I tuned in today to watch the kickoff of the 2006-2007 NFL Season. I wasn’t quite as hyped as I used to be — the game has truly changed. But nonetheless, I appreciate what it does to push summer along and move fall colors and cold weather back into our lives with a bit more ease (than if we had to do it without football.)
Growing up, I remember the battle of the NFL pre-game shows. There was the NBC show, The NFL 83…. then 84, 85….(name changed seemingly every year until they settled on the NFL on NBC) and then, there was the premiere pre-game show, The NFL Today. Brent Musbuger, Jimmy the Greek, Irv Cross and a few others seemed to capture my attention much more easily on CBS. As the years moved on, John Madden and Pat Summerall would set the standard at CBS for game coverage and when NFC coverage moved over to Fox, they assembled probably the most enjoyable pre-game show (at least for me) ever. Fox NFL Sunday to me was just perfect. The balance between Terry Bradshaw, Jim Brown, Howie Long and the ever changing fourth sport of Collinsworth, Ronnie Lott and Jimmy Johnson, was great. Even the theme music was infectious. When I watched James Brown tease Terry about his “country hick” ways and Terry tease Jimmy about his hair and then Howie and Terry tease each other about the current status of their old teams, it was a special kind of fun that made me want to be there.
So it was much to my surprise this evening after coming home from church that I tuned to the Fox post-game show and saw….. Joe Buck? Now don’t get me wrong — I like Joe Buck. I like his voice for baseball. He’s definitely a sports scholar and he’s got broadcasting greatness in his blood. My heart went out to him when his dad died and he had to suck it up and finish the baseball season on Fox. He’s a great talent. But James Brown was something extraordinary.
Apparently James has moved over to do the CBS pre game show in a throwback to the NFL Today, perhaps of old. I’m not sure how I’ll receive this new pre-game show. (I probably won’t get to see much of it since I’m in church by the time they get started — I know my priorities). But I do know that the end of a pre-game show pairing James Brown, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw is definitely the end of an era.
Upon finding this clip of Jim Brown on YouTube, it made me like him just a bit more. Watch it and understand that James Brown has his priorities straight as well — and isn’t afraid to explain them to us.