The League


Week 9: Troy Aikman Is Not Biased

It was evident early on in the telecast of the New York Giants' 35-14 victory over the hapless Dallas Cowboys on Sunday that Fox color commentator Troy Aikman was out to prove something.

After Boomer Esiason accused Aikman of having "a legitimate bias" toward Dallas, the former Cowboys quarterback took the high road:

"Well, I'm glad Boomer is watching the NFL on Fox," Aikman told the Dallas Morning News. "I take great pride in not showing a bias towards any team that I am broadcasting and I'm confident the teams that I have covered over the last eight seasons would agree that I've been balanced and fair with my coverage."

Aikman may have seemed unaffected by Boomer's assertion, but it was clear on Sunday that something had changed: Aikman was on a mission to be fair and balanced -- and in the process, he tipped the other side of the scale completely. Anyone without a frame of reference might have wondered, "Is this guy a Giants fan or something?"

Who Are These Guys?

You know exactly who these guys are. They're Fox Sports' lead broadcast crew. Play-by-play man Joe Buck, with Fox since 1994, is the son of late Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck. He's the serious one.

Color commentator Aikman is a Hall of Fame quarterback who played his entire career in Dallas with those lovable Cowboys from 1989 to 2000, helping them rack up three Super Bowl victories. Aikman joined Fox in 2001. He's the other serious one.

Story of the Game - Aikman's Version

Early on in the first quarter, Aikman projected an emphasis on the ground game for the Giants: "There's no secret about it -- the Giants come into this game with the number one rushing offense in the league, and as a defense, if you're gonna be able to hold up against them, you're gonna have to stop the run."

Story of the Game -- Reality

Buck put it succinctly: "Well this is one of the few times, in the NFL in 2008, where what people have expected to see happen in a game has happened. And that is that the Giants have flattened the Dallas Cowboys."

How 'Bout Them ... Giants?

Aikman really wanted to talk -- and talk -- about the Giants' Super Bowl victory last season. After Buck detailed the path New York took from the regular season to the playoffs to a victory over the Patriots, then trailed off to call a play, Aikman wanted more:

"So go back to what you were saying about what the Giants were about to do ..."

It was over, all the way to Disneyland. No need to rehash.

Aikman also professed his admiration for Amani Toomer throughout the game. Perhaps the most laudatory remark:

"Man, Amani Toomer, he just keeps gettin' it done, doesn't he? I mean, last week, on the fourth and six play, Eli Manning had an easier throw to pick up that first down, but he sees Amani pressed out there and he lays it up, much like what he did right there."

Superlatives are the Best

The rest of the league must be just scraping the bottom of the barrel, because the Giants and Cowboys have all the best everything, according to Aikman:

"The Giants are one of the best teams in the league at running the screen play."
"[Jeff Feagles is] one of the best punters in the league."
"Jason Witten is arguably the best tight end in football."
"Amani Toomer one of the most trusted and most dependable players on the field."

Oh, and another best for the Giants, this time from Buck: "This is a running game that is the best in the NFL."

Zoning Out in the Red Zone

Buck kept falling into a monotone rhythm, as if he were on autopilot. As Buck was discussing the Cowboys' tough upcoming schedule, Brandon Jacobs broke free of a tackle and found his way into the end zone.

Buck, very nonchalantly: "...if they're going to make it into the postseason, and here's Brandon Jacobs, touchdown." ... Realizing that his call may have been a bit cavalier, Buck kicks it up a decibel, or 10: "TOUCHDOWN, NEW YORK, BRANDON JACOBS."

Aikman's Not-So-Finest Moment

After Eli Manning was sacked and held on to the ball in the second quarter: "Tom Coughlin, he's not so much interested in going down the field as he is playing smart."

So being productive on offense and playing smart are mutually exclusive? Interesting.

Buck and Aikman Break It Down

During a big run by Jacobs toward the end of the first half, Buck and Aikman got uncharacteristically funky with the play-calling:

Buck: "Makin' moves, breakin' tackles, gettin' blocks and down inside the 30."

Aikman: "The big man's got some moves!"

Best Line of the Day

Not-a-Cowboys-Fan Aikman had the money quote when it began to look bleak for Dallas: "If the Cowboys go on to lose this ballgame, they're going to be in a world of hurt."

But not Aikman. His Giants are looking good.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 5, 2008; 11:24 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Week 7: Eagle, Wilcots and Week 6 | Next: Al & John: Solid for Fans, Valuable for NBC


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Could Joe Buck get a little excited on the big plays? He calls the most important plays of a playoff game like they're from the first quarter of an August pre-season game.

Posted by: Russ | November 5, 2008 2:21 PM

Joe Buck is the worst.....Boomer Eaison is his own brand of annoying but I love this fued with Aikmen!

Posted by: chris larry | November 5, 2008 4:40 PM

My wish would be that all color commentators disappear from all sportscasts. It's a completely unnecessary and annoying element in any broadcast. Just picture going to a game, any sport, and your friend next to you says everything these commentators say after every play. How many minutes would it be before you excused yourself to go to the john and then snuck into an empty seat on the other side of the arena for the rest of the game?

There's nothing to say about a three-yard run off tackle. No, it doesn't tell us anything about that team's draft, their new assistant trainer, what their running backs coach learned in his last job, what kind of work ethic the right tackle has . . . It was a run. It got three yards. Next play, please.

Posted by: Mike D. | November 6, 2008 11:46 AM

I was wondering what was going on with Troy. I'm a Giant fan and I couldn't believe how much he was praising the Giants and ripping the Cowboys. I was wondering if Jerry Jones or Wade Phillips had said Troy had been an average QB who only won the Super Bowl because of the quality of his teammates. Also, he and Buck must've awarded the game to the Giants earlier than I can remember anyone doing. Usually NFL announcers try to keep you watching, e.g. a team is down 17 points with 5 minutes left, and the announcers are describing how they could kick a quick field goal and get the ball back twice and win it with a two-point conversion.

Posted by: Carl | November 6, 2008 12:29 PM

I am a fan of color comontary, but it seems that there is a overload of cowboys doing games, and I wish they would think to not have cowboys calling intra conference games, its a diss to the 3 other teams in the rivalry.

Posted by: Alex35332 | November 7, 2008 9:02 AM

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