My “hometown” favorite Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Massachusetts last Monday in a pre-season MNF tilt billed as a re-match of the ’04 Super Bowl. Well, portions of the contest were quite entertaining, including a visible an on-air argument between the Philly head coach and one of his star defense linemen, plus some decent play from a newly drafted back up QB. Of course, let’s not get too excited, as it’s only an exhibition practice game. Season ticket holders like myself find such contests underwhelming and frustrating, especially in light of the fact that we long-time ticketholders are required to purchase the (usually two) extra games at the same price as regular season Sunday (and Monday or Thursday night) games.
During the broadcast, ESPN’s Mike Tirico, with his broadcast partner and former pro head coach Jon Gruden at his side, assiduously expounded upon all this by saying that attending fans are getting “jobbed” by having to pay full freight to come out and view a game by and large consisting of try-out players who may likely never suit up in a league game ever again. As the broadcast went for commercial break, Coach Gruden seemed all aghast at his colleagues unexpected but refreshing candor (which this blogger has already tweeted as being Emmy-worthy). ; After the commercial break, things got even more interesting as “Grudawg” (shocked and sentient of standing in the middle of a “biting the hand that feeds me” moment) explained that Major League Baseball does the same thing with spring training! Hmmm….
ESPN Monday Night Football Announcers Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden
Now, I’ve attended Eagles home games in South Philly since the kelly green uniform days of the mid-80s, previously at “the Vet” and now “the Linc”. It’s a great time at the stadium and also at the tailgate before and after. I also hope someday to enjoy the pleasures of spring training at a Phillies grapefruit league game. But I tell you this Coach Gruden, on a hot summer night of practice football (as A.I. used to say “We talkin ’bout practice?!) there’s nothing about South Philly down at Darien and Broad that is even remotely reminiscent of the shady palms and sandy beaches of Cleawater, Ft. Myers, Fort Lauderdale, etc. But maybe we’re on to something here? Perhaps the concessions stands could serve up grouper sandwiches and rum runners? Make football pre-season a swanky mid -summer tourist attraction to rival baseball’s annual rite of spring? Heck we could get Jimmy Buffet and Gloria Estefan to perform at half time!
By the time the game was over, I started thinking about the late George Carlin’s brilliant, legendary take on the sublime differences between the two sports. What more can be said? ; Thanks for your candor in looking out for the consumer Mr. Tirico. I’ll be tuning in to hear what you, Coach Gruden and Lisa Salters have to say about the game of the week, and especially the “Birds”. In closing, I might add, not really missing the likes of Tony Kornheiser or Dennis Miller at all.