By Gene Weingarten
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
A week ago in this space, The Post's Paul Farhi wrote a negative review of his colleague Tony Kornheiser's debut on "Monday Night Football." Kornheiser responded by calling Farhi "a two-bit weasel slug," whom he would "gladly run over with a Mack truck." This reaction catapulted Farhi to national prominence, as bloggers and sports fans debated his review, and dozens of journalists wrote Farhi to express their support. Saying "I want to get ME some of that," columnist Gene Weingarten asked to review Kornheiser's second show.
The failed Kornheiser stewardship of "Monday Night Football's" color chair last night took yet another bumbling misstep toward its inevitable humiliating collapse. Even before the Post columnist and ESPN personality uttered his first words, it was clear he was in trouble, as he had still not succeeded in physically resembling a gentile. As an obvious "Jewish guy," Kornheiser's sports-cred deficit was exposed once again, compared with his co-hosts, the "black guy" and the "ex-jock."
But nothing could have prepared us for the debacle that would follow, as this alleged color commentator began to speak, blithely mangling both facts and figures, ignorant even of the laws of physics.
During the opening moments of preseason play between the Cowboys and Saints, Kornheiser observed, matter-of-factly, that it was "five thousand degrees" on the field in Shreveport. Five thousand degrees? It could not have been more than 90. At 5,000 degrees, Tony, steel melts. The entire stadium and everyone in it would have been incinerated -- including Kornheiser. The viewers, alas, had no such luck.
Because this is a dispassionate, professional review I am going to avoid ad hominem commentary on strictly personal matters, such as Tony's ostentatiously bald head, which resembles not a cue ball so much as an enormous, bulbous knuckle made of some sort of pink processed meat, like bologna or olive loaf.
Co-hosts Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann did their best to talk over Kornheiser's more egregious errors. At one point, the camera caught Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe on the sidelines, on the phone. "Maybe he's calling out for pizza," Kornheiser said with thunderous stupidity. "Maybe he's done for the night."
No, Tony. Quarterbacks communicate with coaches on the phone. And no trainer would permit the consumption of a meal so soon after strenuous physical exertion.
At another point, after Theismann observed that the overmatched Saints' first teamers were not getting enough playing time to evaluate their abilities and might have to play into overtime, Kornheiser remarked, "They may have to play them into the fifth quarter."
Four quarters, Tony. A football game has only four quarters.
As much as it pains me, because I know Tony and like him, I must point out that he was so timid he played a secondary or tertiary role in much of the broadcast. The game lasted three hours, yet not once did Kornheiser call a single play as it actually happened. He always seemed to be offering commentary after everything was over.
In the interest of fairness and balanced journalism, I should point out that Kornheiser did make some funny observations and witty asides. Indeed, it was almost possible to forget for a moment how much of a dismal failure he is, and that his head actually looks less like a giant meat puppet and more like an enormous Tater Tot with ears.
Well, that's about it. I've had my say. I believe in free speech, so if Tony disagrees with my judgments about his tragically inept performance, and the comical appearance of his cranium, I invite him to express himself as bluntly and as publicly as he wishes. Not that he has the guts.