Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Show for the Hardcore Fan

In the mornings on ESPN - sometimes ultra-early, but you can get it as late as 7:30 AM - is the best football show on TV, NFL Matchup. It's a show not widely watched, so much so it is almost cancelled pretty much every season. Then at the last minute, ESPN decides to bring it back, after hearing from the few but die-hard fans that love it. But Google it and there isn't even a website for the show...ESPN does little to try to promote it.

Still, there needs to be some love for this show. The greatness of this show comes through in several different areas.

- The two analysts - Ron Jaworski and Merrill Hoge - are two of the best in the business. They display an excellent knowledge not simply of the game and players, but of all the facets of each play going on that make a play succeed or fail.
- It's the only show on the air that uses coaches tape. This is the angle from high in the box that allows you to see every player on the field. They use the tape to highlight players and angles and show how players find holes in zones, seal blocks effectively, read defenses and run through progressions, etc.
- They show typically one or two plays per game, spending two to four minutes per play showing every aspect of it, what the teams do to make the play work and ultimately why it did or didn't work.

The depth the show brings to each play gives the fan a better appreciation for how much work it takes for every play to succeed in the NFL. It's a great view into what separates professional football players and coaches from the rest of us. If you're not already watching, I'd suggest checking it out.


  1. It is truly amazing how Jaws has transformed himself by working harder than anyone else at becoming a great broadcaster and commentator/teacher.

    He talked about in interviews how after retiring [due to his popularity then and now in Philly, etc] that he thought the NFL-related job offers would come rolling in.

    [crickets chirping]

    Then he realized he had to get on the stick and figure out how to add value to get anywhere as he wasn't a Steve Young or Mike Irvin-level famous or funny.

    I'dve laid 100-1 odds he never got this good if you offered me a bet back then. He's simply terrific.


  2. Real fans already know it's name. :-p

    Thanks for the catch, I'm an idiot. Edited to include the name, now. NFL Matchup FTW!

  3. I've been disappointed in the show, since they replaced Suzie Kolber with Sao Paolantonio. The show almost sucks now.

    Still one of the only places a fan can get a glimpse of coach's tape.


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