As the coin was being flipped before the Redskins’ preseason debut last week, Chris Cooley was talking about something far more interesting than heads and tails.
“Actually, an interesting thing about London,” Cooley said, after Larry Michael had mentioned the middle linebacker. “I was sitting in the training room today, and Robert asked him, why are you playing tonight? And London said, great players play.”
“They should put a tether on Robert. He’s liable to be in the game,” Sonny Jurgensen then said.
“Robert’s in full pads right now,” Cooley pointed out.
“I know, I can’t understand that,” Jurgesen replied. “I would put a tether on him so he couldn’t get on the field.”
Before long, the game started, and Cooley offered commentary on Niles Paul, Fred Davis, Santana Moss, the tenets of Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and Kirk Cousins’s decision-making. Within the game’s first two-and-a-half minutes. Indeed, he spoke up at least eight times within the first 10 minutes of the broadcast.
This was not exactly what I imagined when the Redskins first announced that Cooley would be joining their game-day radio broadcasts.
“The written announcement said that Cooley will serve as an ‘in-game contributor’ to the radio broadcasts, providing analysis in a ‘Cooley’s Corner’ segment that will be heard every quarter of each game,” Mark Maske wrote then. “He will not replace former analyst Sam Huff on the team’s radio broadcasts. Instead, Cooley will provide analysis periodically throughout games.”
Contrast that with Peter King’s description of Cooley’s preparations, in an item this week that described Cooley as “another color man in the broadcast booth:”
This is why he’s going to be good at being the third man in the Washington booth: Before the game, he worked the team’s locker room for nuggets. Got invited into Mike Shanahan’s office for a conversation. Ran into players he knew.
So I asked Red Zebra’s vice president of programming, Chuck Sapienza, why Cooley was so involved in this preseason broadcast. Sapienza told me that while Cooley’s role “was to do quarterly reports,” producers “thought we’d give Chris a shot to see what he could do.”
“He did great,” Sapienza said. “He did an outstanding job.”
His role during the regular season has yet to be determined. Sapienza said the precise dimensions of Cooley’s role will be reassessed after the conclusion of the preseason. In the meantime, expect considerably more Cooley than one report per quarter.
(Image via Cooley)