'Monday Night Football': My Good Snooze Spoiled

By Tony Kornheiser
Tuesday, August 8, 2006

As he embarks on a new adventure as the third man (with Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann) in the "Monday Night Football" booth, Tony Kornheiser is taking his readers along for the ride. It's going to get awfully crowded on his bus and, for heaven's sake, don't ask if we're there yet.

Inevitably over the last few months, when anybody has engaged me about "Monday Night Football," they have asked this question: "So, are you busy getting prepared for the season?" and I always say, "Yeah, I am. Thanks for asking." But the truth is, I'm not.

The truth is, I haven't prepared at all . If there are 1,500 players in the NFL, outside of quarterbacks I know the names of maybe eight. Or 10. I know the names of all the head coaches, but with some of them, like Rod Marinelli, Brad Childress, Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy, I'm not exactly sure which teams they coach.

I figure it's Tirico's job to call the game and Theismann's job to analyze it. I can't believe anybody wants to hear my analysis of the play that just took place, especially in the third and fourth quarters when I won't even be awake. And if I am, chances are I'll have missed the big play because I was watching the Weather Channel on one of the other monitors.

I figure my job is to try to be entertaining and, frankly, how much better am I going to be at that because I know the name of the second-string left tackle? But I don't tell people that because then they would realize that they know more about football than I do and that I'm going to be a complete bomb.

Ultimately, it has to come down to roles. Whenever I ask what mine is, the suits say, "Just be yourself." Well, this is who myself is: I'm sarcastic. I'm subversive. And I haven't watched the end of one of these games in 30 years. Remember the breathtaking Redskins-Cowboys finish last year, when Mark Brunell (a player I can name) threw two TD passes in the last three minutes?

Didn't see it. Totally asleep. REM sleep, I believe.

Even my editor, Cindy, says: "You should just wing it. Wing it and fling it, baby." So that's what I've decided to do. I figure that'll get me through three or four games, until Cindy thinks of something else.

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