Field goals count for three points and other important lessons in football

A friend and I were driving around town last week listening to the local broadcast of the Outback Bowl.  Even though I live in Tampa and he was just visiting, he and I determined that bowl game, which featured neither of our alma maters, was not worth the price of admission.  Sure, we missed the nastiest hit of the decade but we made up for it by watching it repeatedly on SportsCenter afterwards.

After South Carolina scored a fourth-quarter touchdown, giving them a five point lead, Michigan got the ball back with limited time to score.  When it appeared Michigan might make one last push downfield, one of the two broadcasters said, on live radio, that all the Wolverines needed, was to get into field goal range.  Keep in mind, they were down by five.  Field goals count for three.  The other announcer quickly corrected him.

A similar thing happened this Sunday during the Patriots-Texans game.  Even though Houston was getting surgically incised by New England for most of the game, the Texans still had a chance to put some points on the board late.  Coach-turned-analyst Brian Billick said, again, on live television, that the Texans could still get into field goal range, as if three points would matter at that point.  Houston was down by 13.  They needed two touchdowns, not a field goal.

I’m not suggesting that being a play-by-play guy is an easy job but as fans, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that our announcers have a firm grasp of simple mathematics.  Paying attention to the game also helps.  I can’t imagine how many beer-soaked football fans, watching in their living rooms around the country, looked at each other dumbfounded, asking what the hell Billick was talking about and wondering whether they could do his job better themselves.

Brent Musburger fawning over a quarterback’s girlfriend, or Jon Gruden never saying a bad word about anyone, is a far cry from a former Super Bowl winning coach blissfully unaware that a field goal does a losing team no good when they’re down by 13 with time expiring.

Perhaps it’s time for the major networks to buy their high-paid announcers pocket calculators so they can properly inform their viewers what teams need to do to steal a victory… or maybe we should just turn down the volume knob once and for all.

45 thoughts on “Field goals count for three points and other important lessons in football

  1. Pingback: Field goals count for three points and other important lessons in football - BallHyped Blog Network, NFL | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Like I’ve always said, except for Tommy Heinsohn, all sports broadcasters are assholes and idiots.

  3. For the longest time, Snake, I would just turn the volume down and turn some music up.

    I don’t need announcers telling me what just happened or the importance of a particular play. I already know.

    There are still a few guys I like to listen to. Even though they’re getting up in the years, you still have to give Hubie and Dr. Jack some love.

    And I am digging me some Kevin Harlan these days. You really also can’t go wrong with Marv, if only because he’s been around forever and he’s wearing women’s underwear.

  4. Reading your piece one-sided games kept coming to mind where the announcers vainly attempt to keep the “contest” interesting… You know… 5 minutes in the game and they pop up with “The Gators (ahem) are only 4 scores down!”

    This past weekend during their 49er-Packer broadcast there was a little interplay between Joe Buck and Troy Aikman where Buck commented on a certain rule to be quickly followed by Aikman stating “You’ve been reading the rulebook!” It was met by silence from Buck… Kinda speaks to what you’re topic is today…

    My biggest gripe about sports announcers and “color” commentators concerns the unbridled homerism many carry around. Tim McCarver comes immediately to mind…

    My second biggest gripe (and it’s recently been catching my first gripe by leaps and bounds) has to do with sports commentators who take it upon themselves to make social commentary… I listen to sports for entertainment. If I want social commentary I know where to find it. Hearing that little worm Bobby Costas speak about the need for gun control really chapped my hide. Who the hell is he? The twerp ranks right up there with all the celebrities who make their money from roles in violent movies and television programs telling us how we need gun control. What hypocrites!

  5. Dwin…

    That’s one of the things I find refreshing about Charles Barkley.

    Sure, his act gets tired sometimes just like everyone else but Barkley will sit there on the set of Inside the NBA, before their slate of night games is about to start, and he’ll tell you there’s really no need to watch tonight’s game because Team A will blow out Team B. He’s the antithesis of the announcer that will tell you there’s a chance with four touchdowns left.

    I don’t mind homerism from my local analysts but I’m pretty sure there’s not a sports fan in America that will tell you they like listening to either Buck or McCarver.

    I will say this though about the Costas incident. I didn’t really have all that much of a problem with him using that platform to express that opinion but of course I’m anti-gun anyway.

    Again, it all comes back to us having the right to just turn the volume off, which is what I do most of the time anyway.

    Although I guess I shouldn’t since they always give us such good material to write about.

  6. …turning down the volume is often better than listening to announcers moronic drivel aimed at nothing but filling the airwaves…

    I too heard Billick make a fool of himself and wondered who pays him… oh we do by buying Doritos…

    Snake, Thank you for reminding us all that Tommy Heinsohn is the biggest gaping asshole homer that EVER stood behind a mic. All Celtic all the time, regardless of who might be playing it’s still always about the Celtics.

    Chris, thank you for reminding us that Sir Charles may be insufferable but at least he speaks his mind straight and to the point and thus remains refreshing

  7. Chris, I’ve taken an accounting of all the non-sports programing I watch on ABC, CBS and NBC… The grand total is zip, zero, nada and it’s based on their one-sided political stance. They know their ratings are way down from the “good old days” when they were the only shows in town so what do they do? They squeeze in their social commentary when they have a sports audience… What do I do? I not only turn down the sound, I refuse to purchase the products they advertise… I know what I think accounts for a pebble of sand on all the beaches throughout the universe but it keeps me smiling!

  8. Tree…

    Look, bra. I don’t know why you’re bringing a perfectly honest and innocent little snack into the mix.

    DORITOS ARE NOT TO BLAME!!! What have they ever done to you, man?

    I love them. I truly do. But the old school red bag, not the cool ranch. Why mess up a perfectly good thing.

    In all honesty, though, I’d buy Doritos regardless of whether they aired any more commercials or not. They’re simply delicious.

    Oh and dude, you totally just started a war with Snake. Enjoy, dude. I’m just gonna sit back and watch.

    Keep it kosher, people.

    Besides, isn’t there something to be said for a guy who do his job with a flask of scotch in his jacket pocket?

    I’m referring to Heinsohn, not Snake. Snake drinks Maple Crown these days.

  9. Yes, indeed, props to Kevin Harlan, he’s sharp. Similar in style to Marv and Gus, but much less annoying. I still like Nessler, too, although he’s showing signs of being error-prone lately. Bottom line: it’s live tv, stuff’s gonna happen and those guys are processing a helluva lot of information on the fly. Keep feedin’ Brent those shots of babes in the crowd! :)

  10. Yaz…

    I just like Harlan’s delivery, and his inflection. Great voice, great timing.

    Like I said in the piece, I know it’s a tough job.

    I’m just saying it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the score and know that a team down by more than three points can’t settle for a field goal.

  11. So much of what we hear in the media these days are empty words good for only filling air time. The more lopsided the game the worse the commentary.
    Time to turn on some music and rock it brother!

  12. Chris

    The Texans’ JJ Watt wasn’t hitting anything against the Pats .

    Matt Schaub is the epitome of what you want in a quarterback in the regular season . Come the postseason he needs to bring his lunch bucket and pail . Not a pooper scooper .

    Brent Mussberger has an eye for the ladies. I’m now waiting for the camera phone picture of his schlong go viral on the net . Dear Miss Alabama unrequited love demand you look at this .

    NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith says he doesn’t believe that the testing protocols for HGH are accurate enough .

    Smith has been selling that same piece of bull$hit for the past three years and it’s now beginning to wear thin . No wonder he pis$ed off House Oversight Committee member …. Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) . Pee in a cup take it to lab and I am sure they can tell if you’ve got HGH in your system , without the necessity of taking a blood sample .

    Quarterback problems in Tampa , again ? No , say it ain’t so ?

    An act of contrition from Lance Armstrong , don’t waste people’s time with crocodile tears . Oprah was too soft on his a$s ! She made Jerry Springer seem like the second coming of Walter Cronkite ! WTF ! Lance’ll be kissing babies in down Tampa this weekend .

    Tophatal ………………..

  13. HOMER??? What the fuck is wrong with being a homer? Everybody who roots for a team is a homer unless they’re a douche bag on the bandwagon. I watch my Celtics on NBA League Pass with the option of the Boston feed or that of the opposing team. Why the fuck would I want to listen to anyone other than my guys calling a game? I hate watching NBA games on TNT and ESPN because those assholes calling the game don’t know jack shit about the teams playing except for what’s on the sheet in front of their faces. When someone says homer like its some kind of dirty word, I just remember what I learned a long time ago. The only thing that comes out of assholes is shit. Or your boyfriend’s cock.

  14. John Madden left a huge void in the announcer’s box when he retired. Chris Hollingsworth is good. Deep drop after that causes my mute button to activate. The sight alone, much less the voice and pomposity of Brent Mussberger, is the absolute bottom. His constant referring to analyst Kirk Herbstreit as “Herbie” is very grating. I’m surprised Herbstreit puts up with it. Costas is very full of himself as is Bryant Gumbel. Goofy as hell, Terry Bradshaw is still the best amongst pre-game guys.

  15. Al…

    Next season, the Texans need to work on their toughness and that starts and ends with Schaub. Twice this season, the Patriots made them look like they didn’t even belong on the same field.

    You’re not suggesting that Brent’s gonna pull a Brett, are you?

    And now it turns out Lance isn’t the only one lying. What’s up with this story about Manti T’eo’s fake girlfriend?

  16. Snake…

    Way to keep it classy. I told everyone things would get nasty.

    Like I said, I’m okay with a little homerism in my announcing. To each their own, right?

    It’s also safe to assume, as Snake vehemently points out, that Heinsohn knows as much about the Celtics as pretty much anyone on the planet.

    The only problem I have with homer play by play guys is their objectivity and by that I don’t mean openly rooting for their team. I mean when they question a call which was clearly the correct call but went against their team.

  17. Jim…

    You raise a great point about announcers calling fellow announcers by their “nicknames.”

    They call Chris Berman “Boomer” or “Boom.” They call Scott Van Pelt “SVP.” And as you mention, they call Herbstreit “Herbie.”

    Whatever happened to calling these people by their given names?

    I guess that flew out the window with professionalism.

  18. Chris

    The only purse Manny is liable to be seen with now is his wife’s as he’s now whipped .

    There’s a lot that the Texans need to work on and a great deal more .

    Let me ask you this , when will it dawn on the union that they agreed to testing for HGH , but yet they and the NFL are playing cat and mouse with the Feds . As I stated in my most recent piece where you left a comment .

    Chip Kelly to the Eagles ? Are the NCAA still investigating the Ducks’ program ? Didn’t Carroll leave the Trojans under a similar set of circumstances ? What do you think ?

    Tophatal ………..

    Tophatal ………..

  19. Chris, the referring to other members of the broadcasting team by announcers as being “one-of-them” like Boomer, Herbie, Ali, Dark Chocolate, or others is an attempt to promote kinship between the athlete and the announcer that seldom exists. Athletes dont generally approve of therir booth commentators, in that former players know much more than the play-by- play guy. Sometimes so much more of it is embarrassing. Ralph Kiner and Lindsay Nelson come to mind. In modern times Dick Vitale is in that category even when he works alone. The mute button is to sports what the sewers of Paris were to unruly miscreants. Bogt should be tightened down so little air escapes.

  20. Chip Kelly, a spread-option college coach, should expect little from Vick at the quarterback position in his new job in Philly. Vick simply doesn’t have the speed and quickness anymore and he is hurt too often. Kaepernack, Newton, Russell, and perhaps a rejuvenated RGIII have the agility Vick lacks. Watch the draft for a new Eagle’s quarterback. Kelly’s choice does verify the position of many who believe the NFL will inexorably move further towards this offense and away from the traditional drop-back passing schemes. I predict in four years eight or nine teams will be running this year’s 49er offense. RGIII was perfect for this offense of the future. Leaving him in his final game when he was so obviously hurt was extremely poor judgment.

  21. Chris

    So Notre Dame’s Manti Teo` was duped with regard to being embroiled in having a girlfriend ? So this what a Notre Dame education can get you ? I’d be surprised if Teo’ also hasn’t a latex doll that he uses at home to pleasure himself with . Now you have the Irish’s AD Jack Swarbrick coming to the defense of the player .

    Manti couldn’t find a piece of @ss on that vast college campus of Notre Dame , so he had to go searching online ? What the ###k !

    Not all the females on the campus were virgins, that they “couldn’t put put ” and offer some “tail” to Manti Teo’ . But this whole story is now verging on the ridiculous !

    Jim Schwartz goes 4-12 with Lions and his job is safe . Lovie with the Bears goes 10-6 , narrowly missing a playoff berth , with Mr Potato Head as their quarterback ! Yet Lovie Smith gets fired ?

    GM Phil Emery , says , it was time to head in an opposite direction . You’re damn right it was time to make a change in direction ! But they’ve fu##ed up in firing Smith , while retaining Jay Cutler . He (Cutler) has to be the one of the ” most overrated quarterbacks” in the NFL , next to Romo and Timmy Whine-bow !

    If Alex Smith were to come to the Bucs , would you be happy with his becoming the starter over Josh Freeman ? Schiano’s first order of business is to secure the future of offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan , rather than see him go elsewhere .

    Fans of Oprah are pi$$ed , as they were all expecting a 2013 Corvette as a giveaway at Lance Armstrong’s appearance on her gab-fest . Instead bottles of Viagra , 50 milligram dosage , were offered to both males and females (Pfizer does make female version of Viagra – moistens their c##t , one presumes to extend their pleasure ) in attendance for the show’s taping of Lance’s confession .

    Tophatal ……………

  22. Billick has been a weekly visitor to Philly sports talk all season long, offering his opinions on all things NFL. Last week, he canceled his appearance…because he was interviewing for the Eagles job and didn’t want to answer any direct questions about a possible interview. Ironically, his commentary during the 4th quarter on Sunday’s game became a running joke immediately and many people voiced immediate concern Philly might actually hire the guy based on his announcing. I have to say the broadcasting from both the play-by-play and analyst chairs only gets worse across the board. I try to tune ‘em out…except when they bring in the officiating experts to tell you what the replay call should be. I love listening to everyone’s reaction when those decisions go the other way. That’s great TV when some of these guys flat-out tell you what the call should be…and then it’s not.

  23. Al…

    That’s why I’m not at all surprised Kelly left Oregon.

    I had heard that the program might come under investigation but that’s no longer Chip Kelly’s problem.

    Philadelphia is.

  24. Jim…

    The only problem with all that camaraderie is that it’s gotten worse with the four of five twenty-hour networks that ESPN has to fill with airtime, not to mention that fact that we have more ex-athletes than ever before entering the booth.

    What cracks me up is how many of them can actually do a better job than people who supposedly “went to school” for it.

    Turns out they’re getting schooled.

    Ah, who the hell am I kidding? You and I both know I’m still going to watch, and most likely listen, regardless.

  25. Jim…

    We’re slowly seeing a change in the quarterbacks in the league, which will lead to a change in the game. We’ll see if it’s just a flash in the pan or something that sticks around for a while.

    The only problem for Kelly and Philly is I’m not sure there’s another one out there, a la RG or Colin, suited to run his offense. I agree with you on Vick but at this point, they might not have a choice but to let him be the first to drive that Kelly-mobile.

    Prepare thy ribs in the off-season, oh Michael, because they’ll be taking a beating come 2013.

  26. Al…

    Definitely a bizarre story about Te’o and his made up girlfriend. Like I tweeted yesterday, I wish all my ex-girlfriends were fake. I’m not sure if we’ll ever know what truly happened just like we don’t with Barry and Roger and Lance… yawn, this is getting repetitive.

    Tony Romo career regular season record: 55-38
    Tim Tebow career regular season record: 8-6
    Jay Cutler career regular season record: 51-42

    They each have one playoff win under their belts.

    And yes, I’ll be watching Oprah tonight.

  27. SA…

    I’m kind of surprised Billick hasn’t found his way back on the sidelines as of yet.

    I wonder if some teams think he’s already been out of the game too long, or whether they’re just not interested.

  28. Chris

    I don’t like fake girlfriends as they’re liable to fake their orgasms as well . Manti , needs to get himself a latex life size doll (with all of the right sizable moving parts and orifices) before moving on to the real thing .

    An investigation of the Ducks’ program by the NCAA is tantamount to a congressional hearing on pornography . It’s good for some while bad for others . That’s the collegiate landscape at present , those who cheat and don’t get caught and those who do , and then at times , have the full wrath of the NCAA brought down upon them at NCAA President , Mark Emmert’s wish . In the case of Emmert he will cherry pick the severity of the punishment to be meted out !

    Why waste $49-95 on seeing Pacquiao fight , when you can blow that type of money on a chick that could very well make your night , by ” putting out ” ?

    While DeMaurice Smith (NFLPA [players' union executive director]) and Goodell keep blowing smoke up everyone’s a$s concerning HGH testing , especially when both sides three years ago ratified an agreement that would lead to in and off-season testing of the players .

    If Bud Selig’s dumb @ss can be dragged kicking and screaming into this millennium and decade concerning mandatory testing , wherein they (baseball) now tests for HGH and other illicit substances . Then why are Goodell and Smith , still disinclined to follow suit ? First with Goodell , it was privacy issues , and with Smith , the basis behind his adversarial stance , was that there wasn’t a totally infallible test out there . What the ##ck are those two (Goodell and Smith ) on ?

    Have fun while watching Lance be less than contrite . Oprah won’t be asking tough questions of the now disgraced cyclist . It’s simply not in her DNA , as she will simply fawn over the guy , just as he did when she interviewed the singer Rihanna , and barely asked her any pertinent questions, as to why she would rekindle her relationship with Chris Brown , after he beat her like a stray animal . So pardon me , if I choose not to watch this bile unfold ! I said all along, that Lance Armstrong was a lying sack of $hit , while idiots simply were talking bull##it concerning the authority of WADA and the USADA .

    Lance and his legal counsel started to cower, like the bi##hes they are , the moment Tyler Hamilton poured gasoline on the fire with his signed affidavit and then subpoenaed testimony concerning his and Armstrong’s illegal use of a wide variety of illicit substances , including EPO. Now what , for the idiots who ignored that fact ?

    Tophatal ………..

  29. Romo , Cutler and Tebow ….. the only thing they have in common is that they allegedly ” play in the NFL ” . Now when it comes to the position of quarterback , would say that each has been a resounding success ?

    It’s like watching a beauty pageant , there’ll talent , there’ll be skanks , refined chicks with beauty and intelligence . And then there’ll be the likes Jay Cutler , Tony Romo and Tim Tebow , wannabes , who’ve no leadership skills , guts for that matter are actually effective enough to win over anyone , even with marginal talent !

    Cutler and Romo this upcoming season will have to prove themselves once and for all ! Tebow will be a glorified third stringer somewhere as part of some hard luck sob story .

    Tophatal ………………

  30. Al…

    I actually enjoyed the Lance interview. I’m looking forward to the Part Deux.

    I haven’t closely followed who he sued. You know that’s not my bag.

    I am, however, interested in finding out if there will be any federal charges brought against him.

    Still just seems to me though that we have bigger fish to fry, don’t we?

  31. Chris

    Lance won over $4 million within the UK legal system against several prominent newspapers there . Those papers will undoubtedly be refiling , looking to recoup their monies . And this where Armstrong will be in a real bind . Never mind his endorsers here in the US . Nike must feel a real a#s , as they have steadfastly stood by him .

    The Armstrong Foundation is now beginning to suffer from this fallout , as there is no real recognizable figurehead to lead that charity and at the same has the power to resonate with the public . These are the things Lance Armstrong and his dumb a#s didn’t envisage would happen .

    What might be even more deplorable were the actions he countenanced by his inner circle against those who spoke out against him . People seem to be overlooking that as well , as Armstrong seeks the public’s empathy .

    Last night, was a brain inducing piece of bile ! Winfrey hasn’t conducted a serious interview of any type in years . Both you and I know . the only reason he went to Oprah , would be that she would treat him with ” kid gloves ” . This is in terms of hard hitting journalism was absolute garbage ! Besides that , her network remains a ratings’ challenged broadcast outlet , having lost tens of millions for its investors since the OWN inception.

    The games this weekend should be great , with subplots being as they are …….. Harbaugh brothers , Brady seeking his sixth AFC championship title .

    Tophatal ………..

  32. How about the networks actually hire good tv people to call the games and realize that just because individuals have a “name” or were once a good announcer doesn’t mean they currently are.

    One of the worst in my opinion is Chris Collinsworth. Though he has improved over time, he is still a terrible analyst and and color guy.

    I recall back in the early/mid 90′s when the NFL was still on NBC, Ditka and Gibbs actually told Collinsworth he didn’t know what the hell he was talking about during a pre-game show. Priceless. Plus never respect a guy who as an adult says on camera that he like high school girls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezm66VaNL6o

  33. Jed…

    That reminds me of the story back in the day of when Bobby Knight was losing to LSU, a game he finally won.

    When a reporter asked him if he was worried at any point during that ballgame, he said no because he looked across the floor and saw that he was coaching against Dale Brown.

    Here’s yet another example of bad reporting. I woke up to First Take today and I heard my favorite two announcers Stephen A. Smith and what’s the other guy’s name? The white, annoying, sun-drenched guy? Skip Bayless.

    They were talking about the upcoming NFL playoff games and referring to the Patriots quarterback, not at Tom Brady, but repeatedly as “T-Sizzle.”

    Is that really necessary?

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