Great questions this week, and some that we’d love to hear your answers on.
From the “Talks entirely too much studios, here we go...
Do you remember when there was only one SportsCenter and it came on at 10:00 every night? Now there’s a continuous SportsCenter on ESPNEWS and SportsCenter on the real ESPN could come on at anytime during the day.
I always thought that Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann were the best anchors. I can hear Olbermann describing a 3 pointer by saying, “From way downtown — BANG!” I can hear Patrick describing a strikeout by saying, “With the WHIFF.”
Who are some of your past favorite ESPN anchors and what were your favorite catch phrases?
Of course we’re going to have lists here. Multiple lists.
You touched on two of the best — and clearly the best tandem. Patrick and Olbermann were great together, and in addition to the catch phrases you mentioned, Olbermann also had the classically understated, “That’s 6-4-3 if you’re scoring at home... or if you’re by yourself,” and Patrick parlayed “En Fuego” and the rest of his array of witty one-liners into a big-time radio deal with Fox.
They also were the Sunday night tandem that made SportsCenter must-see-TV. Granted, their influence jumpstarted a bunch of pretenders and wannabes, which in some ways begat the mindless junk that fills a lot of the programming and some of the corny and canned stuff that has devalued the SportsCenter franchise.
DP and Olbermann’s rise and its effect on SC is not unlike the underrated-overrated-properly-rated cycle that affects players who are underrated and then described as underrated for so long they become overrated to the point that people think they stink and they settle in with a proper rating. So it goes.
But that’s not DP’s or KO’s fault, and in fact, those two dudes were so money on SportsCenter that you could poll 20 regular ESPN watchers to name their top five SC hosts, and DP and KO would be on 90 percent of the lists. That’s some serious domination right there.
So we’re taking them out of the mix and offer these five as our favorite ESPN anchors with some of their best catch phrases:
1) Craig Kilborn — “It’s the feel good edition.” “He’s not my vydas. He’s not your vydas. He’s Arvydas Sabonis.” “Release. Rotation. Splash.” And a ton of witty turns on the word “love” to “glove” in song titles for good defensive plays in baseball. “Glove me tender.” “Glove... exciting and new. Come aboard.” You get the idea.
2) John Anderson — “He’s running like people are chasing him.”
3) Rich Eisen — “It’s time to play the feud.” “Gaaatttt it.” “He shoots... he scores.”
4) Kenny Mayne — “Obviously, he hasn’t watched Tom Emanski’s “Defensive Drills”. It’s endorsed by Fred McGriff, you know.” “Your puny ballparks are too small to contain my gargantuan blasts! Bring me the finest meats and cheeses of all the land!”
5) Scott Van Pelt — “Useful.”
As you can see we appreciated the anchors who were funny, and each of these dudes was/is seriously funny. Kilborn was so money that you watched the SC replays to see what you missed while laughing at the first thing he said. Anderson is fall-down funny — there’s a reason he’s in most of the commercials (which is a whole other category for a different mailbag) and can be seen on ABC fairly regularly. Eisen replaced Olbermann and joined Patrick and the duo really didn’t miss a beat. Mayne has become a bit of a caricature of himself, but when he was doing SC he was aces. And SVP has the best national radio show in the country.
A couple of catch phrase from not as famous anchors that deserve mentioning: Rece Davis: “See the 3, be the 3.” Chris Myers: “You... you’re not good.” And to be fair, Chris Berman’s schtick at one time was clever and helped create the monster that is ESPN, no matter how boorish his routine has now become.
And since you mentioned them, Olbermann and Patrick deserve their own top-10 lists of catch phrases, and this was harder than any of the above. (And if you think Olbermann and Patrick weren’t the best, know that just about every ESPN anchor has a highlight or two, a catch phrase or three — but OK and DP had an arsenal.)
Olbermann’s 10 best catch phrases:
— That’s 6-4-3 if you’re scoring at home...or if you’re by yourself.
— He puts the biscuit in the basket.
— From way downtown...BANG!
— It’s deep, and I don’t think it’s playable.
— He beats him like a rented goalie!
— They’re...not...gonna...get him.
— The other team’s quarterback must go down and must go down hard.
— Full extension!
— A good craftsman doesn’t blame his tools.
Patrick’s 10 best:
— En fuego.
— You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.
— He’s listed as day to day, but, then again, aren’t we all?
—The WHIIIIFFFF! (or The WHIIII... on check swings)
— Gone. (also workded with Good!)
— Golf shots. Nothing but golf shots.
— NOTHING but the bottom of the net
— We’re going to ooooooooovvvvertime.
— Soft as church music.
— Goodbye. Game over. Drive home safely.
PS — Great question, and does anyone have any clue which one we spent entirely too much time on?
I have a suggestion for Friday’s mailbag, but the violence may approach the edge of tolerance for such a nice family based interweb setup as you have here. If you could punch five people in sports, living or deceased, directly in the nose, with no repercussions, who would it be and why?
Great question and one that generated a lot of thought. And this question was passable under the sucker punch rule of a family-oriented, Interweb-based sports column, which is a little known law and to tell the truth we’re not even sure if that’s a law any more.
No. 1 — Mike Tyson. If for no other reason than to be able to say we clocked Tyson and lived to tell about it. And think if we lucked up and knocked him out. It would be Buster Douglas and the 5-at-10. And let’s say that happened, we could be the only person in the free world who would have these two “stop-the-action” party stories — playing Augusta National and knocking out Mike Tyson. Wow. Bring it Tyson.
No. 2 — Bobby Knight. Because he's a bully and a jack-leg and seems like a miserable person who deserves it.
No. 3 — Pete Rose. Simply because he deserves it. He knows he deserves it. We all know he deserves it.
No. 4 — Don King. Because he more than anyone else ruined boxing.
No. 5 — Kyle Busch. Do we even need to explain this one? Plus, you’d become an instant celebrity in the NASCAR world.
This was such a great question we had to leave off Canseco, Clemens, Bonds and the rest of the steroid crowd. Never mind Tiger and the rest. Or Scott Boras.
Wildcard option — Tommy Lasorda. But he has to be with someone, so we can look at his buddy and say, “You and Tommy Lasorda... We hate Tommy Lasorda,” punch him and live out the real-life version of what Chevy Chase did as Irwin M. Fletcher did in “Fletch.” That said, we love Tommy Lasorda and would give him a hug before we gave him a knuckle sammich.
Isn’t the 5-at-10 approaching an anniversary in Chatt-Vegas? Has it really been 10 years?
I’ll hang up and listen, but congrats.
Yes, the 10-year mark is this weekend. It’s kind of hard to believe to be truthful about it. We planned to come to Chattanooga for a few years, work hard and bounce to a monster paper. But we met the Mrs. 5-at-10 at the TFP, got hitched, had some tots and the rest is history.
It’s been a fun ride, filled with great co-workers and chances to work with countless top-notch folks here.
Don’t really know what else to say other than thank you — to everyone. We were thinking about doing a list of top moments, but there really are too many to name.
Thanks for remembering and thanks to you and the rest of the regulars that swing by here — this has become one of the most enjoyable parts of our day.
Mr. 5-at-10, I wanted to say thanks for the Braves tickets -- we had a blast.
You mentioned earlier this week about baseball changing its rules and making the fake-to-third-look-at-first pickoff move illegal. Why are they doing this and what other rules in sports need to be changed?
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Glad to hear you enjoyed the game. Excellent.
That was an interesting story about eliminating the tried-and-true-still-hasn’t-worked pick-off play where the pitcher fakes the throw to third and spins and looks at first. We are in support of the change, and since we spent like 2,000 words on ESPN, we’re going to move quickly here. Here’s a top five in 10 words or less (the soon to be copyrighted 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10):
1) “Half the distance to the goal” — Move it to the inch line; fair is fair.
2) College’s 15-yard defensive pass interference — Spot of foul penalty; rewards rule-breaking
3) Enforce the strike zone — the REAL strike zone
4) Offsides in soccer and hockey — Some would call this strategery
5) MLB All-Star game deciding home-field for the World Series — no explanation necessary
I heard you on SportTalk on Thursday. You do pretty good on the radio.
You and Quake were talking about LT selling his Super Bowl ring, and you said something about LT being one of the players that changed the game then you had to go. What did you mean “change the game” and who else changed the NFL? Not sure I think LT was a game-changer but want to hear why you think that?
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to swing by anytime.
As we said before, we’re approaching the TFP’s bandwidth so we’re moving quickly.
Today’s NFL game has been shaped and molded by two overpowering forces: the ungodly talented football men who do amazing things and the rules of the league that have turned it into a pass-happy sport that is the nation’s most popular.
The rules are debatable, but here are the five people that changed the sport into the modern-day NFL:
Bill Walsh: His passing genius put the 49ers on the path to Super Bowl glory and caused the rest of the league to try to catch up. And his coaching tree is sickeningly scary. Trust on this. Plus, his use of Jerry Rice — a bigger wideout running quick slants — and quick-strike attacks and combo routes have shaped the modern passing game.
Lawrence Taylor: LT has become a train wreck in his days since football, but on the field he was simply a train. Unstoppable, and he showed the best way to slow down a great quarterback was get him looking over his shoulder and running for his life.
Deion Sanders: The first true shutdown corner. When Deion was drafted in the top 5 by the Falcons everyone thought, “What? A cornerback in the top 10?” Now its commonplace.
Tony Gonzalez: This wave is really only starting to spread like wildfire, but pass-cathing, athletic tight ends are the rage right now, and it started with Tony.
Thurman Thomas: An everydown running back — except when forgets his helmet in the Super Bowl — who was the team’s second-best wide receiver. He was the exclamation point on the move to versatility over durability at running back.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...