Yesterday, I actually watched the first half of an uninteresting Rams-Chiefs game. Yep. Rams-Chiefs. Why? Because old friend Donovan McNabb was the color analyst alongside play-by-play guy Dick Stockton. In case you're not into social media, McNabb is known in his "after football" career for having a terrible Twitter account. Like... beyond awful, as evidenced here:
And of course, we all remember when McNabb didn't know that NFL games could result in a tie score.
Needless to say, I was curious to see how good McNabb would be in the broadcast booth of an NFL game. To my surprise, he was great. He seemed completely comfortable with his delivery, he didn't over-talk, he didn't talk about himself (a huge pet peeve), and he clearly did his research.
For example, at one point, McNabb dropped a reference to Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain, a comment that would clearly resonate with Kansas City Chiefs fans preoccupied with the Royals' World Series appearance. McNabb's performance (if that's what you'd call it) was impressive, especially considering it was his first time calling an NFL game.
The same could not be said, however, of McNabb archenemy Ronde Barber, who's pick six of McNabb in the 2003 season NFC Championship Game sealed the Buccaneers trip a Super Bowl. Do not watch this:
Barber was the color analyst for the Eagles-Cardinals game yesterday, and was brutally bad, with the lowlight being his explaination of what a horse collar tackle is. In the fourth quarter, there was an absolutely atrocious no-call on a horse collar tackle committed by Cards corner Antonio Cromartie on Riley Cooper. It was on the Eagles' final drive, which should have given the Eagles the ball at the Cardinals' 43 yard line with 1:04 to go and two timeouts. A correct call there would have meant a significant difference in offensive strategy for the remainder of the drive. The referees initially threw a flag on it, rightfully, but then somehow decided to pick the flag up. Here's a short series of screenshots of the infraction:
That's about as easy a horse collar call to make as you'll see.
Barber's analysis on the play, verbatim:
Barber: "Of course it looks close and Cromartie is trailing."
Chris Myers (Barber's play-by-play partner): "It looks like (Cromartie) reached in there."
Barber: "You have to have your hand inside, and he had control of that other arm, so I don't know that that was a penalty. Good no-call."
What?!? Other hand? What in the hell is Barber talking about? The horse collar tackle rule, per the NFL rulebook:
Article 15: Horse-Collar Tackle. No player shall grab the inside collar of the back or the side of the shoulder pads or jersey pads or jersey, and pull the runner toward the ground. This does not apply to a runner who is in the tackle box or to a quarterback who is in the pocket.
Note: It is not necessary for a player to pull the runner completely to the ground in order for the act to be illegal. If his knees are buckled by the action, it is a foul, even if the runner is not pulled completely to the ground.
Penalty: For a Horse-Collar Tackle: Loss of 15 yards and an automatic first down.
Barber tackled people for a living for 15 years in the NFL. How can he not know that rule? He basically just made up his own addendum to a rule, and communicated it to the viewing audience. And now people think his analysis of the play is actually the rule.
So if you're an Eagles fan looking for a silver lining a day after an Eagles loss, Donovan McNabb bested Ronde Barber, for one day anyway. In the broadcast booth. 10+ years a little late. You so have that going for you, which is nice.
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