the rationale in that? Just because he is changing diapers and taking out the trash, there’s a card up his sleeve.

&uot;All right fellows. Ten yards to the trash can, button hook and I’ll hit you with the Pampers right on the numbers. On noonie, on noonie. Ready, break!&uot;

My favorites, however, had to have been in the biggest upset of the weekend. Georgia Tech led Auburn, 10-3, in a defensive ballgame with about 5 and 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter when color commentator David Norrie turned to play-by-play man Gary Thorne and offered: &uot;I have a feeling this one is going to go down to the wire.&uot;

A real soothsayer ,that Norrie.

Or how about a little later. With Auburn in dire need of points, down 17-3, the Tigers had it 4th and 2 from their own 41 with 4:58 left in the game. Norrie’s supposition:

&uot;Fourth down Gary, and I think you gotta go here.&uot;

You could almost picture Thorne turning to Norrie and slapping him on the back of the head.

Broadcasters often refer to themselves as &uot;the talent,&uot; but you’d be hard-pressed to decipher where that comes from after listening to these pretty faces.

Chuck Corder

is a sports writer for The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3633 or by e-mail at