Monday, October 29, 2007

Football Game Ends With 15 Laterals

Since I do broadcasts of high school football games as part of my radio gig, as I was watching this crazy play unfold from over the weekend, I was naturally paying almost as much attention to the call of the play than the play itself.

Of course the play was unbelievable, and the call of the play wasn't bad, either.

You can never plan for a play like this. If and when it happens, you just have to do the best you can, and hope you get it right, because I'm sure it dawned on this dude's mind that the clip would be played all over the country.

The key -- and he does a pretty good job of this -- is to stay in control as the zaniness unfolds. Notice how he doesn't really start to go too crazy until it's clear that the last lateral is going to lead to the game winning touchdown. Even the color commentator keeps quiet until those final few seconds. It would have been easy for either of them to start to go ballistic prematurely.

Premature speculation? Premature prognostication? Proclamation? It's a problem suffered by many broadcasters. Men, mostly.

I'll work on that phrase.

What makes it tough is that there's no way to anticipate the progression of the play. You have no idea when the next lateral attempt will be made, or who it's going to. Plus, it's such an improbable play that the natural thing to do would be to anticipate the pending tackle -- which of course never comes.

All of the hyperbole after the play is fine, too. This is the biggest athletic moment any of these kids will ever be involved in, and most likely for these broadcasters, too, and his comment about it being possibly the "most sensational, incredible ending...the most miraculous plays in all of football history" isn't that far off the mark.

I can't fault these guys too much with their call, especially because I have no idea how it would have sounded if I was doing the broadcast.

But you can bet your bippy that I'll be thinking about this play at my game this Saturday.

It's hard to watch this play and not think of two other crazy finishes from "football history"...

"The Play" - Cal vs. Stanford. Classic call by Joe Starkey, the uncle of our very own Jay Capron -- the news director at my radio station.

1994 Texas High School comeback - This one is about 4:30 long, but it's worth it. The trailing team was down 41-17 with about three minutes to go, and you can figure out the rest.

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