Grant's enormous sack
There's no debate: ESPN's Sunday Night crew is the worst big-time broadcast team in football. The troika of Maguire-Patrick-Theismann has a penchant for grotesque hyperbole tempered only by a flair for the obvious.
So the Cold, Hard Football Facts – tracking the crew's comical commentary Sunday night – couldn't help but laugh when Jacksonville safety Deon Grant sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter and knocked the Steelers out of fieldgoal range. Play-by-play man Mike Patrick gleefully announced that Grant's "sack was enormous."
OK, it was a perfectly innocent statement. But one can't help but take a little juvenile pleasure during a three-hour period devoid of little else in the way of enjoyable or insightful commentary. It makes you wonder if these guys ever critique their own performances. Our guess is that they don't.
Paul Maguire provides the biggest chuckles week after week. The ball-washing hyperbole that's his hallmark made its appearance early in the first quarter. After a short Fred Taylor run, Maguire concluded that "when Taylor is healthy, he's one of the best running backs in football."
Moments later, after Pittsburgh's first touchdown, he declared that "Hines Ward is the toughest receiver in the NFL." Really, Paul? I'm sure it will be someone else next week.
Maguire then turned to sage graybeard late in the first quarter, reminding both teams with you "don't do stupid things." Thanks, Buddha.
Just a few minutes later, early in the second quarter, he resolutely declared that "you can't afford to do stupid things." Pure genius.
Maguire's insight took a turn for the surreal late in the second quarter, when Roethlisberger tossed a short pass to the flat on 3rd and 17. The play fell well short of a first down. Maguire, who spent much of the night offering a parade of praise about Roethlisberger's poise and play, thought it was a smart play because "you got a young quarterback. Don't let him do something stupid."
Theismann chimed in during the fourth quarter with this gem: "I don't believe you can not go after Leftwich." Say what, Joe? We think what he meant to say was: "Go after Leftwich."
Theismann continued his winning fourth quarter when he told us that Pittsburgh "got out of playing Steeler football. They're throwing too much." Pittsburgh had just 12 pass attempts at the time and ended with 17 for the entire game -- including four pass attempts on Roethlisberger's last-minute scoring drive.
But the best Theismann nugget was tossed in the air when Pittsburgh took the ball to open the second half: "The Jaguars have an opportunity to get the ball back by stopping Pittsburgh on this drive."
Thanks, Joe. Keep up the great work. And next time tell us more about Grant's enormous sack.
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