Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Big" Show Returns

The news that Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick will join the NBC Sunday night football broadcast to do highlights together is welcome news to this blog. There is no way this will ever equal the greatness of the original "Big Show" Sports Centers in the mid-90s, but it's a step in the right direction for NFL studio shows.

In January, Bill Simmons expertly broke down the problems with having ridiculous numbers of analysts on NFL studio shows. The desks look absurd with abnormally large men crowded together talking about football and laughing too often. Another issue is the inability of some of these guys (Shannon Sharpe, in particular) to complete a highlight tape without screwing up the words on the teleprompter, laughing, making inside jokes or shouting out some sort of onomatopoeia (ex. boom, whoop, etc). Passing highlights around the room for everyone to read is a terrible way to explain what happened. Most of the former players/coaches who are analysts are much better talking about the nuances of the game than they are at reading information quickly or effectively.

That's why bringing Olbermann and Patrick together will be a real success for NBC. These guys are trained at doing highlights, reading quickly and adding witty remarks within the context of the replays. Yes, they'll have plenty of inside jokes and their humor will be of higher brow than say, Emmitt Smith. But this is what these guys do for a living.

As long as NBC refrains from ever having all of their team members at one desk at the same time, the show should work well. With Bob Costas, Chris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis, Tiki Barber, Peter King, Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, things could come out horribly wrong. But if they allow for different desks and different scenes for each group, the show should be a real improvement over the other NFL shows.

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