Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Projection (noun):
11. Psychology. a. the tendency to ascribe to another person feelings, thoughts, or attitudes present in oneself, or to regard external reality as embodying such feelings, thoughts, etc., in some way.

While watching Monday Night Football, the seemingly strangest idea came to mind:

Do fans who dislike (hate is tossed around too easily) Tony Kornheiser genuinely have a beef with him or do they see something in themselves?

It may sound like psychobabble, but consider this for a moment:

Each of the three men in the booth have clearly defined roles and while they may step on each other's toes at times to get a word out, they rarely, if ever, try to perform another's job. Mike Tirico provides the play-by-play and from time to time, will add wit and opinion to a questionable call or penalty. Ron Jaworski (arguably the best color commentator in sports today) gives breakdowns of plays like nobody's business to the point that you may believe that you can suit up for your local NFL team right now. Kornheiser, ideally in the vein of Howard Cosell with an accidental dash of Dennis Miller, is writing the feature article in Tuesday's newspaper, deciding what goes on the backpage and gives the sixty beat reporters for each team something to run with.

There aren't many complaints about Tirico or 'Jaws' compared to those for the former Washington Post writer. Just explore the blogosphere or Google/Yahoo!/MSN his name and you're bound to find how much he is loathe by many a fan. To summarize the common gripes:

  • He does mention Brett Favre a tad much.

  • In his first season and a half, he ran with the "he's on my fantasy team' angle after every entertaining play.

  • On the basis of his Long Island roots and his strong 'Noo Yawk' accent, he invites even more disdain from many across the nation.

  • His pre-game soliloquy about a team's media magnet(s) essentially tells the audience what he will be looking for the entire game.

  • In his banter with Jaworski, it sounds more like he's picking on the ex-jock rather than discussing a point during the game (which is why Joe Theismann was replaced by 'Jaws' in 2007).
With that said, Kornheiser is playing the role he was given. He's supposed to be the outsider, chiming in on any point that the media typically dictates; the hot quarterback of the moment, the prima donna wide receiver, the fiery coach or the coach who's on fire because of the proverbial hot seat, the sexy matchup that is supposed to garner all sorts of ratings, etc. These are some of the things that many sports media consumers seem to pick up on, even if there are far more stories to tell within the game. Yet, while many of his detractors point out his shortcomings, they will just as easily make the same criticisms or quickly jump to conclusions about a player as he or many other 'outsiders' do.

Maybe it's just this scribe's opinion, but are many of those mudslingers just upset that he gets paid to say what some of them might be thinking? Or is there something deeper that seems to go unnoticed? Chime in.

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