While contending with the mania of Red River’s Free Week festivities last night, I managed to catch most of Florida’s national title victory over Oklahoma on a succession of big screens with the sound turned down. The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir wasn’t nearly so lucky, writing of Fox Sports’ Thom Brennanman, “(he) is well suited to the rah-rah side of a college bowl game; he is an unabashed fan, a promotional voice, a starry-eyed, corny guy. I™ll accept his extravagant profusion of praise for Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, a model citizen. But if Al Michaels said, œWhen Major Wright hits you, you feel it in a major wrong way, his producer would rush from his truck to smack him.”
œBrown on third and goal sniffing the end zone, but apparently just short, Brennaman said with confidence (on what was actually second down). He thought the next play was fourth down, as did Charles Davis, who advised Oklahoma: œGo, go, go!
Fox™s graphics stripped across the top of the screen had it right: third and goal, but the announcers evidently were not looking. When the Sooners did not rush to the line of scrimmage, Davis seemed to believe that Coach Bob Stoops was having second thoughts about going for it on fourth down. œSurprised they™re even hesitating, Davis said. But it was third down. Fox™s scoring strip and on-field graphic said it.
œBrown did not get there! Brennaman said as Chris Brown was stopped. œA huge stop for the Gator defense on fourth and goal. (But really, third down.) Belatedly, Brennaman acknowledged his error, but it was too late; from then on, every time he said third or fourth down, I checked his claim against the screen. He and Davis, a credible analyst, had expended a lot of credibility. Minutes later, Brennaman giddily said, œI got so excited I thought they were going on fourth down twice. He laughed, as if such a failure of the basics of sportscasting were a minor matter. œI should have been there for you, partner, Davis said. But where was their producer to correct them?