Why is AFL commentary so cheesy?

Lethality

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You know, all the puns and the other wackiness that exists in AFL commentary and seemingly nowhere else. It's not an Australian problem because you don't see the same kind of thing in the NRL or in A-League. Whenever I watch a bit of NRL they usually sound like they take the game seriously.
 

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Dixie Normous

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You know, all the puns and the other wackiness that exists in AFL commentary and seemingly nowhere else. It's not an Australian problem because you don't see the same kind of thing in the NRL or in A-League. Whenever I watch a bit of NRL they usually sound like they take the game seriously.
A lot of it comes from American pro-sports. Worst offenders being John Sterling the Yankees announcer and Chris Berman on ESPN
 

AlcoaCat

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A lot of it comes from American pro-sports. Worst offenders being John Sterling the Yankees announcer and Chris Berman on ESPN
Boxing maybe? "the Master of Disaster, the King of Sting, the one and only Apollo Creed ..."
 

Dixie Normous

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I'd have to look them up. Most US commentary that I see is straight down the line.
BT especially seems influenced by Chris Berman - its almost like listening to the same guy. John Sterling's yankees home-run calls are just disgustingly cheesy - each one is worse than the next
 

Spearman

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A lot of it comes from American pro-sports. Worst offenders being John Sterling the Yankees announcer and Chris Berman on ESPN
Didn't watch the Yankees, but Berman pioneered the silly stuff doing news and highlights for ESPN. It was cute for a while but became schtick after a year or so. I can't recall him even doing actual game commentary or play by play.
US game calling is usually ok to very good. The best don't overdo the blokiness, but it is there in small amounts. Madden was great and fresh when he started, but it got old as he did. The classic callers never had that, they were never too much personality and consequently aged well.
 

zepender

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Berman doesn't really call many games but the ones he does are horrifyingly bad
Didn't watch the Yankees, but Berman pioneered the silly stuff doing news and highlights for ESPN. It was cute for a while but became schtick after a year or so. I can't recall him even doing actual game commentary or play by play.
US game calling is usually ok to very good. The best don't overdo the blokiness, but it is there in small amounts. Madden was great and fresh when he started, but it got old as he did. The classic callers never had that, they were never too much personality and consequently aged well.
On moto x4 using BigFooty.com mobile app
 

Cold Sober

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B for Berman = horrifyingly bad.
B for Brereton = coincidence.
 

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It's the Rex Hunt, Dennis Committee affect in the sport. All of the current commentators would've grew up listening to these guys, or played during their commentating careers. Those 2 were unique at the time in how they were able to entertain and call a game. Now there's a plague of commentators that are trying to do the same.

Heard on SEN this morning, Garry Lyon, Tim Watson and Liam Pickering talking about how Dwayne was in great form over the weekend with some of his lines. The industry actually think that this is fantastic and they encourage each other to keep doing it. It's gone out of hand now.

People like Basil who is a slow talker, shouldn't be doing that and just call the game, but he can't avoid it either.

The next generation of commentators will be worse.
 

biggiemediums

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It's genuinely crazy. NO sport in this world is commentated so poorly. We're meant to have a play-by-play and colour. Footy only has colour. The play-by-play guys even talk about the silly things like hair, looks, jokes etc.

I used to work for a small time MMA show - the commentary was vastly more professional, they got paid a couple hundred for the gig. AFL commentary is atrocious.
 

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tassietiger67

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The really basic and banal level of so much sports coverage follows from the fact that - though AFL is the world's greatest game, one that is unique to our own nation, coming as a gift from the rich, ancient indigenous culture of the first Australians - so many AFL officers and commentators are so heavily influenced by current American cultural trends, as far too many are just so poorly educated, in history, and in the Humanities: many being Yankeephiles who think that all things American, esp in sport, are good things, simply because they are American! Contemporary commercial U.S sports commentators often deliver crass and juvenile puns and jokes because so much modern US TV culture is built on two bit sound bytes, ten second attention spans, and three word sentences. If you look - on YOUTUBE- at how much more intelligent and sophisticated, U.S Sports commentary used to be, back in the sixties and seventies, you will see just how far things have deteriorated, over there, in the last forty years, and, as a consequence, over here, in various aspects of the more mid-pitched commercial game coverage. While some of the AFL commentary and analysis on Fox Footy, for example, or on Seven, are high class, in depth programs, others are juvenile. You get a similar mix, in the gameday TV and radio coverage. Those who hire the clown clones massively undersell the intelligence of the majority of serious football lovers. Contrast the genuine, original, high class humour of the best rating "Front Bar" with the predictable, bottom rung, bar room banality of "The Footy Show", which, finally, is now so blessedly extinct! Most of those who love the game love, also, a more serious, intelligent, deeper level of analysis: and you won't get that, following every fashionable contemporary American trend, in sports coverage, I can promise you!
 

Hawthorn United

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It's genuinely crazy. NO sport in this world is commentated so poorly. We're meant to have a play-by-play and colour. Footy only has colour. The play-by-play guys even talk about the silly things like hair, looks, jokes etc.

I used to work for a small time MMA show - the commentary was vastly more professional, they got paid a couple hundred for the gig. AFL commentary is atrocious.
I kinda think it's somewhat related to AFL only being in one country and the broadcasting industry is so small.

The other sports have set standards worldwide. Even the camera work is much more professional compared to the zoomed in versions you get in AFL.
 

victo76

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I agree with everything that's been said in this thread. It's depressing that it seems to be getting worse. Jason Bennett is an excellent caller and the only one bucking the trend (Bartel and Daisy do well in special comments). I can't fathom how it's gotten so bad. I'd like to think the AFL would use the TV rights negotiations to ensure quality commentators are used by the successful bidders but they clearly don't care. Or maybe there is no quality out there? I don't mind some of the ABC radio callers but they're possibly too bland for tv?
 

Spearman

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I'm American, albeit expatted for several decades, and the only US sports I've watched in recent years has been football, both NFL and college. I also grew up during the inaugural Monday Night Football and ESPN years (remembering being pissed off ESPN stopped doing Aus Rules when they enough money for mainstream US sports lol). There are talent and charisma ranges throughout the game commentary in both national and regional broadcasts. There is a bit of blokiness and trademarking, some forced and some very good and natural. Can't comment on other US sports, but I can't see too much aping of US commentary there.
None of that coverage comes close to the AFL's game content. And while it appears to have been dialed down a little, for a few years there it was amazingly pathetic. It seemed like the game was an afterthought compared to the 'show'. Cheesy might be too benign of a description. The recent Cats-Bulldogs game was good though. When the worse offender is Hudson with his branding of every play with a tag line, you're doing all right.
I honestly think the situation comes from some suit at 7 having the brainfart that they could pull in more non footy fans to their telecasts with all blokiness that admittedly made MMM radio shows popular. Like a lot of things the fresh, innovation is the archetype and what follows is crap.
 

Elite Master

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The AFL is much harder to broadcast and commentate than most sports but the camera work and commentary should be better.
 

Hawthorn United

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The AFL is much harder to broadcast and commentate than most sports but the camera work and commentary should be better.
That's not a valid argument, as all sports have their unique challenges in calling a game if you call every single thing that happens. Only reason why you would say that, is there is no other AFL outside of this country and media bubble to see how else it could be done.

Cricket if AFL commentating standards were applied: Bowler A runs in, left foot, right foot, then again on the left, launches in the air, plants down his right foot, hurls the ball at Batman X and he goes on the front foot and LLLLLLLLLLEAAAAAAVEESSS through to the keeper who gloves it cleanly! Boy oh boy, what a leave!

You're on TV with vision the viewer can see. Just call the names of the player with the ball, or affecting the contest. I don't need to know if they're kicking off a step, if they squeezed it or what not.

Basically any AFL commentator.

 
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Spearman

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I often have to watch streams of games that come from Russian gambling sites so the commentary is Russian :) They do it like the European soccer guys, minimal chatter. Last weekend for example there were often periods of silence(from them) 15 ~30 seconds at a time during actual attacking play. They just let it run with the crowd noise to ramp up the excitement. The crowd is mixed fairly loud as well. Fun part is their low key talk, with the occasional name (pronounced correctly :)) in English. Refreshing to watch without having moments of thinking "WTF did he say that for?"
 

Dixie Normous

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I'm American, albeit expatted for several decades, and the only US sports I've watched in recent years has been football, both NFL and college. I also grew up during the inaugural Monday Night Football and ESPN years (remembering being pissed off ESPN stopped doing Aus Rules when they enough money for mainstream US sports lol). There are talent and charisma ranges throughout the game commentary in both national and regional broadcasts. There is a bit of blokiness and trademarking, some forced and some very good and natural. Can't comment on other US sports, but I can't see too much aping of US commentary there.
None of that coverage comes close to the AFL's game content. And while it appears to have been dialed down a little, for a few years there it was amazingly pathetic. It seemed like the game was an afterthought compared to the 'show'. Cheesy might be too benign of a description. The recent Cats-Bulldogs game was good though. When the worse offender is Hudson with his branding of every play with a tag line, you're doing all right.
I honestly think the situation comes from some suit at 7 having the brainfart that they could pull in more non footy fans to their telecasts with all blokiness that admittedly made MMM radio shows popular. Like a lot of things the fresh, innovation is the archetype and what follows is crap.
I love watching clips with Howard Cosell commentating (especially with Don Meredith and Frank Gifford) - they don't make them like him anymore
 

Spearman

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I love watching clips with Howard Cosell commentating (especially with Don Meredith and Frank Gifford) - they don't make them like him anymore
He was one of the best from a golden era at ABC. He used a wide vocabulary that elevated listeners without patronizing them, and he used them naturally unlike Whateley.
MNF was a great innovation and required viewing in my teens. The fact that they caught lightning in a bottle with the broadcast team setup was the cherry on top. They never did match it, in any sport coverage, though Madden and Summerall were refreshing for a few years.
 

HTPunter

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People like Basil who is a slow talker, shouldn't be doing that and just call the game, but he can't avoid it either.
.
There was a play last Friday night I believe from memory it was Collingwood attacking - a Collingwood player marked it 50 out, and Basil slowly just pushes out his sentence (I think it may have been a comment about Ben Reid), and it kept going, and going, and going, because the ****-for-brain HAD to get his little quirky thought out, meanwhile Collingwood have played it on. The ball was nearly in the goalsquare when Basil finished up what he was saying and then said Pies play on/ball goes long to the goalsquare etc.

You'd have thought a decent commentator would think "I'm honestly just waffling **** because I thought he was going to have a set shot and I need to fill in time, but hey play has continued, I'll stop waffling ****".

But not Basil. No Basil, because he speaks in a slower manner and is from WA thinks he is the next Dennis Commeti, had to share his wisdom.

The reply in this thread that BT is a terrible commentator - well, Basil is on another level.

Gets names wrong. Is often a disposal or even 2 behind the play. Tries so hard to get a pun in, at the detriment of calling the game. Just pure unabashed ****ness and yet the Channel 7 execs seem to promote his level of gig every year.
 

HTPunter

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Speaking of cheesy, how about Hame outsmarting 5 year olds every Friday night and smugly smiling at the camera thinking he is pure genius?

I get why the ex-footballers get promoted, even if I don't like their commentary etc. Brand name, easily recognisable (Dunstall, BT, Richo two some examples).

But Hame and Basil have no talent at commentating AND really shouldn't have any actual 'brand' ability short of being forced upon us as they have the past 3-4 years.
 

wagstaff

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Heard on SEN this morning, Garry Lyon, Tim Watson and Liam Pickering talking about how Dwayne was in great form over the weekend with some of his lines. The industry actually think that this is fantastic and they encourage each other to keep doing it. It's gone out of hand now.
It is baffling how the industry rates Dwayne and have no clue how much the public can't stand him. Even Connolly & Fine on Footyology were praising him last year.
 

wagstaff

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It's genuinely crazy. NO sport in this world is commentated so poorly. We're meant to have a play-by-play and colour. Footy only has colour. The play-by-play guys even talk about the silly things like hair, looks, jokes etc.

I used to work for a small time MMA show - the commentary was vastly more professional, they got paid a couple hundred for the gig. AFL commentary is atrocious.
100% this. Cricket is pretty bad in Oz with its self-indulgent commentary but at least there are better versions overseas.

Rex & Commetti were brought up as causes for this culture and there's probably some truth to that.

But I really think the Triple M style of coverage and commentary - filled with personalities who are all about banter, backslapping each other and general smug self-indulgent types who think they're bigger than the game. I hate that style but it's been very successful and unfortunately infiltrated the general media coverage.
 
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