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Just give me ‘O-B’ and Buffone, not the rest of those buffoons

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Bobs Column - The B SideI love football—Chicago Bears and Notre Dame football.
I’ll occasionally watch another college or pro game if it seems interesting, but Fighting Irish and Bears football are the only required games each weekend.
I don’t have the NFL Ticket package or multiple TVs in the family room so I can watch more than one game at a time, and I don’t understand anyone who does.
I have a very simple routine on football Sundays: turn the TV on as close to kickoff as possible in the hope of missing all pregame gibberish. I then watch the game and listen to the post game radio show hosted by former Bears Doug Buffone and Ed O’Bradovich.
There are post-game shows on numerous Chicago radio stations, but Buffone and O’Bradovich are hands down the best. They are both former Bears from a bygone era and their passion for the team and game is unmistakable.
If the Bears win, they are as excited as any fan. If the team loses, they won’t pull any punches. They call out coaches and players alike and routinely rip ownership for its missteps. You can find them on WSCR (AM 670) and should give them a listen if you’ve never experienced their show.
When their show concludes, so too does my football weekend. I don’t watch Sunday Night Football nor do I waste time on the Monday Night edition. Ditto for football on Thursdays.
(A side note: the Chicago Blackhawks begin play in 22 days. I will try not to miss a game.)
I don’t wager on football, and for the past few years I have not been involved in fantasy football. From time to time I’ll find out that I missed a really great nationally televised game, but I can’t get that excited about a contest between two teams in which I have no rooting interest.
Back to the Bears and local sports radio.
The Bears post-games shows are just the start of the incessant analysis conducted by these stations. It goes on all week. The early part of the week is dedicated to the previous Sunday’s game, while the later part of the week is reserved for a look at the upcoming opponent.
I recently heard a program host tell his listeners he’d post more game analysis on his blog on Monday after he watched the game again.
Again? A second time? Who does that? I understand the folks in the sports radio industry have to keep a keen eye on football and other pro and college sports. It’s how they make a living.
Somehow, though, I think a guy watching a Bears game a second time, hitting the pause button on the remote to see if Peanut Tillman got burned in coverage, furiously taking notes as he watches, wishes he were a coach.
Listen to these guys sometime. They love to work into their commentary the jargon used by coaches. And listeners must enjoy it because a fair number of them call these shows talking in the same language.
But their commentary is only part of the non-stop Bears coverage. Each sports radio station seems to have a former Bears player who makes a weekly appearance to talk about the team. There are daily reports from Bears practice, and head coach Marc Trestman’s press conferences are carried live.
Why does anyone want to hear the head coach of a team answer reporters’ questions? I can understand a 30-second sound bite or coverage of a serious issue that extends beyond the scope of the game—Ray Rice and domestic abuse being one example.
But sports radio stations promote “breaking away to carry the Trestman press conference” as though President Obama was addressing the nation about ISIS.
There are three all-sports radio stations in town, plus six hours of weekend talk on WGN. That doesn’t include pre- and post-game shows dedicated to the pro and college teams in town.
Some shows are better than others. I enjoy some hosts and find others unlistenable. The thing is, these stations have time to fill—lots of time to fill. So, in a year when our baseball teams are long ago out of contention, the topic is Bears and more Bears.
I remember when WSCR “The Score” became the first sports radio station in town. I was excited. New York City had a similar station, WFAN, and now Chicago would have its own sports talker. At first, the station broadcast only during daylight hours—in retrospect, maybe that was enough.
A few years later, WMVP (AM 1000) came along as competition, and earlier this year, “The Game” (87.7 FM) hit the dial. There stations talk Chicago sports almost exclusively, which is why I tire of them. I’m a sports fan. I really am interested in other teams—pro and college—as well as discussion of larger issues: NHL expansion, college recruiting, the baseball playoff chase—it beats all Bears all the time.
But these stations are convinced that sports fans want wall-to-wall Chicago sports talk, 24/7.
Where have you gone, Chet Coppock?