I Don't Like Learning to Like People
Tomorrow night, we have our last practice game for "Monday Night Football." Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and I are going to Baltimore to broadcast the Ravens-Giants exhibition game. Of course, it won't be on the air, so you won't be able to see or hear it and I won't have to be spackled with makeup like I will for HDTV, but it will be the first live action we've done. Until this point, all we've done is talk over taped games from last year, which is nothing like doing games that are new and live. (Although, since I didn't see any of last year's games because I need my sleep, they're all new to me. Just yesterday, I heard that the Redskins beat the Cowboys, late, on Monday night. Who knew? Oh. Everybody. )
Going to Baltimore could be dicey for me because I so often refer to Ravens Coach Brian Billick as a preening schmo. But last month Wilbon and I had lunch with him and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and we had a really great time, so now I really like Billick -- we're BFF -- and I'm reluctant to call him a preening schmo anymore even though down deep, come on, you know he is.
This, it seems to me, is one of the problems with doing "MNF." You become sort of a B-minus list celebrity on your own and you have access to all these other celebrities and it's hard not to like them. That makes it hard to do the job you're supposed to do as a writer or a radio guy or TV guy, which I think is to crush these people. This is a dilemma for me. I have the good angel sitting on one shoulder whispering, "Be nice, Anthony. These are nice, hard-working people." And I have the bad angel on my other shoulder whispering, "Crush 'em like a bug, T."
I think the moral of the story is: I've got to stop having these lunches. Then I can be mean, which I enjoy, and I can avoid adding more weight to the 15 pounds you know the HD is gonna add anyway.