My Family Needs Bryant Gumbel

Lucky RiffContributor INovember 6, 2008

It's mulligan time for the NFL Network. They're teeing it up again tonight for the new and improved version of subscriber-only football. I am not getting into the well-documented battle between General Peter Goodell and the cable companies. I will leave that to senators Leahy and Specter to duke out for their constituents. 

I am here only to say that I am going to miss Bryant Gumbel! That's right. I will miss Bryant Gumbel.

He is the only broadcaster that made me wish for more Brent Musburger.

As a football junkie, he was my excuse to miss an NFL game. The crazy thing is that all my friends understood. They were missing games, too.

I remember my family staring at a muted TV on Thanksgiving night talking about our day! Our day for goodness sake!

My brother did the play-by-play. Grand Pop Joe gave us a little color commentary. It was part of the Gumbel magic. Bryant brought my family together.

This year will be different.

Bob Papa will partner with the capable Chris Collingsworth. No doubt tonight's Denver-Cleveland game will seem more like football and less like Venus and Serena playing an exhibition match.

Now before the Gumbel fan out there gets upset, let me say this for the record: His talent remains in the studio. He has made a living on TV and appeals to some audience, just not an NFL one.

His HBO show is good and I enjoy most of his work on that network. For now, let's just say my wife is headed back to the mall (I think) and my kids are playing video games. Looks like things are back to the way they once were on Thursday nights.

Bryant, if I need you, I will just scribble violently on a pad of paper and send you an SOS.