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Over-Commentating

What is over-commentating? I never knew.

Channel 7 took back the television rights to the AFL in 2007.

Enter… Over-commentating.

If you have watched a game of Friday or Saturday Night Footy recently you may have noticed it. There are a few main concerns that make the “mute” button more sought after than a few spare DRS reviews when Shane Watson is batting.

The first is the overkill when it comes to personnel. If I am not mistaken there is up to 7 people OR MORE covering the game. SEVEN!

Friday Night Team – Start with Bruce and Dennis as the main voice of the broadcast calling play by play (two). Add some ‘expert commentators’ such as Lethal, Tom Harley and Richo to dissect the nuisances of the game (five). Throw in a boundary rider like Lingy and co. plus a guest player like Montagna, Maxwell or Riewoldt (seven).

The 5 Minute Guide Overcommentating Channel 7 Team

Take a breath.

I watch a number of sports and the common theme is that the coverage is simple. Simple doesn’t mean unintelligent. Simple means a caller with the ability to delve into analysis with a capable expert colleague to complement the broadcast. Let the game speak for itself. It is a wonderful product that doesn’t require augmentation by commentators.

Monday Night Football in the NFL is becoming a signature time slot in the US. John Gruden and Mike Tirico team up to deliver a simple broadcast with informative insights. Michaels and Collingsworth similarly on a Sunday. The NBA has an identical two-man front that supplement the quality product that is the NBA.

The 5 Minute Guide Overcommentating John Gruden and Mike Tirico

I watch Wimbledon or the Australian Open and the general setup is a commentator and expert analysis. I watch the cricket and you have a rotating duo taking the reigns in separate blocks of a test match. I do not want to harp on this point but KISS. (Keep It Simple Stupid).

I think the biggest issue from the abundance of faces is that the chemistry is atrocious because there are too many voices coming from all angles. This is before I even come to the amount of stage make up Lingy is wearing each week when the camera pans to him. I believe the technical term used amongst the youth of today is ‘pancake face’.

Another dilemma I have is that the commentators treat the viewer like an incoherent simpleton. It may be an extension from the herd of bodies in the commentary box but they provide little to no insight into the game. I understand the audience is the general public at large but every day there are hours of sports coverage on radio and TV. The AFL now has its own 24-hour channel on pay-tv. The free to air channels have a footy talk show on every night. The viewer understands the basic and many advanced concepts in modern football. If they are one of the very few people who don’t, they are generally going to keep flicking channels after realizing this is not Geordie Shore they are watching or continue to watch but not gain any further understanding listening to the obvious and basic waffle dished up week after week?

The 5 Minute Guide Overcommentating Bruce McAvaney

Comments like:

“It has been a high pressure first half, I expect the players to tire as the game progresses.”

“The Tigers need to play four quarters of football to win this game.”

And statements such as:

“Has he got it, has he got it, HAS HE GOOOTTT IT?! *pause* Oh, he hasn’t got it, a behind to Chapman. Gee that was close” (every time Chapman kicks the ball anywhere near or within the forward 50)

“And they’re coming now!”
(About both teams, after every goal is scored. Yes, thanks Bruce, we are well aware that at any point in time at least one of the two teams playing will be coming or going somewhere)

Expressed with such enthusiasm (read: moaning, yelling, climactic yodeling) that the viewer is left wondering exactly what has just happened in the commentary box.

I could waffle on myself but let’s just say the majority of the viewers now know what a forward press involves or how a plus 1 at the stoppage will result in an extra player loose behind the ball for the opposing team.

It would seem the gentle art of silence, dramatic pausing and quiet observation has gone the way of the bump. Outlawed by zealous fanatics whose love of everything football far outweighs any common sense or notion of what the general football loving public might actually appreciate.

As we come into the biggest game of the season, I implore Channel 7 to reconsider their over the top approach to their football broadcast. Let the game be the star. Leave the ‘teams’ on the field. And provide the viewer with insight not overkill.

Please…. KISS!

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