All eyes were on Jon Gruden during his return to the Coliseum Friday, but many ears were tuned into Hall of Famer Brent Musburger’s debut as the radio voice of the Raiders.
One could say Gruden’s homecoming went smoother than Musburger’s first game replacing longtime voice Greg Papa in the preseason opener against the Lions.
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Raiders fans may be grieving the loss of Papa’s iconic “Touchdown RRRRaid-errrrs!” on the airwaves, which has seemingly been replaced by Musburger’s more understated call of “Touchdowwwn!” But based on what we heard Friday, it’s fair to say the nuance Papa brought to his broadcasts will also be sorely missed.
In Musburger’s defense, he built a strong reputation and received adulation the past five decades for his work on television. A transition to a more demanding radio call isn’t an easy one. Given his body of work, we’d expect Musburger to better grow into his new role as the season goes along.
Unfortunately, on Friday he sounded like a TV guy doing radio. He painted no word pictures, many times leaving listeners without a clue as to where passes were directed, for example. He often was light on details such as down, distance and yard line.
As a Raider neophyte, he can be forgiven for botching a couple of their names. But none were worse than his broadcast partner Lincoln Kennedy, the new color analyst who kept referring to defensive coordinator Paul Guenther as Gunther Cunningham, a former Raiders defensive coordinator.
However, there were moments when listening to Musburger led us to fondly recall his days calling college games on TV. He descriptively called one wayward Connor Cook pass as “a little bit of a lollipop.” Musburger was especially fond of Raiders rookie running back Chris Warren, whom he affectionately called “the big fella” on a few occasions.
Musburger delivered like a pro on the Raiders first touchdown of the preseason, describing a 7-yard Cook pass to Ryan Switzer in the second quarter without hesitation:
“Cook in the middle … Time … Receiver covered … Scrambles off to the left, looks back to the middle … Fires … diving, end zone … Touchdowwnnn!”
Musburger, though, has a lot to live up to as Raider Nation grew to appreciate how Papa could concisely describe the action while also quickly adding insights as to why a play did or didn’t work. Papa was also adept at detecting teams’ in-game adjustments.
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Papa’s detail-oriented play descriptions were borne of years of hard work and study, particularly with late Raiders owner Al Davis. But, as it’s been documented,Papa’s affinity for Al also led to his dismissal after 21 seasons as the voice of the Raiders.
Papa’s departure from the Raiders was due to the after effects of on-air criticism he directed at owner Mark Davis three years ago. Papa felt Davis was disrespecting his …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports