Friends and family of Tony Kornheiser, look away.
Tony Kornheiser is the worst announcer I have ever heard on any sporting broadcast. Ever. He ruins Monday Night Football for me, to the point where the urge to mute the television becomes overpowering and I must submit to it. His jokes are terrible; his commentary is the worst faux-populist, forced-jocularity-filled banter imaginable; and his philosophy about football and sports is the worst imaginable. I can't take anymore of him. I can't take it. And we're two games into the season!
Is there anything worse, in sports commentary, then when people pretend to be laughing and goofing off in the booth? Does anyone actually believe that Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico find his horrible forced jokes amusing? Be real with me, man, be real with me. That's the most important thing. Don't bullshit.
And it's not just the faked laughter and the bogus fraternity. It's his studied, affected "aw shucks" demeanor. What you hear on the MNF broadcast isn't Tony Kornheiser. It's a character Tony Kornheiser has created. He makes a point, every game, of failing to understand some glaringly obvious aspect of football, that anyone who has watched football as long as he had would know, to prove... I'm not sure what. That he's not trying to show anybody up? That he's trying to openly acknowledge his deficiencies as a football analyst? Look, that's fine. I'm all for someone who's no expert admitting as such. But when you try to shoehorn that idea into every game and hit us over the head with it, it just becomes another obnoxious tic. Forced awe and faked open-mouthed wonder is the pits. It really is. Stop acting like you've never stepped in a football stadium before, or seen big-time athletes before. It makes you seem like a liar in a very off-putting way.
Add in to this stew the fact that Kornheiser has the most obnoxious attitudes about sports and football imaginable. He's an inveterate front runner and fair weather fan. He wants every favorite to win, and roots openly to do so. (His performance during the Patriots-Ravens game last year was execrable.) I don't expect national sports commentators to be Walter Cronkite. But I also don't expect them to act like the commentators from YES or similar and pull for one team, either. And the tic is made doubly annoying by Kornheisers explicit support for the bandwagony NFL teams like the Patriots and Cowboys. (How can you be a sports fan and always root for the favorite?) What's more, he seems to want every game to be 56-49. He likes touchdown bombs and poor tackling, highlight reel throws and catches, both quarterbacks with 500 yards and nary a sign of defensive fundamentals, hitting, fighting for every inch, bruising runs, and character-filled grind it out football.
He is, in other words, the worst kind of football fan, a high-score and Cowboy loving doofus who would rather watch wide receivers run uncovered for 50 yards than defensive brilliance. And this is the guy whose opinions are shoved down my throat every week.
What can Tony Kornheiser do to improve, you ask? It's quite simple. Calm the fuck down. Every game, Mr. Kornheiser, is not the most important game in history, or the best game in history. Every play does not turn a season. Every game doesn't, in fact, make or break a team, a quarterback or a coach. Logic tells us that every game cannot have the best player at position X playing in it. There are very, very few season-turning plays in football; I highly doubt that ESPN is blessed with one of them happening in every Monday Night Football game of the year. Stop faking that the game is great when it isn't. Stop turning every quarterback into the second coming of Joe Montana. Stop insisting that the pressure on this player or that coach has never been higher, stop telling us that every single fanbase will riot if their team doesn't win the Super Bowl, stop with the hyperbole and the hype, stop flogging the same silly phrases and storylines, and for god sakes, stop the faked jocularity, the false populism, the bogus "aw shucks" attitude, the pretense that you're blown away by everything you see every game, stop it, stop it, stop it. Be real. Be real. Be real. Cause I just can't take it anymore.
ps FYI, Brett Favre sucks.