The news that Ron Jaworski is stepping in for Joe Theismann on Monday nights this year is certainly welcome news, a step in the right direction. Not only has ESPN finally gotten the hint that just about none of their audience actually likes Theismann, but they hired someone we actually wanted! They're listening. They're really, really listening.
Though Jaworski will make the show more tolerable, there's still one glaring negative -- Mike Tirico. I don't yet know where I stand with Tony Kornheiser. I love him outside of the booth; inside he's been, admittedly, less irreverent and biting. Still, he's a better option than most and I believe (hope?) another season in the booth will make him sharper. Besides, Jaworski's a better counterpoint to Kornheiser. It seemed far too often as is K's jokes were going over Theismann's head; after years of lobotimizing coverage with Paul McGuire and that other guy who's name I'm too lazy to look up, it just seemed as if Theismann was ill-prepared to give it back to Kornheiser. Jaworski will do that, in spades. He held his own with Michael Irvin last year, and lord knows it's tough keeping up with a crackhead. He'll also offer his typically insightful analysis.
But back to Tirico. Forget about his odd sexual deviancies and his womanizing. Forget about the fact that he makes Wayne Brady look like Bryant Gumble looking like Malcolm X. He's just not likable. He's got an annoying voice (to me, anyway) and he's too vanilla. Uninviting, sterile, etc. I don't doubt his competency and technical ability to do the job. I just think he lacks the innate quality that makes a great broadcaster great -- the ability to make you feel like you're listening to a friend discuss football. And the voice. Someone may be able to fix the former, but they can never fix the latter (unless, like DMC, you're hoping for an inexplicable vocal change late in your life). Sorry, Tirico. You'll never be Mike Emrick (sorry to switch sports, but the world needs more Mike Emrick).