Aside from Gus Johnson’s constant mispronunciation of Ribery, I would say he did an overall decent job calling the Merkel Bowl. The man clearly still needs some work. Yes, when there is an exciting play on the pitch and a goal is scored, he does what he is meant to do and promptly goes BANANAS and screams for about 2 minutes, but after that, its kind of a lost in the doldrums feeling for the viewer as he stumbles through the play-by-play calls, mispronouncing nearly every non-American sounding name as he moves along with his monotone “Lahm, passes to Schweinsteiger, holds it, moves the ball forwards to Ribery…”
I guess what I’m getting at here is that he really needs to learn how to fill in the space between the exciting plays. Soccer is a 90 minute game, and of that, about 75-80 minutes are the two teams battling for position and possession to set up for something greater. He needs to study the wit and charm of classic footy commentators like Andy Gray, Martin Tyler, Ray Hudson, Ian Darke, Steve McManaman and even Gary Neville and learn the art of filling that space by talking about tactical decisions, substitutions, previous matches, player/team form etc. I feel like he will learn this craft in due time, as it has been reported on that he is indeed working his ass off to learn about the game, and that he should be ready for the World Cup in 2018, which Fox has purchased the exclusive rights for. Fox Soccer went out on a serious limb by putting him in the booth for some of this year’s biggest matches, and think that by allowing him to get his feet wet on such a large stage, he has already taken his criticisms and will only get better from here. Keep at it Gus, CotW has your back.
Here are some of Johnson’s best calls of the season: Enjoy.
We’re basically hoping that after a little while, Gus will sound like this in the booth, an excellent mashup from his NCAA days and Team USA’s 1-0 win against Algeria: