nation of lonely football fans, bereft of mirth. Fortunately, the people on the
NFL pregame shows understand this. From Howie and Terry to Cris and Jerome to
Shannon and Boomer, they all know that what we crave most is not analysis, but
levity. You find it everywhere. Shoulders heaving, diaphragm contracting, NFL
commentators cannot stop giggling.
Young: "What does that mean to the NFL if a kid plays six games and we have
him in the top five?"
"It means he's playing great!"
One sports anchor
refers to this apparently crucial job skill as "the chortle, chortle,
chortle," though there is also much cackling and snorting and the
occasional power guffaw. On a recent Sunday, CBS's Dan Marino laughed 17 times
during a one-hour show, a tally made more impressive by the fact that he was on
air for only 16 minutes. Here's a sample of what Marino found so funny.
"I will go on the record right now and say they will not make the
"You ain't no rap artist. You don't need your records!"
Fox's Howie Long
and Terry Bradshaw each squeezed off 24 chuckles in 20 minutes that same day,
more than a laugh a minute. One gets the feeling that if FCC standards allowed,
Bradshaw would slug a Budweiser on camera, then alight from his chair to crush
the can on Long's forehead. It's enough to make a guy wish he could travel at
all times with a pack of pregame commentators. Every visit to the bar would
come with its own laugh track, every utterance hailed as comic genius.
"Cold coffee really gives you bad breath, doesn't it?"