As a large receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals within the Eighties, Cris Collinsworth had 4 1,000-yard seasons, made three Professional Bowls, performed in a pair of Tremendous Bowls, and was runner-up to the Saints’ George Rogers for 1981 NFL Offensive Rookie of the 12 months.
His was an achieved taking part in profession by just about each non-Jerry Rice measure of the time. And but, for comprehensible causes, there’s no less than one era of followers, and possibly extra, that acknowledges him first as a broadcaster, presuming consciousness of his taking part in days in any respect.
Collinsworth, who might be in his acquainted function as coloration analyst alongside play-by-play voice Mike Tirico on the Patriots’ “Sunday Evening Soccer” matchup with the Dolphins, has been on prime-time tv now for almost twice so long as he performed within the league.
He has been with “Sunday Evening Soccer,” which in 2022 was the most-watched prime-time program on tv for the twelfth straight yr, since 2009, when he slid in subsequent to Al Michaels after John Madden’s retirement.
Collinsworth’s 15 seasons is the longest steady prime-time run on broadcast tv of any NFL coloration analyst ever, surpassing Howard Cosell’s 14-year stretch on “Monday Evening Soccer” from its creation in 1970 to his departure after the 1983 season.
(Cosell usually seemed like he was doing play-by-play, often as a result of he was blustering whereas Frank Gifford was attempting to name the sport.)
A 17-time Emmy winner over the course of his broadcasting profession, Collinsworth demurred when the file run in prime time was talked about.
“There’s two issues that followers don’t care something about,” he stated. “One is how a lot cash a participant is making, so I attempt to by no means deliver that up. And two, who the announcer is.”
My inbox would strongly disagree with that latter sentiment — I believe I’m nonetheless getting emails concerning the mistake-filled Greg Gumbel-Adam Archuleta pairing for the Patriots-Dolphins opener final season — however Collinsworth’s level is known. He’s the antithesis of Cosell, in philosophy if not completely verbosity. He by no means desires the sport to be about him.
“I by no means take my very own function on this complete factor critically in any respect,” he stated. “I believe the truth that I’ve performed 15 years signifies that I’m getting up there in years, that’s all which means. However l love what I do. I really, actually find it irresistible.”
Michaels, who labored with Cosell on ABC baseball broadcasts within the Seventies and ‘80s and was partnered with Collinsworth on “Sunday Evening Soccer” for 13 years, stated in an e-mail Friday that the 2 couldn’t be extra dissimilar.
“Cosell performed the function of provocateur greater than analyst. He was additionally moody, particularly towards the top of his run,” stated Michaels, who’s in his second season of calling Amazon Prime’s Thursday evening bundle and has an emeritus function at NBC. “Working with him may very well be enjoyable or may very well be painful. On his darker nights, it was traversing an impediment course.
“Cris was a pleasure to work with. He was all the time in an important temper and nobody ever got here extra ready. Working with Cris may very well be described in a single phrase — seamless. And I do know of no another loyal. When a 13-year partnership feels prefer it glided by in 20 minutes, it couldn’t get any higher.”
Collinsworth stated he tries to strategy his preparation like coaches do.
“As Tom Brady [who is supposed to join Fox’s No. 1 team next year] will discover out, fairly than preparing on one aspect of the ball for one group, you’ve acquired to prepare on six sides of the ball — offense, protection, and particular groups — for 2 groups. I simply attempt to get to some extent the place I can have an honest dialog with the coaches and gamers and attempt to study one thing I didn’t know earlier than to go alongside to the followers and viewers. If I can try this, I’m pleased.”
Upon watching some Patriots tape of their 25-20 season-opening loss to the Eagles, Collinsworth stated he thought coordinator Invoice O’Brien has performed a superb job placing collectively an offense that performs to quarterback Mac Jones’s strengths. However Collinsworth aimed the vast majority of his reward on the Patriots’ protection.
“I believed the protection performed nice. Not simply good, I believed they performed nice,” he stated. “The Eagles are a extremely onerous group to deal with in so many various methods. The Patriots coaches got here up with some intelligent schemes. They performed loads of DBs and found out how one can neutralize a quarterback who is a good runner and might be actually robust to deal with.
“In all probability the important thing for me was that the 2 corners held up. In opposition to these guys, that was actually, actually spectacular. I walked out on that aspect of the ball going, ‘They are often nearly as good as anyone.’”
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