I don’t know how it is around the rest of the country, but I think New England sports fans would just prefer that Joe Buck never set foot in their fair region.
Red Sox fans hate when he calls their games on FOX with Tim McCarver, especially against the Yankees, while Patriots fans just find him incredibly annoying. It’s not so much even for what he says about the team, he just rubs you the wrong way, in a hipster-doofus sort of way. The smarm-meter hits high levels with Buck in the booth, and while Troy Aikman isn’t a barrel of laughs, he’s a solid analyst, and could be even better if he had someone in the booth with him who wasn’t there simply because of his voice and family legacy.
Really, why are FOX executives so enamored of Buck? He’s their version of Jim Nantz or Al Michaels, but why?
On the FOX pregame, four of the five analysts picked the Falcons to win. The only one to correctly pick the Patriots was Howie Long.
The CBS pregame also touched on the Patriots, with the following comments:
(On whether Patriots are same team than before)
Boomer Esiason: Right now I’m going to say no but this is still going to be a great Patriots team. Tom Brady isn’t even a year removed from his surgery on his left knee for the ACL and MCL tears. He’s rounding back into shape. The defense has a lot of different names. They’ve played reasonably well but you can’t expect Tom Brady to average 50 pass attempts a game and this team to win. I say today they’ll go back to run the ball, take pressure off Tom Brady and I am not going to panic yet on my Super Bowl pick. I still tell you he’s the best quarterback in football and that will bear itself out.
Bill Cowher: I say no and I say this for a lot of reasons. They’ve got a lot of missing components on the defensive side: Seymour, Vrabel, Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Asante Samuel. I agree with you, Tom Brady is going to work into it, but this is a football team that has a lot more questions than they have answers.
The NFL Network had the following quotes on the Patriots during their Gameday Morning show:
“The reality is Tom Terrific isn’t Tom Terrific. I saw him missing guys on the goal line last week.” – Michael Irvin on Patriots QB Tom Brady
“Bill Belichick has had to take out about 40 percent of the defensive playbook with all the new faces.” – Patriots radio analyst Steve DeOssie in ‘Word on the Street’ segment live from Foxboro
There was quite a bit of Patriots-related talk on the ESPN Sunday Countdown pregame show as well:
On whether Tom Brady is struggling as a result of the knee injury which forced him to miss last season …
Keyshawn Johnson: “Any player with a major knee injury is going to struggle out the gate. That’s just it. … As the season continues to go, Tom Brady will continue to get better. Now, I don’t know if the team will continue to get better but Tom Brady will continue to get better.”
Tom Jackson: “There are players who have had knee surgeries who are never the same again. That has happened in the past. So we don’t know whether that’s going to happen. … He certainly doesn’t look the same right now. The other thing is, he’s a victim of game plan. When you drop a guy back 50 times a game to throw a football, you not only make it hard on that guy – empty backfield – you make it hard on the five guys in front of him. But what were they going to do? They won 18 games in row doing this.”
Cris Carter: “I don’t know what Brady I’m going to see because I don’t know what kind of protection he’s going to get. … There’s only one guy that I could see that could take pressure, and that was Joe Montana. That’s why when people ask me who’s the best quarterback, it’s always Joe. What I saw last week was a guy who didn’t want to get hit.”
Mike Ditka: “When you have success, you get confidence. When you have failure, you get doubt. Now this is not his failure as much as the football team’s failure. They don’t have the people, the receivers. I don’t care how good Randy Moss is, you can take one guy out of a football game, and they don’t have the other weapons around. … This kid’s a great football player, but he’s got to have some help.”
ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer (pre-recorded): “Let’s not get too caught up in his mechanics. Sometimes that’s the easy thing to say. The NFL position of quarterback is played under chaos. You must throw from multiple platforms and multiple arm angles. The problem is Tom Brady is being asked to do it too much this year, and that’s the problem. It’s with the Patriots, not Tom Brady.”
On the Patriots’ struggles this season …
Jackson: “You have to make some commitment to the run game. When you look at the Patriots’ offense, it’s all about throwing the football. … As the game goes on, they tend to get away from the run game to where you get to the fourth quarter – the last three full games that Tom Brady has played, they’ve only run the ball four times, four times in three football games. When you do that, you make yourself one-dimensional and teams are taking advantage of that and putting pressure on top.”
Johnson: “There’s a lack of personnel on the defensive side of the football … and the depth offensively is just not there.”
On NBC’s Football Night In America:
ON TOM BRADY
Rodney Harrison: “Brady is obviously not himself right now. He has to learn patience. He has to know he’s coming off an ACL-MCL injury. It’s going to take a year or year-and-a-half. I had a similar injury as Tom Brady. It took me at least six-to-eight weeks to really feel comfortable. As a quarterback dropping back, looking downfield, the timing is going to be off course a little bit and he’s not going to be the Tom Brady of old.”
With the score 10-10, Buck was telling us that the Patriots offense needed to get going since their defense wasn’t very good. He didn’t have much to say about the defense the rest of the way.
The duo failed to pick up on the sarcasm of the Gillette crowd when Joey Galloway was mock-cheered following a catch after a a series of mistakes. “They like that here in New England” was the comment.
Aikman managed to make a few good points in the course of the afternoon. He pointed out that Falcons coach Mike Smith’s challenge of play that he thought was a fumble was an “emotional” decision, and showed that Smith had the flag out immediately, before seeing a single replay. Aikman also noted that Brady’s frustration with his receivers would be “analyzed and over-analyzed” this week.
Following the game on the 98.5 postgame show, Gary Tanguay could be heard still trying to stir panic. “The Patriots win 26-10, but was Tom Brady ACCURATE ENOUGH?”
What stood out to you during the broadcasts yesterday?