I used to be fine with Cris Collinsworth. I didn’t think he was God’s gift to analysis or anything. But he showed just enough passion to be lively without being cloying. He didn’t really sound like he was trying to do a Madden impression. And he showed just enough under the surface to be interesting. He didn’t just narrate replays, but picked something out. I could definitely see why people got annoyed, but it generally passed me by.
But last night, I don’t know if it was a directive from NBC, or Collinsworth had it in his own head, or maybe he couldn’t see past his own Bengals chubby. But good lord, what torture that was as Collinsworth skipped past whatever was actually happening on the field just so he could get to whatever point he wanted to make that he decided he was going to say on Wednesday.
It started, or kicked into 5th gear, in the second half. On Joe Burrow’s touchdown throw to Tee Higgins to kick off the 3rd quarter, Collinsworth couldn’t wait to tell us how the game was always going to pivot on whether the Bengals could hit some deep balls against the Rams, how Burrow was coming into his own and this was more Burrow brilliance, on whether they could get the better of Jalen Ramsey.
Except he just completely ignored the fact that Ramsey was mauled by Higgins, and it was an egregiously blown call. Glossed over it. This wasn’t a great throw, as Burrow threw a decent enough ball to a covered receiver who then used Ramsey’s face mask like he was starting a lawnmower. It wasn’t some genius game plan. It was a fluke and a mistake from the refs.
Then, when the Rams got the ball back, Collinsworth told us that thanks to Odell Beckham’s injury, the Rams were “completely out of weapons.” Huh? This is a team that has the best receiver in the game on it. A team that got four good games out of Beckham after he joined in midseason, when they were already 7-2. This wasn’t some ragtag group of sloths and alley rodents that Beckham inspired to become magical. He was an addition, like tabasco on a pizza.
Of course, the last drive was yet another chance for Collinsworth to extoll the virtues of Cooper Kupp, who just an hour earlier apparently had died,
according to Collinsworth’s bemoaning of Beckham’s absence and the Rams apparently helplessness as a result. Or some redemption arc for Stafford, who was basically fine for most of the game and made one decent throw on the last drive. As we’ve gone over, QBs driving their teams to a score in the last two minutes is now more the norm than heroic.
And that came after Collinsworth tried to replace Mike Brown’s skybox seat with his own tongue. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Bengals fan who wouldn’t dump their beer over Brown’s head or fart directly into his face if they could. Brown has been perhaps the biggest reason the Bengals have been one of the league’s bigger punchlines for most of their history, and he will be should they return to the land of wind and ghosts again.
You expect us to just swallow this shit?
I realize this has become all of football coverage these days, and really sports coverage as a whole as football’s single-game schedule, every game is a referendum on something we’ve been talking about all week. Nothing just happens on Sunday and is just contained therein. This is either Matt Stafford’s rise to be the new Ares or he was always responsible for Detroit’s inability to fully recover as a city. They’d decided this was Joe Burrow’s coming out party or will be filed away as part of his redemption arc should he ever return to this stage. And nothing was going to get in the way of that.
At least it’s over, and we won’t have to hear another collection of drivel like it until September. Hopefully that’s long enough of a break.
And now the final word about why a Rams championship doesn’t really generate any emotion either way: