Sunday evening, Orchard Park, New York. FOX’s broadcast of Redskins-Bills.
Kenny Albert: “Let’s send it down on the sideline to Tony Siragusa. Tony?”
Tony Siragusa: “Hey, you guys got me on camera? I was just hangin’ out!”
Congratulations, FOX. You’ve one-upped the other networks and hired someone so incompetent, so lacking broadcasting polish, so … bad, he’s great. In Tony Siragusa you’ve hired the sports broadcasting equivalent of the Hindenburg. No wait, that was Rush Limbaugh. Siragusa is more blimp and less brains. But he’s still an undeniable disaster. A broadcasting trainwreck so spectacular one can’t help but rubberneck. A perfect 10 on the unintentional comedy scale.
FOX, you deserve credit for this hire. After all, ABC tried to beat you at your own game. They hired Lisa Guerrero to fill the void left by the departure of the incomprehensible Eric Dickerson a few years ago. But besides conspicuously reading off of cue cards and being thanked with dripping sarcasm by Al Michaels, she’s pretty much your basic pinhead pin-up. You can tell she’s had training, she just doesn’t know how to use it. She’s more annoying than anything else.
But not Siragusa. He’s not annoying. No, he’s too embarrassingly unqualified to be anything less than fascinating. He has no idea what he’s doing. For analysis, he relies entirely on stories from his less-than-glorious playing career as a defensive tackle for the Colts and Ravens, most of which entails describing dirty plays in which he participated. Plus, he doesn’t seem to do any preparation for the games. At one point during Sunday’s broadcast he referred to Patrick Ramsey, the Redskins’ quarterback and the NFC’s leading passer, as “the quarterback on the other team.”
His interview etiquette is an equally unmitigated catastrophe. Here’s how “Goose” asked Hall-of-Fame Bills’ quarterback Jim Kelly his opinion on what the Redskins should do on a play near the end of the first half:
“We’re on TV so watch your … (trails off) What do you do right here?”
As if Kelly had never been interviewed before. As if he would think, when presented with a microphone that says “FOX” in big letters on it, he should start swearing like a sailor. Siragusa did spend his playing career in the trenches, where everybody’s mother is fair game. But he should know not to preface his question. And Siragusa’s awkwardness was apparent throughout the rest of the interview as well. It seemed at times as if Kelly should be interviewing him.
What’s more, Siragusa looks like a slob. Just a few weeks ago, in a game between the Redskins and Falcons, he didn’t even have a shirt with a FOX logo on it, much less a jacket and tie. Instead, he wore a grungy polo shirt and a “Hi, my name is” nametag sticker with “FOX” scrawled on it. Not every sideline reporter should be a beauty queen. Not at all. But he should at least wear something that looks professional.
Still, the heaping pile of bad reporting that is “Goose” on the sidelines makes for an entertaining three hours of television. His various inabilities highlighted yesterday’s otherwise bland broadcast. To his credit, he does have a garrulous charm. And his complete unpredictability gave the audience something to look forward to during the Bills’ boring 24-7 romp. If there is such a thing as media so bad it’s good, as tabloids everywhere would have us believe, then Siragusa is football broadcasting’s National Enquirer. He is a football viewer’s guilty pleasure. He satisfies our sadomasochistic need for really bad media.
Great job, FOX. You’ve found a way to lower the bar yet another level this fall.
Christmas may be coming, but the Goose is already fat. And his stuffing hurts so good.