Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Guess ESPN is the Only Place That Would Hire Him

I have never been able to understand anything about Sean Salisbury, broadcaster. Hell I never really got Sean Salisbury, quarterback, either. I know the worldwide leader has made some bizarre hires that seem to have come with lifetime contracts: (Exhibit A: Stuart Scott), but nobody can match Salisbury in terms of wanting me to permanently wear the Beavis confused face while looking at something so repulsing on television. A guy who I vaguely remember as a journeyman backup quarterback is so proud that he's found a career out of yelling arguments that make absolutely no sense that he actually signs his autographs, "Sean Salisbury, ESPN". Salisbury is the Jar Jar Banks of ESPN, but nobody has the nerve to tap the upper brass on the shoulder and tell them how disgusted everybody is by his presence.

My hatred of Sean Salisbury, wannabe broadcaster, began in 2002, when out of nowhere, the Dan Patrick radio show decided that John Ritter was right, Three's Company. The radio program had included Patrick, and Nasty Boy Rob Dibble, and oddly enough it worked for the most part. Then out of nowhere, somebody suggested the Monday Night Football approach, and there needed to be another nut in the booth. Their thinking at the time had to be that Dibble was only good for baseball takes and they needed someone else to talk about other things, namely the most popular sport in the world otherwise known as the National Football League. Enter Salisbury, and immediately he sounded like the loud crazed uncle who'd show up one holiday but NEVER leave. We didn't just have to suffer through Sean on all things NFL, but he'd weigh in on whatever else was happening in the sports world at the time. He'd step all over Dibble to chime in on BASEBALL opinions. On a slow news day, Sean had to tell us that the movie Pay It Forward was one of his all-time favorite films. It became a truly unlistenable radio program, and it was all because of Salisbury. Imagine having Joe Theisman on every day for three hours, only louder. Salisbury's hyper schtick of having to loudly boast of his all of his opinions made Mel Kiper Jr sound like Tom Osborne. I remember thinking, "How can anyone let this continue?!?" There would be many days that Patrick would take off and they'd bring in a guest host, but Salisbury was ALWAYS there. He was trying to become the Cal Ripken, Jr. of ESPN radio. He'd NEVER leave! Thankfully, ESPN wised up and got Salisbury out of the booth, and his appearances were limited to an occasional phone call to come in and talk about the NFL, and he still had that great ability to make one want to immediately change the radio station.

On Sunday, a friend and I wondered if Salisbury was on coke, because he certainly was acting like it on television. Salisbury was all over ESPN News, breaking out with his loud and boisterous opinions about every game, and we wondered if maybe Salisbury was going to pop up in a Geico commercial to keep spouting off his NFL opinions because he was so amped up. As usual he was driving us bonkers -- and THE SOUND WAS OFF. The place was playing the audio from the NBC telecast. But we kept cringing and looking Salisbury's way.

"He's on something," my friend pointed out. "He's more wound up than Daffy Duck used to be on those really old Looney Tunes cartoons. I expect to see him swim madly across a lake and scream, 'I'm not crazy, I just don't give a damn' anytime now. It's almost like he does lines of blow right before going on."

"I don't know," I said. "Does doing blow make you put on so much weight?"

Then I remembered another period of the Salisbury era and realized he's not on anything, that's just how he is. Or maybe the NFL is such a drug for Sean that it makes him more wired up than a Jets fan on draft day. I believe it was a couple of years ago, around the time when Salisbury didn't take Dennis Green's offer to come be the quarterbacks coach of the Arizona Cardinals. After Denny Green failed to be our savior, ESPN came up with a new shtick for Salisbury. He and John Clayton would argue small NFL issues in a WWF sort of way, constantly yelling and screaming back and forth to each other to the point where you'd think Sean would reach over his side of the screen to body slam poor Clayton, who looks like he weighs 120 pounds soaking wet (and remember, the TV supposedly adds 15 pounds). It was some bizarre point/counterpoint type of thing that resembled some of the Fox News/MSNBC news shows at the time, but these two would scream about who should start at left tackle for the Seahawks. I'm not sure how long Sean vs. John lasted, but it was another one of those rare moments when ESPN came to their senses and stopped the fighting. Now it turns out that Sean and John host a radio show on some Saturdays and they get along like old college roommates.

Since we're right in the heart of football season, Sean Salisbury can be seen on any and all of the ESPN networks everyday, having to tell us that "The Colts will be fine because they've still got #18." I STILL don't get it. You can almost see Sean behind the cameras at times when announcers will breakdown the baseball playoffs, jumping up and down and screaming, "Come on guys! I got some things to say about the Chiefs/Cardinals game!"

ESPN has some great NFL broadcast talent in people like Chris Mortensen, Ron Jaworski and Tom Jackson. Even Trey Wingo is watchable breaking down the NFL. Somebody please tell Denny Green that we have the answer to his problems: Convince Salisbury to come coach fellow USC alum Matt Leinart into the great NFL quarterback we all know he should be. Only problem is, would Leinart dare take advice from a former QB who had a playing career similar to maybe...Heath Shuler?

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