Pigskin Detention: a memo to 'El Magnifico' Bob Costas

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 03, 2011



By Pat Imig
Cold, Hard Football Facts elitist snob
 
MEMO TO BOB COSTAS:
 
Your self-important monologues during halftime of NBC's Football Night in America need to stop. In fact, it’s time for you to stop showing up at the venue of each Sunday night game.
 
Your role screams “lifetime achievement” and that’s fine. But don’t treat your achievement award as a vehicle to preach like the super elitist journalist.
 
Sports is supposed be fun. The idea that broadcasters are supposed to wear suits is already kind of ridiculous. But you make it much worse with your pompous spewing of big words and bad metaphors.
 
Every freaking week, we have to watch and listen to Bob Costas … EL MAGNIFICO!
 
It’s really tough to stomach, Bob.
 
Thanks,
 
A football fan.
 
THE PROOF IS IN THE MONOLOGUE
Below are some samples from Costas’s Week 17 halftime monologue about the Colts. We say “some” because there was also a whole part about the Patriots that's just as bad. But we don’t want you to hurl your Flutie Flakes  or Warner’s Crunch Time all over the computer screen.
 
Ahem (throat clear).
 
Lights please …
 
“On December 5th, Indy was 6-6 and racked by injuries. With Peyton Manning at times appearing to be playing 1 on 11, the Colts were on the verge of irrelevancy.”
 
Stop. Think about what Costas is saying about every healthy player not named Peyton Manning. It’s hard to be any more condescending.
 
Even worse, Costas feeds the tired old belief that the talented Colts would go 0-16 every year if Peyton Manning did not walk on water. He ignores the actual problem with the Colts. Before Indy "was 6-6 and racked by injuries" Indy was 6-3 in spite of Manning, who had played poorly at that point of the season (passer ratings below 70 in three of five games). It was Manning's worst stretch of football since his rookie year.
 
Then, while Costas was preening in front of the mirror and missing entire stretches of the season, it got really bad for Manning: he threw 11 picks in the next three games. The Colts lost all three, not because Manning appeared "to be playing 1 on 11" but because Manning was doing his best Ryan Leaf imitation. 
 
It was only after this stretch of six bad games by Manning in the space of eight weeks that the Colts found themselves at 6-6.
 
Yet in the eyes of El Magnifico, the problem with the Colts was everybody else. It's a classic case of Spinal Manningitis.
 
Also consider that “irrelevancy” is that which is determined by Costas and his elite pundit ilk. In any real world situation, this scenario would result in a Bob Costas beating.
 
Continue …
 
“But then with Manning, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and a bunch of bailing wire and veteran knowhow, they patched it together and won the four straight games they had to, and made the playoffs for a record-tying ninth straight season.”
 
Notice Bob’s cute word play: “bailing wire” and “patched it together.” This is from the old school of broadcast that rewards clever word play and use of metaphors.
 
“The Colts aren’t blowing anybody out these days. In fact, it seems like they could lose almost every game they’re in - a far cry from a year ago when they’re biggest pre-playoff concern wasn’t qualifying, it was whether injury protection shrunk the pursuit of perfection. But this time, by the skin of their teeth, they’re back again.”
 
El Magnifico compounds his pomposity with factual inaccuracies, his belief that the Colts blew out everybody last year and struggled to beat teams this year.
  • The 2010 Colts won five of 10 games by 8 points or less
  • The 2009 Colts won eight of 14 games by 8 points or less
  • The 2010 Colts won five games by more than one score
  • The 2009 Colts won six games by more than one score
Going by our non-elite education, Indy's percentage of “close wins” was greater in 2009 than it was here in 2010. The number of blowouts was almost exactly the same.
 
Just because a team started out 14-0 doesn’t mean they were destroying teams like the 1942 Bears. For a holier-than-thou sports journalist, you’d think Costas would realize that the 2009 Colts won a lot of close games. But he probably didn’t want to interrupt his masterpiece monologue.
 
“This year’s version of the Colts have just been minding their P’s and Q’s. With Professionalism and Peyton, they’ve Quietly Qualified. We’ll see beginning Saturday night against the Jets if they can make some noise from here.”
 
Good Lord, that writing is unbelievable.
 
This monologue shines a light on a greater problem for Bob: He hasn’t evolved.
 
In fact, he’s devolved. He’s treating football conversations and highlights like it’s the Cold War. He’d rather be Edward R. Murrow than a sports guy who has fun and actually (gasp) tries to enjoy the games.
 
KEEP IT UP BOB COSTAS
And we’ll be forced to produce a monologue of our own discussing your “irrelevancy.”  Consider it done.
 
In the mean time, El Manifico, can the attitude.
 
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