"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Huntingdon Valley, Pa (Sports Network) -
Rush Limbaugh describes himself as a "football animal." He claims he knows the sport well enough to broadcast it. He has now used the platform granted to him to campaign for a spot on Monday Night Football and claims that ABC is interested, seriously. "There has been an attempt by ABC to contact me," he stated.
In truth, he is a buffoon, a braggart, the blowhard of broadcasting, a windbag that could launch a 1,000 hot air balloons, an overweight loud mouth that is as closed-minded as a trap door and more illiberal than the Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan. The twisted and intolerant mind and voice of Rush Limbaugh on MNF? I would sooner listen to Daffy Duck.
Will football fans respect, or even tolerate, Limbaugh's pointed opinions?
Don Ohlmeyer was brought back to head MNF's production when the less than creative and appealing Boomer Esiason was fired March 9th, lending more credence to the fact that playing does not equate to broadcasting. Now the Donald of ABC, not to be confused with the Donald of Trump fame, wants to revitalize ABC's former Monday night gem with the rebirth of Howard Cosell and Don Meredith somehow. We may not have agreed with the mouth that roared when he was in the booth but no one was more knowledgeable. Singing along with the former Cowboys QB became regular fare and he was the near perfect complement to Cosell. They have not been replaceable.
Bill Parcells begged off, Jimmy Johnson wants to go fishing and both were considered only for their reputations, not their alleged broadcasting and colorful commentary accomplishments. The choice of either might have proved to be a further embarrassment and bad choice for the Mouse's network.
With typical media braggadocio that has little or nothing to do with reality, ABC vice president Mark Mandel was heard to say, "No decision is imminent. It's flattering that Rush would go on the air and campaign for the job. Monday Night Football is the best job in sports broadcasting." Not. One has to wonder if Mandel has considered the fact that more than half the nation would turn off the sound should the rotund one ever utter a word and the Religious Right is not exactly hyperventilating over the aspect of two NFL teams doing combat under the critical eye and mind of the abdominous would-be sports announcer.
The elephantine talk show host would be as ponderous in his commentary as he is in his physique. To think that ABC is even seriously discussing this ranks right up there with the NFL entering into discussions with the WWF to do anything at all together. When all is said and done, Michael Eisner, reigning king of the Disney Empire, calls all the shots. He might be telling Ohlmeyer that a non-traditional football figure should be on the short list but everything about the Mouse Maestro says that he would not countenance serious consideration of Limbaugh.
The ultra conservative talk show is loved by his following and despised by those who do not share his warped views. With Cosell, it was a matter of like or not like but always respect for the job he did and the abilities he had. Howard did tell it like it is with aplomb and a razor sharp tongue fueled by a photographic memory for minutiae that was amazing. He was what MNF wanted to be. Limbaugh, on the other hand, represents everything that football is not.
Howard Cosell, shown here in 1984, was respected for his rapier wit. (Brian Drake /Allsport)
It is being rumored that ABC Prez, Howard Katz, thinks that Limbaugh would stimulate what he likes to refer to as "water cooler talk." Ridiculous. There is nothing redeeming about the large one. It was thought, among the networks, that Howard Stern would compete with Saturday Night Live. This corner and others predicted doom for that effort and the ratings have substantiated that. Limbaugh, in his own way, represents the same thing - a following that will come but a persona that will not add anything positive to the MNF offering but whose presence will, instead, alienate and chase away.
Limbaugh claims that doing sports, being part of the team on MNF, "is not brain surgery." Perhaps not but having someone wield the scalpel who does so with arrogance, prejudice and a disdain for reality does not exactly give the patient unbridled confidence in the potential result of the operation. If ABC and the mouse cater to this insanity they will be fooled by the first night's ratings, as was CBS with Stern. The thought of Limbaugh on MNF is an accident looking for a place to happen.
Think of the mentality, however, of those who are involved with sports and the networks and it is frightening. When asked how much of a fan Limbaugh was, CBS' information man, Jay Glazer indicated, "He subscribes to the Pro Football News and Injury Report for his fantasy football league. He even trades e-mails." Wow! Be still my beating heart! I am amazed that every NFL consortium on drafts, trades, hiring and firing does not consult him. What a loss. Glazer added that Limbaugh loves football. I love singing and cannot carry a note in a box.
MNF is entertainment and it is football. It is not Rush Limbaugh. But it does show how desperate the network is and that is sad. Who would you rather see with Al Michaels, Limbaugh or Mickey and Donald (the duck, not Ohlmeyer)? You gotta be kidding!