Dan Fouts, who was sentenced by CBS to call many Jets telecasts, never failed the 1 p.m. NFL Sunday Wince Test.
You know the Wince Test? That’s when you find out who the announcers will be on the CBS and Fox early games. Too often the likes of Daryl “Moose” Johnston, “Hollerin’ ” Kevin Harlan and Ronde Barber would cause us conditioned winces before kickoff.
We’d then prepare for that mournful dirge about the S.S. Minnow, “A three-hour tour.”
But Fouts, often teamed with Ian Eagle, was never a problem and often was the solution. Never overly critical or given to drawing attention to himself, he’d still let us know what he was thinking.
Late in the 2017 season, Fouts declared he was “flabbergasted” by Jets coach Todd Bowles misuse, non-use and too-late use of timeouts — something Jets fans regularly agonized through to the next game.
Rare would be the telecast when Fouts didn’t leave us with something worthwhile to consider. I enjoyed Fouts’ work and can’t recall any reader/emailer who didn’t.
Thus it should come as thin surprise that colleague Andrew Marchand recently reported that Fouts, 68 and a Hall of Fame quarterback first hired by CBS in 1988, had been dumped, sacked.
Funny thing about Fouts is that he rarely leaned on stats for enlightenment, perhaps because he knew them to be too circumstantial to shed accumulated, add-and-divide light.
Consider that the single most important factor in Fouts’ Hall of Fame credentials — for four straight years he led the NFL in passing yardage — was that he played for San Diego Chargers teams that had porous defenses, thus Fouts was forced to throw early and often.
In 1980, Fouts’ Chargers lost the AFC Championship to the Raiders, 34-27. The next year, they beat Miami in the first round, 41-38, in overtime. And the next year they beat the Steelers in the first round, 31-28. Many of Fouts’ teams played defense as if it were touch football.
On the other hand, in Super Bowl VII, the Dolphins were dominating the Redskins, 14-0, until kicker Garo Yepremian’s infamous late-game “pass” turned into a Washington touchdown and ended it at 14-7. In that one, Miami QB Bob Griese was 8-for-11 with 88 passing yards. He didn’t have to pass, so he didn’t.
And perhaps that’s why Fouts didn’t bother to clutter our minds and telecasts with a bunch of misleading but requisite numbers nonsense.
Fouts will be replaced by Charles Davis, lifted from Fox where he was an improving NFL analyst yet given to neo-standard speech-making after every play.
So Dan Fouts, who never made it difficult to watch an NFL game, passes into the “discharged” bin, another TV career ended with “Why?” and another good question in search of a good answer.
Francesa hints at power to get back his ‘power’
How do professional sportscasters handle this pandemic?
Well, we can start with Ch. 4’s Bruce Beck. He and his wife, Janet this week were seen donating pizzas to pooped and imperiled hospital staff at White Plains Hospital.
Or you could take the route of His Majesty, Earl of Gluttony, Mike Francesa, who hit the airwaves Monday evening with a personal tale of woe: His home, during that morning’s wind and rain storm, lost electrical power nearly preventing him from being heard over WFAN at that moment.
Francesa went on and on about how his status as a big shot came into immediate play, but here is the gist: “The guys at PSE&G, after listening — because I know they’re listeners — did a great job. Thanks for getting my power back on so I could do the show.”
But if he wasn’t on the air until then, how did his PSE&G “listeners” know he was without power? There were outages here, there and everywhere. And does PSE&G make private house calls in the midst of storms and blanket outages?
“Yes, of course, Mr. Francesa, we’ll drop everything and be right over!”
Or was it that the rest of his area’s power was simultaneously restored? And if so, did Francesa even consider that? Or did his entire region owe him its gratitude for the personal service PSE&G granted him and, by extension wire, them?
This seemed like another of “my sources” fabrications, like the one in which “my sources in New Jersey law enforcement” were cited by Francesa after Lawrence Taylor’s arrest on rape charges in Ramapo, N.Y., which Francesa thought was in Jersey.
Of course, in the throes of a pandemic, even if “Let’s Be Honest’s” PSE&G story were partially true, most of us wouldn’t have the immodest, self-bloated gall to say such things into an open microphone.
But Mike’s so much more important than all else. It’s worth repeating: When the traffic light turns green, Francesa thinks it’s because he knows people down at the Department of Transportation.
How ESPN unscoops scoopers
So how does ESPN manage to get to so many stories, first, thus crediting itself with so many breaking stories, such as the recent shared scoop “confirmation” of Al Kaline’s passing?
I imagine it goes something like this:
“Hello, Detroit Tigers? This is ESPN. Is it true that Al Kaline has died?”
“Unfortunately, that is true.”
ESPN hangs up the phone and the staffer shouts, “We got it! We got the confirmation, we got the co-scoop! We can give ourselves credit!”
Reader Chris Quattrocchi:
“Just curious. What’s the exchange policy for the Mets games canceled for those released Rikers inmates promised tickets?”
They can exchange them for a pack of Marlboro Reds, a shank and a packet of Ramen noodles.
Virus Misc.: WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump made sure to include his old pal Vince McMahon on his telephone conference with legit sports commissioners to discuss the coronavirus.
Yes, no one’s more sensitive to the health and welfare of his performers than McMahon. That would explain all his drug-dead wrestlers, the original XFL that banned fair catches to ratchet up the carnage and the fact that McMahon’s wrestling shows have proceeded as “essential business.”
If you look back to early March, it seems the first in sports to fully get it — to recognize that a pandemic is at the door — was NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Of everything lost to the coronavirus, is there anything worse than being unable to listen to Mike Francesa watch the Masters?
Aside from the absence of live sports, there’s nothing much different about MSG’s Network’s four pay-tier channels. Two of them, as usual, are all-day blanks.
On a personal note, my life has been shaken by restaurant closings. It’s tough to submit an expense account for an imagined meal I bought for someone and myself.