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Maybe it was the uneven pace, too many delays, too many penalties or just bad analysis, but Sunday's Bucs broadcast on Fox had to be the worst this season.
Kenny Albert did play-by-play and did his usual fine, if unmemorable, work. Tim Green was Tim Green: too gabby, too often wrong and not nearly as insightful as he should be. The interaction between the two did not feel authentic. And the replays and graphics were unspectacular.
Otherwise, the broadcast was great.
INNOVATIVE, OR NOT: Green was in love with the word innovative when describing Jon Gruden's offense, proving he did not watch last week's game. But he went too far with his praise. On the Bucs' first touchdown, he praised the "innovativeness" of sending a tight end down the middle to keep the safety away from the receiver and double coverage. Innovative as compared to Clyde Christensen, maybe.
Show us innovation. Show us why the Bucs scored 38 this week and no touchdowns last week. Show us what was different. Don't just tell us because they scored 38 this week they're innovative.
SURPRISE! Another Green favorite is starting a sentence, "It wouldn't/doesn't surprise me if ... " In one case, it didn't surprise him to see Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper running on third and 8. Good analysis, and probably shared by about 99.9 percent of the viewing audience. Thanks for nothing.
Green also said he wouldn't be surprised if Keyshawn Johnson caught 8-10 passes, and he did, so good for him.
SAY WHAT? Did you know the reason Johnson had two touchdowns in 24 games with the Bucs is because opponents "pay him special attention" near the goal line? Surely Green, a former NFL player, could have come up with a better, more football-savvy explanation? And if he is right, do Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison and Peerless Price not get special attention? Because last we checked, they score lots of touchdowns.
ROBBED: Green shortchanged Aaron Stecker on his 59-yard run, saying, "He certainly deserves credit, but how about that offensive line?" However, replays seemed to show that the hole Stecker originally hit and probably was supposed to go through was closed, causing him to run into his own lineman, but he popped outside and used a burst to get downfield.
SO SORRY: Terry Bradshaw made a funny on the pregame show, saying Johnson and funny man Jimmy Kimmel both score once a year. Then Johnson went out and caught two touchdowns.
That wasn't as bad as Bradshaw, on Bengals coach Dick LeBeau's win guarantee against Houston, saying "a gutsy call by Dick LeBeau, gutsy call ... what a man."
Yeah, what a man. He predicted his team, a preseason darling of many prognosticators, would beat an expansion team. Yippee.
THE BIG STORY: The story of the game, according to Albert and Green, was at various points the Viking turnovers, the Bucs defense, Brad Johnson's passing and Viking penalties.
Oh, and some cheeseburger that Warren Sapp split with Green, which was a segue into the obligatory mention that Green has written books. But you knew that already, if you've ever seen a game he's done.
UHHH ... UMMMM ... : On the way back from a commercial, Fox gave us a shot of children frolicking at the beach. In an effort to force some unnecessary banter, Green called the beach scene "familiar" to Albert and him, who didn't play along: "I haven't been to the beach."
Green tried to save the day, saying but when you're there you go with your daughter, and Albert changed topics to Halloween costumes. That produced some more nonsensical blather, during which Green said his kids wore a "mixed ghoul type" of Halloween costume. Translated, "mixed ghoul type" sounded a lot like I was in Tampa for pregame meetings, missed Halloween and have no idea what they wore, thank you very much for putting me on the spot.
Who knows, maybe "mixed ghoul type" will be the Halloween hit of 2003.