Brian Powell began the tradition of the Pam Ward Chronicles in September 2007 with these words - "We're going to start the Pam Ward Chronicles tomorrow and I need you to add a comment when you hear any announcer say something dumb, crazy, off-the-wall, or just plain wrong."
It's fair to say none of us would be here at AA 2.0 without the Pam Ward Chronicles. However, the true impact of the Pammies isn't really about Pam Ward at all, even though they bear her name through leading the college football world in those off-the-wall comments.
The Pammies are an opportunity for college football fans to come together and have a forum to document those comments and announcers. It stands as the place where we laugh, shake our heads, and keep a watchful eye on the things announcers say during a given week.
So, it's only fitting that in our goodbye to Pam Ward College Football Announcer, we take a look back at all the best Pammies quotes from Pam herself. That's why we're here after all! Pam Ward won the Pammies crown in 2008 and 2009, finished 3rd in 2011, and took home the top spot in our weekly countdown an impressive 10 times over the years. The awards that bear her name won't be the same without her, but they will continue to chronicle all the crazy, off-the-wall, funny, and erroneous things announcers and television personalities say about college football.
Without further ado, here are Pam Ward's Greatest Hits...
Last week, it was revelaed Golf Channel's Morning Drive co-host Erik Kuselias would be reassigned to Comcast/NBC sister station NBC Sports Network. Kuselias had been the co-host of Golf Channel's morning talk show Morning Drive since January 2011 when he left ESPN. At the time of the news, Stephanie Wei blasted Kuselias and viewed the reassignment as a sign Kuselias ultimately failed at the Golf Channel. Sports by Brooks tweeted the reassignment was in fact a demotion that had something to do with Kuselias' off-screen behavior.
It turns out Kuselias' reassignment has made him one of the faces of NBC Sports Network. NBC announced Friday that Kuselias would be named the full-time nightly host of the NBCSN flagship studio show NBC Sports Talk, replacing Russ Thaler (who is reportedly staying with NBC). The announcement was met with something less than widespread enthusiasm...
Erik Kuselias has been named the primary host of NBC Sports Talk. Which means I will not be watching NBC Sports Talk.
Kuselias has had his detractors for a long time, going back to his starring role in AJ Daulerio's scorched earth policy against ESPN in 2009. A year and a half later, another Deadspin report featured Kuselias in an affair with his Golf Channel co-host Holly Saunders (the two are now engaged). With all the rumors and reports surrounding Kuselias away from the television screen, he has developed a seedy reputation that translated to this growing distaste regarding his on-screen persona.
I'm rather ambivalent to Kuselias. He's got a smooth delivery and he does have some talent. However, something just never sits right with me when I'm watching Kuselias. It goes back to his ESPN days when he was ESPN's utility infielder. When he substituted on Mike & Mike he tried to be Mike & Mike, when he substituted on The Herd he tried to be Cowherd, when he substituted on First Take he tried to be Skip Bayless, etc. There was a car salesman vibe that came from whatever on-screen void he was filling. In the big picture, it seems like a sideways step for NBC Sports Talk. Instead of cultivating someone like Russ Thaler or Liam McHugh into the role, or nabbing a big name from outside, they've gone with someone who many will see as an ESPN/Golf Channel retread who hasn't stuck in one place for very long.
With those 13 simple words, our world changed forever. Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch reported the news that Awful Announcing mainstay Pam Ward has been taken off ESPN's college football coverage. Ward had been a part of ESPN's college football coverage since 2000 and had been calling Big Ten games at noon for ESPN2 in the recent past. She worked with Dan Hawkins last year, which produced quite a few memorable quotes throughout the year. Deitsch did go on to state Pam Ward will remain with ESPN in a variety of other roles at the network, so at least she won't be totally out of a job.
More than any one person, Pam Ward has been synonymous with AA back to the days when I was just a college kid reading Brian Powell's site every day. She was the inspiration for the Pammies, which put AA 1.0 on the map in the latter part of the 2000's and took home the Pammies crown in 2008 and 2009. Last year, she finished 3rd in her namesake awards behind eventual winner Craig James.
Losing Craig James AND Pam Ward in one offseason is a victory for people that happen to enjoy college football while not having to mute the television or ram your head into the nearest wall ala Gus Frerotte. Maybe we'll all look back at this day as a win for the internet and tell ourselves somebody that makes these decisions is actually listening to college football fans. But, it is a bittersweet day for us as well. Have no fear, the Pammies will always be a part of AA, but they will certainly never be the same again.
We'll be back later on with a proper retrospective that will pay homage to Pam Ward's AA legacy.
In the world of reality outside the First Take studios, it's been relatively quiet on the TebowMania front over the last couple months... as it should be... hello, it's the offseason. But since this is Tim Tebow we're talking about, you never really can escape. Surfing the web you'll see mundane Tebow stories about him changing his dog's name, or Tebowing in Madden 13, or Tebow already winning over his teammates, yada yada yada.
There was one Tebow story though that actually did make me pause and consider it as semi-interesting. It was this TMZ report about Tebow's people requesting this backstage Twitpic with members of Broadway's Rock of Ages cast be taken down to protect his image...
Neka Zang, one of the Broadway stars who tweeted the picture later explained why she had to delete it. "Well, Due to Tebow's "image" I was asked to remove the pic of him with us half dressed ladies. He does know we arn't real strippers right?"
I know there is a sizable portion of the population that is beating their heads against their desks thinking this passes as news, but there is an underlying impact here beyond it being just another Tebow story that's a waste of time.
Tim Tebow and whoever his handlers/PR team/image control freaks are need to step off the gas in terms of protecting Tebow. One of the most difficult things about all that is Tebow is separating Tim Tebow the human being from the force of nature that is TebowMania. I'm as annoyed as anyone at the Tebow oversaturation, but I like what he stands for and who he is, and can separate the two in my mind.
One of the strengths of Tebow's appeal to a lot of people is his relatability and connection with people. That's why he and his message resonates with so many. If Tebow's handlers begin demanding innocent pictures be taken down from the internet or start issuing cease and desist demands over t-shirts that don't even have his name on it, then there begins to be a disconnect. Tebow becomes just another athlete removed from reality, hiding behind a group of handlers, and looking down upon everyone else. The realness of Tebow dissipates and you begin to wonder whether he's as genuine as he really says he is, or if he's just a careful PR creation. If Tebow's handlers become a major part of Tebow's story moving forward, they will do infinitely more damage to his image than they ever could save by acting to protect it.
On Saturday, Chelsea finally reached the summit and lifted the Champions League trophy by defeating Bayern Munich in Munich on penalties. Chelsea achieved their longtime goal of winning the Champions League in decidedly un-Chelsea like fashion. After playing the role of rich, talented, European favorites for the last several years, Chelsea's victory in 2012 was a shock. Here they were in a season in which they finished 6th in the Premier League, under an interim manager, without their suspended/disgraced captain, and playing a road game in the final.
Then in the final itself, Chelsea had to come from behind after Thomas Muller's 83rd minute goal. Just when it seemed like they would be denied again, Didier Drogba equalized from a corner kick. The tying goal sent Sky/Fox announcers Martin Tyler and Gary Neville into euphoria. You may remember Neville's screams of ecstasy from Fernando Torres' semifinal clinching goal in Barcelona last month and he let out his now trademark sound when Drogba scored...
In the shootout, it was Drogba who had the chance to win the title for Chelsea with the last penalty kick after Bastian Schweinsteiger had been stopped by Petr Cech. As Drogba walked towards the spot, Neville claimed it was "written in the stars." Hopefully those of you that slipped into MLB postseason flashbacks snapped back into reality long enough to see Drogba's winning kick and the amazing commentary from Tyler and Neville afterwards. Video via SportsGrid...
Tyler: "HE'S DONE IT!! The greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club! European Champions! They've beaten Bayern in their own backyard! They've found the holy grail after adventure frought with danger! And Drogba may never play for Chelsea again, he'll never be forgotten. He's immortal at this football club, Gary Neville."
Neville: "It can never get better than this for English football, in this season the most incredible season. The 19th of May 2012, FIFA, UEFA, stop, FOOTBALLLL!!!!"
Tyler: "But then it was Drogba, and Drogba, and here, Drogba. The last kick, the winning kick. The man who lives for finals. The bigger the occasion, the better the response."
Neville: "They're crying. It was Drogba, it was the angels, it was the heavens, it was the stars, it was the gods, it was everything for Chelsea. This is not anything to do with football. This is more than football, this is spirit. Never giving in, fighting to the end, that English spirit running right the way through this Champions League for Chelsea."
Tyler: "What a road, what a journey, what a finish."
We've been fond of Gary Neville and his excitable commentary, but here he went off into a world only Ray Hudson should inhabit. In his ecstatic state, I would have almost thought he was streaking on the field in jubilation had I not heard him still on the microphone. I'm still trying to figure out what he meant by randomly shouting "FIFA UEFA stop FOOTBALLLLL!!" By the time he credited all the forces of nature, I thought it was an Ultimate Warrior promo. Then, I laughed when he credited the "English spirit" seeing as how Drogba is from the Ivory Coast and Chelsea started a grand total of 4 Englishmen in the side.
As far as the play by play, Tyler's call of Drogba's penalty, like his call of Sergio Aguero's premiership winning goal, is simply amazing. Is there any doubt he's one of the best announcers on the planet regardless of sport? Nobody can so accurately embody the biggest moments and find the perfect chemistry of words and emotion. He's on the short list of best announcers in the world and his call was fitting for such a monumental occasion.
There might be no one easier on ESPN to parody than Stephen A. Smith. He has that patented style that combines extreme exasperation with extreme yelling for basically no good rhyme or reason. SAS's diabolical combination with Skip Bayless in the faux sports debate style show First Take on ESPN2 might just be the worst sports programming that has ever existed.
Like I said, taking shots at Stephen A. Smith might seem almost too easy... HOWEVAHHH, this impression that got axed from the live show on last night's season finale of Saturday Night Live is just too hilarious not to be shared. Here's Jay Pharoah as Stephen A. Smith offering sage advice to the Miami Heat.
Jay Pharoah is absolutely fantastic with his impressions and his Stephen A. Smith is no exception. He absolutely nails the cadence of SAS's voice and his on the air mannerisms. It's also hysterical how he parodies how Stephen A. Smith often prefaces his comments with anecdotes about his personal relationships with the athletes he is supposed to be critical of.
Game four of the Miami/Indiana series is this afternoon. I guess we'll see then if "LiBRAWNNN" and the Heat take heed of Stephen A's advice from SNL.
Whether or not you’re a Chicago baseball fan, most of the US population is subjected to their games on WGN almost every day of the season whether they be of the Cubs or White Sox variety.
For fans of the teams that play against the White Sox, you probably are familiar with announcer Hawk Harrelson whose claim to fame is his massive homerism, highlighted a coupleamazing times this year already. Then, there are the catch phrases - the annoying “He Gone” and the slightly less annoying “Put it on the boooaaarrrrd…YES!”
With the Cubs/White Sox rivalry renewing this weekend, Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija took it upon himself to offer a critique of the play by play antics of Hawk. He is well versed in all things Hawk Harrelson since he grew up in the area and doesn't sound too enamored with hearing Harrelson all the time. In an interview earlier this week, Samardzija was asked about some of his favorite calls by Harrelson to which he replied “well I just kinda liked it when he didn’t talk for about an inning and a half” and goes on to poke fun at him some more.
Watch the rest of the interview below...
Unfortunately for Samardzija, he couldn't back up that jab with a win, as he picked up a loss Friday night for the Cubs. He did pitch fairly well, allowing 3 ER in 7.1 innings with 8 strikeouts. Nevertheless, there were two White Sox home runs that were "put on the board." At least Samardjiza was a safe distance away from the Sox broadcast booth.
We're around the point of the year where HBO usually announces what NFL team they'll feature if any for Hard Knocks. Halfway through May, the list of NFL teams who have rejected HBO's advances is unfortunately growing with the likes of the Redskins, Texans, and 49ers all reportedly passing on being featured.
They join the Broncos, Jets, and Falcons as teams that have been tied to unsuccessful overtures from HBO. It's anyone's guess how many more teams have given a firm "no" to HBO but did so without the media catching wind of the rejection.
I'm of the belief that the Bengals, Saints, Cowboys, and Chiefs are unlikely candidates given recent appearances on the program and the Saints needing some time away from the limelight after a brutal offseason.
Luckily for HBO and fans of the series, the Jaguars are the equivalent of a scantily dressed woman eying you across the bar who has bluntly stated she's DTF. HBO has that in the back pocket so they're free to pursue other options, at least until time runs out.
I stated early in the process I was keen on the Niners and Texans as options so it's sad to see them out of the mix. Going forward, HBO could still target teams like the Colts, Eagles, Rams, and Lions who could all be interesting follows during training camp and present a number of storylines.
Right now I'd peg the Jaguars as 4:1 front runner to be featured with these recent developments. If we hit go past the first week of June and all is still quiet on a Hard Knocks frontrunner, then I'd say it's a coin-flip between Jacksonville and the rest of the NFL.