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GAMBLE: Sideline TV reporters fumble the questions

Features column

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

As a young boy, I often read about the Roman Empire and was especially enthralled by the stories of gladiators fighting to the death in the arena or helpless victims being fed to the lions.

I wondered how could ordinary people watch all this as if nothing more than a high school basketball game. What happened to these folks? Where are their descendants today?

Well, I’ll tell you where they are. About 90,000-plus were attending the Alabama/Georgia State football game last week. Only direct descendants of blood sport viewers could possibly attend such a massacre. Lest I be accused of anti-Alabama bias, let me state Auburn will host Western Carolina this week, and they are 0-4 in their conference, whatever conference that may be. I suspect we’ll have the same number of rabid fans for this thriller.

To Alabama’s credit, they held the score to 45-3 when I’m pretty sure they could have won 99-0. Georgia State only began football a few years ago, is in a lower division and has not won a single game, even in this lower division.

With all this said, the game was still nationally televised. I guess the rights to “High Plains Drifter” must have expired, leaving only this game.

As the game ended, the obligatory sideline reporter stopped coach Saban to ask about the game. Apparently unsatisfied with the 20 previous embarrassingly dumb comments and questions asked in all other televised games, she dropped this in-depth question on the coach. This is not a direct quote, as I was too stunned to get it exact, but she said something like this: “Coach, your offense really seemed to be in sync today. What do you attribute this to?”

I would have paid $1,000 if he had answered truthfully and said, “Well, Suzy, Georgia State stinks. They don’t have a single boy on their team that could make our team, much less play for us. They’d make our third-string quarterback look like a Heisman candidate. That’s what I attribute the success to. Thank you.”

Of course, instead we got something or other about how they had worked in practice to be consistent, etc.

All I can think is: Please, make it stop.

Not the pasty scheduling of no-chance-to-win opponents. I realize every team needs a few breathers and sure wins.

I mean the sideline reporters. Not one single football viewer in the entire country says, “Boy, I can’t wait to hear what the sideline reporter asks next.” Nobody, and I mean nobody, cares one iota what they have to say. There are only two type questions, either painfully dumb ones or softball ones, like “Coach, are you pleased with the way Johnson has played the first half?” This after he completed 20 out of 20 passes.

If they must put them on the sideline, I suggest they use the folks from “60 Minutes.” That should liven it up.

“Coach, Johnson looks sharp today. Is it true a booster paid him $100,000 to come to the University?” Or, how about, “Johnson looks good today, almost as good as that new Corvette he drives around town. How’d his Waffle House-working mama afford that one?”

Ah, I know it’s only a dream and I’ll continue to be subjected to “Do you think your defense needs to play better in the second half coach?” when they gave up 42 points in the first half.

Email T. Gamble at wtg@colliergamble.com.