By Tony Kornheiser
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
After four regular season games, I've found that what's most frustrating to me about "Monday Night Football" isn't what I'm saying, it's what I'm not saying.
I'm not nearly as sarcastic and subversive on "MNF" as I've always been in the column and on radio and on "PTI." Maybe I'm censoring myself or maybe I don't want to intrude on the telecast or maybe I'm taking this team-concept role a little too far, but I know I had what, for lack of a better term, I'll call Mr. Tony-type remarks to make during the Packers-Eagles game. And I didn't make them.
For example, every time they cut to a shot of Andy Reid, grimly poring over his play menu on the sideline, I know and you know that he looked like Mr. Potato Head. Andy Reid knows he looks like Mr. Potato Head. And I didn't say it.
The Green Bay Packers' secondary stinks. Can I put it in any plainer terms? They stink. So far this year, they've given up touchdown passes of 49, 26, 35, 37 and 42 yards and, against the Eagles, they gave up 45- and 30-yarders to Greg "See Ya in Canton" Lewis, who has had all of one in his three-year career. I kept thinking about something A.J. Hawk, the Packers' rookie linebacker, said Sunday evening when we were talking to him about the defense. In an attempt to praise them, he said, "They're really vocal back there."
And I wanted to use that and scream, "Really? What does that mean, 'they're vocal back there'? Were they shouting, 'Look out, here comes another big touchdown on us!'? " For whatever reason, I didn't say it and I should have shouted it.
Earlier in the game, in the absence of Philadelphia's No. 1 running back, Brian Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter got the chance to show the world what kind of back he is. Now, I know he has missed three of the last four seasons with injuries. But to my knowledge, none of those were to his hands. And yet twice in the first half, Buckhalter fumbled the ball away inside the Packers 5-yard line. Buckhalter personally cost the Eagles 14 points. Finally, I did say that he had done just that and that I couldn't believe anybody in the Linc wanted to see Buckhalter carry the ball again. But what I wanted to say was: "GET HIM OUT OF HERE!!! I DON'T CARE IF YOU HAVE TO GIVE HIM MY POLICE ESCORT, GET HIM ON A PLANE TO MELBOURNE. GET HIM OUT OF HERE NOW."
Instead, I took the calmer, more rational approach. And, really, does anyone want to hear me be calm and rational? I know I don't. If ESPN had wanted that, they'd have hired Ted Koppel. The initials are the same, they wouldn't have had to change the towels.
So here's my fear of the week: What if I've changed in some fundamental way? (Cindy says I've lost my "snark." I don't even know what "snark" is. Cindy: "Well, you had it, loser.") What if this nice guy you're seeing on "Monday Night Football" is really who I am now? That would be awful. Fortunately, next week, there's Baltimore at Denver. Baltimore. Coached by my new best friend, Brian Billick. God, I'm going to kill that preening schmo.