Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Smart TV - Part One

It sounds to me like Tony Kornheiser is settling into his new role on Monday Night Football. During last night's Steelers-Jaguars game, Jags quarterback Byron Leftwich scrambled for a six-yard gain. After exclaiming that this was a rare event for Leftwich, Kornheiser went on to say that the QB had stated earlier that he might be the slowest black QB in the league, but he was no worse than tenth overall.

Play-by-play man Mike Tirico confirmed the quote and they went on to share a the humorous story in which Leftwich singled out his former teammate at Marshall University, Chad Pennington, who is white, as being slower than he. Most any other sports broadcaster would not have been able to handle this exchange and probably would have not used it at all for fear of saying something racially impolitic or offensive, but Kornheiser's daily arguments with Michael Wilbon on PTI touch on nearly any topic imaginable, including race.

This was a perfect example to those who questioned what TK would bring to the booth. Not only was he not afraid to bring it up, he was prepared and excited to do so. It's not X-and-O analysis, but it's football-related, it's funny, and it's candid. And in a game featuring two of the top teams in the league scoring zero touchdowns, ESPN should be thrilled to have somebody who can do more than diagram a zone blitz with sound effects.

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