Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Phil Mushnick Is Sick And Tired Of Brent Musburgers Hip Slang

It turns out that race-baiting troll Phil Mushnick is more than just a race-baiting troll. He's also someone who isn't afraid to call out those who plague sports media with their frivolous attempts to sound "cool" and "hip." Like 74-year-old ESPN play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger, for example.

From Mushnick's column:

Consider that for the first 40 years of his career, Brent Musburger didn't use the terms and expressions he did in Monday's BCS Championship. He never did because the terms and expressions he used were clear and concise.

But in his transparent desire to sound ESPN-hip — to put the B and S in the BCS — Musburger chose to speak genuine gridiron gibberish.

Thus, rather than say that Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson will be an NFL draft pick, he said, "Robinson will play Sunday football." Cool, huh?

Musburger is no less a show-boater than the kid who was called for taunting, nearly costing FSU the championship. He used to refer to linebackers as "linebackers," as did everyone else who wanted to be clearly understood. Monday, as if in the spell of "Herbie" — Kirk Herbstreit, another endless code-talker — he referred to it as "the second level."

Something as simple and concise as "first down"? That became "moving the chains." And what for 40 years Musburger identified as a fumble, Monday became "he put the ball on the ground."

The telecast sounded like a put-on, as if Musburger and Herbstreit were playing Top This. According to Herbstreit, receivers didn't "get open," they "got separation" or "leveraged the defense." An open-field tackle became "you've got to tackle in space."

What makes no sense to the sensible has become TV's official language.

What's so funny about Mushnick's mini-rant is that there actually is a sound critique to be made about the proliferation of opaque announcer-speak—my ears start to ache a bit every time I hear the phrase "catch radius" or "road grader"—but Mushnick is such an old fogey that he's bothered by lingo that has been commonplace for years now. "Moving the chains" is unacceptable nonsense? Have fun shaking your fist at that cloud, Phil.


[NY Post]

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