Perhaps auditioning to become a contributor to Awful Announcing, the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir (echoing the opinions of virtually every viewer to have watched Bryant Gumbel on the NFL Network) suggests viewers watching Saturday’s Patriots/Giants contest, ” heard someone who shouldn™t be in this seat.” “Gumbel,” mused Sandomir, “is struggling to learn what he should be doing after the network™s two seasons.”
He doesn™t see the field well, which leads him to be imprecise (or wrong) about yardage gained on a play or the yard line. More often than not, he will not even try to provide the yardage.
His imprecision leads him to fall back on ambiguities like œthe ball is inside the 10 or œway short of the first-down marker, phrases that more experienced announcers only occasionally use. Gumbel uses them as crutches. He repeatedly locates a play as going to œthis side or the œfar side, when œright or œleft will suffice. He too frequently uses œstone as a verb to denote a runner gaining little or no yardage. How about œstacked up or œstopped?
With the Giants ahead by 28-23, he said the Patriots were œwithin one score. Within a touchdown, please. When New England scored to make it 38-28, he said, œThey™ve moved ahead by two scores. Which two scores? Most every fan knew, but his pattern of vagueness had long before set in.
Gumbel says things that no experienced announcer would. After Kevin Boss™s touchdown catch gave the Giants a 21-16 lead, Gumbel said a holding penalty on the Patriots was œwaved off. The Giants declined it; the referee didn™t declare the flag to be thrown in error.
When Randy Moss scored on a 4-yard pass in the second quarter, Gumbel crowed, œHow often do you get three N.F.L. records to fall on one play? Too bad only one record, the one for team scoring, was broken on that touchdown.