March 06, 2002
Madden, McGuire, and Dicky V

Tony Adragna at QuasiPundit shows his love for John Madden's color commentary by citing this Ben Domenech post. I'm quite fond of John Madden and look forward to his pairing with Al Michaels on Monday Night Football next year, but I believe it's a grave disservice to praise him by comparing him to Dick Vitale. I'm hard pressed to think of an announcer whom I'll mute faster than Dicky V. He's a complete shill who offers zero actual insight into whatever game he's shouting about.

Madden, even as he has more than occasionally lapsed into self-parody, is still a topnotch analyst with something to say about the game. Listening to Dick Vitale just makes me remember the late Al McGuire, who was the best former-coach-turned-analyst in college basketball. McGuire, who won the NCAA championship in 1977 with Marquette, was amazing in his ability to tell you not only what was happening, but what was about to happen.

I still remember a game that McGuire called years ago. It was North Carolina against an opponent that I can't recall. The other team hit a shot with about five seconds to go to take a one-point lead. McGuire first noted that no fewer than three Tar Heels called timeout as soon as the ball hit the net, a demonstration of the discipline Dean Smith's coaching instilled in them. During the timeout, McGuire predicted that the Heels would pass the ball to midcourt and call timeout again. When that happened, he predicted that the opponent would insert a tall player to guard the inbound pass, and he predicted which Carolina player would take the final shot. He was right each time. When was the last time you saw Dick Vitale do that?

So please. If you're going to praise John Madden, compare him to Al McGuire and not Dick Vitale.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 06, 2002 to Other sports