I am a 49ers fan. Have been since 1981, but my love for the team was really cemented in the 1988 season, particularly the super bowl against the Bengals. Therefore, please take what I have to say with the appropriate seasoning.
I was listening to the commentary by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman yesterday, and every time I see those two are calling the 49ers, I sigh dejectedly and attempt to steel myself against the inevitable bias. Especially from Joe Buck. Sadly, Aikman, the one of the pair who actually has good reason to be biased against San Francisco for obvious reasons, is actually the more impartial of the two.
This particular performance wasn't even the worst I've heard from Buck, but it did get me to finally write this post, which I was contemplating last season, but just never got around to it.
Is there a place anymore for false impartiality in the broadcast booth for the NFL? I ask because at one time, it was expected that both the play by play guy and the color commentary guy would be impartial. However, so many former players are now in the booth, complete with the loyalties and bias that playing this great game created, I don't think it's possible and not even necessarily better for these athletes to maintain a false impartiality.
Don't get me wrong, Joe Buck has no excuse. He jumped right on the "the 9ers should not have gotten that extra down" bandwagon, without even reviewing the video of what happened, which clearly showed that Matthews committed two fouls on the play and even conceding that Staley was guilty (which I don't) We still should have had a 1st and goal from the 3.
But I digress, what interests me about this the most is guys like Aikman, who isn't too bad, or Howie Long, who you can actually see grind his teeth if he is forced to say something positive about the 49ers. Should we though, expect these guys to really be impartial? I don't think so, but it then should require something. Full disclosure. My favorite example of what I would prefer is Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth. Almost every time Collinsworth calls a 49er game, you can expect to hear him say something along the lines of, "Yeah, these guys took two rings off my finger". Now, you see, that I respect.
In fact, I think every one of those former players should give such full disclosure every time they call a game against a team they hate (and rightly so, if I were Collinsworth, I'd hate us too).
As for the play by play guys, Al Michaels >> Joe Buck, those guys really must be impartial. But then again, I am completely biased.